Archive for February, 2010

Pictures of Tragedy

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Haunting aerial photos captured the 9/11 attack. Seeing them brought back the feelings of that awful morning. I can still remember thinking that the second tower wasn’t going to collapse because it had been hit too high.

Thursday Linkorama

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
  • Orac has the goods on a revolting story of legal abuse in West Texas.
  • Ha! While this post was sitting in my queue, the trial above finished with the nurse acquitted.
  • Jesus H. Christ, what is wrong with some people?
  • The Tea Party is going after one of the most fiscally conservative members of Congress because he’s anti-war. Ugh.
  • Soft power. Obama’s good at it.
  • Health insurance isn’t necessarily as closely connected with health as we’d like to think.
  • Some interesting stuff from the political side of Snowmageddon. I especially like the investment advice.
  • Weekend Linkorama

    Saturday, February 6th, 2010
  • It is odd how often the military-supporting GOP finds themselves holding the opposite view of the actual military — views the military has held, on torture for example, no matter who was in office.
  • Reason looks at the people’s historian.
  • Why, no, this cheesy ad did not get to me. I just have something in my eye.
  • When even Hot Air says you’re scum for holding up 70 Obama nominees to get pork, you’re scum.
  • Everyone’s Tired

    Saturday, February 6th, 2010

    A study claims that poor people are less well-rested than rich people and women are less well-rested than men. Now with a claim like that, you expect huge differences, right?

    The percentages of those who are not well rested are 29% vs. 35% for rich against poor and 33% vs. 26% for women vs. men. Call me crazy, but these sound small. That’s one in 16 extra poor people and one in 14 women. The only group that shows anything remotely interesting in seniors, who are at 19% poorly rested. Even that’s not a HUGE difference.

    The result for the poor, of course, prompts the usual wringing of hands about the poor are up worrying all night. Maybe. But the poor have higher rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking and obesity — all of which negatively impact restfulness. I would suspect this is a larger factor than any mental issues.

    Allow me to rewrite the analysis for Gallup:

    A well-being survey shows that about a third of Americans claim they are not well-rested. There were slight upticks for the rates of being well-rested for those with higher incomes, for men, for people without children and especially for seniors.

    Social scientists. I swear.

    Free Range Kids

    Thursday, February 4th, 2010

    New link on the side to Lenore Skenazy’s great Free Range KIds blog. She’s the woman who let her 9-year-old ride the New York Subway and is wonderful for a sensible approach to kid safety, both against panic and for smart steps. Worth a read.

    More on the Climate

    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

    I sometimes use this space as a scratch pad for points I can mention elsewhere. WordPress’s search function is so easy that it makes it possible for me to dig up just about any post I’ve written.

    Here’s one I’ll be referencing for a while: a little background on Lord Monckton, one of the chief climate “bad skeptics”.

    (I’m now using “bad skeptics” in place of “denialists” to reference people who use debunked or unscientific arguments against global warming. This is as opposed to “good skeptics” like Ron Bailey, Bjorn Lonborg and Pat Michaels, who use appropriate scientific skepticism.)

    He theorizes that NASA crashed its own satellite, promotes a quack cure for everything from the flu to HIV and compares Obama to Hitler.

    Monckton is not just some random guy I’m picking on. He is cited constantly by “bad skeptics” as their warrior priest in opposing the onslaught of environmentalism.

    In other news, I’ll link to Penn State’s evaluation of Climategate but will refrain from comment on a fellow faculty member.

    Demand Question Time

    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

    An online petition calls for more question sessions like we saw with Obama and the Republicans last week. That session was one of the best things I’ve seen in politics in a decade. I would love to see more debate between our President and the opposing party (and his own).

    Online petitions mean shit, of course. But a signed petition will get bloggers talking, will get the media talking, will generate some support for this.

    The best result of regular question times? It will mean that future Presidents are screened by the ability to respond coherently to questions and their mastery of the issues. Thing of all the horrible things this could have prevented, like Bush 43.

    Midweek Linkorama

    Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
  • Andrew Sullivan dismantles Bill Kristol. How this charlatan (Kristol, not Sully) came to be a leader in the conservative movement baffles me. Oh, wait. His dad was a big conservative voice. Never mind.
  • And then Megan McArdle dismantles Sullivan on the impending doom of the United States.
  • Meanwhile, Obama continues to attack the Taliban more aggressively and more successfully than Bush did. The GOP just can’t seem to squeeze the idea into their heads that you can use both military force and political skill at the same time.
  • Also, more on the reign of terror in Arizona. This is, quite literally, a police state.
  • And no, Virginia, Gmail is not safe.
  • Greenwald Again

    Monday, February 1st, 2010

    Destroys the idea that foreigners do not have legal rights in this country. Read the whole thing. Indeed, this is why Gitmo is just a huge political deal. If you move those guys to the US, they are, under our Constitution, guaranteed more legal protection than they are outside of our nation’s borders.

    What amazes me is how much the party of “law and order” and “rigorous adherence to the Constitution” has shredded these ideas because of the abject terror with which they respond to Islamic extremism. From ignoring Common Article 3, to hiding their eyes from the Convention Against torture, to asserting unlimited Presidential power in direct contradiction to the express written language of our Constitution, they are willing to put the entire structure of law to the sword if it might protect us from a bombing.

    Shameful.

    Calvin

    Monday, February 1st, 2010

    Ack. A very very short interview with Bill Waterson just makes me miss Calvin and Hobbes so much more. I can still remember when I first discovered it. We were in Chicago visiting my mom’s friend and she suggested I read it. From then on, I was hooked. I can remember, in college, that reading Calvin in the morning newspaper was one of the highlights of the day. We had just entered the golden phase of Calvin, where Watterson threw off all restraints and made comics that were so wonderful and original and different from anything else.

    But he owes us nothing. If he wants to spend the rest of his life in seclusion, more power to him.