Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If I Admit…A Search For Meaningful Ground

If I admit that McCain’s time in the military better suits him to be Commander-In-Chief, will you admit that time spent in an enemy prison camp probably doesn’t give him the best mindset for setting foreign policy?

If I admit that there is a tiny, little part of me that wishes to wrongly ignore all the issues and vote for Obama simply because he’s “the black guy,” will you admit that not voting for him based upon the same reason is at least equally as wrong?

If I admit that despite my vast education, the current economic crisis seems too complex for me and perhaps for most to understand, will you admit that you must comparatively know even less about the infinitely broader subject matter of God, afterlife, and metaphysics?

If I admit that I see no short-term end in sight to the nearly 50/50 electoral schism between red states and blue states, will you admit that the closest we might get to our own moderate or centrist views in The White House is a Republican for eight years followed by a Democrat for eight years, and so on?

If I admit that Sarah Palin has to have exhibited some intelligence to rise to the position of Governor, will you admit that her stance as a traditional, small government Republican simply means she does less in government?

If I admit that, no matter what he says, Obama as President coupled with a strongly Democratic U.S. Congress is going to cost you way, way, way more money in the long run, will you admit that means more money in programs and less in rich pockets?

If I admit that, based on the Reagan-esque standard, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” our answer in 1983 should have been a unanimous YES, will you admit that our answer to the same question in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 should have been a resounding NO?

If I admit that there’s a large part of me that is simply too lazy to take personal action against global climate change, will you admit that I’m part of the problem, thereby acknowledging the problem?

If I admit that evolution could be a subset of creation, will you admit it’s the only subset based upon empirical data, and therefore the only subset teachable in an evidentiary manner?

If I admit that I’d be willing to acknowledge that timetables are bad, like one to withdraw U.S. Troops from Iraq, will you admit the necessity to eliminate another timetable that claims the Earth is only 5000 years old?

If I admit that giving birth seems like the best choice, will you admit that it’s a choice?

If I admit that Liberals sometimes seek new change for the empty sake of change, will you admit that Conservatives, in the act of conserving our Republic, have over 200 years of practices, many bad, from which to choose their stances and still be considered good Conservatives, regardless?

If I admit that there is no definitive way to control the emotion of greed on Wall Street, will you admit that there is no definitive way to control the emotion of lust in our young adults?

If I admit that God exists, will you then admit that there’s no reason you have to tell me about him?

If I admit that I irrationally blame McCain’s party line, in part, for the mistakes of the George W. Bush administration, will you admit that Obama’s party line makes you irrationally fear another White House BJ?

If I admit that Democratic politicians don’t really care about poor Americans, will you admit that you don’t either?

If I admit that, in the interest of America, Saddam Hussein deserved to be forcibly removed from power and killed, will you admit that Osama Bin Laden deserved the same, first?

If I admit that the surge worked, will you admit that our soldiers deserve to come home then in triumph?


Monday, September 29, 2008

Here it comes...
Anti-evolution textbook coming to a school near you.

According to Barbara Forrest at the Louisiana Coalition for Science, those lovely people at the Discovery Institute have produced a new textbook, Explore Evolution.

Scientist and writer John Timmer has reviewed the Discovery Institute’s stealth creationist textbook, Explore Evolution, in Ars Technica. Three of EE’s authors are well-known intelligent design (ID) creationists. Stephen C. Meyer is the director of the Discovery Institute’s ID creationist wing, the Center for Science and Culture (CSC). Two of his co-authors are his CSC associates Paul Nelson (a young-earth creationist) and Scott Minnich (a witness for the defense in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District). The other two, Jonathan Moneymaker and Ralph Seelke, are lesser-known ID supporters.
Contrary to its misleading title, Explore Evolution is a sustained, error-ridden attack on evolutionary theory. It also contains a section on Michael Behe’s concept of “irreducible complexity.” Both aspects of EE make it very much an intelligent design creationist textbook.
Timmer closes his review with a parting reference to Louisiana. Recalling the statement by Kevin Padian, a scientist and expert witness for the plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller trial, that intelligent design “makes people stupid . . . essentially makes them ignorant,” Timmer concludes on a note that should resonate strongly with all Louisiana citizens who value our public schools and want our children to be decently educated:
Sadly, thanks to the actions of the Louisiana state government, that state’s students are much more likely to be exposed to this sort of stupidity.

But the book doesn’t only promote stupidity, it demands it. In every way except its use of the actual term, this is a creationist book, but its authors are expecting that legislators and the courts will be too stupid to notice that, or to remember that the Supreme Court has declared teaching creationism an unconstitutional imposition of religion. As laws similar to Louisiana’s resurface in other states next year, we can only hope that legislators choose not to live down to the low expectations of EE’s authors.
Anyone with knowledge that Explore Evolution or any other creationist material is being used in Louisiana public school science classes should contact the National Center for Science Education or the LA Coalition for Science.
That would be a good idea for anyone who ever sees this book in the hands of a kid, regardless of the state or location.

Be sure to read the entire article at the Louisiana Coalition for Science or the full review at Ars Technica.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to fix a natural disaster

16 die in attack on U.S. Embassy in Yemen

I bet Bush wishes he had thought of that 3 years ago.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quick thought on Ike

More to come later, but I saw this on MSNBC today and just couldn't believe it.

Officials from Texas pressed for equal treatment from federal aid agencies. "I have asked the president and the administration to just treat us as fairly as they treated Louisiana back during Katrina," said Texas Gov. Rick Perry. "Texans will take care of the rest."
Mr Perry, you really might want to rethink that statement. I hope you haven't put it in writing. If you did, you just fucked the citizens of Galveston and Houston.

If you want help that is a day late and a dollar short, then ask to be treated like Louisiana. If you want an enormous, unreasonable bill from FEMA for a percentage of the money they wasted through ridiculous red tape and bureaucracy, ask to be treated like Louisiana. If you want your citizens to receive help that will endanger their health and welfare, brought to them through no-bid contracts with barely regulated out-of-state contractors, then ask to be treated like Louisiana.

If you want, "Heckuva job, Brownie!" then ask to be treated like Louisiana.

I could go on.

And on.

And on.

Mr. Perry, set your sights a bit higher, like maybe Mississippi. You have ruined casinos, right? Better build some, quick.

Oh, and FUCK YOU VERY MUCH for the insinuation that Texans are somehow able to help themselves better than Louisianians. We've already started to see the same bitching and carrying on from your superior, self sufficient and, may I add, incredibly wealthy citizenry. When you get Galveston up and running in less than a year, get back to me. When Houston is back to pre-storm population in less than two, give me a call. Hell, when you manage to host a home football game before the end of the season, we can talk about who's better in a crisis.

Until then:

Don't mess with Texas. You don't know where it's been.

*I don't need any irate Texans leaving nasty comments. I'm mad at your governor, not you. I hope someone in charge over there has been paying attention. It's not going to be easy.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th, 2001 was a gorgeous day...

It really was. It was one of those perfect NYC fall days. Warm enough for short sleeves, but with just a little bit of chill on the morning air that would disappear before noon. Small signals of deepening autumn but without the sense of the impending cold weather.

I was supposed to be at work for 9, but I never got there until 9:15 at the earliest. There was a simple, rational reason to it. It took me 15-20 minutes to make it from Queens to midtown. Since we lived at the last stop in Queens, if I boarded the subway between 8:30 and 9, I would have to wedge myself intothe entire borough of Queens trying to make it to work for 9. If I boarded at 9:01, the train was empty. I was a temp, so it really didn't matter.

I kept NY1, the local news station, on every morning while I was getting ready for work, mostly for weather. As I picked up the remote to turn off the TV, Pat_Kiernan reported that a plane might have hit the World Trade Center. He took a call from a motorist on a cell phone who told him debris was all over the road. Nobody seemed too concerned. I simply thought, "Well that's fucking weird," and went to work.

I just kind of subconsciously made up my mind that it must have been a small private plane with some kind of trouble that smacked the WTC and broke apart. Imagine flying a remote control plane full speed into the side of the house. That's the picture I had in my head. Apparently, I wasn't the only one.

The people on the subway were calm. When I got to midtown, there was no indication from anyone on the street that anything out of the ordinary had happened. The only thought I really had about the whole thing was how difficult it would be to pull all the airline commercials off the schedule and find something to replace them that wouldn't conflict with anything else.

I got off the elevator and the office was relatively quiet. No one was at their desks, which was a little strange, but it was just 9:15 so I figured they were off bullshitting like they did every morning. I sat down, pulled up the Schedule and started working. Turns out, I didn't even have that many airline spots that week. Then Nell comes in and says, "Did you see the Trade Center?" I said, "No. A plane hit it or something?" "Two planes. We're under attack." "What? That sounds like bullshit." "Turn on your TV." Oh yeah, there's a TV on my desk. So I turn it on (it's already on NY1) and see the Pentagon in flames.

This was no longer interesting or weird.

I didn't know what to do, so I just kept working. Honestly, I wasn't really scared until the first tower collapsed. I remember thinking at that point, "I need to call my mom and tell her I'm OK."

I don't remember anybody telling us to leave and go home. The trains and subways weren't running. The bridges and tunnels were closed. There was no place to go and nothing to be done.

When they finally opened the bridges that afternoon, I walked home with my girlfriend (now wife) across the Queensborough bridge.

If I had just looked out my window before I walked out the door that morning, I would have seen it all happen. I don't know if that would have made any difference.

I don't care who's fault it was. I don't care who has capitalized, or tried to, on it. I don't care about the wars that followed it. Not today.

I don't care about the prayers or the moments of silence or God Bless America.

Today I care about one thing and one thing only. It's a statement I heard or read in the days after the attacks. I have no idea if it's entirely accurate, but it's so poetic that it must be partly true.

A fully loaded fireman climbs stairs at the rate of about one minute per flight.

The men from the FDNY that entered the North Tower to fight the fire and evacuate survivors were headed to the 93rd floor. They were blind and deaf as soon as they entered the stairwells. The tower collapsed after an hour.

They never had a chance.

And they did it anyway.

When I get home this evening, I'll be playing Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and having a drink in honor of the men who looked Death square in the face, said "Fuck you," and kept climbing.

Join me.


Friday, September 5, 2008

This is kind of important
LA SPCA annoucement

Emphasis mine

From the Louisiana SPCA:

The Louisiana SPCA is currently handling animal emergency and animal rescue calls ONLY. To report an animal emergency or an animal needing rescue please contact the Louisiana SPCA at 504-368-5191 ext. 100 or contact the Louisiana SPCA by email at info@la-spca.org. Because the shelter is located in Algiers, which is still impacted by power outages, the Louisiana SPCA is currently not open to the public but we will resume our regular operations as soon as possible.

The LA/SPCA is also alerting New Orleans residents that several unauthorized animal groups have entered New Orleans to go onto citizens’ properties to remove animals, presenting themselves as animal rescuers. Please be aware that the Louisiana SPCA is the only organization in Orleans Parish authorized to respond to animal rescue calls and to respond to animal emergencies.

If you see anyone entering your or your neighbor’s property that is not with the Louisiana SPCA and are attempting to remove an animal from its property it should be immediately reported to the police. Please check the LA/SPCA website at www.la-spca.org for continual updates.
Props to Best of New Orleans Blog (aka Gambit) for the heads-up.


Everything is fine

For me, anyway. Still trying to get everything up and running. Probably just in time to take it all down again for Ike. Fuck me.

This is the price one pays for living in the most interesting city in the nation.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Don't See A Flag Pin

Um, okay, Repubs might finally have something here with this VP pick.