Faux News Megafail

Read.  Marvel.  Weep.

Just how desperate to find a story–and a controversy–do you have to be to believe this is real:

Anchors at the Fox News national morning news show “Fox and Friends” reported Tuesday that the city of Los Angeles had ordered 10,000 jetpacks for its police and fire departments. The price tag: a whopping $100,000 per unit.

Yes, jet packs. Thousands of them. Maybe that should have set off warning bells. Well, actually it did, but this being Fox News, well… (italics mine):

For those doing the math at home, the cash-strapped city of Los Angeles, which is regularly sending its police detectives home because it can’t pay all their overtime, allegedly shelled out a billion dollars on space-age transportation that it has never used in an emergency situation, much less tested.

“We certainly haven’t bought any jetpacks,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. “We haven’t bought [squad] cars for two years.”

As Gawker.com was the first to note, the “Fox and Friends” report appeared to contain material taken right out of a story from the Weekly World News tabloid, which bills itself as “The World’s Only Reliable New Source.”

Look.  I know the tabloids were right that one time when they broke the story of John Edwards’s love child.  But that was the Enquirer, which is attempting some respectability (perhaps trying to fill a sucking void of respectability left in journalism when Faux News started broadcasting), whereas the Weekly World News is the same as it ever was – a rag full of made-up shit that only complete fucking morons believe is true. Shit, I’ll bet you cash money you could present it to a classroom full of special needs kids and a good majority of ‘em would know it’s complete bullshit. 

The problem is this: Faux News fucktards likely don’t watch Mythbusters because they believe it’s a librul conspiracy, and we know they think science is a bunch of left-wing hooey (except the science they agree with, of course), so they probably aren’t aware that we aren’t yet living la vida Jetsons.  They’re easy marks for anyone who wants to sell them a guvmint waste line.  And, apparently, any rag that claims Hillary Clinton’s adopted an alien baby rates high on their truthiness scale.

There’s something that the folks who do the ratings need to keep in mind, here: yes, Faux News has high ratings.  That’s because a handful of very insanely stupid viewers believe every word they say, and because a large number of people tune in because they can’t believe what the fucktards just said and keep watching to see what shit-for-brains dumbfuckery gets spouted next.

It’s really too bad Faux News is televised, not printed on pulp.  But I suppose it’s just a bit too stupid to be called tabloid journalism.  At least the tabloids understand they’re reporting made-up shit.  The same, alas, is not true for the gullible goobs at Faux.

PZ’s So Right

And I know that every woman who reads this will agree.  Here’s PZ reading an email from an idiot (PZ’s response in red):

if “there is no sign of a loving, personal god, but only billions of years of pitiless winnowing without any direction other than short-term survival and reproduction”, then who decides the rules and regulations of man [Woman. Definitely woman.].

Aw, yeah!

Real Home Remedies

Amazingly enough, there are a few that work, and a whole book dedicated to them that doesn’t promise miracles, doesn’t proffer total bullshit, and doesn’t keep you from seeing the doctor until it’s too fucking late:

I received a prepublication proof of The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies: What to Do for the Most Common Health Problems. It is due to be released on October 26 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.com. Since “quackademic” medicine is infiltrating our best institutions and organizations, I wasn’t sure I could trust even the prestigious Mayo Clinic. I was expecting some questionable recommendations for complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) treatments, but I found nothing in the book that I could seriously object to.

[snip]

Nowhere does it mention acupuncture, chiropractic, energy medicine, or homeopathy. It gives good, clear guidance about when a health problem should not be treated with home remedies. Its recommendations about diet and exercise are solid. It doesn’t recommend anything that can’t be supported by published studies and common sense. When it recommends herbal remedies and diet supplements, it is cautious about what it claims. 

ZOMG.  I didn’t think that was possible.  Might have to actually buy this one, because having a handy tome on reliable home remedies that will tell me when it’s time to put down the home remedy and pick up the phone would be ideal.  Also nice to have such things vetted so I’m not wasting money on total bullshit, or hours online trying to sort the useful bits from the bullshit.

Figured I’d pass the knowledge along in case you lot were yearning for such an item.

Quote o’ the Day

Just because I always enjoy bashing Chris Mooney.  I consider it something of a spectator sport with occasional audience participation.  See his hysteria summed up rather wonderfully:

Really – Mooney seems to have this very easily-triggered terror that a critical comment from one person about one other person will cause some terrible, general, societal harm. But is the structure really that fragile? Are cascades that easy to set off? PZ calls Collins a clown and, whammo, children flee biology class, and Congress passes laws making fuel economy a felony, and the glaciers melt and everybody dies.

What people like Chris Mooney don’t realize is that you can’t change the world without shaking people up.  His freaking out at the slightest non-accommodating remark is just pathetic.

I Miss My Spider

A few weeks ago, a spider came to live on my porch.  It built large and beautiful webs, taking advantage of the porch rail and rafters.  When it rained, the web collected raindrops and became something enchanting:



When it stopped raining, the silvery web against the dark green trees shone as if hundreds of diamonds had flown into it and gotten stuck:



(Arachnophobes: do not go below the fold.)

I come home for lunch.  The spider’s dinner time was apparently the same time, because when I’d step outside for a smoke, it would almost invariably be munching:





I spent an instructive afternoon once watching it rebuild its web from scratch.  Efficient little bugger, shuttling back and forth on the non-sticky threads, carefully arranging all the threads just-so, until a beautiful new orb graced my porch.  Which, alas, I could not photograph because the sun was at the wrong angle and I had no contrast. 

And now, my lovely orb spider is gone.  Dead, moved south for the winter, I don’t know.  But I miss it. 

I’ve noticed, since getting the new camera, that I have a different relationship to the creepy-crawlies in the natural world.  I used to be distinctly uncomfortable around spiders and freak out in the presence of bees.  These days, I’m more willing to get close, hang out, let them do their thing while I observe. And I’ve discovered they’re perfectly okay with that.  They don’t bother me if I don’t bother them (mosquitoes and the annoying flies on Hurricane Ridge excepted).  Not to mention, they do useful things like eat other bugs and pollinate plants.  They have an intriguing evolutionary history, some of them have complex societies, and all of them are quite lovely – if you just take a moment to really look.

Of course, that course of action isn’t recommended for those with severe allergies.

Food for Thought, Food for Disgust

First, the food for thought – a long but interesting post regarding the utility (or not) of religion in society.  Geez, that sounded stodgy.  Let’s try “Celebrity Death Match between Philip Kitcher and Daniel Dennett!!1!11!

There.  Now, doesn’t that sound intriguing?

And here’s the food for disgust:

In a Rage Reduction therapy session, a child is restrained by a therapist – usually a licensed psychologist or social worker – plus one or more assistants. The therapist “activates” a child by yelling, belittling, threatening, relentlessly tickling, bouncing the child’s head, covering his mouth, and painfully knuckling the child’s rib cage and sternum. Such sessions typically go on for two or more hours, until the child is exhausted from struggling and becomes, as one psychologist observed, “a whimpering little puddle.” Children, even teenagers, are then swaddled and given a baby bottle by their adopted mother for “bonding time.”

Can you believe this stupid fucking shit is still done to children?  If you want to get your own rage on, read that whole post.

And a special bonus: if you want to twist any noses today, why not ask a Teabagger why they hate puppies?

Stuff Comes from Somewhere

Back before I distracted by the shiny new car and purchasing of same, our own George W. had a post up that really forced some thinking.  And it’s all because he was up at 4 in the morning thinking about bolts:

Where’s the nickel (which plates the bolt) mined? What’s the state of mine-safety technology? Do mining companies pay lobbyists to keep the laws lax? Or more likely, does the manufacturer just buy the nickel salts for plating from some third-world country where the government doesn’t protect the workers or the rivers or the children who live along them? Is that why the bolts are so cheap? What’s the external cost of the carbon output from manufacturing the bolt? Maybe that’s the reason I saved the bolt that was left over from a project of years ago.  Or maybe I’m just really cheap.

Read the whole post.  It’ll make you think about bolts, politics, change and resources all in one go, which is damned impressive for a short post brought on by insomnia.  This is why I love George’s blog so: when I leave there, it’s not with the same eyes as when I arrived.

Dumbfuckery du Jour

Boy, that didn’t take long.  Two minutes of scanning headlines, and I come across this remarkable distopian example of the kind of lives we’d lead if Cons could have their way:

As ThinkProgress has noted, there are currently two competing visions of governance in the United States. One, the conservative vision, believes in the on-your-own society, and informs a policy agenda that primarily serves the well off and privileged sectors of the country. The other vision, the progressive one, believes in an American Dream that works for all people, regardless of their racial, religious, or economic background.

The conservative vision was on full display last week in Obion County, Tennessee. In this rural section of Tennessee, Gene Cranick’s home caught on fire. As the Cranicks fled their home, their neighbors alerted the county’s firefighters, who soon arrived at the scene. Yet when the firefighters arrived, they refused to put out the fire, saying that the family failed to pay the annual subscription fee to the fire department. Because the county’s fire services for rural residences is based on household subscription fees, the firefighters, fully equipped to help the Cranicks, stood by and watched as the home burned to the ground.

RIP three dogs and a cat that burned to death because firefighters wouldn’t take the $75 Mr. Cranick offered them and do their fucking jobs.  I have no idea how these fucktards can live with themselves.   I have no idea what kind of fucktards thought a subscription service rather than a simple tax would be a brilliant idea. 

You know, I seem to recall discussing this just last month:

Quite soon, we’ll start hearing about how emergency services would do much better if they were privatized, as the free market is almost godlike in its ability to solve our every problem.  City and state governments, they’ll say, should contract with private entities for the provision of fire and police services.  Why, that would be almost as good as cutting programs meant to help icky poor people out of the budget!  Someone should explain the history of private firefighting to them and ask if they’re pining for a return to those halcyon days of private enterprise.

And here I come to find out that you don’t have to travel all the way back to nineteenth century America – why, you can just head down to rural Tennessee to see good ol’ private emergency services in action! Wait, I mean, inaction.

As for those who, like Glenn Beck, argue that the Cranicks could’ve avoided all this by simply paying up, let me just mention that a) putting out fires before they spread to neighboring, fully-subscribed properties isn’t a bad idea, b) watching as helpless animals and a family’s home burn to the ground is a sociopathic thing to do and c) people don’t always make farsighted decisions, which is why some decisions shouldn’t be left to them.  I’m sure if we dug into your life, Glenn, we’d find some pretty piss-poor contingency planning lurking around somewhere.  And who’s gonna scream loudest if someone doesn’t come rescue you?  You, that’s who.  Conservatives always pull that shit.  They’ll all sneer and “personal responsibility” and free market until it’s their property in flames, and then it’s one long, sustained tantrum because the government they starved to death didn’t save them.

There are basic things a civilization needs in order to be a civilization.  A tax base that provides essential services like fire, emergency and police to every member of a community is one.  And if, because Cons hate taxes so much they’d rather pay a fee instead of a tax, a community ends up with a primitive-fucking fire department based on a subscription service, the least bit of human fucking decency should dictate that at the very least, when the homeowner’s proffering payment on the spot, you put out his fucking fire.  Or put out the fucking fire and bill him the fucking $75.  Whatever.  Just fight the fucking fire.

This, my darlings, is what happens when the shortsighted voting public elects the sociopaths.  Not pretty, is it?

Think carefully on that before you head to the polls this November.

In Which I Name My Car

Yeah, so, I’d planned to return to the regular weekday political blogging, maybe put a little something up on science, get back into the flow.  But it took me over an hour to get to work today.  Had to drive the car around looking for an emergency kit for it, right?  And then there was the obligatory drive down Forbes Creek.

After work, it took me two hours to get back home, going by way of Monroe and Gold Bar, whilst Sean and I listened to Epica and yakked about The Ghosts of Cars Past, zombie apocalypses, and other such subjects.

And I could’ve caught up on some political reading between calls at work, but I spent most of my time today browsing steering wheel covers on Amazon and hitting up teh Google for Elvish sites.

You see, I’d decided last night, as I lay abed, that this car needed a name that reflected my Lord of the Rings obsession.  I’d been thinking of her as Silver – not simply because of the color, but because of a line in a Kamelot song: “Shine on silver / From the sky into the night / Gaia shivers / And I need your leading light.”  So, what the hell?  Why not the Elvish word for “silver”?

Because it’s celeb, that’s why.   So what if it’s pronounced “kay-leb” – it still looks like something out of a star stalker magazine.  Poor Professor Tolkien.  He couldn’t have foreseen that indignity to his beautiful language.

Wordlist after wordlist finally led me to the right name: Silmë (seel-may).  Oh, you may laugh.  Go right ahead.  But here’s why: it means “starlight,” and is also the poetic word for “silver” in the Quenya (ancient Elvish) tongue.  It satisfies my desire for a name meaning “silver” in one of Tolkien’s languages.  So there we are.  Silmë. 

That’s her name. 

Now if only they made LOTR steering wheel covers…

She’s My Girl

And I love her:



(Click for clearer image.  Don’t ask me why Blogger’s suddenly decided to display sub-par crap in the post proper.)

Credits:

Toyota of Kirkland ensured I got the car I wanted at the price I wanted.  Barry Glenn, my outstanding State Farm agent, made sure financing was available and, as always, did a brilliant job setting me up with the right policy.  Chris saw to it that I had the right info.  And, vitally, my intrepid companion chauffeured me around and waited in dealerships without complaint. Thanks, guys!

Apologies to my favorite dealer.  I wanted to buy a car from him.  He didn’t have this car.  But if any of you are in the market for an extremely sweet Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V, or indeed a Hyundai of any description, call Hyundai of Seattle and ask for Peter.  You’ll not only get an excellent car, you’ll get some of the best customer service in the industry at a price that will leave you very pleased indeed.

Regular blogging will resume tomorrow night.  But don’t be surprised if there’s the occasional gush over how amazed I am that I own a car this sweet.  ;-)