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Sep 06 2008

News roundup

Hurricanes galore have been hitting the Caribbean and around the Gulf of Mexico, over and over again.  The newest is a Cat-4 hurricane named Ike, and it’s going to ravage all those already-rocked spots that the last two just did (they’re coming so fast and furious I can’t even remember their damn names!).  This will probably get Bob talking about the IPCC, but rest assured folks, just because climate change is definitely happening, and lots of scientists predicted it a long time ago, nobody could ever have predicted it and should it turn out that it was anthropogenic, nobody could have predicted that either.  Sigh.  Just suck it up and weather it.  The human race will live through this, undoubtedly, and any massive shift in climate will likely spur evolution in a number of ways through a number of species, even our own.

In a nice bit of justice, Asif Ali Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, just won the presidency of Pakistan, after the tin-pot asshat Musharraf (does this mean his ass is a tin pot?) resigned to avoid an impeachment in much the same way as Nixon dodged that particular bullet.  There is a modicum of decency left in the world.

In the meantime, John McTimebomb chose Sarah Palin as his veep pick, without evidently first vetting her at all.  Their campaign is being rocked by her incessant lying to the point where they’ve decided to curtail her access to the press in much the same way that McCain’s been restricted in his press access and cell phone use, to keep them from going off-message (read: making “gaffes”), and to keep people from possibly discovering what they, and pretty much this generation of Republicans, are all about.  Not that media access would really matter, given that right now (and for the past good while) McCain’s down in the polls so all the talking heads are all but bending over backward to fellate the man in an effort to tighten up this race.

On the homefront, I had a debate with someone (at work, no less — shame on me) involving abortion.  I of course took the position that pro-life is anti-women, and that nobody who holds the pro-life position is truly pro-life.  I say “of course” because I can’t rightly think of any other way to argue this point, given that my views are roughly that a human life is not truly viable as a potential human being until they’re at least two years old (not that I’d ever advocate “aborting” after childbirth, but I definitely don’t personally consider a 1-year-old child any more viable than a three-cell blastocyst).  Once they escape the spectre of SIDS, then they’re potentially going to be an adult.  And I’m sure this is going to spark some controversy, so feel free to call me a monster in the comments.

Oh, and finally, as any good conservative knows, welfare for the poor is abhorrent, but welfare for the rich who go bankrupt is apparently perfectly justified.  Far as I’m concerned, if you want to live by the sword, you should die by the sword.  Don’t make it seem like helping those that are less fortunate is robbing them of the opportunity to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and without missing a beat immediately turn around and give a failing business a golden parachute.  If life is supposed to be hard and hard work is the only virtue, then let life be hard equally for those that have power once in a goddamn while.

I’ve got two posts planned, one for the Canadian election that’s coming up (and you can probably guess what I’ve got to say about Harper’s massive ad campaigns and massive last-second spending on military), and another hopefully relatively funny one about Darwin pareidolia, which has been covered recently by Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy and The Onion recently.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Clifton

    My official stance on the VP thing is that, no, she wasn’t vetted properly by McCain. But he intends to vet her quite frequently once he can simultaneously get some viagra and some time away from Cindy.

  2. 2
    Me

    *Sigh* Global warming = Bullshit. The only facts, and there are two here, is that *Climate Change* happens, and no one on earth has any clue what is going on. But blaming humans….. so did they do this? http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=ice-core-reveals-how-quickly-climate-can-change. Oh and Jason, that is scientific research going on right there, not computer simulations and climate modeling which, sorry, I don’t view as science.

    Wow what a shock that the guy who took power via a coup resigned to avoid impeachment. Since a guilty verdict in Pakistan usually = death, I wonder why he resigned?

    When was the last time any candidate for the President or VP in the US properly vetted? Anyone, anyone? That’s right, never. And both parties spend 50% of their time keeping their respective candidates in line. The only thing I am constantly surprised at is how people can possibly be shocked that a politician lied. Yeah like that’s a stretch of the imagination. Someone who will promise anything to get elected, telling a lie. A real shock would be a candidate that wasn’t hiding something, didn’t bad mouth their opponent and actually told the truth. Oh right, they lose elections which is why we don’t have them.

    Ummm one question for you tibo with regard to what you said in your abortion spot. You wrote “……I definitely don’t personally consider a 1-year-old child any more viable than a three-cell blastocyst). Once they escape the spectre of SIDS, then they’re potentially going to be an adult.” What about in Africa or other third world shitholes? There child mortality is considered anyone under the age of five which is about the age where you make it or don’t. Does that mean that in those countries the age to consider them viable should be higher then here in Canada? Just wondering. My take is that it is all personal opinion and belief. And everyone is entitled to their own and no one should have the right to force their opinion on anyone else. Same as politics and religion. There are enough correct opinions to go around for everyone and we can all share, just as there are enough stupid opinions to go around and we can all share those as well. Except for Clifton who I still maintain is a worthless bastard.

    And I thought you knew that welfare works on the principle of the golden rule: whoever has the gold, makes the rules. As for those in power being held accountable, just look where you work and tell me that those in power ever account for the stupidity of their actions. Like everywhere else they screw up and pass the blame on to someone else. And for the most part they get ahead by stabbing others in the back. That has become the new work virtue. It’s the new business olympics, no experience needed. We will be competing in passing the buck, backstabbing, blaming others, taking credit for subordinates work, and my personal favorite, bullshitting you way through a meeting!

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    Clifton — he’s got Cadillac health care where he’s in the Senate, so he’ll have no problem getting Viagra. Cross-reference this video. Watch for the bulging eye moment.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2y8dYwq01g&hl=en&fs=1

    VP candidates are usually vetted a whole lot more extensively than Palin was, even. That’s not to say the vetting process always works, or that it’s anything more than a long questionnaire, but she didn’t even get that. He wanted Joementum as his veep pick. He was forced (speculation, but based on good circumstancial evidence) to pick Palin to appease the pro-life pro-drill-here-drill-now crowd. The politics of it are to try to pick up the idiot portion of Hillary’s supporters (however small that may be) who supported her solely on the basis that she has a vagina. At the same time, they give you the impression that yeah, he picked her as his VPILF, which is horribly demeaning to those women concerned with women’s rights to think that they’d vote for someone so antithetical to everything they’ve won over the past fifty years. As for keeping their VP picks in line, check Joe Biden out a few days ago on Meet The Press The link is to the Great Orange Satan, so forgive me. Ignore the content if it burns your eyes, and just use the Youtube embeds. Far as I’m concerned, Joe was completely honest. AND, RIGHT. Prove to me otherwise.

    To your point on abortion, Bob — like Joe said in that interview, Thomas Aquinas felt that life began at the quickening, at about 40 days after conception. I can see that as being a more valid jumping-off point than conception, as it’s actually a scientifically provable stage in development where the lump of cells goes from more than being that which could be considered a cancer were it growing anywhere else in a woman, to a real, legitimate symbiotic parasitic (since it doesn’t give back to the mother, it changes her hormones to cause her to protect it, etc.) organism. The problem is not that people can and should have opinions on when life begins — it’s that scientists haven’t ever defined it as anything other than what religious folks do (which two cross-sections of society overlap considerably, don’t forget). So, if scientists picked the quickening, that ends all “oh, you can’t abort, it’s murder” claims when a woman is pregnant from, say, rape, or incest, or due to having insufficient information after being indoctrinated into the “abstinence only” cult.

    I didn’t want to get into the global-warming debate again tonight, even if I sort of baited you into it. However, one thing I should point out, though, is that I said “climate change”, and that regardless of whether it’s natural or caused, humankind should suck it up and quit bitching, and maybe, just maybe, take necessary precautions against speeding up the process just on the off chance that burning hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and overwhelming the world’s natural carbon sinks is actually what’s happening. The added benefits of getting off our hydrocarbon addiction is no longer being ownable to the Middle East, and no longer having to face the prospect of wars for oil. Sure, there’ll be wars for other things. Potable water being my chief concern once the world starts going to hell from climate change, for instance. But since we have the ability to do so, why shouldn’t we take that one spark away from the powderkeg?

    You yourself are fond of saying, in reference to New Orleans, that if you see that there’s a hurricane coming you should damn well get out of the way. Here’s a situation where we see something big and ominous on the horizon, and it kinda looks like a hurricane, but certain entrenched powers are saying that oh, it’s just natural, let’s not do anything at all, keep doing exactly what we’re doing. Why not take measures to get out of the way? Even if it turns out that you can’t run nearly fast enough to get out of the way, it’s against human nature to not even try for fear of doing the wrong thing. And you admit that getting off the hydrocarbon addiction is important, if not because you believe it’s doing anything to affect climate change. So we should all be doing what we can to reduce our dependence on oil (not just “foreign oil” as the politicians are fond of saying, but oil in toto), regardless of our reasons for it, all of which are excellent reasons depending on what your belief systems are. You can bitch that the guy on your left thinks that the oncoming hurricane is a flock of rabid turtles after you’ve done everything you can to get the hell out of its path. Agreed?

  4. 4
    Miranda

    Wow, touchy subjects, I have my own opinions on most of them. The only one I care to express an opinion on at the moment, is one of the touchiest. Abortion, probablly going to kick myself for this later but here goes. I don’t seen why it is anybody’s business except the womans as to whether or not she should get an abortion. Nobody else has to go through the heartache of the choice but her, she is the one who has to go through it physically, emotionally and mentally, no one else. Why should any church, other religious organization, politician, political organization, etc… have a say as to what happens to this woman? When did the power of choice get taken away from us? Did feminism never happen at all? If the individual woman believes that life begins at conception yet chooses to get an abortion well then she is the one that has to live with that isn’t she? No one else. Everybody else should just keep their nose out of it.

    And that’s my two cents.

  5. 5
    Jason Thibeault

    I’m pretty sure the reason religious folks demand the right to force everyone into their viewpoint that life begins at conception, is not only so that they can regain the control over women that they lost over the past 50 years, but also so that they can increase the total yield of their “flock’s” reproduction, thus increasing the number of babies in the world that fall within the scope of their religion. That’s the sum effect of the abstinence-only education and a ban on abortions — you’ll end up with more babies.

    It’s not that religious folks truly believe that life is sacred — if so, they’d all be pacifist vegans, rather than warmongering, intolerant meat-eaters like the vast majority are. So, the only other explanation is that “life is sacred when it means a net gain for my religion, otherwise life can go hang itself if it doesn’t (or can’t, by virtue of being an animal) believe the same things I do.”

    I agree completely — abortions are between the expectant mother and her doctor. That blastocyst in her belly is nothing more than a medical condition that she can either live with or have removed, at her discretion, for a myriad of excellent reasons, and it’s nobody’s business but hers.

  6. 6
    Me

    Ok, normally I avoid wading into the topic of abortion because it’s a no win situation for everyone. It is, was, and always will be a subject that puts people on opposite sides. I have my own views and I keep them to myself, not because they are bad, but because I don’t have and have never had children so I’m not sure my beliefs would hold up under a real world test.

    Here’s the root of the problem with the issue and one that no one wants to talk about. Underneath all the talk abortion has nothing to do with religion or freedom of choice. At this point I can already hear you starting to scream with frustration and if you eyes roll anymore the pupils will be gone. Bear with me for a sec this will make sense. Abortion has more to do with history then anything else. On the pro choice side it;s all about the womens right to choose. On the pro life they call it murder. Well the reality is that up until about 60 years ago the men made all the decissions for the women (still do int a lot of the world) The right for a woman to chose is not something men wanted to give up. But you can’t say that abortion is up tot men as they aren’t the ones carrying the child. So men chose religion an the santitiy of life as their cry for anti-abortion legislation. Trust me, if men had to carry children to term, there would be no debate at all about abortion.

    Now some will say that my reasoning is flawed and I have no proof. Really? So if these folks that are pro life are all about avoiding murder of unborn children why are there so many death threats in the US toward doctors performing abortions? Some are actually killed and abortion clinics get bombed without regard to who may or may not be inside. It would seem that your right to life changes the second you disagree with some of these folks. Sanctity of life my ass, the pro choice movement is all about controlling the lives of others, same as every other movement that claims to be in some way pro something or other and professes to help those they are supporting.

    I debated this for a while and wasn’t going to but what the hell. Burning hydrocarbons isn’t the reason that CO2 in the atmosphere is rising. The fact is that the number one fossil fuel producing CO2 is coal, and by a huge margin. Yet today we burn way less then was burned during the 1800′s. In fact more CO2 was emitted from coal in the 1800′s then we emitted from all fossil fuels in the 1900′s. So why is CO2 rising? Could it be that every single human on earth breaths out about 1 Kg of CO2 every single day and there are now more then 6 Billion of us? So that’s 6 000 000 000 Kgs of CO2 every single day, just from humans. Add in the fact that we have 50% less forest cover today then we did 100 years ago and you can see how there is more CO2. So yes the rise in CO2 is man made, from us breathing and cutting down forests. But is it heating up the planet? Atmospheric physicists haven’t found that it is. As for cars contributing to CO2, they account for 3% of all CO2 per year. There are two coal seam fires in China that produce more CO2 then all the cars in north america. And there is a coal seam in Kentcuhy that has been burning since 1962. These coal seams can’t be put out. In Russia there is a pit that is several hundred meters in diameter that is burning and can’t be put out. No one knows how that fire started.

    I have said all along and still believe that CO2 has nothing to do with heating the planet up. In fact sine CO2 is th eonly gas I know of that can be turned into ice and used to cool things off, and since the rise in CO2 happens only after the planet heats up (as shown by the ice core samples) I think using CO2 is mother natures way of cooling off the planet. Mother nature was here before us and will be here long after we are gone. She has ways of dealing with the rise in CO2 and that would be all the algae blooms we see happening around the world. We are just discovering that algae is the best plant at converting CO2 to hydrocarbons. Perhaps rather then blame CO2 we should figure out a way to help mother nature balance it. After all with it we die as does everything on earth. So we really need CO2 in our lives and we need to figure out how to control it.

    What we really need is some real research. Actual research that doesn’t have a presupposed goal of finding something right or wrong. And that goes for the cycle of life as well. Find out when it starts, and tell us. Not that this will change anything because it will still be all about power over others, but at least there will be some scientific data and not people hurling insults and calling names. And we need a healthy dose of skepticism too. After all I don’t be the only one shouting “told you so”.

  7. 7
    Clifton

    You forgot to call me a worthless bastard. Shame on you. I was also almost an abortion. Good thing my grandparents didn’t get their way.

  8. 8
    Me

    Ummm Clifton: perhaps you didn’t read the last part of my rebuttal where I say something about people not hurling insults and calling names? So yeah I write that and then call you names and well I look a lot like the people I’m badmouthing. I’m crazy, I’ll admit that, but I’m not stupid.

    I’ll try and dis you next time, sorry if I made you feel left out.

  9. 9
    Clifton

    Ah well, at least I still have my worthless bastarditity from earlier in the thread.

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