Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Shroud Of Turin

This story out of Italy has got to be the most amazing example I've ever seen of overreach by European courts in quite some time. Four Google executives have been tried and three of them convicted, in an Italian court, for allowing some teenage boys in Turin to upload a video on YouTube which portrayed them bullying an autistic kid. Technically, they were convicted of violating Italian privacy laws, though found not guilty of deformation of the law.

As for the kids in question, they were convicted, and received ten months of community service. The three convicted Google executives received a jail sentence. This despite the fact they had nothing to do with the video, which Google removed as soon as they were informed of its presence on YouTube.

An appeal of the case is pending. It should never have been brought to court to begin with. Naturally, I am not in favor of bullying autistic people, or anybody else for that matter, but does anybody really believe this case is just about that?

I have this strange idea this whole thing is a test case, with the broader goal of enforcing European standards on the worldwide global net. Unlike China, who at least are not hypocrites about it-they'll just ban offending sites outright-the Europeans just seem to have it in their DNA, I suppose, to make the rest of the world bow down to their will.

They know perfectly well they can't directly impose their will on bloggers or social networking site users, but they seem to be ready to attack the companies, and even company personnel. If they are successful, its only a matter of time before the terms of service on a lot of sites become a lot more stringent. After all, they will be seen as having a responsibility to rein in hate speech, bigotry, prejudice, racism, homophobia, sexism, etc., and anything that might be presented as contributing directly or perhaps even indirectly to such things, which of course will be defined by the courts, mostly European. Look for yet another push for global regulation of the net, probably through the UN.

An attack on free speech? Not directly. It's first an attack on free enterprise, the purpose of which will be the establishment of the duty of blog sites and social networking sites to limit speech on their own private businesses.

Of course, they have a right to do that now, and could anytime they want. You are not guaranteed the right to freedom of speech on a blog which you do not own but which is hosted by a business entity. That entity has the right to set its terms of service. You have no rights other than to comply or leave.

Before long, that right of the hosting company to set its own limits as to what is considered acceptable speech or conduct might well become an obligation under international law.

This is a perfect example of why the US should refrain, for now and forever, from becoming signatories to any multinational treaty, of any kind, and to remove ourselves from the entanglements of any other such treaty.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

British PM Brown-Out Of Control?

Gordon Brown's wife denies the British Prime Minister is a bully, but of course she would, the question is, why the hell would anybody ask her to begin with? Any relevant question directed at her should begin with "Has the Prime Minister ever"-

One should not necessarily expect a truthful answer in any event. Remember, she lives with the man who is alleged to have done, among other things too numerous to list here, the following-

A FACTORY worker claims that during an official visit to his plant the PM hurled a tangerine into a laminating machine after flying into a rage while on a phone call. He said: "The fruit got stuck in the machine and clogged it.

"It was very embarrassing, we had to stop the tour and he got even more angry. He called the person that gave him the tangerine an idiot."

POLITICAL blogger Iain Dale claimed that IT experts were called to fix the PM's computer — only to find the keyboard had been hurled through the screen.

Read more:

It's pretty bad when a leader of a country is so allegedly abusive his own staff calls the National Bullying Hotline to report his harassment. Naturally, its a political embarrassment to Brown, but its also caused some problems for the Hotline, who are not supposed to go public with such information. On the other hand, this is the Prime Minister of one of the preeminent nations of the world. This is not exactly a private matter. Brown would be a fool to harass his staff in anger over the whistle blowing. But then again, maybe he's too far gone to control himself. The Sun article reads like a man who is barely in control of his own self. How is he supposed to run a country like Britain, especially since he's not exactly well-loved to begin with?

When you stop to think about it though, bullies almost always back down when confronted. His unpopularity with the voters might be the only thing keeping him in check. Who knows how he would act if his poll numbers were solid. How long would it take him to declare war on Scotland if one of their MP's looked at him wrong?

The British ought to give this guy the boot, but then again, this might increase his popularity, who knows? The Brits seem to put up with a lot of impositions we would never tolerate here. One can only assume they must like it.

H/T-The English Blog.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Obama And The Philosophy Of Christian Realism

Obama's favorite philosopher is, according to him, Reinhold Niebuhr. What is interesting about that is, Reinhold Niebuhr, throughout the course of a very long career, changed his mind with every successive decade. In the 1910's he was pro-American and pro-war. In the 1920's, he was a pacifist. In the 1930's, he was a socialist. In the 1940's, he was apparently a centrist Democrat. In the 1950's, he was an anti-communist who believed in the policy of containment. In the 1960's, he was a pacifist again, somewhat, staking out a position against the Vietnam War and promoting a philosophy of tolerance towards the Soviet Union, claiming the anti-communist movement had been hi-jacked by ideologues. What do all of these stands have in common, besides a seeming divergence with every new decade? Well, they all seem to be outgrowths of what is termed Christian Realism. His philosophy might best be encapsulated by the Serenity Prayer, which he authored.

But how exactly has he influenced Obama? Though some might proclaim it to be a positive influence, might there be other, less beneficent aspects, at least when applied to the political realm?

Niebuhr believed in international cooperation as the best means of attaining national goals and in the spreading and furtherance of American and Western ideals. He disavowed the idealism of most church philosophies of his day, which he charged took man's divine rights and inherent goodness too much for granted. However, he also loathed the inclination of many demagogues who would pursue a might makes right policy. He believed in cooperation, and a kind of carrot-and-stick approach, seemingly with an emphasis on the carrot. Democracy and social justice, he claimed, could be fostered and encouraged, and rewarded, but they could never be forced. Nor did he deem it accurate to suppose that because we believe our way was the best way, that everyone else would necessarily follow suit and adopt Western-American values. That might happen over time, with the proper encouragement and patience. It might never happen.

Many see this philosophy expressed in Obama's recent trip to Cairo and his address from there to the Arab world. America is not always right, nor are her enemies always evil. Almost every word from the speech could have been written by Reinhold Niebuhr. Frankly, there is much to Niebuhrs approach to foreign affairs I can concur with, up to a point, but in this case, it seems odd to spell out such a philosophy openly in an address to such a large segment of the world population, many of with whom we are, like it or not, at war. It seems to reek of the kind of air-headed idealism, minus pragmatic considerations, which Niebuhr himself reportedly deplored.

Interestingly, much of Niebuhr's approach to domestic politics seems drawn from the same philosophy. He knew early on there was going to be increasing racial tensions. His prescribed method of dealing with the eventuality was to encourage the majority to reach out to the minority populations. I have found no indications as to his beliefs as to how minority peoples should respond. He seems to intimate that it will take time, in the form of successive generations, to heal the breach. Of course, we have seen this philosophy expressed multiple times through the filter of leftist progressive politics. While Obama, for perhaps self-conscious reasons, has refrained from this, we have still seen it expressed in other ways, like for example AG Eric Holders denunciation of the self-segregation that envelops society on so many levels and his expressed call for a national dialogue on race in order to deal with it.

Earlier in his career, Niebuhr was a staunch supporter of the union movement, and a harsh critic of Henry Ford, disparaging Ford's assembly line method of automobile production and the loss of real income to Ford's workers, due to inflation and to reduced work hours.

Niebuhr has followers among all branches of politics-liberal, radical, conservative, and even among the neocons. He himself was unabashedly political, yet he was, again, a "Christian Realist" in his approach to problems and policies. Nevertheless, he was unquestioningly liberal in almost all of his incarnations. The following snippet of a critique leveled at a conservative foe of the "Welfare State", during the nineteen fifties, says it all-

Mr. Russell Kirk in his Conservative Mind seems to assume that there is some authentic conservatism in the mere desire to preserve the status quo of the American paradise; and he rather uncritically seeks to relate this American conservatism with a British conservatism which is rooted in the aristocratic tradition and has none of Kirk’s prejudice against the Welfare State, and with the rather pathetic aristocratic tradition of our own Southland, as expounded by Randolph and Calhoun. This Southern tradition was pathetic because it was but a remnant of an old aristocratic society in a nation which had no conscious relations with the European feudal past, and because it was a form of aristocracy based upon chattel slavery and was naturally destroyed with the institution of slavery.

Note that the policy of the Mr. Kirk in question had nothing to do with the nascent Civil Rights movement of the day, had nothing to do with race relations in any fashion-it was simply a matter of limiting the growth of the federal government, and keeping it in check. Mr. Niehbuhr might well have fathered the tactic of conflating the conservative philosophy of low taxes and small government to racism and bigotry, and all of its later and equally foul brethren, such as accusatory slurs as to sexism and homophobia.

In other words, such charges, whether leveled yesterday or today, are not reasoned responses based on science or empirical observation towards a coherent understanding of ones ideological opponents. They are, at best, emotional excrement, based on attachments to the ideals and theories of a Christian philosopher who adapted his philosophy, along with his strategies, to suit the times or the situation.

It takes the following formula-

A. The Antebellum South owned slaves and fought to defend its rights to keep them
and to expand those rights into other territories.

B. Modern conservatives believe in states rights against encroachments by an ever growing and expanding federal government


C. Modern conservatives are racists and bigots. They are also sexists and homophobes.

And thus turns logic completely on its head.

This then is the natural outgrowth of the Christian Realism movement.
In his own day, Reinhold was criticized for such rhetoric, as well as for his liberal progressive views, with much the same tenor that an Anne Coulter or Glenn Beck today might tear into a Keith Olbermann, and for much the same reasons. His is a philosophy based on a religious principle, but with political applications. Not unlike Nietzche in many ways, it is indeed a kind of "Realism" in approach, yet seasoned with a dash of ethics and morals, at least on the surface. Simmering at the bottom of the stew, however, is the same kind of moralizing prejudice-Judgementality, if you will-modern progressives so readily decry in their opponents. It doesn't take a lot to bring it erupting to the surface, as we have seen innumerable times. It also doesn't take long to reveal a liberal progressive who proclaims his love for democracy, tolerance, and free speech, for the unmitigated hypocrite he truly is.

When it comes to politics, at least and especially as it involves foreign affairs, an extra dose of Nietzche might be the more appropriate formula. As for domestic situations, there again, a greater emphasis on pragmatic approaches with less emphasis on high-minded idealism is more in-line with the attainment of realistic goals.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tiger Woods And The Road To Nirvana-Are We There Yet?

Now that Tiger Woods has humbled himself and offered what seems to be a very sincere and Con-Trite apology to his remaining sponsors (while doing so in the course of an event sponsored by one of those who abandoned ship on their association with Woods), what have we learned?

Well, we have learned that Woods is one tone-deaf individual. There are ways in which this is good, however. For one thing, it lends itself to sincerity. Tiger has personally vowed to return to the practice of his Buddhist faith, claiming he has over the years fallen away from it.

In true Buddhist terms, of course, Woods did not commit a sin, he merely allowed himself to be swept away by his attachments, which led to a form of delusion, and in the meantime, he acted not only against his own best interests, but he acted unethically towards his wife and children. And of course, Nike.

However, while being tone deaf does have it's advantages, it also has its drawbacks. In his case, he actually wanted his wife to stand by his side at this presser-the penultimate "The Good Wife". Thankfully, Elan was having none of that, and refused to appear at his side. In fact, she refused to be seen in public that day.

This shows that, if anything, Woods is still somewhat delusional. Having been made the butt of jokes over a period of three months time on all the late night talk shows and Comedy Central, how does he propose to shore up his tarnished image? By having he, with wife obediently and faithfully at his side, join the ranks of Bill Clinton, basketball great Kobe Bryant, disgraced former governors Elliot Spitzer and Jim MacGreevy, and disgraced former televangelists Ted Haggarty, Jimmy Swaggert, and Jim Baker.

Elan might well decide to stand by her man like Hillary, will probably get a hell of a lot more than a diamond ring like Kobe Bryant's wife if she does so, and might even honestly forgive him like many of these women seem to have done. But she made the right decision here to spare herself the ordeal of presenting herself as a public spectacle inviting yet more ridicule and abuse.

For one thing, even though Woods denied that she attacked him the night of Thanksgiving with one of his own golf clubs, there will always be questions as to whether he is being completely honest about that. His exact statement in addressing the matter is vague at best. He insists that she never attacked him with the golf club. Of course, technically, she is said to have attacked the car he was driving, properly speaking, not him. He did say there had never been any domestic violence between them, but what does that really mean, and even if you take it at face value, what is it worth? What about mental, emotional, verbal, or for that matter sexual abuse?

The last thing Elan Woods wants is to publicly be put in the situation of being questioned about her own actions, or the nature of her overall relationship with Woods, as she sees it. As Woods said, correctly, he and his wife's relationship was strictly between she and him.

Some people never learn. Woods has barely begin this journey of convenience, while others want to latch onto the gravy train of opportunity. One of these is the abominable Gloria Alred, the inside out watermelon woman-red on the outside, green on the inside, the green in her case standing for money.

She has presented herself now as the attorney, not for one, but for two of Woods's former mistresses, the latest being a former porn star who claims to have been made pregnant by Woods twice, the first time resulting in a miscarriage, the second one in an abortion.

These women too want apologies, and here Woods might be tone deaf, but he at least demonstrated that he isn't a complete ignoramus. The proffering of an apology to these deadbeat whores would only serve as an admission that Woods wronged them as much as he wronged his wife and children, a laughable proposition on the face of it. Such an apology would only encourage what Allred doubtless wants, a lawsuit. In her depraved mind, she probably fantasizes here about the potential for a class action, with her representing all nineteen (or is it more now) or the "wronged women".

I hate to break it to them, but they knew Woods was a married man. A married man with two children. Young children. In some cases, they carried on these affairs with Woods for multiple years. They had no realistic expectation that he was going to leave his wife and children, for any of them. But that is irrelevant to the likes of Gloria Allred. She wants you to see these skanks as wronged women, women who were emotionally abused and deserted by Woods, women who deserve compensation. It's nothing but a game to her, a game with a big payday in the end should she be successful. She would probably prefer to bully Woods into making a settlement, along with a public apology, but she would be more than content to take the matter into civil court, and she has the resources to do so.

This by the way is not a defense of Woods, whose behavior was reprehensible, nor do I necessarily believe he sincerely intends to change. Maybe he sincerely wants to change, for now, but wishing and doing what it takes despite the temptations that present themselves might well be two different things. But for Gloria Allred, or anybody else, to try to paint these women as wronged, duped victims who were emotionally deceived by Woods, whom they loved, is beyond the pale. They deserve nothing more than public scorn and derision, exactly the same as Woods.

Some people might say that Elan, Woods's wife, is really no better, because she is a gold-digger who only married Woods for his money and fame. And that might well be true.

It is also beside the point, from any legal standpoint of which I am aware. Admittedly, I am an amateur when it comes to legal matters, and not even a well-versed amateur at that. But I think I can state with pretty reasonable assurance that Woods's children and wife would receive, and deserve to get, the lions share if not all of any court settlement that might arise from Woods flagrant infidelities.

All of these other bimbos deserve nothing more than exactly what they have already got. Fucked.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Elton John Really, REALLY Loves Jesus Christ

Elton John has lately bemoaned the fact that he is famous, because bad things happen to famous people, such as John Lennon, Gianni Versace, and Princess Di. If Elton John had his way about it, he would not be famous at all, you see, because famous people, well, they just draw the nuts and lunatics, which is precisely why he hired a bodyguard.

In conclusion, he then added that Jesus Christ was a compassionate homosexual.

Elton John-just another one of these dull, boring artistic types you would probably never notice, what with this tendency he has to just kind of blend into the woodwork, and the knack for avoiding making outrageous statements of opinion presented as fact. Who could possibly pick him out in a crowd? Not a drama queen at all.

Look At This Fucking Hipster

When people devote their time to giving folks reason to laugh at them, people should kindly and politely oblige them. That is the whole purpose of Look At This Fucking Hipster.

I'm going to be looking for my own contributions for the site, complete with obligatory caption.

HaHaHaHa Look at this old ass leftist hipster phony trying to hit that ass. Worse, look at this stupid hipster bitch actually thinking about it.

Hat Tip to Rob at Red Alerts

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Tale Of Two Americas

This is interesting, as Marvel Comics has long striven to maintain an aura of social relevance in its stories and characters. The recent Captain America storyline, "Two Americas" is no exception, and it has provoked something of a controversy involving the Tea-Party movement, which claims that one comic in the series, issue 602, unfairly identifies them with a racist white supremacist group.

Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada has apologized for what he has tried to characterize as a misunderstanding, and in fairness, the villains in the story are not the protesters portrayed and who are the center of the controversy. They are presented as a background, and as evidence of wide-spread dissatisfaction with the government, mere outbreaks of discontent in an overall atmosphere which is ripe for manipulation by unscrupulous, shadowy forces.

So far, so good, but the comic takes it to the extent where the tea-party crowd is to all intents and purposes lampooned. One holds a sign that says "Tea Bag The Libs Before They Tea-Bag You". There are two different signs which are meant to portray contradictions in the tea-party philosophy of small government and low taxes. One of them, announcing the country is for sale, stands in an intended contrast to another which decries socialism-as though anything against socialist policies has to be by its nature corrupt, and anything that promotes capitalism is by its nature "selling out". By far the most damning of the signs, however, from the perspective of an editorial observation as to the intelligence of the "tea-baggers", is the one held by an elderly woman that proclaims "No Government In My Medicare".

Quesada in his apology to the movement claims that some of the signs were filled in at the last minute by an unknown letterer filling in empty spaces on signs in a hurry in order to meet the deadline, and promises they will be removed in future printings, particularly referencing the "Tea-Bag The Libs" line. Not even all liberal pundits are buying this. Gawker, for example, says their "excuse does not really ring true". And Raw Story points to evidence, from other liberal bloggers, to the effect that recent stories of Captain America as written by current writer Ed Brubaker have a decidedly liberal bent, as does Marvel in general, going on to point out that a recent Marvel villain is modeled on Fox News right-wing pundit Glen Beck.

The real story, such as it is, is being overlooked in the flood of protests over the image presented of the Tea Party Movement. The Two Americas story is that of conflict, symbolized by the present incarnation of Captain America (actually the original Captain America's sidekick, Bucky Barnes, who has at least temporarily replaced the original, Steve Rogers) who is in conflict with the 1950's Captain America, who is now bat-shit crazy. This is because, back in the day, when he decided to take on the mantle of Captain America, while the original was frozen in a block of ice in the Arctic, he took the Super-Soldier serum which was later discovered to be a virus which transformed any recipient to near perfect peak of human conditioning of strength, speed, endurance, and reflexes. However, he was unaware that the serum had to be augmented by a series of treatments by some kind of energy beam that served to stabilize the properties of the virus. The resultant effect on his body, and that of his sidekick, the 1950's Bucky, drove them insane. Dangerously, unreasonably insane.

And, of course, since he is now dangerously, unreasonably insane, he is also-a far-right winger, pining away for the good old days, bitterly antagonistic towards any kind of change, anything that might serve to invalidate his love of "his" America, the good America of his childhood, the America he fought and would have willingly and gladly died for. He doesn't recognize the new America, and wants to bring it down, and to that end has joined this evil, dangerous band of far-right wing militia types who are bigots and racial supremacists.

That's why Bucky, in the guise of the present day legitimate Captain America, along with his African-American partner, the Falcon, have to fight him, and the evil, despicable, right wing fringe hate group.

That Marvel's philosophy has always been liberal is pretty evident, though at least in earlier days they were patriotic to the point of being corny, especially as regards their portrayal of Captain America. That original, Steve Rogers, was later killed in a story-line that seems to have been designed to prevent him from having to take sides in the increasingly hostile environment of left versus right-wing politics. He was later revived, his death explained as not really a death, but a kind of limbo, yet another kind of suspended animation, or maybe like an allegorical no-man's land the writers were under increasing pressure to bring him out of, on one side or another, liberal fans wanting him to make speeches against the excesses as they saw them of the Bush Administration, the more conservative fans wanting him to go to Iraq and fight Saddam Hussein, and Islamic extremism.

Some time after his return, Steve Rogers proclaimed that he was not loyal to the government, but to the "American ideal", before handing the mantle to his former sidekick, and being assured by President Obama that he might have important work for him at some future juncture. Whether this comes about in the context of this former storyline, or later, is unknown, but it is obvious that Steve Rogers, not if but when he does return, will remain as a symbol, but not a tool of special interests, at least not those special interests as defined by the average Marvel reader.

As for how the present Two Americas storyline plays out, of course the militia will be defeated, and the nineteen fifties era Captain America will either be killed or locked away in an asylum of some sort, doubtless to return another day to wreak more right-wing havoc, while a great many of the protesters portrayed in the story, assuming they are not dropped from the story-line, will in many cases walk away from the movement in disgust, when Captain Bucky explains to them that they are being misled and manipulated by evil, shadowy forces of hate and division. You know, like Glenn Beck. Others will doubtless remain with the movement but declare their intentions to use it as a force for good, and for compromise-defined of course as going along with the lefts policies while making sure the job is done right. After all, Americans have to stand together united, don't they, against the "forces of evil".

One thing you can rest assured of, no one will end up joining the cause of the Tea-Party movement.

Does all this annoy me? Yes, but I don't lose too much sleep over it, because the right dug themselves into this hole years ago with their censorious attitudes towards the arts. They have made it plain they don't approve of anything that smacks of immorality or for that matter bad manners. The world is all black and white, and there are nor can there ever be shades of gray involved. One of their most hated words, nuance, is in fact a reality in everyday life, but they don't want it, especially in art. There are certain things that are just not in their vocabulary, and "shit piss, cunt, fuck, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits" is just the tip of the iceberg.

No, they are not all this way, and in fact those that are may possibly be a minority, but they are a loud and influential minority in the conservative movement. And as long as that is the case, they leave the door wide-open for the left to appropriate the talents of artists and writers from all walks of life and gladly utilize their talents in order to propagandize for the left and against the right.

Sometimes its just not enough to sit and complain about the unfairness of it all, especially when you've done a more than sufficient job of locking yourself in a box.

In the meantime, when your kid shells out five dollars of his allowance for what amounts to left-wing propaganda, you have to wonder just exactly how seriously he takes it and, more to the point, you when you start complaining about the evils of big government and taxes-and of course, those who threaten our liberty.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Influence Of Nitrous Oxide On Free Radicals

When I first heard of the shooting deaths of three people, two of them faculty members and one staff member, and the wounding of three others at the University of Alabama Huntsville at the hands of neurobiology professor Amy Bishop, I had a visceral reaction which amounted pretty much to, "well, if I shot some street thug who tried to rip me off for fifty or sixty dollars, I can imagine what I might do to somebody that tried to rip me off of rights to a patent from research that might make me hundreds of thousands, or millions, of dollars". And, bluntly, speaking, by denying her tenure, whatever other reasons they might have had for doing so, it pretty much amounted to property theft. Which, I have to admit I considered ironic, seeing as how Bishop has been described as a fairly obnoxious Obama supporter, in addition to being, according to at least one of her students, a socialist (though the student insists she kept this out of the classroom).

The more time dragged on, the more came out. Now, it seems Bishop might have been involved in a plot to kill a professor at Harvard, where she was a student, with a pipe bomb sent by mail to the house of the professor, who was in a position to decide favorably or unfavorably on her work, and with whom she had a history or disputes. Yet, it should always be noted that Bishop was never charged, and in point of fact, though this is seldom pointed out, she went on to become an instructor of medicine at Harvard for a brief period of time.

Nevertheless, she and her husband was investigated thoroughly, which led to a compelling discovery-

During a search of Bishop's computer, authorities found a draft of a novel that Bishop was writing about a female scientist who had killed her brother and was hoping to make amends by becoming a great scientist, according to a person who was briefed on the investigation and spoke to the Globe on the condition of anonymity.

Which serves as a segue to a political angle, lately revealed, involving Massachusetts Representative William Delahunt, who in 1986 was the prosecutor in Quincy Massachusetts, when Bishop, then nineteen, was charged with killing her eighteen year old brother Seth, with whom she had also, according to some sources, had an argument. Yet, the incident was labeled an accident, even though she shot at her brother three times with a shotgun she was, according to the official report, "learning how to load", hitting him one time in the left chest area and severing his aorta.

Most of the report vanished shortly after it was filed, so the nature of the argument, if there was one, remains a mystery, but it is fairly well established that she was released the same day she was taken into custody, and never charged, even though the day she left her house immediately following her brother's killing, she tried to rob an auto dealer with the same gun with which she shot her brother, demanding he supply her with a car, claiming that her husband was after her.

Delahunt, so the story goes, ordered her release, yet he claims to have no recollection of the incident. However, it seems that he might have been influenced by the fact that Bishop's mother was active in local politics, and perhaps more importantly set on the local police board.

By the time it's all over with, she might well turn out to be a Kennedy love child, for all we know, but whatever the case might be, there is no doubt that something is fishy, and by all rights this woman should never have been granted a position at the University of Alabama Huntsville.

Admittedly hearsay accounts describe the family life of the Bishops as dark and foreboding, with no open indications of love, or any kind of closeness.

In the meantime, I think overlooked in this controversy is the matter of university policy in deciding tenure, and also the matter of patents. Tenure is the Holy Grail of university professors, and once given, it is rarely taken away. It seems to be more about politics than actual merit in the majority of cases. I think the system is in dire need of reform. Tenure should perhaps be granted automatically when a professor is employed past a set period of time, maybe four years, and it should not be so difficult to revoke as it now is, though such an action should not be undertaken lightly. There is also the matter of patents. If a professor is denied tenure, he or she should be able to take his or her research wherever they go, or alternately, they should be able to retain the rights to their work, including royalties.

All that being said, Bishops denial of tenure might well have had some valid grounds. She had only published about one paper a year during her association with the university, whereas the average is something along the lines of at least three or four papers a year, if not more. She was a hard person to get to know, by most accounts, being very withdrawn and unsociable. Her class was, according to many of her students, much too hard, and in fact she did not so much teach as read out of the book. Following is statements taken from the first of five pages of the website Rate My Professor:

Dr. Bishop does not put what she says will be on the test on the test!!!!! If you study what she tells you to study, you will fail, simple as that. From experience I'm a 4.0 student with a 100 in lab, and a C in her lectures class, if that doesn't tell you that somethings up, I don't know what will!! Take Dr. Adcock, she help you learn the material

Dr Bishop is an excellent teacher! She is very helpful and nice. She does everything to help students do well. She even offers extra classes! The students who show up and work think she is a good teacher.

Hard class to pass.. Requires a GREAT deal of studying!

Professor is helpful but the class is super hard! She has classes for extra help since there are so many students in the class.

This class was great. Bishop makes the class interesting by talking about her research and her friends research. That speaker she had for class was hard to understand but smart. She expects alot and you need to come to every class and study. She is hot but she tries to hide it.And she is a socalist but she only talks about it after class.

By and large, the reviews seem to run at least two-to-one positive. She was not without her accomplishments, having procured funding for the study of Nitrous Oxide on cells, and inventing the neurister, or neuristor, along with something that has been described as a portable petrie dish for the study of germs and bacteria. Following is an explanation of her work from her University Profile page, now deleted but thankfully archived.

1. Induced Adaptive Resistance to NO in the CNS.
Neurons release and utilize low levels of the free radical, nitric oxide (NO), for cellular signaling and neurotransmission. At high levels (can be >1mM), typically released during CNS injury and disease, NO is toxic. We have found that when motor neurons, both the NSC34 motor neuron cell line and primary motor neurons, are exposed to low doses of NO (~25nM) they become resistant (as assayed by significantly decreased DNA damage and apoptosis) to normally toxic levels of NO (~300nM-1mM). We have dubbed this phenomenon, induced adaptive resistance (IAR). IAR is dependent on the heme metabolizing enzyme, heme oxygenase 1 (HO1), as demonstrated by the loss of resistance upon the incubation of motor neurons with an HO1 inhibitor, and by the absence of resistance in motor neurons isolated from HO1 null mice. IAR extends to peroxide which is a product of the metabolism of superoxide, a free radical also released during CNS disease and injury. One proposed cause of NO-mediated cell death is extensive protein nitration by peroxynitrite, a molecule formed by the combination of superoxide with NO. IAR cells have significantly decreased levels of protein nitration in response to toxic levels of NO as compared to non adapted cells. In addition, motor neurons isolated from HO1 null mice have elevated levels of nitrated proteins in response to toxic levels of NO as compared to cells isolated from wildtype animals. Taken together this data indicates that, in an HO1-dependent manner, IAR protects cell from free radical damage. Elucidation of the mechanisms IAR will allow us to mitigate free radical mediated damage seen in many CNS diseases and injury. The space flight environment (high radiation / low gravity) stresses cells and, in the case of high radiation, also leads to the production of free radicals, thereby underscoring the importance of understanding IAR.

She has typically been accompanied in her work by her husband, the Chief research scientist of Cherokee Lab Systems, who she has worked with on innumerable projects, and who has also been detained and questioned by police, though not yet charged with any crime, nor is he speaking about events of the last few weeks, on advice of attorney.

Following are pdfs of two of her papers, here and here.

From the looks of things, she was urging her daughters to follow in her footsteps-though hopefully unarmed.

Monday, February 15, 2010


The trouble is not in your set. This is only a test.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Faith Can Keep You In Chains

The pseudo-science that is the religion of man-made Global Climate Change has been dealt yet another severe blow, this time by one of its major proponents-Phil Jones, former director of the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit. Among his most damning statements-

*There has been no significant warming over the last fifteen years.

Actually, if you take everything he says at face value, there has been absolutely no warming over the last fifteen years. He goes on to state that-

*There were two other recent periods of warming. One of these occurred from 1910 until 1940. The other was from 1975 until 1998.

That is an overlap of three years. What it amounts to is, the "no significant warming over the last fifteen years", what did occur, actually lasted only from three years, from 1995 until 1998. It stands to reason, therefore, that there has actually been no warming for the last twelve years, and in point of fact, there may have been some slight cooling.

But that's far from all of it. He goes on to state that there may have been a period of warming that occurred during Medieval times, from roughly 800 until 1300 AD. This is astonishing, as Jones with this statement has actually broke ranks with the stated position of Global Climate Change proponents, who state that this period of warming was confined to the northernmost countries, such as Scandinavia. According to Jones, this is in fact far from settled, and there is some evidence to suggest that it might have indeed been a global phenomenon.

Why is this significant? Because of the now notorious hockey stick graphs which have been used to measure the rate of alleged climate change over the centuries. Following is how this has been represented.

Following is how the trend actually looks when the totality of warming patterns is taken into account, including the Medieval period.

(Thanks for the graphs goes to Bluegrass Pundit.)

Note how the graph at the bottom stays relatively flat near the right end in comparison with the snake oil piece at the top the Climate Change proponents have been trying to sell us. In fact, it shows evidence of a cooling trend.

Ann Althouse perhaps says it best. This movement is not a science, it is a religion, one in which there is no room or tolerance for such heresies as skepticism and-well, science.

Amazingly, Jones, now feeling the heat, has veered from declaring that he never had any intention of sharing his research with skeptics in compliance with Freedom of Information requests, to excusing his laxity in this matter due to shoddy record keeping.

Meanwhile, the United Nations IPCC is now under the gun, again, this time for exaggerating the rate of the rise of ocean level in the Netherlands, including in their estimates areas that are in fact not under sea level, but instead are merely prone to flooding.

Since all this has come out, other, more independent minded scientists are speaking out, no longer evidently in such grave fear that their funding will be cut off due to political pressure from the Left, among other worries. Some have noted that many of the stations constructed to measure temperatures in pursuit of this fiasco seem to have purposely been built in places best suited to elicit the highest temperature readings possible. Such as, for example, next to airports, which are subject to the influence of jet heat exhaust. In at least one case, a station was constructed next to a waste incinerator.

This be, ironically, the tip of the iceberg. This might well turn out to be one of the greatest hoaxes, one of the greatest scams, ever perpetrated on the public at large by political elites mainly of the Left. If that does turn out to be the case, heads should roll.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Death Of A Titan

World famous fashion designer Alexander McQueen is dead, and although there has been no official statement as of yet, he apparently committed suicide by hanging himself in his London flat. At first glance, it is difficult to believe, as this was a man who over the last few years had established himself as a titan of the fashion industry.

The fact that he killed himself is not what is so remarkable. People of wealth and renown are as susceptible to deep dark periods of depression as the rest of us. His mother had just recently died, and his former patron and discoverer had herself committed suicide three years previously. Like they say, it's lonely at the top, and maybe the man just felt like he had no one or nothing left to live for. Grief and despair will put that kind of head trip on you, particularly if you are suffering from some form of clinical depression, which is still a greatly misunderstood but very real illness.

Still, his chosen method of self-execution is jaw dropping for a man of his stature. This is admittedly my own opinion, but the way in which a person kills himself tells a lot about him, or her as the case may be.

People who die by way of ingestion or injection of drugs, perhaps in combination with alcohol, or who die by cutting their wrists, are basically longing for a kind of peace they feel will never come their way.

Those who jump from a large edifice or engage in some other form of suicide are obviously, to me, wanting to make a statement. They perhaps have an exaggerated flair for the dramatic, as do those who simply put a gun to their head, though in that later case they are desirous of a quick and relatively painless solution to whatever problem vexes them.

But hanging? That is some intense self-loathing at work. This is a person who feels he has brought all his problems on himself, and is so burdened with guilt and despair over the idea, solving the problems are irrelevant. Such a person probably feels they do not deserve anything better than a macabre end.

Assuming this is really how Alexander McQueen died, and that he was not murdered, or the victim of some form of auto-erotic asphyxiation sex game gone horribly wrong, what could possibly have driven him to this point?

Perhaps it is not for us to say, but his death has taken the industry by total surprise. This would seem to suggest that if he had any such problems or hang-ups, he did a pretty good job of keeping it to himself. On the other hand, this was a man who had a client list that included such notables as Lady Gaga, Matthew Lambert, Beyonce Knowles, and other high-list members of the entertainment world who are so self-obsessed, they wouldn't have noticed if McQueen was bleeding out of his eyes so long as he didn't bleed on them.

He was a visionary, as seen in the following photos from the March 2010 issue of Vogue Magazine which envisioned a potential fashion of the future, from the website Million Looks and featuring model Freja Beha Erichsen.

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but it looks to me like the world lost an artist. Artists share their gift with the world, and in some cases, that is all they are able to give of themselves. Perhaps McQueen, following the death of his mother and feeling all alone in the world, felt he had nothing left to offer and nothing left to achieve. That can be a hard, bitter pill to swallow in its own right.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nice Place For A Tea Party? Welcome To The Jack Murtha Airport

Thanks for the use of pictures from the Wordpress blog of Josh Blackman goes to Josh Blackman, a legal blogger who currently blogs at Josh Blackman, and who has kindly given me permission to use his work.

The next Tea Party Convention should strive to accommodate more of the regular folks who are the life blood of the movement, as opposed to the recent affair in Tennessee which charged admission, and which was attended by a relative handful of Tea party leading personalities of the day, such as Sarah Palin and Andrew Breitbart. This is something the media has gleefully latched onto as evidence that there might well be a divide building up between the rank-and-file and an apparent cadre of elites.

Of course, every movement will produce its leaders, which will inevitably rise to the top as spokespersons for any mass of people. That is to be expected, though of course it is also to be monitored.

There should nevertheless be occasion for a wider convergence of the movement faithful, and naturally there should be a facility to accommodate them. It need not be all in one place. It can easily be a synchronized meeting across the country, facilitated through satellite link-ups with media coverage. It is probably unrealistic to expect the entire country of Tea Party faithful to converge in one spot. However, one place in particular stands out in my mind. But first, a word about the founder.

Jack Murtha is dead, and there are those that will grieve his passing. I will not, like a great many others, though there are many who are, going by their past assessments of the man, whistling past the graveyard as we speak.

I started out doing a hit piece on Murtha, but changed my mind because, like all of us, he wasn't all bad, though he was doubtless one of the most crooked, corrupt politicians to infest the planet. This was widely recognized even by most of his present day defenders.

He won election to his office in the early seventies, when he was supported by conservative Democrat Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington. He built a career as a supporter of the armed forces, including the men and women who serve, whose interests he was always a staunch champion of. At the same time, this former Vietnam War hero was among the largest contributors to the Pentagon budget of his and arguably of any day.

However, he had his run-ins with the law, even going back to the eighties and the Federal ABSCAM probe, which ended in him named as an unindicted co-conspirator. He maintained his seat through the support of various conservative causes. For example, he was Pro-Life, which was practically a requirement for election to the office from his Western Pennsylvania district.

At first, he was a staunch supporter of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but when things went south, he moderated his position to a remarkable degree, turning against the Iraq War, which he considered to have been ill-planned and executed. He called for an end to the war, and became wildly popular in Democratic circles, even among those factions of the party which previously viewed him with a great deal of suspicion.

In what was possibly his most controversial move, he denounced a group of Marines who had participated in what has been termed a massacre, in a place in Iraq called Haditha, going to the extent of pronouncing their guilt in public media interviews, even on network and cable news programs, before the men were actually even charged with a crime. He inferred in his statements that he had inside sources to this effect. This still would have been improper conduct by a public official, but what made matters worse was the fact that he actually seemed to be relying on published magazine articles as his source.

As it turned out, this was all mainly a political ploy meant to shore up support for a run for the Majority Leadership position in the House of Representatives, for which he seemingly had the support of future and present House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Unfortunately for Murtha, the majority of support went to Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer.

Murtha seemed to drop out of the spotlight, though he remained in charge of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, and resurfaced briefly during the 2008 presidential primaries, when he proclaimed that a large segment of the voters of his district were racists. This statement was used against him in his own re-election campaign of that year, but Murtha nevertheless prevailed.

He died just a few days ago as a result of complications from gall bladder surgery, when one of his intestines was accidentally cut, which resulted in the onset of Sepsis.

Murtha will be remembered for many things-opposition to the Iraq War, the Haditha Marines, advocacy for the armed forces etc., but his most lasting legacy will certainly be his penchant for bringing the pork home to his district, perhaps the most obvious example of which would be The John Murtha Johnstown Airport.

This large, sprawling complex is served by one airline, which conducts three daily flights from Johnstown to Washington DC. The average occupancy of any given flight is well under fifteen passengers. For the most part, the place, though well maintained and sufficiently staffed, is veritably void of public customers. In fact, it is probably not an exaggeration to state that the majority of public presence at The John Murtha Johnstown Airport would probably be due to attendance at Sassy's-a public restaurant at the airport which is a popular breakfast spot among the locals.

It would be easy to see why this would be a sufficient place for a tea party. It has ample grounds, both outside and inside, and more than adequate facilities, including public restrooms, as well as the aforementioned Sassy's Restaurant.

Not only is the open grounds considerable, as it is basically in the middle of nowhere, but there are ample parking grounds. And of course, it goes without saying it is accessible by air.

It would seem to me that this would be an ideal place for such a large gathering, due not only to the available space, but due to the symbolic value for a movement that exists mainly as a protest against ever-increasing government, taxes, and public debt.

There might be two options. One, the facility might be leased or rented for an event or, failing that, it might be taken in the context of civil disobedience. After all, this airport was built on the backs of the taxpayers, at great expense and for seemingly minimal legitimate purpose at best.

The Control Tower. Note the expansive surroundings.

Outside the terminal

And, inside the terminal.

An uncharacteristically busy day at the Murtha Airport.

It would be poetic justice were The John Murtha Johnstown Airport to become the setting for the largest Tea Party gathering in the country thus far.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

We Walk

Happy Imbolc

Imbolc-The Page Of Swords

Imbolc is the time to recognize and celebrate the fragile beginnings of the promise of spring, when grasses, plants, and vegetation begins to regrow, though still at an intermediate stage of development, much like the sun increases it's presence over the earth through lengthening of days. It is a time for protecting, for nurturing, the promise of tomorrow. Many light multiple candles in order to herald the increasing length of days. It is a time for optimism.

Admittedly, we don't have much to be optimistic about. We are always deluged with bad news, even during better times, because that's what sells print and advertising time, but these days the harsh news is ever more sobering, and while a recent retrograde Mars might well be adding to the harsher manifestations of pessimism on some deep level, it's only a planet. While it may have contributed to the recent horrible spate of bad winter weather, when the snow thaws, it's not going to leave behind a brighter sense of purpose and optimism.

Yet, throughout all the tragedy and turmoil afflicting us, there is always a ray of hope somewhere. Some people though are at opposite ends as to how best to achieve that hope, whether it is a liberal approach of greater government involvement in the economy and things like health care, or whether you prefer the tea-party approach of less government interference and emphasis on individual liberties over special interests or identity politics.

Although I was wary of the Tea-Party movement when they first got started, I make no secret of where I stand on the political end of the spectrum. Government is a servant of the people, ideally, but when you give that servant ever growing power and authority, it becomes a usurper. That is just the natural order of things. Even the most well-meaning and benevolent of tyrants is still, at the end of the day, a tyrant. Herod the Great was actually quite liberal for his day, while Augustus, for all his greatness in some regards, would cut throats with the best of them if he felt compelled to do so.

And that's just the case. When you give government too much power you make it too easy for them to enslave you. No matter how well-intentioned one generation of rulers might be, there is always the next, and the next, and the next. Once you have given them your authority, that is it. Your options are over. One day you have a relatively beneficent Augustus. The next thing you know, Caligula takes the throne, and you have paved the way for what comes next.

I guess that's all there is to say. You can give up your freedom and liberty any day. Once you give it up, you can't just ask for it back.

Haitian Banana Bread

I was surprised to learn how varied Haitian cuisine is. This on-line Haitian cookbook features quite a wide variety of meat, coups, salads, vegetable dishes, snacks, desserts and drinks. Here's a delicious sounding recipe for Haitian Banana Bread. Perfect for this or next Imbolc, or anytime.

* 9 Tbs. butter, softened
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1/4 c. seedless Raisins
* 2 large ripe bananas (1 lb.)
* 2 c. all purpose flour
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1 Tbs. baking powder
* 1/2 c. Sugar
* 1 egg
* 3/4 c. unsalted nuts(optional)
* 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, preferably fresh

edit Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Reserve 1/4 cup of the most perfectly shaped nuts for the garnish. Chop the rest of the nuts coarsely and toss them with the Raisins and 1 Tbs. of the flour. Sift the remaining flour with the baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas to a smooth puree. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
4. In a deep bowl, cream the remaining butter and the Sugar together.
5. Add the egg, and when it is well blended beat in the flour and the bananas alternately, adding about one third of each mixture at a time, and continue to beat until the batter is smooth. Gently but thoroughly stir in the chopped nuts and Raisins.
6. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and arrange the reserved nuts attractively on the top. Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out on a wire cake rack. Serve the banana bread either warm or cool.

Catcher In The Rye

Since the death of JD Salinger has been in the news, and I've learned more about his lone novel The Catcher In The Rye, I've become intrigued enough I've put it near to the top of my to do list. It might seem odd that I have written this post, having never read the book, but I feel richer for even having read about it. I can only imagine what actually reading the thing will be like.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the book or its premise, its about a young boy who feels alienated from the world. To him, most authority figures and for that matter most others are phonies. He has a number of misadventures which I won't go into, but suffice it to say, he lives in a world of his own, but which might be every bit as valid as the one through which people stumble blindly.

This book has been the focus of a lot of trouble and has functioned like a prism for a lot of alienated people. Bear in mind, this is not a children's book, it is a book about a teenager, written from the perspective of an adult who seems to have reached down deep into his own inner child in order to find the right voice with which to write it. It's a book about a boy, but written by a man who has not concealed the facts of childhood with the self-serving illusory memories most adults cloak themselves with.

If there was ever a perfect book to read for Imbolc, I have a strong feeling this might be it.

Salinger never wanted this book made into a movie while he lived, as he had a bad experience with Hollywood in regards to one of his more popular short stories, or novellas. However, he did express that, after he was gone, he would not be adverse to the book being adapted to film for the benefit of his family.

Personally, I almost dread the prospect. If they do it right, it could be great. Knowing Hollywood though, they'll screw it up by interjecting a lot of pc moralizing about hookers with hearts of gold who are just looking for the opportunity to break away from the chains imposed on them by a self-righteous, unforgiving and abusive culture, or gay teachers who would be great people if only they had equal rights, among other things.

They should film the screenplay from the exact perspective of the young protagonist, Holden Caulfield, as written in the book, and they should resist the urge to place it in the present day. Keep it in the late forties, the time era in which it was written. Do it right or don't do it at all.

Here is a link dedicated to the life and works of JD Salinger. Worth a look.

Killer Moon

I've been under the impression that T-Bone Burnett was a country artist, maybe even Bluegrass, but damn if this doesn't sound Lennonesque

Obama has decided to end the Ares rockets program which was to be the precursor to NASA's next stage of manned moon landings, instead charging NASA with the mission of improving their technology with an eye toward a future of greater, more far-reaching missions, to Mars and beyond. Meanwhile, he is turning the sub-orbital space programs over to the private sector, designating a six billion dollar grant to help develop the fledgling private enterprise.

I don't know how I feel about this. In a sense, it almost sounds like a worthwhile move. We've pretty much taken the space shuttle programs to the limits as far as their value to us goes, and we do need to move on, but I think ending the moon landings is a big, big mistake.

In a sense, the space program is still in it's fledgling state. Going to the moon, let's face it, was the equivalent of a human toddler walking upright for the first time, while yet holding on to something to steady his balance. We have a hella long way to go yet. We've learned and accomplished much, but there is still much more to learn and accomplish.

By the way, the following picture is of the last Wolf Moon. I never noticed this before, but look just above the wolf's snout. Damn if it doesn't look like a perfectly drawn human face in profile.

PETA Hates Children And Animals, And Everything In Between

Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, so six more weeks of bad weather, but if the folks of PETA have their way, Phil will be put out to pasture, quite literally, and replaced with a robot of some kind that might or might not look like a Groundhog. PETA needs to sticking to what they do best-appealing to the lowest common denominator of mankind through the use of naked actresses and porn stars. Phil is by most accounts treated better than most children are treated. To PETA, Phil is just another wild beast who should be let loose in the wild, or a nature preserve, where he would probably never adjust. Sometimes I don't think these people really think things through, but then again, this is a group once headed by a man who couldn't even concede it was all right to exterminate rats. Or to kill head lice. These people are nuts.

The Princess Effect

It's a general weakness of mankind that we tend to treat what we consider "beautiful" or "attractive" people better than those less fortunate, and the wider the difference in looks, the bigger the difference in the way we interact with them. A recent scientific study suggests that this has affected attractive people in unforeseeable ways, by causing them to be more aggressive. There was actually a controversy over this, not due to the actual study, but because of a misunderstanding when it was reported that blondes tend to be more violent and aggressive. This might have been a mistake, but more likely it was a way to gain attention for the article in question.

Despite the controversy, the study makes sense. At first glance, you might think the opposite would be the case, but on the other hand, we tend to treat unattractive people with more consistency. Attractive people, both male and females, get more mixed reviews. Some people love them, some people through jealousy and resentment (and this is including other attractive people) hate them, while a good many feign indifference.

It's easy to see how this could set up internal conflicts, particularly when this starts at an early age in adolescence.

Therefore, parents, let this be a lesson to you. Treat your ugly children exactly the same as you treat your attractive children. They have a right to grow up to be assholes just like the rest of us.


A short Israeli horror film that demonstrates how when fear seeps inside your head it can transform the slightest worries into aspects of pure horror.

As if people don't have enough stupidity to contend with, there is currently a debate on-going about the benefits of circumcision. It turn out there are health benefits. It reduces the risk of penile cancer and urinary tract infections, in addition to reducing the chances of contracting some STD, such as HIV. Don't circumcise and you increase the risk of all of these diseases and other infections of the penis, and what do you have to show for it? An ugly piece of useless loose skin covering the head of your dick serving absolutely no function whatsoever.

Most people that do get their children circumsised do so for health reasons, not religious ones, but I tend to think the motivations for discouraging circumsision are wholly anti-religious, and most notably anti-Jewish bias.

Ancient Hebrews probably discovered the health benefits millenia ago, and it became a tradition, then a law. I don't know how they made this discovery. I have some ideas, but they are irrelevant to this post, so I won't go there. The main point is, the foreskin is a useless anachronistic piece of skin whose sole purpose is probably to protect the penis in the womb from bacteria in the amniotic fluid of the mother. Once you're out of there, its served its purpose. Cut that ugly motherfucker off, if you still have one, and if your sons still have one, shame on you.

Genital mutilation? Bullshit, nothing says genital mutilation quite like getting penile cancer and having your whole fucking dick cut off.

Oh, by the way, circumcision also reduces the risk of transmission of the Papaloma virus to female sex partners, which should be enough to tell you that not only is the foreskin useless, it's fucking nasty.

Rip Torn

They say you're never too old to try new things and so, true to the spirit of Imbolc, perhaps we should nurture the budding new career of Rip Torn as a drunken would-be bank robber, but then again, maybe that's not such a good idea.

This is not Torn's first brush with the law. Here is his mug shot from a previous DUI arrest.

In the present case, he actually broke into a Connecticut bank after hours, setting off an alarm, and was arrested, dog drunk and carrying a gun. I don't know, maybe Torn will try to make the argument, when he sobers up, that he was studying for a role-not that that would make any difference, but it might sound better than the probably truth. I tend to think this might be a case of dementia at work. Maybe he was reliving an old role, or an old childhood fantasy. Maybe the alcohol brought it all out in the open. But obviously, the main thing that needs to be protected and nurtured is anybody Torn might come into contact with the next time he goes off on one of his drunken rampages.
Asiz Ansari is a hilarious up-and-coming stand-up comedian, and also a star of NBC's Parks And Recreation. Thanks to him, it is now a major goal of mine to go at least once to a ColdStone ice cream store. Not so much to buy the ice cream as to leave a tip.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Bizzaro World Fears Of The Roberts Court

Anybody that is familiar with this blog should know by now that I have no compunctions about linking to blogs that I don't agree with. I purposely looked for variety in my blog roll, actually, and in all my sidebar links. Hell, I link to LaRaza for crying out loud.

In general, though, when I do so I prefer blogs that at least use some measure of rationality in their posts and ideas or, failing that, a sense of humor.

A case in point is this post by the blog Reason Gone Mad. While I am fine with the Supreme Courts recent Citizens United decision, this blog takes a humorous look at what it considers the possible unforeseen circumstances, on down the line, with potential future rulings.


June 14, 2010 – Wrapping up its 2009-2010 term, the Roberts’ Court has ruled that Goldman Sachs, as a corporate person, is within its constitutional rights to adopt human babies. The company celebrated the ruling by holding an elaborate birthday party for its recently adopted daughter, Goldy McSachs, at which Proctor & Gamble did magic tricks and General Electric came dressed as a clown.

Check it out. If you don't feel like laughing with him, do what I do, just laugh at him.
Ten Americans were arrested for trying to take Haitian children across the border to the Dominican Republic.

I don't know what the fuck is going on here, but if these people are literally selling Haitian babies for ten thousand dollars, that's pretty fucked up, if I do say so myself. A clue here might be that many of these kids, allegedly, still have living parents and relatives. They might still honestly think they are helping the kids, but that's not their call to make. It flies in the face of human decency to not monitor closely a situation like this, where children stand to possibly be taken advantage of by human traffickers who will use these kids as slaves, either for menial labor or sexual purposes.

The fact that these are Christians, from a Baptist Church in Idaho, is no guarantee against potential abuse. When they were apprehended at the border to the Dominican Republic with more than thirty children, it was only natural under the circumstances this would raise eyebrows.

On the other hand, there is another issue that needs to be raised, and that is the propensity of Haitian officials for corruption and bribery. There have been widespread reports of needed emergency goods being held up until "fees" are paid. If they will extort money for goods meant for emergency purposes, even needed food, clothing and medicines, then it stands to reason they will do the same when it comes to somebody wanting to adopt children. In some cases, the idea that human trafficking might be involved would probably only serve to raise the going rate.

I don't trust anybody when it comes to stories like this.

Mancrunch-Your Ad Sucks

The Super Bowl is a group oriented event. It's a time for friends and family. Fathers and sons, and more often anymore females of the family, get together to watch the game and root for their chosen team. I probably won't watch it, because I'm sick of it. It's turned into a spectacle. At halftime some asshat gets out to promote his latest CD, complete with dancers, jugglers, and fire-eaters, and if most people are like me, they take this opportunity to fix sandwiches for the second half.

But even the game has gotten monotonous. No one plays football anymore, it's a race to see who can score the most points, period. A real football game is the opposite, an attempt to prevent your opponent from scoring. That sounds like a distinction without a difference, but it is more pronounced than it sounds. The best games in history usually involve a total of less than twenty points scored by both sides in the entirety of the game.

Now, if a player just holds the ball over the goal line, it's a touchdown, even if his body otherwise never gets near the goal line. This is supposed to increase the excitement level, but all it does is detract from the intended spirit of the game, which is supposed to be more of a blend of offense and defense than is the standard of today.

For mainly this reason, although I'll be rooting for New Orleans in their first Super Bowl appearance, I probably won't be watching. Many others will, however, and advertisers will shell out massive amounts of money for a premium advertising spot. Many others will try, but there will not be enough space for all of them, so many will be turned away. Such as the following one-

Naturally, CBS is receiving complaints for their decision to not accept this ad, and even more for accepting an ad starring college football player Tim Tebow and his mother in a spot from Focus On The Family which is pro-life, or anti-abortion, in orientation. The gist of the ad is that Tebow's mom was strongly advised by doctors to abort Tebow, but she refused to do so. He went on to become a two-time Heissmann Trophy winner. No mean feat, that.

Bear in mind, this is not an ad that is advocating for the outlaw of abortion. This is simply a public service spot urging people to make their own private decisions on behalf of life, to not terminate a pregnancy, with young Tebow presented as an example of why, in their opinion, all life is sacred and important, possibly more than we can know.

The challenge for the pro-abortion rights crowd then becomes simple and obvious. Make an ad that encourages expectant mothers to get abortions, for their own financial and emotional well-being perhaps. Don't advocate for more laws, just follow the Tebow model, encourage abortion as a matter of private choice and initiative. After all, how many babies are going to grow up to be Tim Tebow? He is the exception to the rule. When a doctor advises a woman to terminate a pregnancy, it is far more often than not for sound medical reasons, and listening to any other kind of advice can actually be ill-advised in the vast majority of cases. You can even make the case that the Tebow ad is actually quite irresponsible, as his case is such a rarity.

If you do it in a tasteful manner, maybe you can one day sponsor your own Super Bowl ad. But the minute you bring a political, or for that matter a commercial aspect to the ad, you're almost certainly guaranteeing a rejection.

Again, this is a family oriented event, at least so far as its place on broadcast television goes. No one wants to see political advocacy here, and the programmers at CBS realize this.

The above ad I linked is just silly, and comes across more as an in-your-face stunt than it does a serious advertisement. It wouldn't bother me, but surely these people can understand why most wouldn't want to have to deal with something like this in front of their children during the Super Bowl. Or maybe they just don't care. If they did, they would have presented a tasteful ad with a reasonable appeal to the homosexual community to utilize Mancrunch as a gay dating service, much the way standard dating sites do. How many times do you see these on-line dating sites utilizing advertising that portrays heavy make-out sessions among their clients? You don't. You probably never will, because one, they know it would be offensive and two, they want to be taken seriously.

CBS has the right to make what they consider the proper business decision with their projected audience in mind. Anybody that wants to play in that league should understand the ground rules going in and be willing to abide by them. Otherwise, they really have no grounds for complaint.

A Day To Remember

Seems fitting to remember this event that happened the day before Imbolc, fifty years ago today, February 1st, when four black college students in Greenboro North Carolina refused to not be served at the whites only lunch counter at Woolworth's.

Good thing Obama wasn't in this group, he probably would have bowed to the waiter.

He still would.

If At First You Ram Your Fool Head Against A Wall Of Solid Ice

I used to hate people that said when you fall of a bike you have to dust yourself off and get right back on. I still do. Then along comes Shaun White, and I'm thinking, well what's a fucking bike crash.

New York City-Top Of The Heap

New York City official stats suggest their crime rate is as low as it's been since the late nineteen sixties. You know, back in the days it was the most dangerous city in the US. Bear in mind this is a city that has lost a great deal of its population. Okay, so granted that, officially, the stats are down, though I find it suspicious that these stats were released just a couple of weeks or so before the big New Year's bash.

Back in the old days, many urban areas were suspected of inflating crime stats, and others, in order to qualify for more federal funds. Now you have to wonder if some cities, like New York, don't go the opposite route to attract more tourism and business.

Then again, maybe there is some merit to the claims of lowered crime, seeing as how if you defend yourself from assault, you might well be charged with a crime yourself. If you defend yourself with a gun, you might as well hang it up. You're toast.

Add to this the very real possibility that if you "rat out" some thug for assault, you very likely risk further recriminations in the city that never sleeps. Who could sleep easy under those conditions.

A post from Rob Taylor of Red Alerts details the story of Cyan Brown, who killed a thug-a former rapist and gang member-with a knife, and was for her trouble charged with manslaughter. Now I don't know, maybe, just maybe, the charge was justified. On the other hand, this is a sixteen year old girl who just happened to tab a guy after she bumped into him and he and his friends objected. After the stabbing, his friends left him to die and gave pursuit of Cyan and his friends.

Some crimes just can't be swept under the rug, but thanks to Mayor Bloomberg's "get tough" policy, maybe this will make sixteen year old girls think twice about protecting themselves from known rapists. They should just suck it up and take the abuse. Don't ask, don't tell. New York needs all the good press it can get.

By the way, did you ever wonder exactly how many actual native New Yorkers make it down to the big New Year's bash. I'm thinking not many.

Dealing With Bullies

Hey kids, this is the truth-fighting solves NOTHING! If you are having trouble with a bully, the following video shows exactly the best way to deal with them-laugh at them. Mercilessly. Brutally. And publicly. Make other people laugh at them. Make them laugh at themselves, or make them cry.

Then hope they don't kick your ass.

Damn Lies (And Delicious Thighs)

Howard Zinn recently died. In case you weren't aware, Zinn was a historian of sorts who wrote a book titled The People's History of The United States. It is really a simple concept. Deciding that the vast majority of the history taught to impressionable young schoolchildren was damned lies, he decided to redress the balance by writing a book of more damned lies from the opposite end of the spectrum. A current series on The History Channel chronicles this book, and is produced by another great lover of history, truth, and justice-Matt Damon.

Zinn hated Columbus, and in this article he rips him a new one for the way he treated the American Indians with whom he came in contact during his initial overseas voyages.

That Columbus was a real ass. Before he came along, the Indians of Hispaniola lived idyllic lives, noble savages all, running naked, communing with nature, castrating young males of other Indian tribes to fatten them up for the harvest-that sort of thing. Then along came Columbus and ruined all that.
After the embarrassing fiasco of the East Anglia e-mail scandal, many of us felt the Global Climate Change movement was certainly dead. But, not so fast. It seems like the proponents of Global Warming have a new advocate, who will surely get things back on track.

Osama Bin Laden must be under the mistaken impression that he is widely hated by the American and European Left, but he is trying to make amends by jumping on the Global Warming Bandwagon, stating that the developed nations of the world are responsible for the crises. Citing America as the chief offender, his stated remedy for the situation is to grind the American economy to a standstill. Nations should, he declares, cease trading in the dollar.

Now that Bin Laden has become a de facto member of the Democratic Party, he has his work cut out for him. After all, it's a well-known fact that the Himalayan glaciers are melting at such a rate they will be gone by 2035, according to a report from the United Nations IPCC, which drew their scientific conclusions from in-depth studies of a popular magazine for climbers citing interviews with mountaineers, and a college dissertation by a geography student which interviewed Swiss mountain guides.

The IPCC, along with Al Gore, Lindsey Graham, Barak Obama, etc., and now Osama Bin Laden, certainly have their work cut out for them. If they fail to come up with a solution to this Global Climate Change crisis, how are they ever going to face up to the challenge of the planet devouring menace Galactus in the increasingly likely event he returns to our hapless world. Here he is during his last visit to our quadrant of the galaxy, as captured on film for the documentary Fantastic Four-Rise Of The Silver Surfer.