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:: Thursday, October 21, 2004 ::

John Lott and Wikipedia

I really enjoy watching Tim Lambert talk about John Lott. The latest? Using John Lott's wikipedia entry to show how Wikipedia users create, edit, and maintain entries. He even talks about what happens if -- and I'm just throwing out a hypothetical here -- someone keeps erasing a bunch of information.

Go read.
:: Morat 2:42 PM :: ::

:: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 ::

Creationist Idiots strike again..

This is hard to believe:
The Bush Administration has decided that it will stand by its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Despite telling members of Congress and the public that the legality and appropriateness of the National Park Service offering a creationist book for sale at Grand Canyon museums and bookstores was "under review at the national level by several offices," no such review took place, according to materials obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act.
Look, let's be honest: It takes a seriously deluded person to look at the Grand Canyon and think that was the product of a few hundred years of work.

It takes an even more deluded (or at least appalling ignorant and stupid) person to think "flood waters" could have carved it. The damn thing meanders all over the place, for Pete's sake.

If the Book of Genesis had never been written, and Noah's Ark just remained a Sumerian myth, no person in the entire world would claim the Earth was 10,000 years old or that there had been a global flood. No one. Period.

To believe in a literal Genesis requires the complete rejection of the physical world as a source of any authority.
:: Morat 9:29 AM :: ::

How evil is Dick?

Bob Harris says very evil. Bob's going on the ol' link list for that post.

Well, for that post PLUS the poll. The poll was pretty funny.
:: Morat 8:47 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 ::

U.S. Has Contingency Plans for a Draft of Medical Workers

I doubt anyone is really surprised by this:
The Selective Service has been updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in case of a national emergency that overwhelms the military's medical corps.
Under the plan, Mr. Flahavan said, about 3.4 million male and female health care workers ages 18 to 44 would be expected to register with the Selective Service. From this pool, he said, the agency could select tens of thousands of health care professionals practicing in 62 health care specialties.

"The Selective Service System plans on delivering about 36,000 health care specialists to the Defense Department if and when a special skills draft were activated," Mr. Flahavan said.
Of course, the practical side-effects of this are obvious. First, it stripes the US of up to 36,000 health care workers. You thought health care was expensive and appointments were hard to get now. Get used to lines.

Secondly, of course, is that the US Military would only draft medical workers if casualties continued at this pace -- or accelerated. It's hard for Bush to claim things are "looking better" when his own military is quietly looking for more doctors to deal with the wounded.
:: Morat 1:41 PM :: ::

Harder Than What?

Big Media Matt talks about the fact that the Libertarians didn't even field a token challenger against Bush in the primaries, and what that means:
Under the circumstances, it's no wonder the GOP feels free to take the libertarian vote for granted -- it doesn't appear to exist. This may be because libertarians are, in fact, only a miniscule proportion of the population who just happen to be disproportionately represented in the Beltway policy community and the academy. Alternatively, it may be because the libertarian love of the cynical, anti-political pose prevents them from engaging in any sort of constructive political action.
I have to say that "love of the cynical, anti-political pose" is probably the pithiest summation I've ever heard of "Why the Libertarians I know Irk Me".

According to them, I stereotype the other party while forgiving the sins of my own and this makes me a Bad Person. According to me, they're stereotyping both parties and forgiving the insanity of their own, which makes them Twice As Bad. Somehow, they don't agree. I keep getting told they're not "real Libertarians" or "Not all Libertarians are like that", but I'm afraid I'm stuck with the ones I know.

That and the fact that I really can't buy all their pissing and moaning about civil liberties. Because when push comes to shove, and they ditch their civil liberties in favor of their wallet every time. It's hard, at times, not to treat Libertarianism as an attempt to create a fantasy world where taxes aren't necessary.
:: Morat 9:59 AM :: ::

Early Voting

I went out and voted this morning and the line was surprisingly long. There had to have been almost fifty people waiting in line to vote at 8:10 this morning. I'm not sure how many had already run through the line (the booths had opened 10 minutes before), and they were running at least a dozen booths.

Man, it always feels nice to vote against Tom Delay, doesn't it? One of the few perks of living in Texas is getting to vote against that bottom-feeder.

In other news: Listening to the radio this morning, it occurred to me that Kerry -- when he wins -- should probably send Howard Stern a fruit basket. That guy is shilling harder for Kerry than I am.

:: Morat 9:09 AM :: ::

:: Monday, October 18, 2004 ::

Flu and You

Tommy Thompson weighed in on the whole "flu thing" today, noting:
The number of vaccine manufacturers must be increased to avoid future shortages, Thompson said. For that to happen, Congress must remove liability for vaccine makers and the government must commit to buying millions of doses every year so the producers are assured of a "ready market," he said.
I understand that he went on to add "You know, if we just let them fill the syringes with distilled water, we could whip this shortage in no time. I mean, hey, it's not like you could tell the difference anyways".

:: Morat 3:01 PM :: ::

Mary Cheney

I've been thinking about this for a few days, about the "outrage" (a term I use loosely), and about the reasons behind. As best I can tell, these are the facts:
  1. A significant portion of George Bush's base really doesn't like gay people. They certainly don't want them to marry, and many wouldn't even like them to be allowed.
  2. On the other hand, George Bush realizes that much of his more moderate base doesn't care that much, but doesn't want to be associated with outright bigotry.
  3. So, George Bush walks a fine line. He tries to pander to the bigots with things like the FMA, without acting like a bigot himself.
  4. Mary Cheney is a useful tool in all this, trotted out to reassure the moderates (and gays, I suppose) that the B/C administration isn't going to do anything bigoted, because Cheney's own daughter is gay, while she keeps a low profile otherwise.
  5. John Kerry pointed out Mary Cheney -- who is 35, whose career could well be titled "professional gay" given her jobs at Coors and with the B/C campaign, and heading up her Dad's reelect effort -- when talking about homosexuality being how you were born, and not a "bad choice" or anything negative.

Summed up, what John Kerry did was refuse to help Bush pander to bigots. I've heard Kerry's comments described as "outing" Mary Cheney. Given she's openly gay, the only people she could possibly be "outed" to are the bigots on George Bush's right flank.

Why Lynne Cheney thought Kerry was going to help Bush pander to the howling homophobes of the right is beyond me. But it's clear that what's "Cheap and tawdry" is the way Mary Cheney is used by her parents. A useful tool for the moderates, and something to be ashamed of to the rest of the Right.

:: Morat 2:04 PM :: ::

Jon Stewart

It appears that some people persist in missing Jon Stewart's point on Crossfire.

Let me simplify it, for those people who somehow got confused by the sight of Tucker Carlson brain-frying on TV.

The Daily Show is a parody of cable news. It's format is like FOX News or CNN on speed. "Headlines + Expert Commentary + Human Interest Story + Interview".

Now, what's bugging Jon Stewart is pretty simple. His show has -- to a significant number of people -- more credibility than real news. He rightly thinks that when a parody of the media is more trusted and more informative than the actual media, the country has a severe problem.

Jon Stewart's proposed solution is that the real media start acting like it. Tucker Carlson's proposed solution is to classify The Daily Show as media, and call it a night.

Which just goes to show how screwed up Tucker Carlson has the whole situation.
:: Morat 1:52 PM :: ::

Supreme Court Orders Texas Redistricting Review

This was a surprise:
The U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) ordered on Monday further consideration of a challenge by Democrats and minority groups to a controversial Republican-backed congressional redistricting plan in Texas.

The justices in a brief order granted an appeal by those challenging the plan and set aside a ruling by a federal three-judge panel in January that upheld the bitterly contested map.
The justices ordered further consideration by the federal panel in view of their ruling in April that upheld a Pennsylvania redistricting case. They did not elaborate further.
I'm not sure how to read that decision, in light of Pennsylvania's case.

In that case, a five Justice majority said that "political gerrymandering claims are justiciable", but refused to say when. Further, they implied that mere "unfairness" (say, an evenly split state where 75% of the seats went to one side anyways) wasn't sufficient.

So what about the Texas case would chart different waters? All I can think of is Tom Delay. I'm not sure Pennsylvania had Tom DeLay funneling cash and resources into the attempt.
:: Morat 1:03 PM :: ::


It's shit like this that demand George Bush be ejected from office:
President George W. Bush rebuffed a plan last month for a Muslim peacekeeping force that would have helped the United Nations organize elections in Iraq, according to Saudi and Iraqi officials.

As a result, the UN continues to have a skeletal presence in Iraq, with only four staff members working full time on preparing for elections set for the end of January. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has refused to establish a new UN headquarters in Baghdad unless countries commit troops for a special force to protect it.
Here's a big, fact, juicy hint, George: The Iraqis don't trust us because they think we have dreams of an oil-rich empire. We -- America -- are the sole face of the occupation. You can, in fact, forget Poland and even Britain in this one.

We don't even speak the damn language. We're a nation of infidels who invaded their country under an ever-shifting rationale. We've killed countless Iraqi civilians, and we've even gone into the rape and torture business. They don't trust us. They don't like us.

But other Muslims? That's a horse of another color, especially in numbers far too few to occupy the country.

And if you're worried about "security", which I'm sure will be your stated reason, you're an even bigger moron. Our Iraqi Home Guard is riddled with insurgents, and they can already walk in and out of our secure areas. Security is a joke. (Link via Daily Kos)

Update: I notice that Bush refused because the troops would be under UN control, not US. I'd find a great deal of satisfaction with watching Bush's pride destroy him, if the body count wasn't so damn high.
:: Morat 11:48 AM :: ::

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