What is going on with Modern Conservatives

It seems as if modern conservatives are getting exponentially crazier with time.

Paul Krugman explains what is going on:

My first thought was that OWS must have the right really rattled. And there’s probably something to that. But actually, this is the way the right goes after everyone who stands in their way: accuse them of everything, no matter how implausible or contradictory the accusations are. Progressives are atheistic socialists who want to impose Sharia law. Class warfare is evil; also, John Kerry is too rich. And so on.

The key to understanding this, I’d suggest, is that movement conservatism has become a closed, inward-looking universe in which you get points not by sounding reasonable to uncommitted outsiders — although there are a few designated pundits who play that role professionally — but by outdoing your fellow movement members in zeal. […]

Many members of the commentariat don’t want to face up to the fact that this is what American politics has become; they cling to the notion that there are gentlemanly elder statesmen on the right who would come to the fore if only Obama said the right words. But the fact is that nobody on that side of the political spectrum wants to or can make deals with the Islamic atheist anti-military warmonger in the White House.

Yes, I know; liberals pounced on some misspelled Tea Party signs and a few with Nazi and other racist symbols. But what we should remember is that Republican craziness extends to their “serious” presidential candidates; witness the candidates stand on religion, Mr. Obama’s birth place, etc.

October 25, 2011 Posted by | michelle bachmann, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, rick perry | 2 Comments

msnbc video: Bashir: Gov. Rick Perry not quite Forrest Gump

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msnbc video: Bashir: Gov. Rick Perry not quite …, posted with vodpod

October 25, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, politics, republicans, rick perry | Leave a comment

I’m Melting…er Dissolving…

I know; the line is from the Wizard of Oz. Melt…dissolve…her time as “flavor of the month” is all but over. Though Mr. Romney and Mr. Cain appear to be trading the lead in the polls, Mr. Romney is attacking Mr. Perry so we know where the real competition is.

October 25, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, Herman Cain, michelle bachmann, Mitt Romney, political humor, politics, republicans, republicans politics, rick perry | Leave a comment

msnbc video: Why a flat tax fails

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msnbc video: Why a flat tax fails, posted with vodpod

October 24, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, economy, politics, republicans, rick perry | Leave a comment

Water, Tears and Perspective

Workout notes
I stayed up late watching the Texas Tech-Oklahoma game (two hour weather delay) and given what is coming this weekend, I was going to go easily anyway.

So I walked 5+ miles in 1:16 (just taking it easy) and NOTHING hurt. NOTHING. 🙂

Where did earth’s water come from? There is some evidence that the water originated in “clouds” in space, which became comets. In fact, check out this recent observation:

For the first time, astronomers have detected around a burgeoning solar system a sprawling cloud of water vapor that’s cold enough to form comets, which could eventually deliver oceans to dry planets.[…]
University of Michigan astronomy professor Ted Bergin is a co-author of a paper on the findings published in the Oct. 21 edition of Science.

The researchers used the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI) on the orbiting Hershel Space Observatory to detect the chemical signature of water.

“This tells us that the key materials that life needs are present in a system before planets are born,” said Bergin, a HIFI co-investigator. “We expected this to be the case, but now we know it is because have directly detected it. We can see it.”

Scientists had previously found warm water vapor in planet-forming disks close to the central star. But until now, evidence for vast quantities of water extending into the cooler, far reaches of disks where comets and giant planets take shape had not emerged. The more water available in disks for icy comets to form, the greater the chances that large amounts will eventually reach new planets through impacts. […]

Other recent findings from HIFI support the theory that comets delivered a significant portion of Earth’s oceans. Researchers found that the ice on a comet called Hartley 2 has the same chemical composition as our oceans.

Perspective: International Affairs
It is sometimes useful to view things through the eyes of those who think very differently than we do. Of course, Iran would rank as one of the countries that I’d want nothing to do with. There, you can get executed for homosexuality, renouncing Islam, being an atheist, etc. And yes, their President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, routinely says stupid and noxious things.

But one must keep in mind that Iran has a different executive branch than the United States does; their foreign policy is under the purview of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who isn’t elected.

And in Iran, Ahdadinejad is considered to be the moderate! Fareed Zakaria reports (via Facebook)

The talk of the people I met in Tehran with was of the rift between President Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Now what is hard for most Westerners to understand is that in this debate in Iran, Ahmadinejad is the moderate one. He has been trying to clip the wings of the clergy; he has advocated loosening up some of the restrictions on women; he speaks of Iran’s pres-Islamic past. And many here believe that he wants to be the Iranian president who normalizes relations with the United States. But with all that is going on now – between the Saudi plot and the nuclear deadlock – that appears a distant prospect.

My point: world affairs are complicated, and I want my President to have a nuanced enough mind to understand the nuances. This is why Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann won’t do.

Tears I challenge you to read this and keep from crying:

Jacqueline Siegel paces the floor of her unfinished 7,200-square-foot ballroom. The former beauty queen, with platinum-blond hair, blue eye shadow and a white minidress, clacks along the plywood construction boards in her high heels trailed by a small entourage of helpers and staff.

“This is the grand hall,” she says, opening her arms to a space the size of a concert hall and surrounded by balconies. “It will fit 500 people comfortably, probably more. The problem with our place now is that when we have parties with, like, 400 people, it gets too crowded.”

The Siegels’ dream home, called “Versailles,” after its French inspiration, is still a work in progress. Its steel-and-wood frame rises from the tropical suburbs of Orlando, Fla., like a skeleton from the Jurassic age of real estate. Ms. Siegel shows off the future bowling alley, indoor relaxing pools, five kitchens, 23 bathrooms, 13 bedrooms, two elevators, two movie theaters (one for kids and one for adults, each modeled after a French opera theater), 20-car garage and wine cellar built for 20,000 bottles.

At 90,000 square feet, the Siegels’ Versailles is believed to be the largest private home in America. (The Vanderbilt family’s Biltmore house in North Carolina is bigger at 135,000 square feet, but it’s now a hotel and tourist attraction). The Siegels’ home is so big that they bought 10 Segways to get around—one for each of their eight children.

After touring the house, Ms. Siegel walks out to the deck, with its Olympic-size pool, future rock grotto, three hot tubs and 80-foot waterfall overlooking Lake Butler. Her eyes well up with tears.

[emphasis added]

Why is she crying?:

Yet today, Versailles sits half-finished and up for sale. The privately owned Westgate Resorts was battered by the 2008 credit crunch and real-estate crash. It had about $1 billion in debt—much of it co-signed by the Siegels.

The banks that had loans on Versailles gave the Siegels an ultimatum: Either pay off the loans or sell the house. So it’s now on the market for $75 million, or $100 million if the buyer wants it finished.


The kids will have a hard adjustment to make:

Recently, the family boarded a commercial flight for a vacation, making for some confusion. One of the kids looked around the crowded cabin and asked, “Mom, what are all these strangers doing on our plane?”

Just a small story about the terrible struggles of the richest 1 percent–the people who refuse to pay slightly more in taxes so that millions of people will have jobs, seniors will get healthcare, roads will get built.

But all is not lost; Fox News might help persuade working stiffs to elect Mitt Romney to protect these poor rich people who are suffering so horribly. 🙂

October 23, 2011 Posted by | astronomy, economy, Mitt Romney, republican party, republicans, rick perry, science, space, training, walking, world events | Leave a comment

Anti-Romney Attack Ads…

Workout notes
I overslept a bit so I’ll lift weights later. I still swam; 500 warm up (slow!), 500 of free/back (about 10:50), 500 of drill/free (fins), 500 in 9:06 (still slow!), 200 cool down. I left the pool feeling refreshed.

Oh yes; this was a “two black bikini” day. 🙂

Here is Romney getting attacked from the right (by Perry) and from the left (appropriately, I might add)

My take on the Romney-Perry dust up: Romney is the clear front runner and will therefore have to use a bit of political skill. On one hand, he has to defend and attack a bit. On the other hand, he can’t come across as too aloof to the Perry supporters, because he will need them in the general election.

This reminds me a bit of the Obama-Clinton 2008 primary dust up. The one thing Romney has going for him is that the Republicans absolutely loathe Barack Obama. Still, he will have to make sure that his fire at Mr. Perry doesn’t ding Mr. Perry’s supporters too badly.

October 21, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Political Ad, politics, politics/social, Republican, republican party, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, rick perry, social/political, swimming, training | Leave a comment

Romeny’s Campaign Dust ups and Opposition to Jobs that Kill People

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire — News, polls and buzz

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Romney Gets Heated, posted with vodpod

Note: actually, Mr. Romney doesn’t come off that badly; this is an example of the stuff any candidate has to put up with on the trail.

By the way, I approve of this Mitt Romney:

Where did this Romney go? 😉

I wonder if he’ll attack the Republican idea that somehow weakening environmental regulations will help with job creation:

It appears that Republican claims that they can create lots of jobs by weakening environmental regulation are keying off a study from the American Petroleum Institute (pdf). There are a lot of things to critique about this study, including the fact that it actually shows a relatively small number of energy jobs, which are then blown up by assuming a large multiplier. Funny how spending can only move money around, not increase total spending, if it comes from the government, and how the multiplier is a nonsense concept when applied to government spending, but totally valid when it involves oil companies …[…]

Surf to Paul Krugman’s blog to see the chart; most of the alleged job creation occurs way in the future.

As far as Mr. Romney’s heated conversations with Mr. Perry at the debate: this bad blood has a history:

But the animosities began long ago, set off by a series of political encounters that began when the two men were governors — Mr. Romney in Massachusetts — fighting over the services of a political consultant.

The story of their political relationship starts with two ambitious men whose life stories led them to the statehouse. But the similarities in their careers have always been outweighed by the differences, and by the moments of personal and professional conflict.

Mr. Romney’s decision, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2006, to hire a consultant who was working for one of Mr. Perry’s political opponents left the Texas governor angry, aides said.

“I think that started the downhill decline in the relationship between the two of them,” a Texas Republican operative said on Wednesday, recalling the tension that existed at the time. “They have never been close.”

It was not long before Mr. Perry criticized Mr. Romney by name in his 2008 book about the history of the Boy Scouts. To Mr. Romney’s annoyance, Mr. Perry noted that the Scouts were blocked from participation in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, which Mr. Romney led.

“In the absence of an explanation,” Mr. Perry wrote, “it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the decision was made as a reaction to the protests of gay activist groups.”

Mr. Romney beat Mr. Perry to the national stage, mounting his first bid for the presidency in 2008. Mr. Perry’s decision to endorse Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor, over his fellow governor, added to the insult that Mr. Romney felt, according to advisers. He has never forgotten the snub, according to people close to Mr. Romney.

October 21, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, economics, economy, environment, Mitt Romney, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, rick perry | Leave a comment

Blustery day …in more ways that one

Workout notes: yoga, and a slow 6 mile (?) run (1:07). I had to remind myself to bend my knees and to keep a somewhat decent turnover rate.

It was in the 40’s (maybe 4-5 C) and the wind was strong….but 2-3 months from now I’ll see this as a warm day. Winter is on the way…

No, President Obama has NOT received kid-gloves treatment from the media. In fact, he gets considerably more negative press than any of the main Republican candidates. Of course, much of that is because he is a President during hard economic times, and being critiqued (accurately or not) comes with the job.

Mitt Romney’s anti-Perry ads
He put this one up and then took it down:

Why he took it down? My guess: if Romney wins the nomination (Intrade has him at 65 percent) he’ll need Perry supporters, and this type of ad will infuriate them.

He has this one up instead:

Yes, he attacks Obama on the economy and shows a clip of President Obama responding accurately to a jobs report. Yes, President Obama underestimated the recession that he inherited. But jobs DID go up under him, AFTER the stimulus kicked in. But the job creation was way too small to account for those who had lost their jobs previous and for new job seekers.

Richard Dawkins will not debate a certain noisy “theologian”. Basically he says that he won’t share the stage with someone who says that the mass murders in the Bible (mostly in the book of Joshua) were ok because “God said to do it”. Jerry Coyne has some nice commentary on this. Bottom line: doing the “will” of your imaginary sky-daddy is NOT associated with morality!

If what you are doing is good, then it is moral because the act is good. If what you are doing is bad, then it is bad, not matter what you think that your sky-daddy says.

On the same line, Friendly Atheist has an interesting take on the COEXIST bumper stickers:

(click for larger)

Note: I think that this might be a spoof on a Christian “response” to the original COEXIST poster.
Frankly, I prefer the one on my sidebar. 🙂

October 20, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, atheism, Barack Obama, economics, economy, Mitt Romney, political/social, politics, politics/social, religion, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, rick perry, running, social/political | 4 Comments

Beaver Damns, Electric Fences, Pesky Statistics and Romney’s Main Competition

Though Jerry Coyne is attacking a newspaper columnist here (which is ok, though he is punching way below his intellectual weight class here), this post is worth reading as it explains one aspect of evolution: the type of evolution that selects for the organisms that changes its environment for its own good. Think: “beaver dams”.

There is some tension in some economic departments which is affecting both the research and teaching missions:

OK, several correspondents have weighed in on the story I’d heard about the economics department that abandoned econometrics because it was rejecting its models. It wasn’t quite as alleged, but close enough.

The department in question was the University of Minnesota. For those readers new to this discussion, “freshwater-saltwater” was a distinction originally due to Bob Hall, who noted that the economics departments that had rejected Keynes and anything reminiscent of Keynes were inland schools like Minnesota, Chicago, and Rochester, whereas the places that retained a belief in the usefulness of monetary and fiscal policy were places like MIT, Princeton, and Berkeley.

So the story as I now have it was that there was harsh conflict between the macroeconomic theorists at UMinn, especially Prescott, and the econometricians who had the nasty habit of showing that those models didn’t work. And for at least some period econometrics was dropped as a required course for the Ph.D. — I don’t know whether it has been restored.

He goes on to use a quote from one of the most recent Nobel Prize winners to make a good dig.

Guess who Mitt Romney sees as his strongest competition?
Click here to go to a Romney for President funded site to find out.

Herman Cain and the rank and file Republican
He blames the unemployed for their plight; the Republican audience cheers.

Cain gets cheers for his electric fence that can kill:

October 19, 2011 Posted by | economics, economy, education, evolution, Mitt Romney, nature, political/social, politics, politics/social, rick perry, science | Leave a comment

October 18 GOP Debate through Republican Eyes

I have to agree with him about Mr. Perry. But about Ms. Bachmann: she comes across as hopelessly stupid, although she might not appear that way to Republicans. And yes, Mr. Romney did come across as a bit school-marmish…

October 19, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, Mitt Romney, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republican party, republicans, republicans politics, rick perry | Leave a comment