Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Science Teachers Inconvenienced by Truth

Money Talks Bullshit

NSTA President earns Olbermann's Worst Person Award
This story really gets me where it hurts. I am an unrepentant fan of science, and a self-described philosophical empiricist, meaning I like to base my beliefs on observable facts. I have no room in my mind for faith-based creation myths, and even less for politically motivated junk science that denies the facts because they are inconvenient to the reich* and powerful in the oil industry.
"In tomorrow’s Washington Post, global warming activist Laurie David writes about her effort to donate 50,000 free DVD copies of An Inconvenient Truth (which she co-produced) to the National Science Teachers Association. The Association refused to accept the DVDs:

Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place 'unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.' "
Those unnamed targeted supporters were of course the reich and powerful in the oil industry.
"As it turns out, those supporters already include “special interests,” including Exxon-Mobil, Shell Oil, and the American Petroleum Institute, which have given millions in funding to the NSTA. And while the NSTA showed no interest in helping educators get copies of Al Gore’s movie (which scientists gave “five stars for accuracy“), it has distributed oil industry-funded “educational” content, like this video produced by the American Petroleum Institute: Fuel-less: You Can't Be Cool Without Fuel."
I feel betrayed. Science is supposed to be above this kind of financial manipulation. I'm already pissed off enough that corporate ownership of the media has led to a wholesale distortion of the 'facts' put in front of the public via the radio and TV airwaves. I'm disturbed and dismayed that the religious right has tried with some success to replace evolution with 'intelligent design' in the classroom. The idea that science teachers would do this is too much.

* - 'reich and powerful' - a typo, I thought it fitting to let it stand as is.
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Monday, November 20, 2006

Bush Exit Strategy Collapses

Remember this infamous gaffe of Bush's when he tried to leave a conference during a trip to China and the door he chose was locked? This incident should become a prominent feature of Bush's recurring nightmares for the rest of his lame-duck illegal occupation of the White House. The door he sees closing in front of him now is morphing in front of his eyes into the gray bars of a jail cell.

The loudest bang and click of a latch came of course when on Nov. 7 the Diebold hacking of thousands of precinct results was insufficient to thwart the will of the people. Sufficient however to be obvious by comparison to the exit polls. Dependence on a compliant and complicit legislature is no longer an option. This is made clear in this story from USNews and World Report. His exit strategy for getting out of criminal responsibility in the NSA wiretapping program just slammed in his face. (Emphasis mine)
"His plea for a legislative stamp of approval on the controversial spy effort is an "important priority in the war on terror," Bush said. The response: deafening silence. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist quickly dispatched aides to put out the word on Bush's request: Not gonna happen.
...And with Democrats promising oversight hearings next year on how the program was hatched and whom it targets, it appears likely that the issue will be decided in court and, ultimately, the Supreme Court."
With subpoena powers in the hands of a Democratic Congress, judges like Anna Diggs Taylor may suddenly find themselves in possession of seriously damning evidence against the administration. The stone wall is crumbling. NSA paper shredders must be working 24/7 destroying related documents. In a more general sense, the return of the concept of checks and balances, and oversight responsibility to the House and Senate spell bad news for the administration. According to this post at The Raw Story, they plan to use their new authority aggressively. Which news is sad for the administration, but true. And good news for America, which I am more than happy to report.

If things go the way US law going back to the Youngstown decision says it should, I may have to change my handle to HappyButTrue. There is still the chance that they will react like cornered rats and lash out, now that their every conceivable exit is blocked.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

List of Shame Update

From Les Enragé An update to sans-culotte's finest work.

On a suggestion from, and with the help of commenter extraordinaire MACACA DOODLE DOO, I posted This Update to Sans-Culotte's GOP List of Shame a few days ago at Les Enragés. It's 'just' a list of links to articles about Republican party politicians who have been investigated, indicted or convicted of various crimes in the last year or so. I put quotes around the word 'just' in the previous sentence because when a list gets this long it becomes far more than the sum of its parts. It becomes a clear and undeniable statement of what sans rightly calls a 'culture of corruption' within the Republican party and their supporters.
If the justice department wasn't run by Roberto Gonzales and the Supreme Court dominated by equally corrupt and partisan Republican appointees, the RICO investigation (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization) would bring the party down, along with a substantial number of higher-ups in the corporate world and the religious right. Unfortunately, the US has a two-party system, and taking the Repugs out of the mix would give them a one-party system. And that ain't democracy.
I can't reproduce the list here, because it's so long that it requires 'folding' the post and I haven't installed the Java script on this blog to do that. So here's the link again:
The Growing GOP List of Shame, and while I'm at it here's a link to Even though Sans has been MIA since late July (the main reason for the creation of Les Enragé there are no recent updates, you can learn a lot by clicking on his 'most popular' links in the sidebar.

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Bush's Incredibly Bad Idea

pResident Bush continues to terrorize the American public while simultaneously holding his administration out as the only protection against terrorists. In one of the most politically cynical and incredibly, insanely idiotic decisions made to date, they have posted archive documents from Iraq on the internet that describe in detail how to build a thermonuclear device.
??WHAT??!! That's right, "diagrams, dimensions, diameters, fusing mechanisms, descriptions of explosive tests..." A road map to the design and construction of an atomic weapon.
This was done to revive the long debunked notion that the war in Iraq was about finding and destroying Weapons of Mass Destruction.
"The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to 'leverage the Internet' to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein."
Against the strident objections of the intelligence community, ignoring all sane advice (as usual), this is nothing short of outright insanity. The material was posted last March, and only taken down after the fact of its existence was revealed in this New York Times article.
Report From Keith Olbermann

(Cross-posted from Les Enragé
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Get Firefox 2.0 Now

I've been using Firefox's new 2.0 version of their fantastic browser long enough now to be able to give it an unqualified recommendation. We layout and edit Les Enragé with Firefox, so naturally the site looks best using this state of the art browser. I know, I know, Internet Explorer version 7.0 has finally caught up with the rest of the world to offer tabbed browsing, but Firefox invented the concept. Long story short;

Friends Don't Let Friends Use IE


Olbermann Demands Bush Apology

Following cynical exploitation of Kerry gaff
"Get someone to make fun of the cripple."

(Cross-posted from Les Enragé
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Some Important Information

Glenn Greenwald has a nice post up today that points out the futility of electoral defeatism among progressive voters. His argument, that Democrats can't stay away from the polls on the assumption that their candidate will lose anyway is an important one. Pessimism can often lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. We have to fight that.

This post is not about Greenwald's argument, though. It is about this graphic he linked to, shown above. From the University of Minnesota, it is an accumulation of results from several polls during the Bush Presidency occupation of the White House. If there is one thing that we in the reality-based community like, it's facts. Graphs, charts and maps fascinate us, because they provide a large number of facts in a way that can be analyzed and interpreted. From this analysis and interpretation we derive more facts and conclusions that have a high probability of being valid, based as they are on reality.

Conservatives on the other hand have opinions, which are based on nothing more than the opinions of other conservatives. They titter derisively when they hear the word analysis, because it happens to contain the word anal. And yet, ironically, conservatives like Limbaugh, Coulter and O'Reilly get most of their own 'facts' by pulling them out of their ass. They mumble and turn away when they hear the word interpretation because it reminds them that other languages than English exist. For some conservatives even one language is too much of a challenge. Take the pResident as an example.

Update: from our comment threads, the idea to include this video in the post earns a tip of the revolutionary headgear for Macaca Doodle Doo!! - Great Handle, BTW

"Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." -- John Stuart Mill

So what facts can we derive from the graph?

#1) The more people get to know George W. Bush, the less they like him.
#2) Standing on a pile of rubble with a bullhorn makes you look Presidential, and hugely increases your popularity. (a 35% bump)
#3) Starting a needless war in Iraq makes you look Presidential, and increases your popularity (a 20% bump)
#4) Polls taken by FOX "news", ABC/WP and ABC/Ipsos consistently show Bush approval higher than other polls. Harris, Zogby and PEW often show lower approval, but not quite so consistently.
#5)Differences between the highest and lowest poll results often exceed 10%, despite the standard claim of 4% accuracy.
#6), #7), #8)...For our visitors in comments.

(Belatedly cross-posted from Les Enragé
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