Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Electric Light Orchestra, "Concerto For a Rainy Day"

The following songs constitute side three of the vinyl version of Electric Light Orchestra's Out of the Blue which was released in 1977. If you're a sucker for strings like me, you'll enjoy it.

And I really don't feel like writing about politics right now anyway.







Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hell Freezes Over

There is a lot to like about Lori Ziganto's latest post.

I mean that. I am not being sarcastic. I actually like it.

In much of it, Ziganto actually sounds quite sane and reasonable. I agree with what she has to say about vaccinations. I agree with her take on the disagreement between Bachmann and Perry during the Tea Party debate on CNN. Perry's plan to vaccinate children against HPV was the right thing to do, and Ziganto appears to agree. The idea may violate some Tea Party principle, but human lives are worth more than principles.

In response to the campaign against vaccinations by Jenny McCarthy and others, Ziganto sincerely and correctly proclaims, "The science is settled," as if science really matters. This is good to see.

Unfortunately, it ain't all good. She begins the post with lame attacks on Huntsman, Paul, and Santorum which we now know to be beneath her. Look, I don't particularly like those guys either, and I would never vote for them, but you can do better than that, Lori. And the weird ad hominem you use against Bachmann is also quite lame. Whether Minnesota requires vaccinations or not is completely irrelevant to Bachmann's laughable objections to Perry. Why resort to an ad hominem when you have perfectly good arguments against her? Like this:
Vaccinations save lives. What we call ‘mandatory’ vaccinations exist in every state; children cannot attend school without receiving them. This is not new. We vaccinate to both prevent disease and to eventually eradicate the disease, at least for all intents and purposes. This is called ‘herd immunity’ and eradication of disease cannot happen without it. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not a fan of disease and think that trying to eradicate disease whenever and wherever possible is a good thing.
Ziganto also claims at the end of the post that President Obama's jobs bill does not exist. That is false. The American Jobs Act is an actual piece of legislation that is being submitted to Congress.

For the most part, though, well done, Ziganto. You really stepped up your game, and your readers will be better off for it. And I haven't mentioned all the good points Ziganto makes in her argument against Bachmann, so go ahead and read it for yourself.

For Your Further Enlightenment XXI



Tempest Milky Way from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

Friday, September 9, 2011

If you like Saturn, you're in luck.

First is an awesome picture of Saturn taken by NASA's Cassini orbiter:


Click on the picture for the full-size version. You can read about the photograph here.

As if that weren't enough, check out this video, part of which I presume is taken from Outside In, "a ground-breaking non-profit giant screen film currently in production animated from millions of still photographs for IMAX™ and other giant screen theaters," to be released later this year. The show-stopper begins at :57. Full-screen is best:


5.6k Saturn Cassini Photographic Animation from stephen v2 on Vimeo.

Read more about Outside In here. And you can read more about Cassini here.

Yeah, I'm a bit of a space geek.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bored now.

I've been away for a while.

I got something like a promotion at work, and now I'm busier overall. And then there was that hailstorm that totaled the family car. Fortunately, our insurance company is taking care of us. And we also have a little one on the way. Who knew finding a name for our little girl would be so time-consuming? I'm not making it to the gym nearly as often as I should. And I still suffer from this growing lack of faith in the very mission of this blog.

Lori Ziganto last posted something on her blog back on June 22. (I hope she's had an epiphany and her lack of output isn't due to some crisis or difficulty. Judging from the Twitter feed running alongside her posties, however, she doesn't appear to have gotten any wiser.) Here's the first paragraph:
“America, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home,” said President Obama during his speech outlining his plans for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. First, I’m not the President of the United States and all, but I’m pretty sure we’ve been a nation for a good long while. And as Jonah Goldberg said on Twitter “Just get it over with and declare Tom Friedman the King’s Hand.” But, I suppose we should at least give President Obama credit for his honesty in admitting that he can’t handle the job; I mean, shouldn’t a President be able to multi-task? Shouldn’t the leader of the free world be able to handle domestic issues and foreign policy, you know, at the same time? What happened to that whole ‘I can answer that 3:00 am call’ thing? They must not teach that in Community Organizing seminars.
How does one point out everything that's gone wrong in this single paragraph without sounding like a pedantic Leon Wolf admonishing a political enemy for imagined crimes against the English language? I'm not sure that it's possible, but I'll give it a try:
  • When the president says that "it is time to focus on nation-building here at home," what he means is that we ought to divert funds from the war in Afghanistan to domestic programs. Ziganto understands him to be saying that it is time to focus on becoming a nation because we are not a nation now. Lori, this makes you look either incompetent in your use of the language, hysterically partisan, or racist. (Sorry, but I'm done giving people like Ziganto the benefit of the doubt. Disagree with Obama if you like. But if you really hate the president that much, you're probably a racist, because our centrist president simply hasn't earned that much hatred from anyone. Just freaking admit that you're racist and get some help.) 
  • Ziganto also infers from the aforementioned statement that the president cannot multitask. This is coming from that wing of the Republican Party that constantly incorrectly insists that we're broke and bitches and moans about the federal deficit. The president is obviously saying that we need to be more selective in our use of tax dollars, in response to your bitching and moaning. If we need to cut spending, and we have to choose between spending on domestic programs and spending on the war in Afghanistan, we ought to end the war in Afghanistan to save money. That's the idea. This isn't about multitasking. The meaning of the President's remark is actually quite plain; if you really are a genius, Ziganto, stop pretending to be a moron. 
That's how much I can say about a single paragraph of Ziganto's writing, and I didn't even mention every problem in it.

But you know what? I'm bored with this post now, and I doubt that I'm the only one. I think that's all I want to say about Lori Ziganto's posties for the rest of my life. To her fans, I say this (even though they're not listening): I suppose that reading Ziganto's posties is somehow therapeutic for you, because they confirm your most cherished beliefs. And perhaps you take pleasure in the fact that the person writing those posties has a compulsive need to remind you every time you visit her blog that she possesses a pair of breasts. (Unfortunately for Ziganto, her photographic reminders neither mesmerized me nor distracted me from the flawed content of her posts.) But as I have shown here, her blog is not a reliable source of information and it is foolish to think that it is.

Anyone who is willing to take the time to understand my criticisms of Ziganto and other merchants of conservative propaganda doesn't need me to convince them that it is bullshit. They already know. And anyone who needs to be convinced that it is bullshit will not take the time to understand my criticisms of it. So what the hell am I doing this for? It used to be therapeutic, but It's probably no accident that I am losing passion for this at the same time that conservative bullshitters are losing their audiences. I am bored with this, and that is why I think I will try a few other things here. We'll see.

A pearl of Republican wisdom


Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. —Abraham Lincoln

Source

As reported by E.J. Dionne

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

If you want to know why I will never vote Republican, here's why

The following clips aired August 18th, but I didn't see them until last night.

No one does a better job of showing how idiotic the conservative media's bullshit can be than The Daily Show writers. Just watch and see for yourself.



That's right: since I'm not wealthy, I am a moocher, a taker, a parasite, a raccoon, and an utterly irresponsible animal according to these assholes. (And I'm waging class warfare because I want to let the Bush tax cuts expire?) However, since I have a refrigerator, a microwave, an air conditioner, cable TV, a cell phone, a coffee maker, two television sets, and a dishwasher, I am not really poor and my taxes should be increased to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. I suppose that I deserve it, since I am such a worthless piece of human garbage.

Incidentally, how could it come to pass that Neal Boortz is so monumentally difficult to watch?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mogwai, "Mogwai Fear Satan"



I know it's 16:19 long, but just kick back, relax, and listen to the entire thing.

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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---W.K. Clifford

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. ---Thomas Jefferson