Archive for September, 2006

reality has a well known liberal bias

September 29, 2006

by now, i suppose almost everyone has read this Intel-Dump post, “National Insecurity”, on how dire our national security situation has become.  more interesting than the article, though, are the comments.  the whole tread is fascinting… (crooked timber labels the event “Like Pasting feathers together and hoping for a duck”) the commenter (Diogenes) is eventually reduced by the force of facts to support the iraq war with a defense of torture.  yeah.  brilliant.


body armor

September 29, 2006

just when you thought going after firefighers was too much, vote vets exposes burn’s voting record against our troops.

i’m still waiting for burns to kick some babies or something.

polls of iraq

September 29, 2006

i don’t trust polls, but all-too-frequently, iraq war supporters use them to justify their position.  the other day, i was told that 6 in 10 iraqis continue to support the overthrow of sadam (side note – what are the other 4 in 10 thinking).  surprisingly enough, the conservative forgot to mention a few other items in the poll:

  • About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces
  • Almost four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents.
  • 79 percent of Iraqis say that the US is having a negative influence on the situation in Iraq
  • 94% have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view

but – thats from PIPA.  the state department did its own poll and…

  • two-thirds of Iraqis in Baghdad favor an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces

woo-hoo.  yeah, that makes me feel wonderful

wish i had said that #106

September 28, 2006

Feminists… are now in the philosophically absurd position of smiling politely at everything women do, from naked mud wrestling to home schooling. But what happens when the choice is a bad idea, for yourself, for other women, for society? Don’t we ever get to talk about that? ‘Choice,’ moreover, assumes people have, and know they have, real alternatives.

Katha Pollitt, Mommy Wars

reality vs the dinosaurs

September 26, 2006

Thoughtful Conservative: sad is that 42% of americans think the president intervened to lower gas prices before the nov. elections, and that 65% of those people were democrats
me: this from the kid that thinks we found wmd in iraq?
Thoughtful Conservative: this from the kid who has seen credible articles showing that decayed biological weapon residue inside weapons
me: you do realize that decayed means no longer working, right?
like, depleted shells aren’t exactly going to cause mass destruction?
Thoughtful Conservative: yes, this i know, they are not themselves wmd´s but the decayed remains of them.  sorta like, we find dinosaur bones and go, these must have lived here at some point in the past
me: yeah, but you wouldn’t say there were dinosaurs in iraq, either
Thoughtful Conservative: that there had been dinosaurs and since we knew how many dinos we sold them and how many were used.  we did math and found there were some unaccounted for
me: so, when we invaded iraq, did we go to war, because dinosaurs were there?
about to go Jurassic Park on us?
Thoughtful Conservative: that have been found to date, no.   we did because they were unaccounted for, and who knows where they are nowfinding decayed remains has shown that there were dinosaurs once in iraq
me: but 65 million years ago isn’t exactly an imminent threat
Thoughtful Conservative: i agree, the time span is the achilles heel
me: yes, after you put the heel through a woodchipper
Thoughtful Conservative: only a flesh wound

[update:  NeoCon objected to being called NeoCon, got upgraded to Thoughtful Conservative.  i still say, anyone that likes Leo Strauss…]

can’t they do anything right?

September 23, 2006

From the NYTimes

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

yes, they’re quoting from the most authoritative intelligence report

don’t drink the hemlock

September 22, 2006

maybe i read too much plato, but calling your outdoor morale retreat hemlock isn’t the brightest idea, is it?  just a bit too symbolic, i think.  and if anyone thinks i’m following the example set by the crito, you’re crazy.

on second though, rereading the text…

i heart the onion

September 22, 2006

Cancer June 22 – July 22
Unwavering faith in a supreme, all-knowing being that controls the universe will help you to overcome a series of rational and seemingly insurmountable arguments this week.

shiver me timbers**

September 19, 2006

ahoy, me hearties & prepare to be boarded

as outlook my parrot just reminded me, today be international talk like a pirate day.  (you can tell, because i’m putting “be” in sentences where it doesn’t belong).  so remember, today, when answering the telephone, call out with an “avast” or an “ahoy matey” (that, i think, is in the code of the brethren).  swear a blood oath to skewer your boss / lab director / roommate, should they threaten your rum.  why celebrate?

  1. pirates are, and always will be, better than ninjas
  2. what’s a pirate’s favorite russian city?  YAR!-oslavl!
  3. laptops are benches God gave us fer wenches (song)
  4. johnny depp


* really, what does this mean?

clueless UofM admin? really?

September 18, 2006

apparently, the administration atthe University of Montana just doesn’t understand the state of eduation problems in montana.  instead of focusing on the rising cost of attending college, and the inability of poor students to pay for school, they’re doing a train tour of the state.  how quaint.

“These kids are growing up with parents who never went to college and don’t realize the value,” said Mick Hanson, director of the university’s financial aid office. “You build dreams at an early age, and they’re hearing you don’t need to go to college to make a living.”

from the director of the financial aid office, that moves right past comic to tragic.  the issue isn’t that people don’t realize the value of a college education (pardon the double negative), it is that they can’t afford it.  students who come from rural montana can’t take on $20k in debt – the bank won’t lend it to them, and the places they come from rarely have enough equity to cover it.  even if they do take it on, how can you pay back $20k in loans when the most you’ll make in montana, even with a college degree, is around $25k a year? – if you’re lucky.  sure, some do, but it is unreasonable to expect that everyone can take that risk.

it gets worse.  if you go back to my hometown, you’ll find that almost none of the college grads stay in bozeman (including me).  those who do stay have a hard time making ends meet.  surprising as it is, bozeman is an expensive place to live if you’re just starting out.  which is a problem, because cities are where the college jobs are.  the result – graduates leave montana, and people with savings move in to take the jobs, because they can afford them.  odd, i know.


sex, violence, legalisms

September 18, 2006

“That’s like — it’s very vague. What does that mean, ‘outrages upon human dignity’? That’s a statement that is wide open to interpretation.” (source: nytimes)

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” (source: bbc)

noted by tim burke – “He is using legalism as a pretext to engage in Orwellian violence against the meaning of words”.  evading the meanings of words, and hiding the right to decide their meaning in a strictly legal context, seems to be an effective way to subvert more democratic ways of thinking.  after all, if the matter is purely legal, what right does the public have to get involved?

wish i had said that #105

September 18, 2006

“you cum like a girl”

…comedian cathy carson’s signature line in her acts.  you can even buy it on her website.  this, however, has started an intellectual property war of the strangest dimensions (documented in LA weekly).  carson tried to trademark the phrase, but was denied by the Patrick Shanahan, the investigating US attorney…

Citing Section 2 (a) of the Trademark Act, Carlson’s application to register the phrase “You cum like a girl” had been refused on the grounds of being “scandalous” and “vulgar,” with the phrase’s offending verb defined as a “vulgar slang term for ejaculation at the time of orgasm.” Shanahan provided examples of similar rejections and explained why other attempts to register phrases with “cum” passed muster and Carlson’s didn’t. He also suggested why the word “orgasm” might make a suitable PG-13 replacement.

he also apparently emailed photos of women covered in ejaculate as support for the decision.  which, since the phrase has nothing to do with semen… is odd.

at feministing.   at feminist law profs.

when the dems come to town…

September 18, 2006

there will also be rainbows and kittens and a party…

well, that or an aggressive oversight campaign that will *hopefully* expose the wrongdoings of the bush administration and set the stage for a sweeping set of legislative changes.

for a culture that gets bored during 30 second ads…

September 18, 2006

via that series of endless links we call the internet… this stood out (from rox populi):

When the war in Iraq passes Nov. 27, this conflict will have lasted one day longer than World War II — that fact alone is about enough to snap the psyche.

i must be a cynic, somehow i doubt this will change minds

kill bill and the laws we ignore

September 18, 2006

i’m watching kill bill on TNT at the moment. i find it slightly hilarious that, in a movie created as an homage to violence, they find the need to edit out f— and p—y. really? the commercials said it was a movie where “viewer discretion isn’t just recommended, it is highly encouraged”.

so i’m expected to believe that, somehow, naughty words are worse than the slaughter of others.  this really is a farce.

hm. so what if i’m a dirty person?

September 12, 2006

science has an article connecting personal hygene and ethics.

Ethically compromised individuals experienced an increased desire to cleanse themselves, but physical cleansing alleviated the psychological consequences of unethical behavior, both assuaging moral emotions and reducing moral-compensatory behavior

the proper study of mankind and thoughts in a haystack have summaries.  apparently the phenomenon is known as the macbeth effect.  it seems that after ‘cleaning’ we appear less likely to make amends for our immoral acts.

i’ll have to remember this, the next time i yell at someone for being a right-wing f-wit.


September 12, 2006

why is it that the two cities directly impacted by 9-11 are some of the most liberal places in the nation, but dick cheney and the republicans are making a strategy of arguing that republicans are the only way to safety?

ugh.  fox news makes my stomache swirl.

poor, poor idaho

September 12, 2006

that idiot is just an idiot“.

why is the Missoulian so lame?

September 12, 2006

apparently, the survival of our nation is at stake.  war on terror?  nope.  iran’s nukes?  nope.  north korea?  not so much.  apparently, the single greatest threat to our nation – the one that should guide us on election day:


yes, those hardworking folks that make the economies of every state in the west work – those are the real ones for us to be terrified of.

they’re right – the fight over immigration threatens to unmake america, but only if we transform from a country that welcomes the powerless, to a warped country club.   one where everyone looks the other way from the groundskeeper, but only as long as it is fashionable.  thats not the country i know.

geek-off, phaser optional

September 8, 2006

last night at dinner, my friend called me a nerd every 5-10 minutes.  this is not uncommon.  my poor roommates have the same response cycle, generally alongside some comment like “i really don’t care that you’re doing an end of history markov chain as a fukuyama spoof, i just want to watch football”.  my attempt to ‘relate’ to football stats by attempting to aggregate and test ecological inference techniques doesn’t do much better.

all the same, it seems i’m doomed.  i knew i should have spent more time posting about math… nothing hurts more than missing a geek-off.  the challenge was issued a couple days ago.  some basic questions have been outlined at questionable authority.  (the cutoff is 1/3, i hit 12/25… i’m not going to lie, thats a poor showing.)

man, i’m no good at this nerd-off.  79%, and a mid-level nerd.

in my defense, however…

  • sitting outside on a perfectly beautiful day, i noticed black spots on the bottom of the fountain i was sitting by, and decided to calculate the size of the eddies that generated them.  the only thing notable about this event was my disturbing lack of graphing paper at a critical moment.
  • i know more computer programming languages than human ones
  • i played both the star trek and the star wars collectable card games… while maintaining my magic deck.  oh, and if they invented a science collectable card game, i’d be down
  • i’m currently looking up data documenting procedures – largely for fun.