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May 10, 2007

administrivia

Posting will be light.  I'm going down to Virginia for the weekend.

You guys want anything?

Posted by mrbrent at 1:20 PM

May 9, 2007

glenn beck is not a flotation device

Would I pass up a chance to link a piece critical of Glenn Beck?   No, I would not.

The piece is by Media Matter's Eric Boehlert, and while he does a fine job of enumerating the reasons why Glenn Beck is a doughy gasbag, he does a better job of explaining why Glenn Beck (and his declining ratings) might not be a super fit for national broadcast on CNN Headline News (and a prominent place on CNN):

CNN cannot be a little bit pregnant here.  It pays Beck a salary.  He's a centerpiece for Headline News' prime-time schedule, and CNN helps promote his program.  The painful part now for CNN is that Beck's show is no longer attracting new viewers, which makes the news organization's decision to give him a national platform all the more embarrassing.

Sadly, we may not have Glenn Beck to kick around for much longer.  (This would be "we" who watch the cable television occasionally.  "We" who might live in his local radio market may have him around to kick around for longer.  We call this the "Bob Lonsberry Principle".)

Posted by mrbrent at 5:37 PM

fbi looks busy in fort dix

The apprehension of the so-called "Fort Dix Six" has been the occasion for robust comment across the various media.  Personally, I'd comment something like, hey, six dudes with plans to storm an army base full of trained, armed man and women -- either these are bad guys with an unusually developed sense of fair play, or they are the dumbest bad guys in the world, and maybe we should ratchet the hysteria/back-patting down a notch or two.

But that's not far from what a lot of people are saying.  In the interest of diversity, let's look at some of the hysteria/back-patting of G-Man J.P. Weis, as quoted from a press conference by MSNBC:

"These homegrown terrorists can prove to be as dangerous as any known group, if not more so. They operate under the radar,” Weis said.

So that makes you feel pretty scared, right?  Because these homegrown terrorists (mmmm, homegrown) operate under the radar, not like those known groups -- Al Qaida, the Klan -- who operate above the radar, what with their colorful uniforms and easily located state and county headquarters.  How could you be terrified of Al Qaida, watching them waddle down Fifth Avenue in their annual Al Qaida Pride parade?  Those New Jerseyians (and one Pennsyltuckian) must have been some bad, bad, under the radar guys.  It gives me a shiver.

Agent Weis is surely a nice guy, but I'd hope that the FBI would require a more circumspect view of the world than this.  Though, in his defense, he might have been distracted by memorizing what turned into the money quote for all the newscasts, the one about dodging many bullets, the quote that is a little too "Die Hard" for me to repeat here.

Hopefully some day we'll get news of a plot foiled by something a little more compelling than the unquestionable dumbassery of the perps   In other words, if the bad guys blow their cover because they dropped their Jihad tapes off to Kinko's for duping, then all the ominous words from all the FBI Agents in the world are not going to convince me that the arrest is anything more than a Dog & Pony Show.

So to speak.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:44 PM

in tony snow, "crisis" also means "opportunity to blame dems"

I would've thought that a fight with a reoccurrence of cancer would modify White House Press Secretary Tony Snow's behavior somewhat.  You know, every day is a gift, reprioritization of one's goals, forswearing lying, cheating, stealing, etc. -- it would seem to be an enlightened, hopeful response by a man undergoing what must be a dangerous and trying time.

But no, not the case.

Another natural disaster, another tepid federal response, and again Mr Snow asserts that it's the governor's fault.  So, in light of the general Republican "small government" culture of institutional incompetence and the general unpreparedness of our civil defense as caused by deployment of state assets in Iraq, it would seem that Mr Snow is not so concerned with the possibility of eternal hellfire or anything like that.

For more better on the tornado that parking-lotted parts of Kansas, I direct you to Kansan Dan G, who, coincidentally, is corresponding from Kansas.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:37 AM

May 8, 2007

i thought the french something something surrender

Not to keep on France (hey, get off France, you cad), but I'm continuing to be impressed.  I'm as non-violent as your average pinko commie, but those French Socialists?  They're teaching me a thing or two about taking losing in stride.

Not that I would ever advocate the loss of innocent shop windows and vehicles, but if you recall back in 2000, when a presidential election was being stolen in broad daylight, the only ones rioting were Tom Delay's brownshirts, disrupting the Florida recount.

(Reminder: inciting a riot is a crime under most statutes, usually called "Incitement To Riot", so none of this should be construed as an incitement to riot.  Even my observations of French Socialists rioting is not appreciative but rather a thing that makes me say hmm.  So kids, when someone in the schoolyard offers you a riot, just say no.)

Posted by mrbrent at 2:08 PM

May 7, 2007

dinesh d'souza ponders child abuse

Fortunately, PZ Myers of Pharyngula is reading Dinesh D'Souza so we don't have to.  Mr D'Souza's latest finely-honed negative space of logic argues that "evolution" has actually been "Creationism" all along, or some other such argument of a four year-old who wants to stay up past his or her bedtime.  Again, it is a D'Souza example of semantic pedantry masquerading as wit, which seems to be his sole marketable talent.

Please examine this passage and this addendum if your idea of fun is watching Mr Myers piñata Mr D'Souza with abandon.  For kicks, though, consider this bit of science proffered by Mr D'Souza:

Consider a simple statistic: when divorced moms remarry or have boyfriends in the house, those surrogate parents are vastly more likely to physically and sexually abuse the children than their own parents. Darwinian theory supplies the reason: the real parent shares the same genes as the child and this forms a bond that dispels sexual attraction and discourages abuse. "Family values" are supported by modern evolutionary biology.

In other words, non-genetic parents are "vastly" more likely to abuse their children, so Darwin supports a Christian "family values" mindset.  Even ignoring the at-best poor science and at-worst dishonest practice of using a single (unattributed) statistic to make one's point, to imply that there is some causality between the Singular Creative Force's alleged presence in the precepts of biology and instances of child abuse not only leaves an icky, non-Godly taste in one's mouth, but also is akin to asserting that tourists impeding foot traffic in Time Square is proof positive of God's existence.

It's the latest iteration of the Creationist argument of leaky fact X proves broad assertion Y -- which is as close to a logical proof that inhabits the manspace of Mr D'Souza and his fellow travelers.

(Yes, I am implying that Dinesh D'Souza has a manspace.  Huzzah, ad hominem.)

Posted by mrbrent at 2:57 PM

i thought my manspace was _____ -- (play at home)

I am confused -- is this a nauseating trend, or a nauseating story about a fabricated trend?  ABC News reports that there is such a thing as a "manspace".

I'm not speaking from knowledge here, but doesn't this sound like a term invented by a hipster copywriter for some "edgy" campaign then appropriated by the witless?  Whichever, "manspace" makes "Talk Like a Pirate Day" a moment of solemnity and occasion in comparison.

Actually, once you get around to reading the piece (gotta keep reminding myself to do that), you discover that it is about as dog-bites-man as they come:

Sports bars and pool halls used to be the haunts of men craving time alone.

But now, some men are creating guys-only spaces in their own homes.

Now you're going to tell me that sometimes men leave the toilet seat up, or drink straight from the milk carton.  Apparently, for the past couple thousand years, men spent all their free time in the laundry room, or at the salon.

Excuse me, while I stop the presses.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:33 PM

france rocks

I wanna give it up to France.  We zig; France zags.

Six years ago, when the US was still sitting on an accumulation of post-9-11 goodwill, France easily resists supporting an invasion of Iraq, while the rest of Western Europe joins in out of some kind of "Maybe if we go along this once they'll get the imperialism out of their system" sentiment.  Now here it is, some years later, the Iraq adventure (and the Bush Administration in general) devoid of a single success, and France suddenly decides that they would like closer ties to the United States, please .

France is not a condescending wise "Old Europe" man, as was once suspected (and derided, unless "cheese-eating surrender-monkey" is your idea of a pick-up line).  France is a petulant teenager, truculently ironic and contrary out of spite.  And it is that which makes me love them.

Also, there's that habit they have of inciting immigrant riots -- magnifique!  Lord knows the Tom Tancredos of the nation have tried hard enough.  Though once Sarkozy brings some LAPD-style justice to the streets, why, any smart rioter would get thee to Switzerland!

France may not be much of a bad-ass, but they are now crazy enough that they just might do it, so to speak.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:10 AM

May 6, 2007

al qaida -- please not the briar patch

A difficult moment has arisen for the supporters of the occupation of Iraq.  On the one hand, as last week's GOP presidential candidate debate clearly demonstrated, the ghost of Ronald Reagan very much supports our efforts, and therefore, patriotic Americans should as well, due to the Reagan Infallibility Doctrine.

On the other hand, the godless evildoers also oppose a US withdrawal, and accordingly, patriotic Americans should support a withdrawal, due to the Global War On Terror Contrarian Doctrine.

That's quite a bind!  Hopefully Rush Limbaugh will clarify this in his Ministry of Information broadcasts tomorrow.  Or, failing that, Glenn Beck will tell you what he feels like he wants to say.

Or we can just wait until loyal Americans grow new logical circuits -- circuits that have capabilities beyond the customary binary "black/white" that we know so well from op-ed pages.

Until then, recommence your water-coolering over Paris Hilton's jail sentence.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:13 AM