Friday, October 29, 2010

The Slide Continues: Reagan to McMahon

American democracy is threatened by our weakness for those who saturate the media extolling the mundane while denigrating the exceptional. We have set the bar so low that our politicians need show no qualification for high office beyond their ability to echo juvenile platitudes while mustering artfully crafted smiles to a media ravenous for any content to gorge its 24/7 feeding frenzy. Our leaders have morphed into an embarrassing display of self-righteous religiosity and narcissistic preening carefully scripted to merge seamlessly between the practiced steps and rehearsed humility of the intellectually numbing entity that is our popular media. That a woman whose entire career has promoted nothing but the aggressive, steroid-fueled display of sweaty tits and shapely asses could be seriously considered for public office confirms how little respect remains for those we entrust to advance our great democratic experiment.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

For-Profit Prisons: You Build 'Em - We'll Fill 'Em!

Many states now spend more on prisons than on education. If you believe the for-profit prison industry can provide a cost-effective solution - take a close look at for-profit post secondary education.

For-Profit Prison Industry

Black Americans are jailed at the rate of three thousand per hundred thousand whereas South Africa managed to preserve apartheid by imprisoning 729 black males per 100,000.Paul Kennedy, "Preparing for the Twenty-first Century."


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Iowa GOP: Seriously, We Have No Ideas!

Iowa GOP platform calls for ‘no-activities night on Wednesdays’

The Iowa Republican Party is seeking to establish a "no-activities night" every Wednesday in the state.

"We support the establishment of a no-activities night on Wednesdays," reads section 4:33 of its platform.

The unique declaration is sandwiched between clauses stating a commitment to allowing Bibles in schools and supporting the right to teach one's kids how to drive. (Raw Story)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

F Bombing the Homophobes

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.
D. H. Lawrence

Friday, October 22, 2010

Experimental Error: Electile Dysfunction

But if [Christine O’Donnell] and her friends win influence in November, our world will change. What will a Tea Party victory mean for the future of science and scientists? Here are some possibilities:

- The first author on every published paper will be God.

- Personal protective equipment will include safety goggles, a lab coat, and an American flag lapel pin.

- You will save time by generating both your hypothesis and your conclusion before beginning the experiment.

- Despite all evidence to the contrary, 15% of evolutionary biologists will believe that Barack Obama is a Lamarckian.

- The requirement for statistical significance, often p <>

- will be accepted as a peer-reviewed journal.

- All chemical equilibria will shift to the right.

- An emboldened National Rifle Association will insist on the rights of every American to own and conceal scientific equipment. Remember, if Large Hadron Colliders are outlawed, only outlaws will own Large Hadron Colliders.

- All difficulties, especially budgetary issues, will be blamed angrily on the principal investigator, even if the previous principal investigator set the lab on fire before leaving office.

- Scientists, never the most physically commanding people, will have to adopt a variation on the Tea Party's favorite "Don't Tread on Me" flag. Perhaps: "Please Don't Tread on Me, as You'll Break My Glasses."

- Randomized, double-blind clinical trials will be replaced with séances.

- Our species will be renamed Hetero sapiens.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Violence Breeds Violence

As the anti-choice zealots once again ramp up their efforts to deny thousands of Americans their constitutionally protected right to reproductive choice, it’s important to recognize how both the anti-choice and radical Islamists merge religious fundamentalism with violent rhetoric in an attempt to impose through fear what they’ve been unable to achieve through the political process. Both groups believe that what has been impossible to gain through popular support can be achieved through violence and murder.

“[T]he central question dividing liberals today is whether they believe liberal values are as imperiled by the new totalitarianism rising from the Islamic world as they are by the American right?” Peter Beinart, Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ignorance without Limits

Glenn Beck uses an obsolete 19th Century trope to undermine evolution by suggesting that the lack of any fossil evidence establishing a direct linkage from apes to man is therefore prima facie proof of creationism. Evolution doesn't state that man evolved from the apes but that we share a common ancestor. Beck seems unaware of this subtle but critical point in evolutionary theory. Either Beck is disingenuously playing to the ignorance of his viewers for political gain or he truly believes in the biblical story of creation. If the latter, one of the many religious networks would be more appropriate for his proclamation of faith. It's laughable for a network with the likes of Hannity and Beck to claim fair and balanced coverage.

Glenn Beck confirms Twain's adage that all one needs in life is ignorance and confidence and then success is sure.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

Monday, October 18, 2010

Citizens United: The (Quiet) Money Machine

The Tea Party’s carefully constructed populist veneer hides an organization addicted to the corporate largess resulting from insider deals, special favors, and biased legislation. One needs only consider the Tea Party’s large middle-class following to understand the corrupting influence of oceans of corporate cash and the ability it affords wealthy contributors to recast themselves as benefactors of America’s working class. The US Chamber of Commerce says that the foreign money flowing into its organization will not impact its view of pending trade legislation. The Koch brothers, having fought against any legislation designed to protect the physical and financial health of working people, spend millions funding Tea Party efforts to delegitimize government.

“America's conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country's legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America's streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won't do their political or economic bidding.” Sarah Robinson, Fascist America: Are We There Yet?

The Father of Fractals (1924-2010)

Benoît B. Mandelbrot, a maverick mathematician who developed the field of fractal geometry and applied it to physics, biology, finance and many other fields, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85. (Jascha Hoffman, NY Times)

Mathematics possesses not only truth but supreme beauty. Bertrand Russell.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Public Servant - Private Threat

Andrew Shirvell, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan, dramatically illustrates how fundamentalist beliefs conflict with the public peace. It's also very clear that Mr. Shirvell is guilty of cyber-bullying as defined by the State of Michigan's own statute. Michigan AG Mike Cox should remove this bigot from public service immediately.