Archive for February, 2010

The Obstructionist Fable

February 25th, 2010 No comments

Hearing the Democrats constantly whine about obstructionist Republicans blocking Obamacare, I was reminded of one of the lesser-known of Aesop’s tales…

One day some wealthy men were walking together when they came across a hungry man. They formed a committee of ten to determine how best to address the situation. Six of the men declared, “This hungry man has no food. Tomorrow we should make him a sandwich–a crap sandwich.” Alarmed, the other four protested, “Crap will do the poor man no good. We should make the sandwich of roast beef instead. After all, you wouldn’t eat a crap sandwich would you?”

Replied the six, “But we don’t have to eat a crap sandwich. We have roast beef. He, however, has no roast beef and will be content with crap.”

When the four refused to feed the man a crap sandwich, the six huddled together. They did not want to be held solely responsible for feeding the man a crap sandwich and sought the assent of the other four. After some consideration, they returned to the four and said, “We have just the thing. Rather than a mere sandwich we will make him a foot-long crap hoagie.”

Concerned that the six would prevail and provide nothing of value to the hungry man, the four proposed at least adding lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo to make the crap hoagie more nutritious and palatable. The six agreed but, after hearing the poor man declare he did not want a crap sandwich, one of the six decided it would, after all, be better to make the hoagie of roast beef rather than crap.

When the time came to feed the man, the four–now five–refused to make the sandwich at all. The six–now five–cried, “Why will you not feed this poor man? We allowed you to add lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo.”

“Because,” replied the four–now five–, “a crap sandwich, dressed however nicely, is still a crap sandwich. The man does not want one and we will have no part in it. Why, when you were six, did you not feed the man crap yourselves?”

Categories: Domestic Tags: ,

Why more of us watch Fox than CNN, Part 3

February 17th, 2010 No comments

CNN has determined that

Activists in the Tea Party movement tend to be male, rural, upscale, and overwhelmingly conservative, according to a new national poll.

Yep, just a bunch of angry white men. (Note that they don’t report the racial make-up of the respondents but we all know that rural, rich conservatives are all white, right? Right?) The poll numbers came from a telephone survey in which 124 (of 1,023) respondents indicated “they had taken active steps to support the Tea Party, such as donating money or attending a rally.”

A whopping 124 respondents and CNN takes polls like this seriously? You have got to be kidding. Really, you don’t have to be a statistician to know that in a country of 300 million, a political movement which has drawn tens of thousands of rally attendees (and the ire of the mainstream media) cannot possibly be accurately described by 124 people. They claim a sampling error of 9 points. As a mathematician I find that claim highly dubious, but even if accurate no self-respecting pollster would stake any credibility on that error. Interestingly enough, when I revisited the article, the complete poll data was no longer available.

This is neither responsible, unbiased journalism nor reliable statistical work. But it’s good enough for CNN to run it as a headline on their Politics front page.

Categories: Domestic Tags: ,

UK Economists are Smarter than America’s

February 13th, 2010 No comments

It’s a sad day when I have to quote a socialist government in order to make a common sense point.

experts say the lack of a credible plan threatens to push up interest rates and undermine the recovery.

Duh. It’s really pretty simple. You have to spend less than (or at worst equal to) what you take in. The real lefties are starting to get it. When will ours?

Another Impossible Shooting, Part 6

February 12th, 2010 No comments

According to MSNBC, a professor at the University of Alabama-Huntsville has killed three of her colleagues and wounded three others. I don’t buy it. It’s illegal to carry a handgun on the UAH campus, so this couldn’t possibly have happened.

The police responded quickly, but not soon enough for the three who died. When will we drop the pretense that “gun-free” zones are gun-free…or safe? At least one student showed the common sense we need.

Gina Hammond, a UAH student, told WAFF that she lobbied the University of Alabama trustees to allow students with gun permits to carry their weapons on campus. She was turned down.

“I’m scared to go back to school,” Hammond said. “However, if they were to allow me to carry my pistol on campus, I would not be as scared.

“… I’m sorry that nobody in that room had a pistol to save at least one person’s life,” Hammond said.

It’s long past time to rethink the policy that provides target-rich environments and turns the law-abiding into victims.

“This is a tragedy of immeasurable proportions and a terrible a blow to our community,” said U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith, R-Ala., in whose district the shootings occurred. “Now is a time for thoughtful prayer for those affected.”

No. Now is a time to allow the innocent to protect themselves.

Categories: Domestic, Gun Rights Tags: ,

Why more of us watch Fox than CNN, Part 2

February 10th, 2010 No comments

They give shows to people like Joy Behar. Sure Fox has Glenn Beck, but Joy has all of his fanaticism without his boyish charm, quick wit, or sheer entertainment value. (Ratings clearly bear out the disparity in popularity between the two.) He’s often outlandish, but she’s purely vitriolic.

Consider this recent segment, during which she spent a few minutes with Eve Ensler (author of “The Vagina Monologues”) bashing Sarah Palin.

In a very tired continuation of the common leftist theme that conservatives simply aren’t very intelligent, Behar and her guest are appalled that someone who isn’t a proponent of anthropomorphic global warming (AGW) could possibly run for Vice President. At one point Behar, obviously disgusted, says,

Every scientist of any note believes in it but Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in it.

“Every scientist of any note” does not include

  • Joanne Simpson, the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, later one of NASA’s lead weather researchers, president of the American Meteorological Society, and recipient of the AMS’ Carl-Gustaf Rossby Award
  • Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner in physics
  • William Happer, Princeton University physicist, chair of Princeton’s research board, winner of Germany’s Humboldt Award, the American Physical Society’s Broida Prize and Davisson-Germer Prize, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Edison Prize
  • Freeman Dyson, Princeton University physicist and mathematician, co-founder of Operations Research (field of mathematics) and creator of the Dyson Series (math again), unified quantum electrodynamics theories, and more; winner of the Lorentz Medal (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) and Max Planck Medal (German Physical Society)
  • Claude Allegre, French Socialist and geochemist who once espoused the theory, winner of the Crafoord Prize (which, like the Nobel Prizes for sciences, is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences), Wollaston Medal (Geological Society of London), and Golden Medal of the French National Center for Scientific Research
  • Richard Lindzen, MIT Professor of Atmospheric Science, winner of the American Meteorological Society’s Meisinger and Charney Awards, American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane Medal, and the Leo Prize from Sweden’s Wallin Foundation
  • William Gray, Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, pioneer in hurricane forecasting
  • Antonino Zichichi, Italian nuclear physicist and president of the World Federation of Scientists
  • Khabibullo Abdusamatov, Russian astrophysicist, supervisor of the Astromeria project (International Space Station) and head of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ space research
  • Sallie Baliunas, Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist, winner of the American Astronomical Society’s Newton Lacy Pierce Prize
  • Roy Spencer, principal research scientist, University of Alabama (Huntsville) and U.S. Science Team Leader for NASA’s Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (used by satellites to measure temperatures), former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center; winner of the American Meteorological Society’s Special Award
  • Jan Veizer, Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa, winner of Killam Award (Canada Council), Hutchison and Logan Medals (Geological Association of Canada), Miller Medal and Bancroft Award (Royal Society of Canada), and Leibniz Prize (German Research Foundation)

This is a short list of just a dozen, and is hardly exhaustive. The Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works details more than 700 international scientists who are skeptical of AGW. Looks like Palin is in some pretty impressively stupid company.

Categories: Domestic Tags: ,
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