Sunday, December 23, 2007

What's That Now?



My Mac is a bit confused this morning.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Do I have a problem? Why does it continue to make me laugh my ass off?

Friday, December 21, 2007

I'm really digging this fffound site.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gruber:
The irony, of course, is that a site whose entire claim to fame and raison d’├ętre was the exposition of “Apple secrets” has itself agreed to a secret deal with Apple.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sadly, No continues to review Jonah's book:
Reading this book is like watching a flaming piano fall out of an airplane and land in a puppy farm.

I Believe That Children Are Our Future

What hand/eye coordination will impress *them* in *their* children? Go Go Videogame Generation.

Gruber dissects what may well be the worst article ever written about Apple.

I can't believe I once had an honest-to-goodness physical subscription to Fast Company.

<shudder>

Let's remember the name of that author, Adam L. Penenberg, because that is one truly, epicly inane article. What shall the future hold for Adam?

Taking the Cake - The Most Dumb-Ass Piece of Iraq Rationalization Yet

Are you fucking kidding me? Karen DeYoung, Washington Post:
Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of 'occupying forces' as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

That is good news, according to a military analysis of the results. At the very least, analysts optimistically concluded, the findings indicate that Iraqis hold some 'shared beliefs' that may eventually allow them to surmount the divisions that have led to a civil war.
Our presence caused everyone to get violent towards each other, but it's cool - cuz we can stop the violence by leaving, and at least everyone's united in believing that!

Newsflash: Candidate Wants to Do Well

How is this a story?
DECORAH, Iowa (CNN) — Fred Thompson is suddenly trying to go from great GOP disappointment, to surprise contender, in record time.
Apparently Fred wants to do well in the Iowa poll in two weeks time, but he's not doing well now, so he has to change how well he's doing in just two weeks. Okay.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tweaks

It's the Most Wonderful Time...whenever a new Dinosaur Comic comes out.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Nazi Organic Farming

From the inside cover of Jonah Goldberg's new treatise, Liberal Fascism:
The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist.
Bradley asks:
How do you write this shit with a straight face? More importantly, how do you get paid to write this shit with a straight face?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Fake Steve Jobs runs down the value of his recently-released non-fake book:
"It's also only fifteen bucks on Amazon. That's only six cents per page, people. And while some of those pages might be ones where you just read through and don't burst out laughing, I can pretty much guarantee there are not any pages where you'll say, You know what? I want my six cents back.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One To Talk About Evidence

Point:
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.
Counterpoint, from Michael D. at Balloon Juice:
He then went on to talk about God, creation, loaves & fishes, walking on water, raising the dead, etc.

Hot Doggy

I like this point from Tim Dickinson on Rolling Stone's National Affairs blog:
"From [Mike Huckabee's] website:
We don’t have a dog in the fight between Sunnis and Shiites - our enemy is Islamic extremism in all its guises.
When someone briefs Mike on the Iran NIE, they might want to tell him that comparing Muslims to dogs is not helpful on the hearts-and-minds front.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I haven't linked to Glenn Greenwald in a while, but he's still got a way with words.
One of the principal ways that the Beltway establishment enforces its own undemocratic power is studiously to ignore public opinion and dismiss it as irrelevant, no match for the wise and gilded wisdom of their high priests. But here we see self-interested propagandists like Peter Beinart and David Brooks not merely dismissing public opinion as irrelevant, but just brazenly distorting it, all in order to align public opinion with their own desires, thus enabling them to pose deceitfully as the Voice of the People even as they espouse views which the vast majority rejects.

"It really doesn't matter what retailers do"

I don't have to tell my, um, readers that I'm not personally a "believer in Christ," but here are some great words from my favorite evangelical blogger, David Kuo, on folks getting angry over retailers, for example, not calling a Christmas Tree a Christmas Tree:
I used to be in the ticked off camp. Christmas is, after all, the big deal of the holiday season. More people - by far - celebrate it than celebrate any of the other holidays. It isn't even close.

But I don't think that anymore. It really doesn't matter what retailers do. It really doesn't matter what governments do. At Christmas it matters what churches do. At Christmas it matters what families do.

We waste too much time and too much energy focusing on things that aren't important to faith.

What does it matter if stores and governments acknowledge Christmas as the celebration of Christ's birth? They simply don't. They are, if anything else, a grand distraction to our faith. They are things that can make Christians feel good about their faith without requiring anything of them.

That is the opposite of the faith that Jesus instructed his followers to live. Jesus said his followers should expect hardship and trials and oppression. He didn't tell them to expect Sears to have a Christmas tree. He told them to sacrifice and serve and give and love. He didn't tell them to expect governments to celebrate is birth.

Perhaps de-Christianizing Christmas is the best thing for the Christian faith IF it forces Christians to focus more on their own spirituality and less on the nation's spirituality.
It's the hypocrisy that burns the worst - all around.
Marevlous perspective on rss reading: "Why Are You Reading All That News?"
One of the important things my elected government is doing today is to debate H. Res. 847: Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.
Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.

Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world;

Whereas there are approximately 225,000,000 Christians in the United States, making Christianity the religion of over three-fourths of the American population;

Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the largest religion in the world and the religion of about one-third of the world population;

Whereas Christians identify themselves as those who believe in the salvation from sin offered to them through the sacrifice of their savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and who, out of gratitude for the gift of salvation, commit themselves to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible;

Whereas Christians and Christianity have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;

Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its roots in Christianity;

Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ;

Whereas for Christians, Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God's redemption, mercy, and Grace; and

Whereas many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Christmas as a time to serve others: Now, therefore be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;

(2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;

(3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;

(4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;

(5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and

(6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.

Separation of Church and State, muthafucka!

And yes, I know there were previous bills about Islam and Hinduism. Rep. King still sounds like Malkin clamoring about white racism or something.
Oh, Good God preserve me from satan...



Inspired by uncov.

Future-Safe

Dave Winer:
[My uncle] died in 2003. His site is still accessible because I keep it that way. When I die, who will will take over for me? I'm sure the world will survive without his writing, but why? If I love the memory of my uncle, and I do, what can I do to reserve a place for him in the archive of the future. It seems such a small thing, but it's most of what remains of his life.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Now here's a useful list. Boing Boing's 2007 Charitable Giving Guide.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

John Aravosis on Democratic complicity in the torture issue:
One final point. I hope this teaches Pelosi and Reid and all the Democrats that no matter what you do, this administration will mark you as a traitor and try to do destroy you. You might as well fight back and try to win, because if you don't, you'll sit back and lose.

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #619


Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #619, originally uploaded by Ape Lad.

The staggering brilliance....of Ape Lad.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Religion Requires Roller Skates

Hunter at DKos:
This is just an aside, but one of the things that has struck me about the Republican candidates this season is just how dismal their speeches have all been. Case in point, the Romney "religion" speech, where he announced that "freedom requires religion."

The problem with that line isn't that it's somehow offensive, the problem is that it's embarrassingly ridiculous. You might as well say "freedom requires peanut butter", or "religion requires roller skates" and it'd make as much sense. It may pander to some particularly odd-headed religious base, yes, but at the price of making Romney look like an intellectual dunderhead willing to say anything that sounds good.

And that's completely unnecessary. He could have said "religion requires freedom", left it at that, and it'd be a defensible and noble-sounding position, and the speech would have been every bit as patronizing and kowtowing. But "freedom requires religion?" Ugh -- that's just historically, philosophically and logically silly. It sounds like a flub, not a planned line. So who is that supposed to appeal to, seriously? Why go for the line that just plain looks foolish -- and in a highly anticipated, highly crafted, highly agonized over (and, once delivered, highly disappointing and irrelevant) speech? Who put that dumb line in there? How did it sneak by the vetting process? Is that really the best case they could make for his position, which is, roughly, "um, religion is good. I like it?"
My bold.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Freedom

New York Times editorial board gives a Reality Check:
Still, there was no escaping the reality of the moment. Mr. Romney was not there to defend freedom of religion, or to champion the indisputable notion that belief in God and religious observance are longstanding parts of American life. He was trying to persuade Christian fundamentalists in the Republican Party, who do want to impose their faith on the Oval Office, that he is sufficiently Christian for them to support his bid for the Republican nomination. No matter how dignified he looked, and how many times he quoted the founding fathers, he could not disguise that sad fact.
Wow. Bush's approval rating is at only 37 percent - among military families!

"Soberly Intoxicated"

Clif from Sadly, No!:
As usual Peggy [Noonan] can’t write a column without saying something that makes her sound like some drunk you get stuck sitting next to on an 11-hour flight.
That comment, by the way, was this:
I’d rather be governed by Donny and Marie than the Washington establishment.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Not only did Bushie give out the wrong phone number when announcing today a hotline for homeowners getting squeezed by the mortgage crisis, the phone number he gave out happens to be for something called the "Freedom Christian Academy — a Texas-based group that provides Christian education home schooling material."

Chresus Jist.

You Can Think What You Can Think

Romney:
"Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone," the GOP contender said.
Bullshit.

If you find it helps your humility towards your fellow being to believe in something you can't explain, or in the limits of your own mind, fine. Go ahead. I get that humility myself, by simply believing there are things I don't know, and through my sense of how unknowably large and old and bewildering the universe is.

I call nonsense on the claim that religion is an essential component of so-called "freedom." And now look, I've been sucked into debating the metaphysical properties of this GWB-ish concept called "freedom."

Perhaps I should have said that whatever this concept "freedom" is that you say requires religion - I do not need it.

Update: I liked this comment on CNN's page.
With his pronouncement that "Freedom Requires Religion", Romney says exactly what he needs to say to potential voters: My religion may be different than yours, but I hate and fear atheists just as much as you do. The fact that this loathsome comment doesn't put him out of contention -- and in fact strengthens his standing -- speaks volumes about the American notion of freedom.

Kuo on Huckabee

Evangelical writer David Kuo:
I like Mike Huckabee the politician. He's affable, funny, positive, and has a broad definition of what it means to be a conservative. He thinks, for instance, it is sound policy to ensure that poor children are insured. He would never have vetoed SCHIP legislation that expanded health care coverage for lower-income children. He doesn't think cutting taxes is the sine qua non of leadership. And he doesn't think illegal immigrants are the root of all evil - something several other Republican presidential candidates apparently believe. He cares about the poor.

But I am ever more concerned about Mike Huckabee the pastor. The hotter he gets, the more explicitly he wraps his candidacy in his Christian faith and the more he recruits other Christian pastors to hop aboard his political train. All the while his theology gets shoddier and shoddier.

They Write What We Tell Them To Write

Many have been quoting this, but it's really quite revealing. This is Dan Bartlett, former Counselor to the President under GWBush, speaking to Texas Monthly about right-wing blogs:
That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.
My bold.
No reason in particular.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bushie stands up for Democracy, in a phone call to Putin.
"I said we were sincere in our expressions of concern about the [Russian] elections," Mr Bush told reporters at a news conference in Washington.
Come again?
This is why God created the "Shorter" concept.
Divorce is bad for the environment?
"Hopefully this will inform people about the environmental impact of divorce," Liu said in an interview yesterday. "For a long time we've blamed industries for environmental problems. One thing we've ignored is the household."
Well, sure. And so is not committing suicide.

Monday, December 03, 2007

More health reporting like this, please!
CHICAGO (AP) -- A teaspoon of honey before bed seems to calm children's coughs and help them sleep better, according to a new study that relied on parents' reports of their children's symptoms.

The folk remedy did better than cough medicine or no treatment in a three-way comparison. Honey may work by coating and soothing an irritated throat, the study authors said.
Sure, it's probably not that surprising to many. But it's simple, useful brandless knowledge, passed around and shared by the human species using a dedicated "knowledge spreading" organizations like a newswire. That is a Good Thing.

Always Right

You want a delusional response to the National Intelligence Estimate report that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon and has not been for 4 years? You got it.

Witness Victor Davis Hanson. Let us listen in, as he starts us off with a nice "Everything That Ever Happens Is Bad for Democrats" tale...
Revisionism and The Iranian Non-Bomb
The latest news from Iran about the supposed abandonment in 2003 of the effort to produce a Bomb — if even remotely accurate — presents somewhat of a dilemma for liberal Democrats.

Are they now to suggest that Republicans have been warmongering over a nonexistent threat for partisan purposes? But to advance that belief is also to concede that, Iran, like Libya, likely came to a conjecture around (say early spring 2003?) that it was not wise for regimes to conceal WMD programs, given the unpredictable, but lethal American military reaction.

After all, what critic would wish now to grant that one result of the 2003 war-aside from the real chance that Iraq can stabilize and function under the only consensual government in the region-might have been the elimination for some time of two growing and potentially nuclear threats to American security, quite apart from Saddam Hussein?

War is unpredictable and instead of "no blood for oil" (oil went from $20 something to $90 something a barrel after the war, enriching Iraq and the Arab Gulf region at our expense), perhaps the cry, post facto, should have been "no blood for the elimination of nukes."

In the meantime, expect a variety of rebuttals to this assurance that for 4 years the Iranians haven't gotten much closer to producing weapons grade materials.
Mmmm-hmmm, good!
Kevin Drum
This NIE was apparently finished a year ago, and its basic parameters were almost certainly common knowledge in the White House well before that. This means that all the leaks, all the World War III stuff, all the blustering about the IAEA — all of it was approved for public consumption after Cheney/Bush/Rice/etc. knew perfectly well it was mostly baseless.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Non-Random and Cumulative Nature

Steven Novella on attempts to dispute evolution from the perspective of Information Theory.
Scientists do not claim that random processes can create information. Evolution is not a random process. There are two components to evolutionary effects on information: mutations and recombination increase the amount of information in a random manner, and then natural selection provides for non-random survival of that variation. These processes, working in tandem, can explain both the increase in the amount of genetic information over time and the non-random and cumulative nature of that information.
It never hurts to restate this kind of thing. The "how can a 747 just assemble itself in a junkyard?" argument still keeps popping up.

(via antimattar)