Thought of the day

August 28, 2012

If guns were outlawed, fewer outlaws would carry guns.

Holding the world hostage.

August 1, 2011

Imagine, if you will, a small group of people keeping a large group of people hostage, threatening harm to them and with uncertain outcome, unless another group concedes to their ideological demands. If the ideology in question is Islamic fundamentalism, then these people would likely be labeled terrorists. But what if the ideology is ultra-right-wing conservatism? That is the scenario playing out right now with the Tea Party.

This vocal and intensely ideological faction of the Republican Party is holding the entire economy of the United States, and by extension the people of the United States – not to mention economies around the world – hostage. Why? Because they stubbornly adhere to an ideology of reduced taxation, and refuse to allow new taxation to resolve the debt crisis. Never mind the economic theory, and to hell with actual common sense. It’s their way or the highway.

The frightening thing is that this group is the same group that criticized Obama for opening dialog with Iran. They criticized him for even thinking of “negotiating with the enemy”. So we know, and Obama should have known, that these people will not negotiate, and yet the Tea Party knows that Obama will, and they are willing to recklessly bet the global economy that Obama will blink first. Unless the President can find a way to bypass the impasse through executive orders, I suspect he will have no choice but to cave to their demands – because unlike them, he has enough of a conscience to recognize that the needs of the many far outweigh the ideological standpoint of the few.

The Tea Party are terrorists. Fuck you, Tea Party.


April 22, 2010

Thought of the day

March 16, 2010

Strong leaders are visionaries, not accountants.

Connie Weber

More on global warming and the hacked emails

December 5, 2009

New Scientist has published a thorough overview of global warming, and why the hacked emails are largely irrelevant.

The leaking of emails and other documents from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, UK, has led to a media and political storm. The affair is being portrayed as a scandal that undermines the science behind climate change. It is no such thing, and here’s why.

We can be 100 per cent sure the world is getting warmer

Read the full article.

On East Anglia CRU’s hacked files

November 24, 2009

One scientific issue that may polarize people even more than evolution is anthropogenic global warming – the idea that CO2 from human activity is throwing off the natural balance, leading to significant, possibly irreversible,  greenhouse warming.

The proponents argue that there is significant evidence that CO2 levels have risen faster since industrialization than any time in the geologic record, and that the temperature and climate profile are consistent with rising temperatures induced by GHG’s. Increased energy in the atmosphere could not only lead to rising temperatures, but increased storm activity, melting ice caps, increasing sea levels, and ultimately economic disaster and the displacement of a significant portion of humanity.

The naysayers claim that the evidence is inconclusive (at best) or nonexistant (at worst). Further, they argue that Global Warming Propagandists (or “Warmers”) are threatening global economic stability for personal agenda, or even personal gain.

Significant fuel for this dispute was tossed into the flames this week with the “hacking” of emails and data files from the University of East Anglia Climate Reasearch Unit (CRU). Selected exerpts mention using “tricks” in the data, and “hiding” a decline in temperatures. Sites sharing this information – purporting to blow the whistle – go over the top with rhetoric about how ALL of climate research from “warmers” and alarmists can immediately be dismissed because of clear evidence of fraud and conspiracy.

Folks, chill.

This leak of private information in no way informs the debate. None. This is private communication, out of context, taken illegally. Third party interpretation and trumpeting is not even remotely reliable. Why? because those spreading the files have as much of an agenda as they purport the “warmists” to have. Innuendo and quote mining is not the way to win an argument upon which the future of humanity may rest. Sorry, but it’s not.

There are legitimate scientific questions still outstanding about climate change, because we don’t have a control earth to compare with. But the venue to resolve those problems is in the scientific literature, not FOX news. But, you cry, how can we trust the Warmist conspirators to allow unbiased peer review? Well, the criminal responsible for stealing and publishing the CRU files has seen to that. Climate research will now undergo an extra-thorough level of review, simply because everyone is watching. Carefully. Of course, that goes for all climate research, including that indicating minimal anthropogenic effect. So perhaps the theft will have a beneficial effect in that scrutiny will be even more thorough (not that it wasn’t before), but perhaps it will also delay important research.

In the end, I suspect nothing useful will come from the stolen files, but the potential for setbacks to important research is significant.

On Health Care

August 20, 2009

This is somewhat off topic from my usual posts, but it is something I feel rather strongly about. With the current US administration discussing socialized health care, the conservative critics are once again screaming that this would raise the cost, limit accessibility, stifle innovation, infringe on personal rights, yada yada.
Let me just say this:
Those in the US with scads of cash who can afford premium health care and premium insurance have access to some of the best medical care in the world. And the most expensive. These people are the minority. The majority of the population has access to public clinics, or limited-insurance sponsored clinics that get paid extra for not referring patients to the tests they need. Oh, and they can’t afford the outrageous cost of prescription meds, which can be many times the cost of the same meds in other countries.
Let me make a comparison with other state-operated social services, such as, say, police and fire departments.
Imagine the following scenario:
You get mugged at knifepoint, the thief steals your wallet and runs into an alley. You call for help, a policeman shows up, but refuses to help until you have paid up front. You protest that the whole point is that you just had your wallet stolen with all your money, and the thief is standing right over there. Still, he refuses to assist until a deposit is given.
Or imagine your house catches fire, you get your family out, the fire truck arrives, and the driver says they cannot begin until they are paid. You explain that your money is inside the burning house, and would they be able to bill you afterward. They could, says the fireman, but they would need some collateral. Like your house. Which is rapidly loosing value…
These same scenarios are panning out in emergency rooms and medical offices across the country. But it’s an issue of liberty. My ass.
Properly run healthcare is cheaper, with greater accessibility for more people. And as for innovation, most of it comes from research institutions (ie universities), not private medical offices.
These arguments are simply smokescreens from idealogues who are rabidly allergic to anything even remotely resembling socialism. But socilaized medicine is not communism. And if you think it is, well, we can just tell that to the police and fire departments as well the next time you run into trouble.

Stupid Quote of the Decade

May 22, 2009

Don McLeroy, chair of the Board of Education in Texas has this to say about Science:

Somebody has to stand up to the experts!

He even goes on to describe these experts as

…very brilliant, wonderful people

who certainly know a shitload more about evolution than McLeroy too, but somebody has to stand up to ’em. Just ’cause.

Video courtesy of the wonderful people at the NCSE

Maine feels the love

May 9, 2009

A hearty congratulation is in order to the state of Maine for following Vermont in legalizing same sex marriage. The bill, which passed the senate with a substantial majority, defines marriage as a union between two people, rather than specifically a man and a woman.

New Hampshire is next, with a bill in preparation. With Massachusetts and Connecticut recognizing same sex marriage by court order, that would leave Rhode Island as the only New England state to not recognize gay marriage.

Thought of the day

April 20, 2009

Some people do what they do because they can.
Some people do what they do to survive.
Which are you, and what will you do about it?