New Orleans on the Hudson

Has it been only 7 years since Katrina? We thought, “Who could be so stupid to put off evacuation while a mountain of water descended on their town?” I had a conservative friend send me little “news items” about how this demonstrates the inferior character of the New Orleans people (read “dark colored people”) in contrast to the people of North Dakota, who take floods like that in stride.

This week it was the turn of New York. Wall Street, where the business decisions of this country and large parts of the world are made. Wall Street, only a few feet above sea level at a time when the sea level is rising year by year and is expected to rise steadily for the foreseeable future.

New York City was perfectly positioned to absorb the worst of Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge — a record 13 feet.

The effects of the superstorm that flooded parts of the city are lingering into Tuesday and likely will for much longer, with a large swath of the city out of power, subway and vehicle tunnels flooded, and the financial district closed for a second day.

A fire destroyed at least 50 houses overnight in Queens’ flooded Rockaway peninsula and forced the rescue of about 25 people from an upstairs apartment. Officials weren’t immediately able to pin down the cause of the blaze.

Crucial generators failed, and when the subway system flooded predictably much valuable equipment was damaged or rendered useless. People who refused to evacuate their low-lying homes begged Tuesday for rescue from their attics and roof tops, sometimes to no avail.

Here’s a note to New Orleans. It’s going to happen again. You can’t build levees high enough to protect the city forever. Your land is sinking, and the ocean level is rising. New York, you’re right at sea level, and vast parts of your infra-structure are below water level now. You need to act as though the next storm surge is going to be higher and it’s coming next year.

I checked recently. My house is about 900 feet above sea level. I don’t need a levee. For the time being.

Panda Adventures

A very slow weekend.

We polished it off with an outing to Panda Express. Barbara Jean had a coupon for a free entrée, so what was there to lose? Little we expected.

I wanted the steamed rice, but Barbara Jean insisted I get the vegetables. I should have known trouble was coming. Trouble became apparent when I gazed at the vegetable pan. There were not enough vegetables for one person, let alone two. Barbara Jean took care of that.

Even before we got to the head of the service line she marched up to the counter and pointed out that we were getting the vegetables, and they needed to prepare some more. That should do it, right? Wrongo.

At the service counter, and they told us they needed to cook more vegetables. They would bring out our food when the vegetables were ready. We paid and sat and waited. And waited. Nobody seemed to be preparing any vegetables. After a few minutes of that, while other people marched through the line without ordering, and waiting for, vegetables, we marched up to the counter and inquired about our food. They promised to hurry some more.

Finally some vegetables, and we picked up our dinners. We made plans to take their free-entrée survey again and to especially mention the problem of getting vegetables. And we talked about things medical.

I have plans to visit the pulmonary specialist again next month for a follow up on his investigation of my bronchitis. And we talked about final decisions. At what point should a person decline treatment. I have always held to the belief that death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down. Or even to tell you the show is over. I vowed I would recognize reality when it presented itself. Like when the doctor tells me I can live another five months if I have heart bypass surgery. Forget about it. I’m taking the easy way out.

In the course of this conversation we finally came to our fortune cookies. Mine read:

You will live a long and prosperous life.

Well! That took care of my concerns for the near future. Then it was time to read Barbara Jean’s fortune:

Put up with small annoyances to gain great results.

Some people call me skeptical, but there is something to be said of the wisdom the fortune cookie.

Bad Joke of the Week

OK, no serious humor this time. Just some quaint and curious limericks. These have been printed before, and some I read in Playboy 50 years ago. One appeared in Boys Life more than 50 years ago. To get started, here is one that explains limericks:

Limericks pack laughs anatomical,
In space that is quite economical.
But the good ones we’ve seen,
So seldom are clean,
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.
A touter who tooted the flute,
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two the the touter,
Is it harder to toot?
Or to tutor two tooters to toot?

For this next one you have to pronounce the name of the country as though it rhymes with tiger.

There once was a lady from Niger,
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They returned from the ride,
With the lady inside,
And a smile on the face of the tiger.
There was an old man from Nantucket,
Who kept all his dough in a bucket.
His daughter named Nan,
Ran away with a man,
And as for the bucket, Nan took it.
A bather whose clothing was strewed,
By breezes that left her quite nude,
Saw a man come along,
And unless I am wrong,
You expected this last line to be lewd.

Bad Joke of the Week

Oh, rats. time for another bad joke of the week.

So, the Pope was in his palace, and he got to thinking, and he said to his staff, “It’s been a long time since I visited America. Set me up with a trip to New York.”

The staff were a little embarrassed. They told the Pope the church was a little short on cash, and there was no way he would be able to travel in his usual style. However, they suggested, he could fly commercial, even first class.

So they set up the trip, and they told him when he got off the plane in New York there would be a limousine waiting form him to take him to his hotel.

In New York the Pope cleared customs and looked around. There was a man holding up a sign that said “POPE.”

“Are you my driver?” the Pope asked. The driver told him he was, indeed the driver, and he took the Pope’s bags, and they headed to VIP parking. There stood the car for the Pope, and a magnificent piece of automobile it was.

“Hey,” said the Pope. “Can I drive?”

The driver told him no, that was his job.

“But,” said the Pope. “I never get to drive. How about this one time?”

So, the driver thought about it and said, “What the heck,” and he got in the back seat while the Pope got in the front seat. And floored the gas.

The luxurious vehicle stormed out of the parking lot and onto the freeway. Soon it was doing over 100, heading straight for Manhattan.

Presently the car sped past a motorcycle cop who got behind and signaled for the driver to pull over. The cop strode confidently toward the driver’s window, book in hand. But, he took one look at the driver and hurried back to his motorcycle and got the desk sergeant on the radio.

“Chief,” he said. “I just stopped a limo doing over 120 on the L.I.E.”

“No problem,” the sergeant responded. “Just write him a novel and tell him to take it easy on the gas.”

“But, Chief, you don’t understand,” the cop continued. “This is a really important person.”

The sergeant thought about it for about two seconds and asked, “Really? Just how important? And who is this guy, anyhow?”

The cop told him, “I don’t know who it is?”

“Then how do you know the guy’s important?”

“Because,” the cop said, “His driver is the Pope!”

Liberal Media Bias

You know it. You’ve seen it. We all have. It’s been around a long time. There is hardly a conservative value that has not been stung by the scourge of liberal media bias. Now even the arch conservative Taliban are feeling the cut.

What the Taliban did was shoot a young school girl in the face. For that simple act of conservative pride they are now being lashed by the left-wing press. Liberal papers and news programming are brimming with glorification of the young girl’s virtue and her cause. No account is given for the deeply-held conservative values that required this action. The fundamentalist religious trigger man is cast as the lowest of the low with little regard for his deeply-held religious convictions. What else can you expect from the left wing liberal media?

I don’t need to remind readers of the bias that has permeated news reporting in this country for nearly 250 years. Good King George was among the first recipients.

Although he rightly held control of the lives of his English subjects with an authority handed down ultimately by the God we all knew and revere, the colonial press never gave him an even break. Quarter soldiers in colonist’s homes, and the press came down on him as though he were a common thief. Hold people without trial on trumped up charges, and the press accused him of being some kind of tyrant. Tax the colonists without giving them the benefit of representation in the taxing body, and reporters shouted “tyranny,” again. Never a regard for his divine right to rule.

And it didn’t end with George III. Later in the new country it was the slave owners who got in the crosshairs of the liberal news. Like slave owners didn’t have property rights? No balance shown and no quarter given.

So it also went with women’s suffrage and voting rights. Always the liberal media seemed to be there giving only one side of the story.

I wish I could say I am the only one who is shocked by the liberal media in this latest matter. Sadly, there are others:

From Pakistan:

Pakistani Taliban Declare War on Media

As Malala Yousafzai lands in Britain, still fighting for her life, militants complain that coverage of the schoolgirl’s shooting has been “biased” against them. Sami Yousafzai reports.

Lezget Real:

And We Thought Our Right Wing Hated “Media Bias”

Posted by: Linda Carbonell on October 18, 2012.

A small local, Urdu-language newspaper in Pakistan has uncovered terror attack plans by the Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). On Saturday, Dawn reported a communique from TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud directing “his subordinate to target the offices of media organizations in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and in other cities in the country especially those media organizations and media personalities who are denouncing TTP after attack on child activist Malalai Yousufzai.”

MSN:

Cry-baby Taliban declare war on ‘biased media’

The Taliban have added the world’s media to the long list of folks the militant jerks are at war with. Apparently surprised at the negative reaction to their attempted assassination of 14-year-old education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, they’re whining that the press is out to get them. “For days and days, coverage of the Malala case has shown clearly that the Pakistani and international media are biased,” a Pakistani Taliban commander, Jihad Yar said. “The Taliban cannot tolerate biased media.” But obviously they’re totally cool about shooting teenage girls in the head for wanting to go to school. “She was going to become a symbol of Western ideas, and the decision to eliminate her was correct,” the commander said

Newstrak India:

Pakistani media worried after Taliban threats for ‘biased’ coverage on Malala attack

London, Oct. 18 (ANI): Pakistani media has expressed fear at Taliban threats to target journalists after critical coverage of the shooting of teenage education activist Malala Yousufzai.

The 14-year-old, who earned international fame for raising her voice against Taliban oppression in Swat, was shot in the neck and head and two other girls sustained injuries when the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) opened fire on their school van in Swat valley last Tuesday.

The TTP said it had shot her for “promoting secularism”.

What does a conservative religious organization like the Taliban need to do to get even-handed treatment from these liberal news people? As expected, the liberal New York Times covered the story as though some kind of crime had been committed:

After a Bullet in the Head, Assaults on a Pakistani Schoolgirl’s Character Follow

Last Updated | Wednesday, 5:26 p.m. As a Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by Taliban militants last week fights for her life in a British hospital, a battle to tarnish her reputation is being waged on social networks and news sites in Pakistan.

See what I mean? It’s as though the Taliban were creationists, which they are, but that’s beside the point. What else would you expect from a news organization that promotes the evolution and the science behind global warming? Fortunately we have real news outlets that look out for conservative values, and on whom we can rely for fair and balanced news. And you know who they are.

Chiropractic Ham

Whenever I come across an interesting blog I like to pass it along. Today I am discussing Edzard Ernst.

Published Wednesday 17 October 2012

We all remember the libel case of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) against Simon Singh, I’m sure. The BCA lost, and the chiropractic profession was left in disarray.

One would have thought that chiropractors have learnt a lesson from this experience which, after all, resulted in a third of all UK chiropractors facing disciplinary proceedings. One would have thought that chiropractors had enough of their attempts to pursue others when, in fact, they themselves were clearly in the wrong. One would have thought that chiropractors would eventually focus on providing us with some sound evidence about their treatments. One would have thought that chiropractors might now try to get their act together.

If you don’t recall, the treatment of press freedom in England is not as enlightened as it is on this side of the pond. That is possibly why there is a United Stated of America, and there is a United Kingdom. In cases of libel here the burden of proof rests entirely on the accuser (the person who claims to have been libeled). The accused has only to demonstrate truth. In the absence of truth, the accused only has to demonstrate absence of malice. In England if you are accused you have to put up a more spirited defense. As a result the chiropractic quacks over there have an easier time suppressing bad reviews, and they take advantage of the opportunity.

Edzard Ernest is “Chair in Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter.” He is co-author with Simon Singh of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial. Amazon.com has this to say about the book:

Welcome to the world of alternative medicine. Prince Charles is a staunch defender and millions of people swear by it; most UK doctors consider it to be little more than superstition and a waste of money. But how do you know which treatments really heal and which are potentially harmful?Now at last you can find out, thanks to the formidable partnership of Professor Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh. Edzard Ernst is the world’s first professor of complementary medicine, based at Exeter University, where he has spent over a decade analyzing meticulously the evidence for and against alternative therapies. He is supported in his findings by Simon Singh, the well-known and highly respected science writer of several international bestsellers. Together they have written the definitive book on the subject. It is honest, impartial but hard-hitting, and provides a thorough examination and judgement of more than thirty of the most popular treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic and herbal medicine.In “Trick or Treatment?” the ultimate verdict on alternative medicine is delivered for the first time with clarity, scientific rigour and absolute authority.

And read Edzard Ernst’s blog for more on the wacky world of alternative medicine.

Honcho

Well now, doesn’t that just beat all. It would appear the Taliban are riled up again. Let’s see what it’s all about.

Taliban says its attack on Pakistani schoolgirl justified

(Reuters) – Taliban insurgents said on Tuesday that the Pakistani schoolgirl its gunmen shot in the head deserved to die because she had spoken out against the group and praised U.S. President Barack Obama.

OK, this time it’s a 14-year-old school girl. Well, I guess those guys can’t be too careful. I mean, if a wise-ass kid gets out of line you got to take her down. Shit, man, if they let a girl mouth off about them, then what’s next? An old man in a wheelchair shooting them the bird, maybe.

So, what did the young miss Malala Yousufzai do to get them so unhinged? Praised Barack Obama? No! You never can be too careful with these Taliban. Mention the president of the United States these days, and you can get the wrong kind of attention.

Of course right now they are off bragging about it. The guy who pulled trigger is most likely getting the bin Laden Order of Merit (BLOM) hung around his neck. When he finally goes into that dark night it’s going to be seventy-three virgins waiting for him. And no dried up old maids, either.

I’ve been trying to come up with an appropriate word for the trigger man and his cheering squad. Heroic popped into mind, but that was not a good fit. Courageous, noble, righteous, upstanding, I passed them all by. Religious came close, but I am concerned that if I use that term I will catch flak from some truly heroic, courageous, noble, righteous, upstanding religious people. Maybe my readers can come up with the term I’m looking for. I’m taking suggestions.

In the mean time I’m still going to wear my Obama t-shirt, but only around the house. I can’t be too careful. The Taliban could mistake me for an old codger.

Actually Not So Fast

This is the service review of the month. There will be a small prize for the first who can tell me the name of the lube service.

I lived in Dallas, and I took my car to the lube service a few blocks away for a state safety inspection. Their name suggested their service was quick. It turned out to be as quick as they wanted it to be.

The inspector told me the car passed the inspection, but only after he replaced the rear license plate lamp. And charged me a number of dollars for the lamp and for the installation.

The car was not very old at the time, but during the time I owned the car I had become attached to my rear license plate lamp, so I asked the inspector to give it to me to take home and enjoy some more. What I did was to take the lamp home and apply my handy ohm meter to determine whether the filament had burned out. When the filament of an incandescent lamp burns out it melts in two and will no longer conduct electricity. Mine still conducted, so I suspected the inspector was mistaken in thinking the lamp was burned out. It was a mistake that netted his company a few extra dollars that day. I was left with a small incandescent lamp that I have no use for.

Later I was driving Barbara Jean’s car out in Tucson, Arizona, and it needed an oil change. So I took the Camry to a lube center of the same brand as the one in Dallas and let them do the service. The address was approximately Kolb Road and Broadway. I then got on the phone for a conversation with Barbara Jean back in Dallas.

While I was talking on the phone to Barbara Jean I noticed the person who was conducting the oil change walking around looking for something. I guessed he was looking for me to tell me I should allow him to sell me a new air filter, but I was not interested in getting a new filter. I always change my own air filters. They are cheap, and it’s easy to change them out. I never did talk to the service guy about the filter. I just talked to Barbara Jean until somebody signaled my oil change was complete. I paid for the service and drove the car back up Kolb Road toward my apartment.

Very quickly I noticed the oil fault light was on, indicating the engine did not have enough oil. I stopped the car as quickly as I could and pulled the oil dip stick. It was as dry as the afternoon Tucson breeze. I turned the Camry around and drove it back to the lube center. I told them the oil indicator was on, and would they please take a look. The service guy said he would do that, and shortly after I watched from a distance as somebody pumped oil into the engine.

The service guy told me that he found the oil level to be a little bit low, but they had fixed the problem. I thanked the man, smiling inwardly at my little secret. Some people call me skeptical, and sometimes I deserve the attribution. However, to this day I have suspected the service guy was so anxious to find something else to sell me that he forgot to put oil in the car.

A few weeks later, back in Dallas, I noticed there were no longer any outlets for this chain of lube centers in the area. I have not wondered to long at the reason.

Mr. Undecided

First you say you do and then you don’t,
And then you say you will and then you won’t,
You’re undecided now, so what are you gonna do?

Don’t you just love these politicians. I do. I love them so much it hurts. I don’t know what I would do without them. They bring light to my bleak existence.

Transcript: Rep. DesJarlais urged abortion

2:24PM EDT October 10. 2012 – NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A freshman congressman running for re-election on a pro-life platform urged his pregnant mistress to get an abortion a decade ago, according to a transcript of the recorded conversation.

The undated phone recording appears to have been made before Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ divorce from his wife, Susan, was finalized in 2001. In the undated conversation, DesJarlais tells the unidentified woman that he is concerned that she hadn’t taken steps toward terminating the pregnancy.

“You told me you’d have an abortion, and now we’re getting too far along without one,” DesJarlais said, according to the transcript. “If we need to go to Atlanta, or whatever, to get this solved and get it over with so we can get on with our lives, then let’s do it.”

See if I have all the facts straight in this story. The woman’s life and health were not in danger. There was no indication the pregnancy could not be carried to full term. The only things at stake were the reputations of the parties involved, the legal position of the future congressman and the convenience for all concerned. Except not the convenience of the fetus.

To a communist pinko left wing radical baby killer that would have been sufficient cause for an abortion on demand. But maybe not for a politician running on a so-called pro-life platform.

I am shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that politicians do not always expose their true beliefs and levels of commitment when begging for your vote. Here is a person who has no problem with abortions of convenience, but to get elected he must cozy up to a party that has attached itself to the mantra of no abortion for any reason. OK, some will go an exception in cases of imminent mortality, but forget about rape, incest or medical necessity.

Please, readers, when a politician stands before you and pleads your cause, do not for a moment accept he is opening his heart. He is reflecting his perception of your wishes and nothing more.

And, no, I am not shocked.

Ella Fitzgerald made the song famous back in 1939. It’s by Robin Shavers

Bad Joke of the Week

I don’t make all of these up. Some I steal from other people.

The man goes to see the psychiatrist. The doctor asks, “What seems to be the problem?”
The man says, “I like pancakes.”
The doctor says, “So?”
The man says, “Doctor, I really like pancakes.”
The doctor says, “I don’t see the problem. I am quite fond of pancakes, myself.”
The man says, “You are? That’s wonderful. I have a flatbed truck load down at the curb.”

Berlin Diary

Readers have probably noticed I am doing a lot of posts that have a 70th anniversary link. Seventy years ago the world was a very interesting place. Not a pleasant place, but an interesting place.

World War II was in full swing. American Marines and soldiers were on Guadalcanal  and New Guinea, and the Atlantic war was reaching its peak as German U boots were sinking ships in sight of resort hotels on our East Coast. What was to become the Eighth Air Force was forming up in England, and the United States and Great Britain were planning to invade North Africa to attack German and Italian forces.

All this while there was one who had seen and lived through it from the start, and now his war was over. It was nearly 80 years ago when William Shirer started covering the growing conflagration in Europe. In 1934 he was thirty years old and had already been working for years as a foreign correspondent. A serious skiing accident had forced him to take the year 1933 off to recuperate, and when his savings ran out he took a job with the Paris Herald. He left behind an idyllic life on the Spanish Mediterranean for the hell that was becoming Europe.

Here is a quick look at the Shirer’s world of 1933. Compare it with today or with even a even a few months into his new assignment. These times and this place will never be again, and it’s hard to imagine they ever were:

We stumbled across Lloret de Mar on a hike up the coast from Barcelona. It was five miles from the railroad, set in the half-moon of a wide, sandy beach under the foot-hills of the Pyrenees. Tess liked it at once. So did I. We found a furnished house on the beach — three storeys, ten rooms, two baths, central heating. When the proprietor said the price would be fifteen dollars a month, we paid the rent for a year. Our expenses, including rent, have averaged sixty dollars a month.

Berlin Diary (Kindle Locations 61-65).

He also mentions that Andres Segovia lived next door and would sometimes come and play Bach and Albeniz on the guitar. This he and his wife left in January 1934. A few days later Shirer was watching people being shot down on the Champs Elysees in Paris. And the war would not start for another five and a half years.

The crumbling of European society that Shirer watched at close range until the Germans expelled him in 1941 is a horrific tale of avarice, corruption, malfeasance and even murder at the highest levels. From our perspective 70 years on it is painfully difficult to imagine that it ever happened. But it did, and William Shirer jotted it down in Berlin Diary.

I got my free Kindle edition from Amazon. If you have trouble getting a copy, send me a note.

Quantum Mechanics and EPR

Readers surely have figured this out by now. I don’t write all this stuff. I mostly glean highlights from the news and pass them on with a little bit of comment. Here is today’s item:

Nobel for quantum “parlor trick” that could make super computers

(Reuters) – A French and an American scientist won the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for finding ways to measure quantum particles without destroying them, which could make it possible to build a new kind of computer far more powerful than any seen before.

Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland, both 68, found ways to manipulate the very smallest particles of matter and light to observe strange behavior that previously could only be imagined in equations and thought experiments.

Wineland once described his own work as a “parlor trick” that performed the seemingly magical feat of putting an object in two places at once. Other scientists praised the achievements as bringing to life the wildest dreams of science fiction.

Albert Einstein and Danish Physicist Neils Bohr used to have a back and forth on this, like over 70 years ago. Einstein insisted that particles defined by the same quantum state were inherently linked by some internal factor that each possessed. Bohr maintained that there was no hidden variable that defined the state of the “entwined” particles. Einstein, along with Boris Podolski and Nathan Rosen proposed a thought experiment that would resolve the issue. What resulted was the so-called EPR Paradox.

Back when I was a college student I did a term paper on the EPR Paradox, pulling from an article that appeared in Scientific American and from other sources. I also explained that new-agers put forward the claim that the principles of quantum mechanics are behind psychic phenomena and other paradigms of the paranormal. I posted the gist of my paper on the Internet about twenty years ago, and Scot I. Chase and others made significant contributions to the posting. To this day, after twenty years, if you Google John Blanton and Einstein you will come up with some references to the original. Like this one.

German physicist Erwin Schrödinger proposed a thought experiment that involved a cat that was simultaneously alive and dead, and the resulting concept has become called the Schrödinger’s cat paradox. There is even a book In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat, by John Gribbin. Read up and get back to me if you are interested.

Politicians from Hell

I sometimes label this “Reason number 47 I seldom vote for a Republican. First, take the congressman from hell:

Congressman calls evolution lie from ‘pit of hell’

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Rep. Paul Broun said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell” meant to convince people that they do not need a savior.

The Republican lawmaker made those comments during a speech Sept. 27 at a sportsman’s banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell. Broun, a medical doctor, is running for re-election in November unopposed by Democrats.

I resist the temptation to add to these remarks. I think they speak for themselves and tell more about the congressman from Georgia than I ever could. Here is a link to the church video.

Just when I thought it could not get any worse:

Ark. GOP Calls Candidates’ Statements ‘Offensive’

Arkansas Republicans tried to distance themselves Saturday from a Republican state representative’s assertion that slavery was a “blessing in disguise” and a Republican state House candidate who advocates deporting all Muslims.

The claims were made in books written, respectively, by Rep. Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro and House candidate Charlie Fuqua of Batesville. Those books received attention on Internet news sites Friday.

Here is a little more about the Arkansas dust-up:

Arkansas Republicans’ comments on slavery, Muslims stir controversy

LITTLE ROCK, Ark (Reuters) – Republicans in Arkansas are struggling to get past the controversy generated by a state lawmaker who wrote that slavery might have benefited blacks and a candidate who has advocated expelling Muslims from the United States.

The Republican politicians’ comments have been roundly criticized and have created an opportunity for Democrats ahead of the November 6 election. Arkansas has a Democratic governor but has voted Republican in the past three presidential elections.

I and many sincere Republican lawmakers are wondering what version of the United States of America these people come from. No attempt will be made here to paint the entire GOP with this broad brush. This is not the Republican Party, but the party still has a problem on its hands. There are and have always been people like the politicians just described, and there is something about the Republican Party that makes them feel more at home than in the Democratic Party. It’s an issue the GOP needs to address; else they will find themselves watching from the sidelines while another party runs the United States government.

Bad Joke of the Week

Jesus, is it Saturday again? Time for the Bad Joke of the Week.

Justin Boudreaux grew up in the swamp, married young, and lived poor for many years. Then oil companies came around and wrote Boudreaux big checks for the oil under his property, but Boudreaux stayed true to his humble roots. He did, however, build a larger house for his bulging family, and he sent young Millreaux off to college.

“Now, son,” he told Millreaux as he put him on the train to college, you don’t fool around. You study hard, and you send your grade reports home right regular.”

Months passed and no grade reports came from Millreaux. Instead, Boudreaux received an e-mail from his son (Boudreaux had become tech savvy with his new wealth), and the e-mail said, “Quick, send Old Blue by the next train. There’s a man here at college that can teach Old Blue to talk. Also send $2000 to pay the man.”

Beaudreaux was skeptical, but he put Old Blue on the train and sent him off. He also sent $2000.

Presently there was another e-mail. “The man says Old Blue is making great progress, but he wants another $2000. Send it right away. Your son, Millreaux.”

Boudreaux was still suspicious, but he sent another $2000.

When the third e-mail arrived requesting another $2000, Boudreaux had had enough. He e-mailed back: “Millreaux, you get Old Blue, and you bring him home on the next train. I want to see what progress he has made.”

Then Boudreaux waited at the platform for the train arrived. Only Millreaux got off the train. No Old Blue.

“Where’s Old Blue?” Boudreaux demainded.

“Well, Pa, it’s this way,” explained Millreaux. “Old Blue and I were riding back on the train, and Old Blue was sitting next to me. Then from out of nowhere he turned to me and said, ‘Millreaux, did I ever tell you what your daddy and the upstairs maid were doing?'”

“Well, Pa,” said Millreaux, “I was so offended by the implications of Old Blue’s remarks that I threw him out of the window in front of an on-coming freight.”

A stern look came onto Boudreaux’s face and he grabbed Millreaux’s collar and pulled him up close. “Son,” he said. “I want you to be straight with me. I need to know. Are you sure that lying dog is dead?”

Science and Human Foolishness

Most people know by now that I waste a lot of time fooling around with creationism in its many forms. I believe that everybody needs a vice.

So, I was reading one of my favorite creationist blogs, Evolution News, and came across this.

We Called Out Darwinist Critic Carl Zimmer, and He Folded
David Klinghoffer July 19, 2012 3:25 PM | Permalink

This is sort of inside baseball so I’ll keep it short.

Yesterday our friends at Biologic Institute were being pestered on their Facebook page by science writer and Discover magazine blogger Carl Zimmer on the subject of Science and Human Origins. Facebook is really no place for a substantive debate — the format is such that it doesn’t repay the time you put in.

So I wrote to Zimmer to invite him to participate in a genuine and informative online debate here at ENV, pairing him against one of the authors of SHO and allowing him 2000 words total in which he could tear our arguments and evidence to shreds if he liked.

Klinghoffer went on to complain that Zimmer, declined the offer of a debate without even reading the book:

So you see what we’re up against. Carl hasn’t read the book and now, having ducked out of a proper debate, he can go on denouncing it without ever having read it. He’s perfectly willing to waste our time on Facebook, where the phrase “pecked to death by ducks” comes to mind. But how about gathering his thoughts after reading the book and then telling us what’s wrong with Science and Human Origins? No, that he will not do.

Of course that got me interested. Zimmer is one of my favorite writers, and I have previously reviewed his book At The Water’s Edge, so I was curious at what all the fuss was about. What was it about the new creationist book Science and Human Origins that was worth all this back and forth. So I purchased the Kindle edition of the book and had a look.

Exceptionally typical creationist book

I am now reading my new e-book, and the truth is growing on me. It is obvious why Zimmer did not want to read the book. This is an exceptionally typical creationist book. That is to say, this is an exceptionally typical creationist book full of talk and almost no substance. I was talking to my wife about it on the phone, and I told her what a wonderful piece of crap this is and that I was so glad I got it.

I’m going to be finishing the read shortly (not too many big words), and I will do a review. So watch out. It’s coming your way.

A Solumn Moment, Please

Forgive me while I pause for a moment, for my heart is with these fallen.

3 Hezbollah members killed in weapons depot blast in eastern Lebanon

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 10:58 AM

BEIRUT — A Hezbollah weapons depot exploded in eastern Lebanon on Wednesday, killing three members of the Shiite militant group, according to a report on its TV station.

OK. That was long enough.

Not Your Grandfather’s Senate

Remember back when the United States Senate was populated by wise and mature people with great vision and sobriety. Me neither.

Look who we have running for a seat in the Senate this year:

Todd Akin: Doctors are giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant

By DAVID A. LIEB — Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin is again drawing attention for comments about abortion – this time, for saying that doctors are “giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant.”

The Republican congressman from suburban St. Louis made the remark in a 2008 House speech. The video was being recirculated Wednesday on the Internet as Akin campaigns against Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Wait, there’s more. In August I noted the good congressman’s remarks on rape that were a little out of Fantasy Land. OK, a lot out of Fantasy Land.

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.

I tell you, people, it’s politicians like Akin who give me reason to get out of bed in the morning. Live long and prosper, Congressman Akin.

The Attack of the Pedants

Pedantic alert. I hate it when people get it so wrong. See this:

Surfer dogs hang ten

There will be plenty of four-legged visitors frolicking in the Vanston Pool, 2913 Oates Drive, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11. The city will host its annual Doggie Splash Day as the city’s pools close for the summer.

The problem is that it is not ten. Count them. Dogs have twenty. For dogs it has always been hang 20. Get with the program, people.

The Pelican Brief

I will make this brief. Here is the news headline:

Civil trial over lagoon crash of $1 million Bugatti called off for now

Two years ago, a Texas used car dealer drove a $1 million 2006 Bugatti Veyron into a lagoon, claiming he had been distracted by a pelican while behind the wheel. This week, a civil trial was supposed to begin over an insurance company’s claim that Andy House destroyed the Bugatti to collect on a $2.2 million policy — but in a last-minute change, the trial was indefinitely postponed without explanation.

Well, that’s an interesting story. What makes it more interesting is that 1) the car has a purchase price of only $1 million, 2) the car was such an attraction (did I mention a purchase price of $1 million?) that somebody was taking videos of the vehicle at the time of the “accident.” 3) There is no pelican in the video. See, I told you this would be brief.

The reason (???) an insurance company would insure a car for more than twice its purchase price (???) is that the $2.2 million was a “collector’s value.” OK.

What makes this even more interesting is that $2.2 million is about what the driver owed in debts to a business partner. See? Witnesses to the “accident” noticed the driver entered the water somewhat carefully, then let the engine run submerged until it was quite ruined.

I don’t want to make a bad pun, but does something seem fishy about this whole business?

The Last Roundup

Git along little doggie, git along, git along
Git along little doggie, git along, git along

I’m heading for the last roundup

It’s time for me to wrap it up. I’m heading for the last roundup.

I’ve been working part-time for several years, and I was looking forward to the 19th of this month. The money pockets asked me to stay on a while longer, and I told them I’m going to be out of here by the end of December. I’m heading for the last roundup.

Which brings us to the reason for this post. In the meantime I’m going to have fairly much of a full plate, so these postings are going to to be brief and to the point. I am sure all will enjoy that. If you’ve been reading you know I don’t write a lot of original stuff, but rather I pull from interesting headlines. Look for a bunch of that for the next few weeks.

Since these postings are in last-first order, you are going to be reading this explanation after you’ve already gone through a bunch of abbreviated drivel before you reached this apology. Sorry about that.