Archive for February, 2010
The Atlantic, which has the best set of bloggers on the planet, just redid their website to make it less readable and to make the RSS feed essentially useless.
What is it with companies and changing their format? The best websites have stuck with their design for ten years or more.
Many environmentalists hate Bjorn Lomborg. Actually, they hate anyone who doesn’t respond to environmental concerns with hysterical panic. Thus, Paul Ehrlich — who has been wrong about everything he has ever said — is venerated because he’s a doom-monger. And Lomborg — and Gregg Easterbrook and Ronald Bailey and many others — are vilified for being optimistic and realistic about environmental scares.
A few years ago, Lomborg was the victim of a witch-hunt over his book The Skeptical Environmentalist. Now they’re at it again, with a new book that’s attacks his accuracy. Lomborg’s response is here (PDF). I find it compelling, as always.
It’s shit like this that gives red meat to those who claim environmentalism — and global warming acceptance in particular — are a religion. They environmentalists are treating Lomborg like a heretic. It’s not enough that he might be wrong; he has to be evil.
Foreign Policy has a stunning and disturbing pictorial on the armed conflicts going on around the globe.
The call it “Planet War”. You’ll forgive me an editorial comment, but the planet is more peaceful than it has ever been. Many of the conflicts they portray are sporadic or do not involve actual fighting (the Korean face-off, for example). What’s incredible about the pictorial is that, up until recently, this was the norm for humanity. Now, there are few enough conflicts that a blog can do a pictorial piece covering all of them in depth.
Somehow, a former Cheney speechwriter has become a respected expert on terrorism, mainly because he is a zealous advocate of torture. Read a beautiful demolition of his bullshit here. Again, you are seeing why I have abandoned the Right. He’s not just mistaken; he’s deliberately lying.
(On another note, we’re learning more about the repulsive legal theories of John Yoo. People keep asking me if I’m happy that Obama is President since I was so critical of Bush — even though I voted libertarian last time out. Short answer? Yes. Even their massive expansion of government and the crushing debt we are facing is worth it if it ends the neo-tyranny that the Bushies embraced.
And, frankly, I’m not convinced that the GOP wouldn’t be expanding government and running up debts any less than Obama. That is, after all, what they did for eight fucking years.)
Might become a TV show. Hard to believe that just a twitter feed can do so much. I love the internet.
Clarification: I’m not saying this will be a good show; it will probably suck. But it’s a chance that wouldn’t have existed ten years ago. We’d just get some old hackneyed tripe that would suck.
Is the pro-torture, kill-em-all! Right ever right? The subway bomber has now confessed, is cooperating with authorities, providing intelligence and will probably soon be rotting in jail for the rest of his life. All this was accomplished without torture and with respecting his human rights. And in a tiny fraction of the time we’ve been holding KSM at Gitmo.
Damn it feels good when I’m right. Damn, it feels good when America does what it should have been doing all along. America, fuck yeah!
I find Ask Men’s 99 Most Desirable Women to be interesting, beyond my general XY-generated interest in the opposite gender. I’m not surprised by how often “desirable” means “being under 25 with a fashionable figure”. What I am surprised by is how ugly a lot of these women are. Thanks to airbrushing, surgery or makeup, many of them have facial features that are almost alien. It’s kind of creepy, actually. Megan Fox is, in many ways, the paradigm of the type. Great figure but an unattractive face (and tiny brain and bad personality to boot).
The older women in the sample far outshine their younger counterparts. Heidi Klum, with 36 years and four kids, looks better than almost all of them (and she seems to actually have something behind her eyes). Monica Bellucci, at 45, puts the 20-year-olds to shame (and can also act and speak four languages).
Smart is sexy too. Natalie Portman is better looking than just about all the “models”. She’s also a talented actress and a Harvard grad. The same, to a lesser degree, could be said of Anne Hathaway, Erin Andrews, Erin Burnett and a dozen other women on the list. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you broke them into groups by intelligence, the smarter women would be more attractive than the dumber ones — or at least less alien-looking. If you broke them up by profession, the models would be the most fake-looking (and to my eyes, the least attractive). Think of Portman on one end and Kim Kardashian on the other. No question which is smarter and which is more attractive.
(Interestingly, there is a porn star on the list — Sasha Grey. But Grey is an atypical porn star — slender but not anorexic, unaltered surgically and rumored to be intelligent. She certainly held her own acting in Steven Soderbergh’s latest mainstream film. More from Beradinelli here.)
I don’t think you’ll find a more perfect series of links to show why I left the “Right”, even though my political philosophy was and remains staunchly conservative/libertarian. All five deal with false memes — lies — that the Right is using to promote an agenda of anti-intellectualism, torture and bad climate skepticism that is anathema to everything I believe in.
Sarah Palin isn’t just ignorant; she’s proud of being ignorant. Her cluelessness is seen as proof of how much of an “outsider” she is and how good she would be as the conservative leader or, God forbid, President.
But that’s just nonsense. Guys like Reagan and Goldwater were outsiders, they were not ignorant. Reagan was intensely intellectually curious. Goldwater was so forthright about issues, he got massacred in the election. Even Gingrich, when he first came about, was all about ideas. Palin is none of that. She is pure resentment against a perceived “other”.
Then you have the pants-shitting terror — or pretense thereof for political purposes — that leads people to declare terror suspects to be unpersons. No conservative should believe any human being to be an unperson, to have no rights. Rights may be restricted or conditional, but they always exist. Abducting people, imprisoning them without trial and torturing them is against everything conservatives supposedly believe in — specifically the universality of our divinely given rights and the need to restrain government. How can you possibly say you triumph the individual over the state when you embrace the greatest subjugation to which a state can subject the individual — imprisonment and torture with trial?
And finally, I can understand — I support — skepticism about hysterical environmental claims. I especially support opposition to collectivist solutions to them. But that has now morphed from Good Climate Skepticism to Bad Climate Skepticism — a mix of conspiracy mongering, anti-science, witch-hunting and quote-mining. A conservative approach would say, “Maybe AGW isn’t real. But if it is … we need to do something about it.” A conservative would do what I do every time a Right Wing blog links up to some article that “disproves” global warming — look into it and see what it actually says.
Until these things are purged from the Right Wing, I will remain outside. This is simply not what I signed on for.
My faith, according to Beliefnet?
1. Reform Judaism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (93%)
3. Liberal Quakers (91%)
4. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (80%)
5. Baha’i Faith (79%)
I’m Conservative Judaism, but that doesn’t show up on their quiz. Orthodox Judaism shows us #8. I’d say this was reasonably accurate.