Farewell to August 2011

We’ll have politics (what else), a cool space photo of the earth and the moon together…and then a photo of a different sort of “moon”. 🙂

Moon one: science
Via Richard Dawkins: a NASA photo from the Jupiter probe showing the earth and our moon.

Barack Obama campaigned on “bringing people together” and working with Republicans. I felt that it was important that we had to try. There were those who said that it wouldn’t work:

But she managed to turn a huge lead in the primary campaign into a loss. So while she was right here…could she have won the general? Probably. But I wonder how she would gotten the Republicans out of their stubbornness.
In any event, though she has been classy, she has room to say “I was right and you were wrong”. Paul Krugman certainly says so:

Just go read his column today, which is very close to my own thinking. And not just on the economics. Martin is usually cautious on matters political, but this time he lets fly:

Mr Obama wishes to be president of a country that does not exist. In his fantasy US, politicians bury differences in bipartisan harmony. In fact, he faces an opposition that would prefer their country to fail than their president to succeed. […]

Quite. And yes, this was what worried me about Obama from the beginning, way back in 2007-2008, when I got huge grief from progressives for criticizing him.

Of course when you call the Republicans on this, they lie and scream bloody murder:

In Obama’s recounting, however, luck is only half the story. His economic recovery was ruined not just by acts of God and (foreign) men, but by Americans who care nothing for their country. These people, who inhabit Congress (guess what party?), refuse to set aside “politics” for the good of the nation. They serve special interests and lobbyists, care only about the next election, place party ahead of country. Indeed, they “would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.” The blaggards!

Yes, that asshole overrated hack Krauthammer actually told the truth for once, though he was intending to be sarcastic.

Darth Vader’s New Book
Ms. Condoleezza Rice Rice begs to differ with Mr. Cheney’s account of things.

Poor Drunken Ladybug (“drunken ladybug” reference from here)

She has had her troubles…but at least she was re-invited to a tea-bagger event that she was uninvited to:

In the tea party, one day you’re in, and the next you’re out:

Former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell will not speak at a tea party event featuring former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Indianola, Iowa, this weekend, an organizer told Washington Wire. “I made a mistake,” said Ken Crow, president of Tea Party of America. “I assumed there was an open slot and there wasn’t.”Monday night, Mr. Crow told Washington Wire that Ms. O’Donnell would appear.

Tea Party of America’s cofounder, Charlie Gruschow, said the group withdrew Ms. O’Donnell’s after receiving numerous “emails from a lot of tea party folks that were very disappointed that she would be speaking.”

And then? You’re in again:

Former Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell will speak at a tea party rally Saturday in Iowa after organizers Tuesday night reversed themselves again and re-invited her, CNN has learned.

What do I take from all the drama? […]

Go ahead and read. Frankly, I find this to be more entertaining than anything else. Ms. O’Donnell is, well, dumb, but so are Palin supporters. She is closer to the average Republican primary voter than Jon Huntsman is.

Update The poor Ladybug is out again:


* In case you’re confused, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is planning to speak at a tea party rally in Indianola, Iowa this Saturday after considering pulling out. Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell was invited, disinvited, re-invited, and re-disinvited from the event. Tea Party of America President Ken Crow told NBC News that he had to ditch O’Donnell after talking to Palin aides. On Palin’s side, staffers say there were also sorts of logistical issues. Crow appears not to really know what he’s doing.

Now what about the race?
Nate Silver (politely) calls BS on a model that predicts an Obama victory. Of course, Mr. Silver is right; this “model” is really classic overfitting. He goes on to make a statement that wouldn’t make sense to many but is true nonetheless:

These types of problems, which are technically known as overfitting and data dredging, are among the most important things you ought to learn about in a well-taught econometrics class — but many published economists and political scientists seem to ignore them when it comes to elections forecasting.

In short, be suspicious of results that seem too good to be true. I’m probably in the minority here, but if two interns applied to FiveThirtyEight, and one of them claimed to have a formula that predicted 33 of the last 38 elections correctly, and the other one said they had gotten all 38 right, I’d hire the first one without giving it a second thought — it’s far more likely that she understood the limitations of empirical and statistical analysis.

AMEN. This lesson can’t be stressed too much!!!

I am not saying that President Obama won’t be reelected; he still stands a decent chance, especially if Mr. Perry or Ms. Bachmann is the GOP nominee. Mr. Romney or Mr. Huntsman would be trouble. But could either make it past the primary?

I think that the Republicans are worried that Mr. Perry is gaining too much traction. This alarms Dick Morris (who badmouthed Mr. Romney’s chances, at first). Mr. Morris writes for the Newsmax crowd (uneducated Republicans) and frequently shills rather than reports. I think he is doing just that right now:

Governor Perry clearly did better than Governor Romney at creating jobs. But it is not two governors who will square off over the issue, it is two men with two lifetimes of experience to look at.

Ever since President Clinton drummed the concept of net job creation into our heads with his mounting claims of the millions of jobs “I created,” we have become accustomed to monitoring this figure as evidence of executive economic skill. But, in this case, Romney can point to a lifetime of actually creating jobs while Governor Perry can only cite his role in presiding over their creation as head of state.

It’s quite a difference. Perry’s Texas has had historically low taxes for decades and is one of only a handful of states without an income tax. In 1970, for example, Texas had 11 million people and Michigan had 10 million. Now Texas has 25 million while Michigan cannot find jobs for its current population of 11 million. The credit for Texas’ low taxes belongs not just to Perry, but to Governors George W. Bush and Bill Clements before him. (And even a nod is due Governor Ann Richards in between).

The job creation record is partially due to a surge in oil demand (one quarter of the new Texas jobs are in the energy sector) and some of the new jobs are due to the efforts of former Governor (and client) Mark White in getting the chip research industry to locate in Austin in the 80s.

Romney has actually, personally, financially created tens of thousands of jobs. His record of buying companies, fixing them up, selling off the unprofitable parts, obtaining financing to grow the money-making parts is invaluable in helping us to get out of the current job creation funk.

Just a note: I find the claim that Mr. Romney “created jobs” is a bit disingenuous given that what Mr. Romney did was what current CEO’s are doing: merging and laying people off thereby reaping a huge profit…for themselves. No wonder big money loves Mr. Romney.

Mr. Morris goes on in this pre-analysis of the upcoming debate video:

Social Humor
Some isn’t really that funny but….

Headline FAIL (via Friendly Atheist)

Yes, I get it. Some well intentioned people of the church decided to start a food bank, and the challenge of running it proved to be more than that group was capable of. No shame there; they tried (which is more than I am doing now…). But still the headline is a classic.

Computers: why your geeky friend who fixed your computer really doesn’t like you. 🙂
Yes, there is some truth there, but this article is written in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

Moon II: volleyball.

Yes, there is more at this link; this is a “what color of spandex do you like” post. ALL of them, of course!!! 🙂

September 1, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, astronomy, Barack Obama, big butts, hillary clinton, humor, Mitt Romney, obama, political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, rick perry, sarah palin, science, Science Friday teachers, social/political, space, spandex, Spineless Democrats | Leave a comment

Scifri Videos: Rumble In The Jungle

Science, technology, environment and health news and discussion from the makers of the NPR public radio program Science Friday with host Ira Flatow.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Scifri Videos: Rumble In The Jungle", posted with vodpod

Jerry Coyne has more here: he thinks that this will be some sort of mating call (a ‘froggy flirt”) and goes on to talk about scientific papers and how to “sell” your work to the journal.

May 30, 2010 Posted by | alternative energy, biology, blogs, brain, cosmology, dark energy, disease, environment, evolution, frogs, green news, health, matter, nanotechnology, nature, neuroscience, physics, public policy and discussion from NPR public radio program Science Friday with host Ira Flatow. Science Videos, science, Science Friday teachers, Science Friday teens., technology | Leave a comment