Friday, June 10, 2011

Not Knowing Your Audience...

...Can get you in trouble:

30 Rock comic Tracy Morgan is under pressure to apologise after reportedly launching a vicious homophobic tirade during his stand-up show.

The comedian allegedly said that homosexuality was ‘bullshit’ and said that if his son announced that he was gay he’ would ‘pull out a knife and stab that little nigger to death’.

Audience member Kevin Rogers described the incident on Facebook, insisting: ‘The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke. His entire demeanour changed during that portion of the night.He was truly filled with some hate towards us.....

Morgan has not yet issued any statement about the row – despite calls for him to explain himself, led by campaign group Truth Wins Out....

The group also called on 30 Rock producer and star Tina Fey, who has long supported gay causes, to ‘forthrightly condemn any sort of anti-gay hatred’.

Yes, if you are going to talk about stabbing people make it someone who liberals would laugh about stabbing, like Catholics, or Tea Party people, or Sarah Palin, that way they would be totally cool with it.

Hmm...The Dalai Lama Doesn't Seem To Be A Very Good Buddhist

Um, let's just say this is interesting:

Usually what we hear from the Dalai Lama is an insistant yet soothing voice for compassion and peace.

So Tsering Namgyal, a journalist based in Minneapolis, was jolted by the Dalai Lama's talk to 150 Chinese students this month at the University of Minnesota. Writing at Religion Dispatches, he says:

Midway through the conversation, His Holiness, much to their surprise, told them "as far as socio-political beliefs are concerned, I consider myself a Marxist ... But not a Leninist," he clarified....

Marx was not against religion or religious philosophy per se but against religious institutions that were allied, during Marx's time, with the European ruling class.

Wow. This is spectacularly wrong, and I can hardly see how this could be a matter of opinion. (This is true looking at it from either the philosophical or historical point of view.) Marx was very clearly against religion per se. You see, Marx was a materialist. He denied the very possibility of real spiritual existence. The only meaning which can exist for a Marxist is a meaning based upon the relationship of thing to thing, e.g. workers to the means of production, the individual to the superstructure of the state, the worker alienated from the product of his labor, etc.

How can such a materialism be squared with the basic tenets of Buddhism? Well, it cannot, not without making Buddhism a dead thing.

Which would be fine by the Chinese....

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Only Word That Comes To Mind Is "Gestapo" UPDATED & BUMPED

Say hello to the new Federal Department of Education:

Kenneth Wright does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

"I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers," Wright said.

Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts as a S.W.A.T team barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.

"He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there," Wright said.

According to Wright, officers also woke his three young children ages 3, 7, and 11 and put them in a Stockton police patrol car with him. Officers then searched his house.

As it turned out, the person law enforcement was looking for was not there - Wright's estranged wife.

"They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids," Wright said.

Wright said he later went to the mayor and Stockton Police Department, but the City of Stockton had nothing to do with Wright's search warrant.

The U.S. Department of Education issued the search and called in the S.W.A.T for his wife's defaulted student loans.

That's right. The same Federal government which has brought you the worst economy since the Great Depression is now sending S.W.A.T. teams out in pursuit of student loan money.

But hey, the folks in the Department of Education are only following orders.... that makes it all better.


Well, this may make things a little different:

After Wright's claim received national attention, the Department of Education issued a new statement by Deputy Press Secretary Daren Briscoe, who noted the criminal investigation. "The Inspector General's Office does not execute search warrants for late loan payments," he said.

"Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, we can't comment on the specifics of the case," Briscoe said. "We can say that the OIG's office conducts about 30 to 35 search warrants a year on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds."

I do know there is a problem in this country with fake "students" maxing out loans for classes they never take. Some of the money goes to the university for tuition, but the rest is pocketed by the "student" who is never seen again. Our state university system in fact has a separate grade to give to those students who enroll in classes but never turn in any work. This grade alerts the university and Federal officials to this potentially fraudulent activity. Sometimes it isn't fraud involved. It's just dumb, stoned, drunk, depressed and/or confused students.

I'm still going to question the necessity of a dawn SWAT style raid, but at least this has moved into the realm of criminal activity.

Morons: English Football Division

It's a weird world:

Doncaster Rovers have sacked the woman who plays mascot Donny Dog after she posed in her underwear for a Sunday newspaper.

Tracy Chandler, who appeared in the photographs posing alongside Donny Dog's head, said she has been sent an email by the Championship side telling her she has "disgraced the club".

Ms Chandler, who has volunteered in the role for three years, admits she did not tell the club what she was doing but stressed it was "tastefully done". She also said the pictures had raised money for the NSPCC – the same charity for which Doncaster's players produced a naked calender last year.

That's right. This picture disgraces the club:

While this is fine and dandy:

I particularly like the tasteful bit of some of the lads with their hands down their pants. Classy!

Me thinks the Doncaster Football club has a bit of a problem with women.

Could there be any other explanation?

Bad Judges

Head shaking time again:

A New Mexico man said today he will fight to keep up a controversial billboard that suggested his ex-girlfriend had an abortion.

The billboard has a photo of Greg Fultz holding the outline of a baby with a playground in the background. The large text beside the photo reads, "This Would Have Been a Picture Of My 2-Month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided To NOT KILL Our Child!"

The sign is on White Sands Boulevard, the main thoroughfare in Alamogordo, N.M., and has been up since mid-May. Fultz's ex-girlfriend Nani Lawrence took him to court with a petition for domestic violence and charges of harassment and invasion of privacy....

Last week, Otero County Domestic Violence Court hearing commissioner Darrell Brantley recommended an order of protection for Lawrence and that the billboard be removed by 8:14 a.m. on June 17 on the grounds of harassment.

Judge James W. Counts is expected to approve these recommendations, but his office says they cannot comment on pending cases.

If this is "approved" all it shows is Brantley and Counts are rights denying idiots. This is so clearly protected speech you really have to be stupid, and I mean truly blithering, to not recognize it. In fact, no reasonable person with even a modicum of knowledge free speech jurisprudence could reach any other conclusion.

No names are used here. No telephone numbers are used here. The topic is clearly one of public controversy, even if presented as an example of how the issue affects individuals. It's protected speech. You have to be a moron to think otherwise.

I certainly hope there is a mechanism in New Mexico to hold judges civilly liable for egregious violations of civil rights.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Please Think Things Through

I've made no secret about my ambivalence about Scott Walker and his agenda here in Wisconsin, but I must say his opposition has no grasp of public all. The latest:

Madison's newest campground opened at 7 p.m. Saturday, with most choice tent spots in "Walkerville" resting on concrete. There was no fee or registration, but the rules were strict, privacy was zero and scary stories around the flashlight were likely to feature cuts, slashes and vouchers.

There were roughly three dozen tents set up by 8 p.m., but by 9 p.m. organizers estimated there were 250 campers in 75 to 100 tents. The convivial mood was infectious, with lots of friendly conversation and tents set up within inches of neighbors, as if at a rock festival.

With the requisite permission from the city and county, but with grumbling from some nearby businesses, a federation of unions, students and other groups calling itself We Are Wisconsin plans to maintain a presence by way of its tent city in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker until June 20.

The gathering is the latest act in the 2011 political drama featuring the governor's push to eliminate most collective bargaining rights for most public employees, drawing a cast of thousands to the Square to protest that law, now tied up in court, and other changes to the way government works in Wisconsin.

Protesters have responded creatively, with tractor parades, celebrity appearances, a national television presence and, Saturday night, the Wisconsin incarnation of "Hooverville." see the difference is the men, women and children who populated the Hoovervilles of the Great Depression had nothing; no job, no home, few possessions, fewer prospects, little food, etc.

The reason we have "Walkerville" is students and teachers have their summers off.

And everybody knows it.

It's like they are trying to alienate the general public.

A Nobel Prize Is Never Enough

Whinging is reaching new heights: When a Nobel Prize Isn’t Enough

LAST October, I won the Nobel Prize in economics for my work on unemployment and the labor market. But I am unqualified to serve on the board of the Federal Reserve — at least according to the Republican senators who have blocked my nomination. How can this be?

That is stymied Federal Reserve nominee Peter Diamond talking, and all I can say is...Wow. How many spectacularly wrong-headed things could he fit into one paragraph?

For starters, winning a Nobel prize is irrelevant in deciding the fitness of someone for public service. Period. Sure, it is a nice award to win and it is sure swell to be able to drop that into your bio - Diamond mentions it four different times in this one op-ed - but should winning this award be considered enough to make the confirmation process itself redundant? The suggestion is ludicrous. Diamond obviously does not think the notion is ludicrous, which in itself marks him as someone who may not be the best fit for public service.

Generally speaking, I believe Presidents should be largely deferred to when it comes to out-and-out political appointees. Judges and Fed. Reserves members are not in that category. The Board members do not serve for life, but they have 14 year terms, which argues the need for some sort of consensus on a nominee. That consensus may not be supplied merely because a nominee has a prestigious looking CV.

In fact, Diamond seems to be a fairly partisan individual:

Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Banking Committee, called the Nobel laureate “an old-fashioned, big government Keynesian” at his nomination hearing on Tuesday. His objection: The MIT professor doesn’t have enough experience in making monetary policy.

Still, Shelby allowed that Diamond, whose nomination was re-sent by Obama to the Senate on Jan. 5, is a “very accomplished academic and economist.”

“Does Dr. Diamond have any experience in conducting monetary policy? No,” Shelby said. “Does Dr. Diamond have any experience in bank management or supervision? No. ... Does Dr. Diamond have any experience in crisis management? No.”

The Alabama senator also reminded the banking panel that Diamond had sided with some of Obama’s biggest financial decisions by supporting the stimulus package, arguing for higher taxes to fund Social Security and bailing out banks.

“Our economy is already suffering from excessive government debt and misguided regulation,” Shelby said. “Our financial regulators should be trying to take steps to strengthen our markets, rather than replace them with new layers of government.”

So, on all of the recently contentious political/economic questions Diamond has shown himself to be rather inflexible and one sided. Why should a Republican think you are a good choice? ANY nominee must try and supply that reason. Given the precarious state of the economy in the wake of the decisions Dr. Diamond has supported, one might have thought a little humility could have gone a long way.

Then again I may know more about humility than Diamond does. I haven't won a Nobel Prize.

Climate Nazis

Now they are advocating that "deniers" be tattooed so they can be identified as "what they are" just as the Nazis tattooed those in the concentration camps.

Don't want to be called a Nazi? Then stop acting like one.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Liberals: So Out Of It They Don't Even Listen To Themselves

Words of "wisdom" from Nicky Kristof:

With Tea Party conservatives and many Republicans balking at raising the debt ceiling, let me offer them an example of a nation that lives up to their ideals.

It has among the lowest tax burdens of any major country: fewer than 2 percent of the people pay any taxes.

Gee, since when has it been the conservatives advocating we soak the wealthiest citizens to pay for the services of everyone else?

Oh, that's right. It isn't. It's liberals who advocate that.

Someone should inform the New York Times they are employing an apostate.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Tornadoes In Massachusetts = Not Unusual

The recent tornado that hit Springfield, Mass has spawned a number of stories pushing the meme that there was something "unusual" about there being a twister in the Bay State:

Tornadoes in Springfield, Mass. A tornado warning in northern Rhode Island. The highest death toll from tornadoes since the National Weather Service began tracking twisters more than 60 years ago.

It’s easy for the casual observer to connect this spring’s catastrophic weather to climate change, but local scientists caution against making that leap.

Weather is a local phenomenon, says Bradley Moran, an oceanography professor at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Climate refers to changes in the weather over decades, centuries, even millenniums.

Springfield’s tornadoes were unusual, yes. When you look at the unfurling history of climate, however, Moran says that these storms are little more than “a tiny spike.”

While, in one sense, I'm heartened that AGW wasn't automatically trotted out as the answer to why bad things happen to good people, I'll still note that the above is simply wrong. It's wrong because tornadoes are not unusual for Massachusetts.

Here is the NOAA data which looks at tornado incidence per 10,000 square miles:

So, there are more tornadoes in Massachusetts per 10,000 square miles then there are in North Dakota or Minnesota or Kentucky or Michigan. It has the same per 10,000 square mile incidence rate as Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. In none of those states are tornadoes considered "unusual." In fact, if you look at the rate of large tornadoes per 10,000 square miles you'll discover that Massachusetts has the same per 10,000 square mile incidence rate as Texas. (Surprising but true.)

People are being thrown by the fact Massachusetts is such a small state and therefore the total numbers of tornadoes are relatively small. However, an apples to apples comparison shows that calling them "unusual" is simply untrue.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

What A Surprise

Seems anti-Semitism is thriving in San Francisco. So much so that anti-Semitic initiatives are making it onto the ballot.

Scary times.

You can read the original post in the San Francisco Chronicle where the denizens of the Golden Gate city defend the anti-Semitic depictions of a "Monster Mohel" who "gets excited" by attacking children.

Nazi propagandists in hell are smiling right now.

What The H?

We now need gay friendly hamburgers?

When news came that St. Louis would be home to a Hamburger Mary’s Bar and Grille, hundreds of Sauce readers expressed their approval of the hamburger chain that markets itself as gay-friendly...

The Scoop’s initial question was what made Hamburger Mary’s GLBT friendly? Erney explained that the franchise was founded by a predominately gay ownership who offered “good food in a non-threatening atmosphere.”

As opposed to what exactly? Where are these gay threatening restaurants?

This inquiring mind would like to know.


Let's call the timing of this story serendipitous.

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by three men who claim they were disqualified from the 2008 Gay Softball World Series near Seattle for not being gay enough.

The men, members of a San Francisco softball team, say they were questioned in front of a room full of strangers about their sexual preferences after a protest was lodged alleging their team had violated a rule that limited to two the number of heterosexuals on any team.

The three men, who are bisexual, say the questioning was intrusive and allege in the lawsuit that the event's sponsor and its rule violate state anti-discrimination laws.

However, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour found that the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association, which sponsors the yearly event, can keep its rule. The First Amendment guarantees of freedom of expression and association allow organizations like the softball association to limit membership to individuals with like-minded beliefs in order to promote a broader agenda — in this case, ensuring gay athletes have a safe and accepting community in which to play, he ruled.
[emphasis added]

Where are these communities with roving bands of heterosexuals demanding to know the sexual preferences of gay ball teams?

I must have always lived in the most boring of places, but at least a gay guy could play the hot corner and get a double with cheese.