blueollie

Best. Movie. Ever. “Frogs”

Workout notes 10K walk in 1:27:50; it was dark and took me a while to get going. 1:12:18 for the first 5.1 or so (Cornstalk).

Personal: first day of class. First lesson in the books.

Movies On Hulu: the “horror” film Frogs.

Ok, ok, the “frogs” are really Cane toads (Bufo Marinus) and their “ribbits” are taking from Pacific tree frogs (Pseudacris regilla) but the story line is awesome: the “frogs” are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore!!! So, the frogs direct an army of: insects, snakes, alligators, iguanas, snapping turtles and birds to do in those pesky humans. And the “frogs” win, big time! Best part: the very end when the frogs do in the main villain by….well…basically “ribbiting” him to death. Really. :)

Note: you can watch the film free of charge at the above link on Hulu.

Awesome movie…..must see!

(those toads are just adorable!!!) :)

Trailer:

August 22, 2012 Posted by | entertainment, frogs, movies, walking | Leave a comment

Man Up!!!! (and other topics)

From Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: there is an electronic ad for the CNN special on “fixing education” in the United States. Fareed Zakaria has a show on it. But among the guests is Michelle Rhee. To this, the blogger writes:

What in the world can Michelle Rhee add to this discussion? From the press release it looks a lot like the “balance” fallacy makes the show suffer: Journalists think they need a contrasting view, so when Euclid tells a writer that 2+2=4, the journalist seeks out others who have different opinions, and prints those opinions no matter how stupid, insipid, or dangerous they may be.

You see this in shows concerning evolution, climate change and the like.

Man Up!!!
Miranda Celeste Hale talks about buying a Coke Zero in a can and finding that the can is adorned with a football. She does a bit of research and finds that Coke Zero was/is marketed to guys.

Dr. Pepper is going much the same thing:

Dang, I was doing all of those bench presses and curls…and all I had to do was to drink the “right” kind of diet Dr. Pepper!

Oh well….off to the gym anyway.

Given that I get there so early, I probably won’t see this. There is usually a few fat old professors/university staff and the Army ROTC doing their chants…and sometimes some young woman who gets on the stepper and continually yells into her bluetooth.

November 7, 2011 Posted by | big butts, education, entertainment, humor, social/political, spandex, workouts | Leave a comment

28 August 2010 (am)

Fails
Enjoy these education fails.
Here is another one. :)

Enjoy this football FAIL too.

My guess is that the Chicago Bears are going to try to draft this guy. :)

Books I’ll have to add this book to my reading list: Is God a Mathematician by Mario Livio. No, there isn’t a god, but there is a question about the universality of mathematics; for example, if “Klingons” or “Vulcans” had mathematics at all, would it be the same as ours, or is our mathematics really a part of our human mindset? That is, is new mathematics created or discovered?

Science
This Animal Camouflage post is interesting. Find the deer; it isn’t easy!

Politics/Economics
Paul Krugman has long said that the Obama economic recovery plan wasn’t bold enough. I agree, but I blamed the antiquated filibuster rules in the US Senate more than I did the Obama administration, though many point out that Obama selected bad economic advisers.

But here we are and the election is coming up. Robert Reich argues that “the good but not great” legislation that was passed isn’t going to win voters over; instead we should emphasize the war against the Republican policies that wrecked our economy to begin with:

Obama and the Democrats respond by defending their specific policies. The stimulus worked, they say, as did the bailout of Wall Street, because the economy is better today than it would be without them. If anything, we need more stimulus. And healthcare reform will protect tens of millions.

A large and growing segment of the public believes none of this. The public doesn’t think in terms of specific policies. All it knows is the economy has stalled and there’s only one story that explains why and points the way forward – and that’s the Republican’s.

What should the Democratic story be? How can they connect the dots?

Here’s a clue. In times of economic stress, Americans lose faith in the nation’s large institutions. They blame either government or its counterpart in the private sector – big business and Wall Street.

Twenty years ago, 42 percent of Americans said they trusted government to do what was right just about always or most of the time. Now, only 25 percent do. Twenty years ago 26 percent they had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in big business; now, only 16 percent do. And almost no one trusts Wall Street. The drop in trust toward all major institutions has been most precipitous since the start of 2008.

The underlying political debate in America is which of these is most responsible for the mess we’re in, and which can be most trusted to get us out of it – big business and Wall Street, or government.

It wouldn’t be hard for Democrats to make the case that big business and Wall Street blew it. The Street’s wild speculation took the economy off the cliff, caused the stock market to crash (and millions of 401(k)s along with it), and created a housing bubble whose burst has hurt millions more.

Big business has used the Great Recession as an opportunity to slash payrolls and cut wages and is now sitting on a $1.8 trillion mountain of cash it refuses to use to create new jobs. Instead, it’s using the cash to build more factories abroad, buy back its own shares of stock, invest in more labor-replacing technologies at home, and do mergers that will lead to even fewer jobs.

Meanwhile, a parade of “public-be-damned” actions have threatened small investors (Goldman Sachs’s double dealing), individuals trying to buy health insurance (WellPoint’s double-digit premium increases), worker safety (the Massey mine disaster), the environment (BP), and even our food (Jack DeCoster’s commercial egg operations).

And a gusher of corporate and Wall Street money has flooded Washington, exemplified by Big Pharma and the health-insurance lobby fighting heatlhcare reform, and Wall Street’s minions fighting off stricter financial reform.

If Obama and the Democrats would connect these dots they’d have a story that would make Americans’ hair stand on end. We’re in this mess because of big business and Wall Street. Government is needed to get us out of it.

It’s not that big business and Wall Street are evil. It’s that they’re out to make as much money as possible – which is what they’re set up to do. That’s why we need an activist government to stimulate the economy, create jobs, and protect the public from their excesses.

August 28, 2010 Posted by | 2010 election, Barack Obama, Democrats, economy, education, entertainment, evolution, football, mathematics, morons, nature, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans politics, science, Spineless Democrats | Leave a comment

August 12 2010 (pm)

Yes, I am avoiding proofreading two papers that I need to send out. :)

Gibbs again: Tom Schaller has an interesting point of view:

2. There are policy decisions and then there is the matter of policy saliency. I just finished reading Jonathan Alter’s book about Obama’s first year, The Promise, and there is a moment recounted in there where the president and some of his advisers say “Shhh!” after a staffer notes that some piece of legislation (I think it was his education reform bill–man, my memory is going) will actually provide a lot of help the poor and underprivileged. The point of relaying this episode is that what a president accomplishes and what he trumpets are not always the same thing, and often for good reason(s). People with health care, for example, vote and contribute to campaigns at much higher rates than those who do not, and they were also more opposed to reform than those without health care. Though it’s not necessarily a mutually exclusive choice, if liberals had to choose between a president who passes centrist policies but talks like a tough liberal, and one who passes liberal policies but positions himself as a centrist, I presume most of them would choose the latter. Indeed, any principled liberal would have to prefer the latter. This is not to say it’s wrong to want the president to proudly proclaim himself and his policies as liberal. It’s just to say that, no matter how important words and labels are—and they are—deeds still trump them.

Of course, he makes other points and his whole article is worth reading. Though I have blogged about it, I really don’t see it as a big deal. Here is why:
in 2010: the progressive House candidates can run against this. In the other districts (red to purple ones in which blue dogs are in trouble), these comments might actually help.

2012: too far off. If the economy turns around or if the Republicans run a nutbag (e. g., Sarah Palin), Obama cruises to reelection. If the economy is in free fall and the Republicans run someone remotely sane, a remark won’t matter.

Note: I can recommend Nate Silver’s post too:

Nevertheless, I suspect that for most liberals, any real sense of progress has now been lost. Yes, the left got a good-but-not-great health care bill, a good-but-not-great stimulus package, a good-but-not-great financial reform plan: these are a formidable bounty, and Obama and the Democratic Congress worked hard for them. But they now read as a basically par-for-the-course result from a time when all the stars were aligned for the Democrats — rather than anything predictive of a new direction, or of a more progressive future. In contrast, as should become emphatically clear on November 2nd, the reversion to the mean has been incredibly swift.

What liberals haven’t had, in other words, is very many opportunities to feel good about themselves, or to feel good about the future. While the White House has achieved several wins, they have never been elegant or emphatic, instead coming amidst the small-ball banality of cloture vote after cloture vote, of compromise after compromise.

Meanwhile, the White House has had two incredibly cynical moments in the past several weeks — Gibbs’ rant today and the premature firing of Shirly Sherrod three weeks ago. Both reflected politics at its worst, the clumsiest possible efforts at “triangulation”.

I suppose that though I am a liberal, I never was that disenchanted as I EXPECTED progress to be painfully slow, plodding and incremental.

Education: Here is a site that lets students bet on grades and get grade insurance? Wouldn’t studying be easier? :)

Speaking of higher education: Larry Moran doesn’t think much of Bill Gates saying that universities will be obsolete in 5 years.

I love being a nerd

Mano Singham talks about movies:

I have mentioned before that one thing that really annoys me is implausibility, and violent films are particularly prone to this failing because the characters have amazing self-healing capacities. Lead characters may be beaten to a pulp but the wounds and bruises disappear remarkably quickly. I can overlook this if the films are really well made but if not, they quickly degenerate into farce.

It seems like filmmakers have found the secret to rapid recovery from life-threatening trauma: put on a new set of clothes. In No Country for Old Men, the Josh Brolin character is shot and is bleeding profusely, is nearly dead, but manages to make it to a hospital. After being treated, he immediately discharges himself, staggers out, goes to a store, buys new clothes, and within hours is walking around without any hint that he had almost died. Meanwhile, Javier Bardem, playing a psychopathic killer and drug dealer chasing the Brolin character, is shot in the leg and is bleeding badly. He limps into a pharmacy, and while everyone is distracted by an explosion he created, swiftly collects all manner of medicines and bandages, goes back to his motel, and treats his own injury by giving himself anesthetics and antibiotics and even extracting the bullet. (It was incredible that he knew exactly what medical items he needed, where to find them on the pharmacy shelves, and what he should do to treat himself. Is he supposed to have gone to medical school before becoming a killer?) Then a few hours later he also gets a new set of clothes and resumes his murderous spree without any sign of discomfort. It was at this point that the film jumped the shark and I could not take it seriously anymore.

In another implausibility, the Bardem character leaves a trail of dead bodies in his wake, many of them killed using a device used to slaughter cows that requires him to carry with him a bulky metal cylinder that presumably contains compressed gas. And yet he moves openly, even going back soon to the scenes of his previous murders, without even being pursued by police, let alone confronted by them. He was supposed to be an evil and sinister man who has no compunction about killing but the whole thing was so over the top that towards the end of the film I started laughing at its absurdities, never a good sign for a film that is supposed to be serious. Or was it the intention of the filmmakers to make a tongue-in-cheek spoof of violent films?

Another possibility: the Bardem character has some sort of “you can’t stop it” supernatural character. He was, well, YUCKY.

More nerd stuff: Conservation report recommends some videos (I’ve seen a few of these)

August 12, 2010 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2010 election, Barack Obama, Blogroll, blogs, Democrats, education, entertainment, movies, nature | Leave a comment

28 July 2010 pm

I spent a ton of time with the Going Rogue book review so this post will be mostly links to articles I found interesting.

Humor and Entertainment

Check out this “headstone win” from the Fail Blog. Hint: this person wanted his skin to be used as a saddle for lady’s horses. Why? :)

Also, here is a case where people go door to door…pushing atheism instead of religion. No, this isn’t the “annoy the Mormons” video; you can find that video here. :)

Do you LOVE Monty Python’s Life of Brian? If so, do you like music? If the answer is “yes” to both questions, then He is not the Messiah, He is a Very Naughty Boy is for you!

We rented it at Blockbuster and watched it twice!

Economics and Big Business

Robert Reich The BP fiasco is a perfect example of why corporations shouldn’t be treated like persons under the law.

Paul Krugman:
Too timid of a response to our current unemployment situation might lead to this becoming the new norm.

The President really shouldn’t listen to the right wing’s criticism of him; they said that he was “bashing business” when he said this:

So what’s the context? Here’s what Obama actually said:

Too much regulation or too much spending can stifle innovation, can hamper confidence and growth, and hurt business and families. A government that does too little can be just as irresponsible as a government that does too much — because, for example, in the absence of sound oversight, responsible businesses are forced to compete against unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restrictions on activities that might harm the environment, or take advantage of middle-class families, or threaten to bring down the entire financial system. That’s bad for everybody.

Kind of different, isn’t it? That’s only business-bashing if you believe that there’s no such thing as businesses who cut costs by ignoring the environmental impact of their activities, or take risks that end up endangering the financial system. If so, I wish I lived on your planet.

Krugman argued from the start that the stimulus was too small. This is how he new (e. g., the model and assumptions Krugman used to judge what should be adequate stimulus)

Here are rebuttals to the usual “the economy was great under Bush” statements from the right wing.

Politics
The right wing continues shamelessly lie and mislead. Shirley Shirrod said that someone was lynched. The right wing says that she lied…because the person she was talking about was beaten to death instead.

There is momentum to change the filibuster rules of the Senate.

Science
This is from Jerry Coyne’s blog and not Conservation Report. But it is some more animal camouflage. I couldn’t resist the title: the frogmouth owl. :)

What makes humans special? Well, one thing is that we masturbate and yes, that has an evolutionary reason.

Heat wave: we are having one. Yes, air conditioning saves lives. So, does this mean that modern humans have gone “soft”? Not really; in the days prior to air conditioning, people died from the heat.

Are modern humans neglecting to do something our ancestors did to survive the heat?
I think it’s always been a problem. There’s history over hundreds of years of people dying of heat. Philadelphia in 1776 had a major heat wave that caused deaths.

We’re also living to older ages, and we’re more urban now than we have been in the history of the human species. That intense crowding can combine with the heat island effect in big cities. Our elderly people are also more isolated than they have been in the past, so those factors can play a part, too.

The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the thing that they are most comfortable in predicting, that the science is most solid for, is the increase in many parts of the world in the duration and intensity of heat waves.

Gamma Ray Bursts: I’ve watched some lectures on black holes and their gamma ray bursts. Did you know that a close enough gamma ray burst can stop photosynthesis, at least for a short time? It is a good thing that a “close enough burst” is statistically unlikely in the foreseeable future.

Religion

Here is an interesting video featuring Christopher Hitchens. Note: the Life of Brian gets mentioned.

July 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 election, astronomy, atheism, Barack Obama, biology, blog humor, economy, entertainment, evolution, humor, movies, nature, obama, politics, politics/social, religion, Republican, republicans, republicans politics, science, social/political, space, Spineless Democrats, swimming | Leave a comment

Barbara in Vagina Monologues

I’ve written about the play here; this is the second time Barbara has played the Down There lady.

And of course, my wife is a natural ham; she really gets into her acting and in my (highly biased) opinion she did an excellent job. :)

The previous time, she played the “Down There Lady” as being southern. This time, she was a bit more region neutral. The idea was this: her character was haunted by an experience on an early date: she got some unexpected sexual arousal vaginal discharge when she was kissed; this lead to her shutting down her sexuality for the rest of her life.

I enjoyed the production; the only part that made me uncomfortable is that, while they (correctly) stood against the sexual abuse of women, they glorified it (or seemed to) in the “cootchie-snortcher” girl segment in which a 16 year old girl spent the weekend with a 24 year old lesbian who “introduced” (initiated?) her to lesbian sex and self gratification. This reminded me of the Man/Boy Love Association type of thing.

Of course, this may have been “reporting” but it sure seemed to come across as “approval”. Here is a take on it:

One particularly questionable monologue deals with a 16-year-old girl who learns to love her genitals and, by extension, herself after a sexual encounter with a 24-year-old woman. In the original version of the play, the girl was 13 and the monologue included the statement, “If it was rape, it was a good rape.” This segment has repeatedly caused controversy, and Ensler has toned it down in response to criticism.

Yet even with the changes, we are talking about a 24-year-old seducing a 16-year-old after plying her with alcohol. This would most likely be a crime under Massachusetts state law (though the law is somewhat confusing, variously setting the age of consent at 16 or 18 depending on the circumstances). Does anyone think that a high school or a college would produce such a play, or that feminist groups would endorse it, if it condoned a 24-year-old man having sex with a 16-year-old girl?

But there was a good deal that was positive; the story of comfort women was told (though the story was dated; the women said that they were in their 70′s to 90′s and now all of them would be at least in the mid 80′s) and the brutality against women in some of the African wars (e. g., the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo) was denounced.

Of course, our stuffed frogs had to get in on the act; I made a small stage for them (the smaller frogs are female). Barbara then cut out some “scripts” for them:

March 19, 2010 Posted by | entertainment, family, Peoria, Peoria/local, Personal Issues, politics/social | 2 Comments

Review: The Man Who Haunted Himself (film with Roger Moore)

It starts with a very proper, very, well…meticulous Roger Moore (playing the part of a young, overworks, hard charging and sexually repressed executive of a technology firm) getting into his car, putting every thing in its place and obeying the letter of the law.

But on the drive home….a different personality takes over and there is a crash…..and it is very touch and go in the operating room. He eventually pulls out and recovers….or does he?

There seems to be a double of him who is causing him trouble (no, not in the Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is he Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? manner). But is it really a double and if so, why? Or is this a descent into Schizophrenia? Or, is there another possibility?

I won’t tell you; but if you like Roger Moore, or if you like fantasy thrillers with a psychological theme then you will enjoy this. I got the idea to watch this film from reading Roger Moore’s book My Word is My Bond (which I did enjoy; it has interesting tidbits about his life and shows his sense of humor). In My Word is My Bond, Moore states that this was the one film in which he was really “permitted to act” and, in my opinion, he did an excellent job.

Rotten Tomatoes has a review here.

January 24, 2010 Posted by | books, entertainment, movies | Leave a comment

14 January 2010 (am)

I am getting ready to go into work. I’ll work out over lunch (2000 swim, weights, some on the elliptical). The calf/hamstring: slight ache this morning.

Last night Barbara took me to see Rain, a Beatles tribute band.

It was worth seeing; they performed in several sets and in several costumes, starting with what they looked like at the beginning (Twist and Shout), through their Sergent Pepper stage then to their Abbey Road stage. Note: they sang three encore songs: Imagine (ok, a John Lennon song and not a Beatles song), Let it Be and then closed with Hey Jude.

Though they were NOT the Beatles, they did an excellent job with what I would call a “faithful remake” of their songs; this was worth attending. I enjoyed it.

This is their start:

Here is a tiny clip from close up (Sgt. Peppers), and here is another:

Note: the crowd was older; there were a few younger ones.

More local Billy Dennis groans over having more BU students crossing the street (due to buildings in Campus Town being taken over by Bradley)

I think that he is worrying too much, as this is office space which will increase faculty foot traffic but probably won’t increase student foot traffic all that much (they already cross that street to get to the student apartments). Of course, faculty foot traffic might end up being MORE of a nuisance than student foot traffic. :)

January 14, 2010 Posted by | entertainment, injury, Peoria, Peoria/local | Leave a comment

4 July…Overslept, storms etc.

Workout notes: Last night saw the potential for strong thunderstorms to invade our area so we stayed up late. It turns out it is just somewhat rainy but the family backed out of the race, so I’ll run for an hour over hills (that’s the plan anyway).

Update: 65 minute run (about 6 miles) in rain; when I finished I was completely soaked. I ran the hills of Bradley park; one “out and back” followed by a mini loop (cut off much of the flat portion); 8 uphills total: 3 Cornstalk, 3 ball field, 2 from upper to lower Bradley Park. I did some yoga afterward. My left knee barked once; behind my right leg just a bit; the solution was to take quicker, shorter strides. The knees always whine in this sort of weather. Pace: fast enough to be a “run” but slow enough to be enjoyable.

Amusing posts Here is a blog whose banner has a blond in a thong bottom sleeping it off on a table littered with beer cans and beer bottles. No, the parties that I’ve been to never end this way. It also features “Sarah Palin in Spandex”. It shows no butt-shots though. :( But yes, the Governor is a reasonably good runner with a sub 4 hour marathon to her credit.

Why the contempt for the Governor? Nate Silver takes a crack at it. I’ll tell you what I think: yes, she must have some political skill, else she never would have made it to the Governor’s mansion. Yes, her attractiveness is an asset, but there are lots of attractive people who don’t have this much success.

Basically, she is ill informed and seems to be indifferent to her ignorance; I’ve never liked politicians who were like that (George W Bush, Ronald Reagan, and number of current Republicans such as Jim Inhofe, Michelle Bachmann, etc.)

Yes, I’ve frequently disagreed with Orin Hatch, Dick Lugar, Christine Todd Whitman and even Bob Dole, but I’ve had respect for them; I see them as smart, informed people who disagree with me.

Religion, new atheism, etc. It appears that successful author Karen Armstrong is out with a book that makes the “Case for God”:

This is religion as it should be, and, according to Armstrong, as it once was in all the world’s best traditions. However, there is a serpent in this paradise, as in others. Or rather, several serpents, but the worst is the folly of intellectualising the practice. This makes it into a matter of belief, argument, and ultimately dogma. It debases religion into a matter of belief in a certain number of propositions, so that if you can recite those sincerely you are an adept, and if you can’t you fail. This is Armstrong’s principal target. With the scientific triumphs of the 17th century, religion stopped being a practice and started to become a theory – in particular the theory of the divine architect. This is a perversion of anything valuable in religious practice, Armstrong writes, and it is only this perverted view that arouses the scorn of modern “militant” atheists. So Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris have chosen a straw man as a target. Real religion is serenely immune to their discovery that it is silly to talk of a divine architect.

This is your basic “stoner/yoga teacher” argument; make the idea of “the divine” into something ill defined and vague and merely shrug your shoulders “you just don’t get it”.

Yes, the New Atheists have rejected this sort of idea too. :)

The deal is that the rejection is not as noisy because the stoners (mystics, etc.)

1. Don’t have as much power as the conventional believers and
2. Aren’t as big of a threat to our society as the conventional believers.

My feeling: if you get your shots, see the doctor, don’t interfere with science teaching, don’t count on some miraculous divine intervention to pull our collective fat out of the fire and don’t think it is in your deity’s plan to trash the environment and start wars, I am fine with that.

Go ahead and have your “mystical” experience which you can’t adequately define; we all have ways of entertaining ourselves. :)

July 4, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Barack Obama, entertainment, politics, politics/social, ranting, religion, republicans, running, sarah palin, science, superstition, training | Leave a comment

10 May 2009 (midday)

Workout notes Slept late, walked 3 miles, had a large Mother’s Day breakfast; will probably walk 8 more after typing this.

Politics

President Obama at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner; you can see the video here.

Or you can see it here:

Some highlights:

“No president in history has ever named three commerce secretaries this quickly,” Obama said. The president’s two top choices for the position dropped out.

He playfully ribbed his frequent use of a teleprompter and Vice President Joe Biden’s knack for speaking off the cuff. And about the Democratic Party, he said his administration has helped in “bringing in fresh, young faces — like Arlen Specter.” The 79-year-old Pennsylvania senator, a former Republican, switched parties last month.

Obama noted that he and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had been political rivals, but he assured the audience “these days, we could not be closer.”

“In fact the second she got back from Mexico, she pulled me into a hug,” the president said, playing off the threat of a spreading swine flu virus that has targeted Mexico the most.

Obama also turned serious and talked of the financially struggling media industry, praising journalists for holding government officials accountable. “A government without newspapers, a government without a tough and vibrant media of all sorts is not an option for the United States of America,” he said.

He also joked that the Republican Party didn’t qualify for bailout funds and that Rush Limbaugh could not be labeled as a “troubled asset”. :)

And yes, he roasted Dick Cheney:

It was the hottest ticket in town, a black-tie dinner gathering of Washington’s political and media elite but Dick Cheney couldn’t make it.

The former vice president was busy, President Barack Obama joked, working on his memoir “tentatively titled, How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People.’ ”

But then a comic came on:

Wanday Sykes was a bit testy at times:

Update: Here’s what she said about Rush h/t GOTV:

“You’ve had your fair share of critics. … Rush Limbaugh said this administration fails. … He just wants the country to fail. To me that’s treason. He’s not saying anything different than what Osama Bin Laden is saying. You might want to look into this, sir, because I think Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker but he was just so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight. … Rush Limbaugh, I hope the country fails, I hope his kidneys fail, how about that? He needs a good waterboarding, that’s what he needs.”

She blistered Senator John McCain:

Sykes: But Mr. President you’ve had your fair share of critics. You know, even Sen. McCain. Sen. McCain gave you grief about the new helicopter that you didn’t order. You know I think Mr. McCain is just a little bitter because he wanted to be in the new helicopter. Just tell Mr. McCain I’m sure if you asked nicely your wife will buy you a helicopter.

On one hand, I thought that, on the Limbaugh joke, she went a bit too far for this occasion. Saying this on a TV show or talk radio would have been fine.

But, I am still eagerly awaiting the howls of outrage from the loony right; these clowns are a laugh a minute! :)

So what wonderful things are the Republicans up to?

Well, they are busy reading to make 2010 The Year of the Bible!

OK, no joke about this. Rep. Paul Broun [R-GA] has introduced a resolution to encourage Obama to declare that 2010 is The Year Of The Bible. Now, excuse me if I’m wrong about this, but I thought 2010 was going to be the Year of the Tiger.

Is anyone else sick of living in the United States of Jesustan? And, um, why are these 14 Congresscritters wasting their time with silly stuff like this when we’ve occupied 2 foreign countries and our economy is in the tank? Is it because they think the only possible way out of the mess the Republicans created is to pray? I mean, that’s SLIGHTLY less obnoxious than being merely the “party of no” but it still doesn’t get us anywhere.

Cosponsors:
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland [R-GA]
Rep. John Carter [R-TX]
Rep. James Forbes [R-VA]
Rep. John Gingrey [R-GA]
Rep. Zach Wamp [R-TN]
Rep. Todd Akin [R-MO]
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter [R-MI]
Rep. Mike Pence [R-IN]
Rep. Louis Gohmert [R-TX]
Rep. Trent Franks [R-AZ]
Rep. Jim Jordan [R-OH]
Rep. Doug Lamborn [R-CO]
Rep. Kenny Marchant [R-TX]

Ok. Maybe the Bible contains a blueprint for Conservative Republican caliber genetic research? Oh yes, take a look at Genesis, Chapter 30:

After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban: “Give me leave to go to my homeland.
26
Let me have my wives, for whom I served you, and my children, too, that I may depart. You know very well the service that I have rendered you.”
27
Laban answered him: “If you will please. . . . “I have learned through divination that it is because of you that God has blessed me.
28
So,” he continued, “state what wages you want from me, and I will pay them.”
29
Jacob replied: “You know what work I did for you and how well your livestock fared under my care;
30
the little you had before I came has grown into very much, since the LORD’S blessings came upon you in my company. Therefore I should now do something for my own household as well.”
31
“What should I pay you?” Laban asked. Jacob answered: “You do not have to pay me anything outright. I will again pasture and tend your flock, if you do this one thing for me:
32
11 go through your whole flock today and remove from it every dark animal among the sheep and every spotted or speckled one among the goats. Only such animals shall be my wages.
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In the future, whenever you check on these wages of mine, let my honesty testify against me: any animal in my possession that is not a speckled or spotted goat, or a dark sheep, got there by theft!”
34
“Very well,” agreed Laban. “Let it be as you say.”
35
12 That same day Laban removed the streaked and spotted he-goats and all the speckled and spotted she-goats, all those with some white on them, as well as the fully dark-colored sheep; these he left. . . in charge of his sons.
36
Then he put a three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to pasture the rest of Laban’s flock.
37
Jacob, however, got some fresh shoots of poplar, almond and plane trees, and he made white stripes in them by peeling off the bark down to the white core of the shoots.
38
The rods that he had thus peeled he then set upright in the watering troughs, so that they would be in front of the animals that drank from the troughs. When the animals were in heat as they came to drink,
39
13 the goats mated by the rods, and so they brought forth streaked, speckled and spotted kids.
40
The sheep, on the other hand, Jacob kept apart, and he set these animals to face the streaked or fully dark-colored animals of Laban. Thus he produced special flocks of his own, which he did not put with Laban’s flock.
41
Moreover, whenever the hardier animals were in heat, Jacob would set the rods in the troughs in full view of these animals, so that they mated by the rods;
42
but with the weaker animals he would not put the rods there. So the feeble animals would go to Laban, but the sturdy ones to Jacob.
43
Thus the man grew increasingly prosperous, and he came to own not only large flocks but also male and female servants and camels and asses.

Ok, who takes such nonsense seriously? Oh that’s right: Conservative Republicans!!!! :)

Creationism, School, Teacher’s Statements
Many of my friends are outraged over the fact that a Federal Court found that a southern California public school teacher violated church/state separation law when he declared that creationism was “superstitious nonsense” (which of course, it is).

But, as I had said previously, there is more going on there (on legal grounds) than may be obvious to those of us who aren’t trained in law. The teacher in question had made many similar statements and only one of them was afoul of the law:

However, the Judge reviewed a number of the teachers’ statements, all of which were critical of creationism and religion, and held that the rest of his statements were permissible. For example:

Aristotle was a physicist. He said, ‘no movement without movers.’ And he argued that, you know there sort of has to be a God. Of course that’s nonsense. I mean, that’s what you call deductive reasoning, you know. And you hear it all the time with people who say, ‘Well, if all of this stuff that makes up the universe is here, something must have created it.’ Faulty logic. Very faulty logic.

[T]he other possibility is it’s always been here. Those are the two possibilities: it [the universe] was created out of nothing or it’s always been here. Your call as to which one of those notions is scientific and which one is magic. [Inaudible] the spaghetti monster behind the moon. I mean, all I’m saying is that, you know, the people who want to make the argument that God did it, there is as much evidence that God did it as there is that there is a gigantic spaghetti monster living behind the moon who did it.

Therefore, no creation, unless you invoke magic. Science doesn’t invoke magic. If we can’t explain something, we do not uphold that position. It’s not, ooh, then magic. That’s not the way we work.

Contrast that with creationists. They never try to disprove creationism. They’re all running around trying to prove it. That’s deduction. It’s not science. Scientifically, it’s nonsense. (Op. at 27)

The judge held that the primary effect of these statements was to illustrate a contrast between scientific reasoning and religious faith. Although a statement might be offensive to one religious set of beliefs, that does not make it unconstitutional.

Supreme Court Nomination

It is certainly true that the Republicans in the Senate gave far more support to President Clinton’s nominees than the Democrats gave Bush nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito (Harriet Miers was taken down by Republicans and not by Democrats)

But perhaps there is a reason for that:

When President Clinton made his two judicial nominations to the Supreme Court, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The following is an excerpt from Hatch’s autobiography:

[It] was not a surprise when the President called to talk about the appointment and what he was thinking of doing.

President Clinton indicated he was leaning toward nominating Bruce Babbitt, his Secretary of the Interior, a name that had been bouncing around in the press. Bruce, a well-known western Democrat, had been the governor of Arizona and a candidate for president in 1988. Although he had been a state attorney general back during the 1970s, he was known far more for his activities as a politician than as a jurist. Clinton asked for my reaction.

I told him that confirmation would not be easy. At least one Democrat would probably vote against Bruce, and there would be a great deal of resistance from the Republican side. I explained to the President that although he might prevail in the end, he should consider whether he wanted a tough, political battle over his first appointment to the Court.

Our conversation moved to other potential candidates. I asked whether he had considered Judge Stephen Breyer of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. President Clinton indicated he had heard Breyer’s name but had not thought about Judge Ginsberg.

I indicated I thought they would be confirmed easily. I knew them both and believed that, while liberal, they were highly honest and capable jurists and their confirmation would not embarrass the President. From my perspective, they were far better than the other likely candidates from a liberal Democrat administration.

In the end, the President did not select Secretary Babbitt. Instead, he nominated Judge Ginsburg and Judge Breyer a year later, when Harry Blackmun retired from the Court. Both were confirmed with relative ease.

In fairness, here is the Right Wing’s “yes but” “rebuttal” (if you can call it that).

For more on how the vote might go (depending on the nominee, of course), see Nate Silver’s blog:

My quick take on the Souter replacement is that, with 59 Democratic senators and high popularity, Obama could nominate Pee Wee Herman to the Supreme Court and get him confirmed. But I’m no expert on this. The experts are my colleagues down the hall, John Kastellec, Jeff Lax, and Justin Phillips, who wrote this article on public opinion and senate confirmation of Supreme Court nominees. They find:

Greater public support strongly increases the probability that a senator will vote to approve a nominee, even after controlling for standard predictors of roll call voting. We also find that the impact of opinion varies with context: it has a greater effect on opposition party senators, on ideologically opposed senators, and for generally weak nominees.

More discussion, and some pretty graphs, below.

If you like graphs and statistics, surf to the link.

May 10, 2009 Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama, civil liberties, creationism, Democrats, entertainment, evolution, free speech, John McCain, Judicial nominations, obama, politics, politics/social, pwnd, ranting, religion, republicans, Rush Limbaugh, science, SCOTUS | Leave a comment

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