Saturday, December 29, 2007

Why some people are conservatives?

Link Economist article reports on a Thornhill and Fincher study which showed that kids with difficult childhoods end up as liberals. Those with sheltered ones end up conservatives. It's clear this matches with the stereotype. The kids of wealthy parents who have been to the country clubs, have the fancy BMW and trust fund are probably conservatives.

It has been hypothesized in a recent New York Times article (link) that wisdom comes from setbacks early in life. Perhaps the type of setbacks which go along with 'difficult childhood' mentioned above. So,

liberal = difficult childhood
difficult childhood = wisdom

by associativity

liberal = wisdom

And since its literally true that liberals are wiser than conservatives, it all makes sense. Notice wisdom != intelligence, but I'd say it's on a similar axis.

# # #

(12/29/07) A recent NYTimes piece says that binge drinkers -- even if they haven't done so in years -- tend "to poor decision-making. [As a binge drinker] one can easily fail to recognize the ultimate consequences of one’s actions." In a study done on rats made to binge drink and later kept sober for equivalent rat years, there was "a tendency to stay the course, a diminished capacity for relearning and maladaptive decision-making." Doesn't that sound like George W. Bush?

So is that possibly the correct explanation for it all: that ex-frat boy binge drinkers are conservatives because of the science of their self-inflicted brain damage? And this is the cause of our country's last 7 years of pain and suffering. We should think twice about hiring one of those assholes for the job next time.

# # #

(05/20/07) NYTimes runs a piece on how two conservatives fell this week. Falwell and Wolfowitz. The author goes on to say that the conservatives seem so far undeterred by the recent Wolfowitz setback. He makes a comparison between McNamara and Wolfowitz, but says history somewhat forgives McNamara because wasn't an ideologue.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bill Clinton negative on Obama on Charlie Rose

Towleroad Boy does Bill know how to walk that fine line. Just seeing that he had spoken negatively about Obama sort of turned me off. Still, after listening to the talk, I was slightly swayed, but still skeptical. Interesting thing is that I read Obama's statement on repeal of don't ask, don't tell and it seems much stronger than Hillary's. Time to switch horses?

Someone mention stagflation?

Reuters It was reported that Greenspan mentioned the word. While I didn't say stagflation in September, I mentioned something else in a post which was housing and credit collapse causing significant reversal in economy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Queerty: Straight acting gays

Queerty The guys at Queerty are naturally annoyed at the common gay personals attribute of either the postee liking and/or being "straight-acting". Their post is a little confusing, but the first comment clears up the confusion nicely. I.e. there is a good dose of self-hatred implied if one truly believes this is the right sort of attribute to look for. Sure, discretion might be the better part of valor in a gay-bashing world, but most self-accepting gays know the value of honesty in this regard. It just simplies life so much more not having a boyfriend be still in the closet.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Riff off of Brangolina: Churches refuse marriage licenses for straights

Advocate It's not quite as dramatic as it originally sounds, but some liberal metropolitan churches are now not providing the marriage license to any couples straight or gay. Of course, the straight couples are later free to go to a justice of the peace to get a civil marriage license whereas the gay couples generally cannot. Still it is a fine demonstration of solidarity, and on the side a booster to the idea of separation of church and state.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Movies stumble at end of Republican administrations (but music does okay)

Something that comes to mind is that artists tend to be overwhelmingly liberal. I was looking today at the list of Golden Globe nominees, and while actually I haven't seen any of the movies, I was wondering why it seems to be such a bad year for movies of substance that I am interested in seeing.

I also know that I hardly know of any good movies from the Reagan years.

Putting these random pieces of data together: poof, my new theorem is that the movies tend to suck in Republican administrations especially towards the end.

The reason is that the liberal artists are so frustrated and angry with the government that they get distracted and go to protests and spend time helping the Dems get elected that the movies suffer.

On the other hand, I think music tends to still be pretty good in Republican years. I think it's because music is a better medium for protest, and doesn't require such a huge undertaking as a movie does.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HRC Consumer Guide for 2008

PDF (2MB) Seems to be constantly updating, yet some things stay the same. Don't buy gas from Exxon or Mobil, they got a big '0' from Equality survey in treatment of their LGBT employees. Instead go to Chevron or BP. Better to use UPS instead of Fedex. Also, Target instead of Walmart or ToysRUs, Best Buy instead of Circuit City, Staples instead of Office Depot, Whirlpool/Maytag instead of GE, AT&T instead of T-mobile, and Toyota, Ford, GM, Chryser, Suburu, Volkswagon instead of Nissan.

Breaking my Walmart habit will be tough, and I'm sort of locked into T-mobile at the moment.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

For men, prospective female mates can't be too smart

NYT More than 10 years ago, I heard that an ex-employee in my department had once commented that he wanted to marry a girl that was dumber than him and shorter than him -- this despite the fact that he was pretty short and people also questioned his mental faculties. He be waiting a long time, people snidely remarked. However, this lends credence to data cited by Dowd in this piece (from an earlier article in the Times) that men just like to marry someone not quite as smart or ambitious as them. They just generally don't go around saying it.

I wonder though for me that if I were to wait for someone smarter than me, I would be waiting a long time. :)

On the other hand, why should I discriminate? Gays have be trading the need for submission or dominance for versatility for a long time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lesbian wins discrimination suit against Goodyear

Advocate Sounds like a terrible experience for anyone to have to go through.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dumbledore is gay

By now everyone knows that Dumbledore is gay, at least according to the author in a sort of unwritten postscript. We might have picked up on it. There are hints in the books apparently and nothing clearly disproves it.

I sort of wish Rowling had written it in more explicitly. And no, not that kind of explicit. Just some words to say that Dumbledore liked men. People will say, but this is a children's book! But Rowling is a billionaire, she could have written anything she wanted...

Is it lack of imagination on her part to imagine a world where muggle discrimination is disregarded in the world of wizards? Why couldn't the wizard world have been more advanced here? Possibly because the world wasn't really advanced in any other aspect of social progressiveness. Muggle borns were discriminated against, in a parallel to racism. Perhaps a gay coming of age of one of the main characters would have been a distraction and beyond her powers to write.

I take it that Rowling is a friend to the gay community and don't want to dismiss her gift the community. Still, I think of a bigger opportunity missed. I guess I'll just have to write that children's book myself.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Older gays don't find acceptance in elder housing

NYT Compared to today's younger generation of increased gay acceptance, gay seniors do generally still face ostracism from other elderly and can be reluctant to enter into senior housing facilities.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Professor says climate change has unconsidered positive feedback

NYT In other words, warming begets more warming. We didn't think that much about this, and this is why the arctic ice melt was so extreme this summer that it was more than anyone expected (this post).

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Arctic Ice Dramatically Receded this Summer

NYT It was beyond even pessimistic projections.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Banker worries about the weakening dollar

NYT What does it mean to America, the increasing lack of confidence in the dollar? In previous statements economists have said that it doesn't necessarily mean anything drastic will happen, but I hear allusions to virtuous circle of consumption in this piece.

Corn ethanol a complete waste of time and taxpayer money

NYT The automobile blogger at the Times talks about a study showing corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gases from 0-3%. Sugar ethanol by 50-70%.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Krugman again and more forcefully on Racism and the Republicans

NYT My commentary (only tangentially related to the piece): it will be a shame to see the work of racist Republicans enshrined for decades in the Supreme Court justices appointed and racist rulings handed down.

# # #

NYT Herbert concurs in a similar piece. (Don't these guys talk to each other?)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Justice John Paul Stevens

NYT It's a strange world where Justice Stevens says he's not a liberal. But this is the case. We've had a lot of Republican appointee's to the Supreme Court and, in fact, J.P. Stevens was one of them.

Qaddafi's son may be a Western-style liberal

NYT He is educated in London and has some power within Libya.

Falling birthrate in the West

NYT The story discusses Germany's dearth of children. But what of the question of new balance of power which would seem to occur with developing nations populations outnumbering the developed nations by huge numbers. Will this saturate out and be a non-issue or will Western nations be forced to open their doors to more immigration?

Women dating down

NYT It seems strange that this would be a problem. But I guess it gets awkward for those of either sex who are traditionally inclined.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Most marriages end before 25 years

Link Some interesting statistics: "Among men over 15, the proportion who have never been married was 28 percent for whites, 45 percent for blacks, 39 for Hispanic people and 33 percent for Asians.

"Among women over 15, it was 22 percent for whites, 44 percent for blacks, 30 percent for Hispanic people and 23 percent for Asians."

Seems Asian and Hispanic women tend to do significantly better than the men at being married at least once.

But how does that math work with equal women versus men? Are the women just marrying and divorcing the same guys and avoiding the 'losers'?

Actually, I would think this makes sense because of previous articles about genetics show guys can be idiots or geniuses because of the single 'X' chromosomes. When a guy isn't marriage material, it could be he _really_ isn't and no one will marry him.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Krugman on Petraeus and Failure of Surge

NYT (Times Select is now free) Krugman shows that the dog and pony for the surge by supposedly credible Petraeus is just the same phony marketing as put out by Colin Powell before the war.

More Times Select

Friedman on Iraq

Krugman again a few days later on Iraq.

Frank Rich on Iraq: "As the Iraqis stand down, we'll stand up."

Krugman on Republicans use of race and division to entice Southern whites to their cause.

Dowd calls Fred Thompson warmed over W.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Once again on the carbon use tax by a Harvard economist

NYT Author makes an interesting point, that the sum of all tax receipts wouldn't change. It's just that they would be shifted around. So there would be a new carbon use tax, but it would be compensated by less income tax on individuals and businesses. Those businesses and individuals generating a lot of carbon dioxide -- basically big energy consumers -- would pay up the nose. But okay, it could be phased in gradually so that people with those high consumption rates could plan to become more efficient.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Neo-Nazis living in Israel

Link Strangely there are indeed anti-semitics in Israel. Non-Jews have arrived from Russia including some Neo-Nazis.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Greenspan strongly criticizes current administration in new book

Link 18 months after leaving office, Greenspan talks about how Republicans sacrificed their traditional fiscal discipline to try to pay their way into a 'permanent' Republican majority.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Can't keep too many boys in a Polygamist camp

Link There is a numerical problem with keeping more than one wife if you have equal numbers of boys and girls being born. The result? Some boys need to get removed from the group one way or the other. I'm surprised there isn't infanticide.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Why does Craig resign but Vitter stay?

Link Because the Republicans are anti-gay. Rhyme unintended.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Barney Frank on closeted gay republicans

Not sure how long this will stay up on YouTube. Doesn't look like it's sponsored. Note how it goes in and out of focus. Looks like it was taken with a cell phone. Or perhaps this is done purposely to foil automatic copyright detection.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Junior officers question wisdom of Generals

Link Wonder what my HS classmate -- who last I heard is an army major -- really thinks. Of course, I may never find out.

Iraq war unlike others

Link W says withdrawal will make it like Vietnam. Historians say otherwise.

Ungrateful heart patient fines doctor who saved his life

Link What a f*cking bastard.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sleasy Countrywide steered customers to ruinous loans

Link Loans with huge prepayment penalties. Unconscionable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Demand for biofuels causes forest clearing

Link And so it might be net negative for global warming.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mine and heavy industry take human cost in China

Link Scores of dead and injured in two separate accidents.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

US Army Soldiers in Iraq write insightful opinion on NYT

Link In short, they say the Americans should step aside.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Iraq Parliament takes summer off creates an ironic spot and posts on YouTube

Monday, August 06, 2007

Last few hundred years of evolution civilized humans

Link Shit. I wouldn't have thought such a short time scale could impact genetics significantly. But a theory is presented which the rich English tended to survive in greater numbers and these were the more literate and non-violent folks which allowed the industrial revolution to happen.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Supposed positive uptick in Iraq (Updated)

Link The supposedly non-partisan Brookings Institution sent two of their people, O'Hanlon and Pollack, to investigate the situation in Iraq and they gave a positive report to latest measures.

But Salon's Greenwald disputes (link) the validity of the opinion of these two particular academics who actually were particularly hawkish at the war's start, and appear now trying to salvage any shred of value in their plan gone awry.

Canadian Liberal critiques Iraq reasoning

Link A quote from the article (emphasis mine):
"Good judgment in politics, it turns out, depends on being a critical judge of yourself. It was not merely that the president did not take the care to understand Iraq. He also did not take the care to understand himself. The sense of reality that might have saved him from catastrophe would have taken the form of some warning bell sounding inside, alerting him that he did not know what he was doing. But then, it is doubtful that warning bells had ever sounded in him before. He had led a charmed life, and in charmed lives warning bells do not sound."

Money scarce

Link I wonder how this is going to turn out. Probably badly. I don't think I've been through something like this. But at least I'm not on an adjustable loan that can't be refinanced because my asset is worth less than the loan.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Stack the Supreme court

Link I noticed this Op-ed some time back and finally came back to read it. As with anything, it's a two edged sword. But, hmmm...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Chief Justice Suffers Seizure

Link Hmmm, strange that doctors cannot pinpoint a cause. It's fortunate that he didn't injure himself significantly while falling. I mean sure, a liberal might not mind this 'activist' judge being removed from office for health reasons. But to be really practical, it needs to happen after W. leaves office.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Goodbye Matt Damon fandom

There was a troublingly homophobic snippet of Matt Damon's interview in GQ where he talks about the cars he and Ben were thinking about buying after getting the money for Good Will Hunting.

Damon says, "Because we knew it would be so gay to get the same car [Jeep Grand Cherokee]. And our friends where making fun of us. Like, 'You fags, what are you doing, you're gonna drive around in the same car? Are they gonna say His and His on them?' We both wanted hunter green. So eventually we decided that one had to get black and one had to get green."

Some straight guys and even some gays might say that this is completely normal thing for him to say. But there are clearly negative implications to being viewed as gay here being put out by a mainstream actor. And I think his acquiescing to generalized homophobia is bad as well as highlighting it in a major interview. He even sneaks in the gay slur!! What an asshole!

What would have been much better? Something like: Well, so what if people thought we were gay? We bought the same car anyway. Of course, that would be lying, so, what to do then, would be to not mention this incident at all.

Homophobia is insidious. Something which looks normal and understandable -- oh, I would never want anyone to believe I am gay because it is such a bad thing -- is really degradation, insult, and hate. People are so used to speaking in these terms and automatically thinking it's acceptable. Sure, it's like second nature '80s playground language -- but used by a celebrity in a mainstream magazine.

If I were to restate in racially charged terms, it's like Matt saying: "Ben and I were thinking of buying Cadillacs. My friends were saying: so what are you n*gg*rs now? We *obviously* had to *not* buy Cadillacs because people would think we're a couple of f*cking negros."

Anyway, I'm much less of a Matt fan than I used to be, and now, I think perhaps an end is in order.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Matt Damon, the gay vote, primaries and the election

Well, I happened to read the interview with Matt Damon in GQ where he makes an off-hand homophobic comment (more on that in a later post). I wouldn't say that Damon is a profoundly intellectual guy, despite having gone to Harvard (but not graduated). He has said he doesn't really like Hillary Clinton especially for not admitting voting 'incorrectly' for the war in Iraq. He then draws similarities to George Bush. I.e. haven't we had enough of politicians not admitting their mistakes. I'd say he's got a point there. I suppose you could explain it away as politics as usual, but I'm pretty sick of that.

Then there is the recent rescheduling of Clinton's visits to LBGT run bed and breakfasts in West Virginia. Why was that? She claims it wasn't because they were run by gays. But still it brings into question her sincerity.

Even as Clinton seems to focus on the end game of the election, I'm thinking she isn't far enough left for the primary. Gays should find someone better. Matt's favorite, Barack, isn't that person. We'll see in the gay debates, but only Dennis Kucinick and Mike Gravel support same-sex marriage. At least some sort of message should be sent to the Dems that this lackluster support for gay issues will not win our vote. Bloomberg might be a good alternative if an acceptably strong Dem doesn't show up. The Dems need to pander to the base if they want to win.

Fatah associated factions disarm for immunity

Link It's an interesting development. Wonder why no one ever thought of it before, but perhaps there was never a moderate Palestinian leadership before.

Cycling in the Tour de France: 400 Watts

Link It's hard work -- far beyond even a marathon it seems, but I found the energy equivalent amazing. 400 Watts is quite a lot.

Sport has its uses

Link A better way to keep violence to a minimum. Soccer, jobs and prosperity?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

NIE released: War in Iraq has created Al Qaeda in Iraq

Link We all know now that Saddam didn't ally with anyone including Al Qaeda. After attacking Iraq we've created a two pronged war against Al Qaeda. Isn't that lovely? I've got to say we've got the stupidest President and had an idiot Congress to just go along with the ride.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dems should stop with the objective reasoning and go for the kill

Link A couple of the examples in the article seem to make sense. Perhaps one of the hallmarks of the Dems approach is to try to use logic to persuade -- even though it's supposed to be the mommy party (Ok, I won't say that again). I like the idea of adopting the sneaky tricks of the Republicans to go after emotions. We need a campaign that goes after the non-intellectual masses of Americans in a simple basic way. No more high road, just go after the knee jerk low road reaction.

For example, not gun control, it's stopping terrorism. Not abortion, but reducing recent-immigrant population growth. Not hate crimes legislations, but equal nightclub accessibility. And haven't you realized that Bush and the Republicans are f*cking idiots. Don't be an idiot.

Drought in the West continues (updated)

Link One alarming fact is that the Colorado supply will be exceeded by demand in five years.

-- Updated 7/9/07

NewsHour guest talks about how one degree difference matters greatly to Sierra snow and snowmelt. In current drought, water supplies become more scarce and fires more prevalent and difficult to stop.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Moderate Sunnis helping the Americans in Iraq

Link If there is some hope in Iraq it is somewhat expressed by this winning over of the moderate Sunnis to help the Americans. It's obvious these Iraqis are worried about what will happen once the Americans leave and the Shia are left alone to manage the country. Surely, the Americans will stay in some capacity, but it all depends on the political support for the war back home. It's interesting, but sensible, that the moderate Sunnis were only willing to help after they saw that the extremists were obviously losing.

Case against genetic engineering

Link I agree.

An Israeli agrees with Carter

Link He says the occupation was a mistake. The reasoning parallels the old maxim: even though the battle was won, the war was lost.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Democrat talks about Carbon Use Tax

Link Of course, the use tax is another tax. But Economists believe a use tax is more beneficial and effective than cap and trade. Cap and trade is like an incremental tax based on government managed and estimated usage levels and potential efficiencies. If the whole of carbon-dioxide generation was taxed then solar, wind, and nuclear would become much more competitive.

On a related note, Economist talks about wind and solar as if people didn't realize the fuel is free. I would think that much was obvious, no?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Is Libby a special case? If not, others should go free, too

Link Interesting the double standard created by Bush's comments justifying the commutation. Pardons and commutations are clearly exceptions, but I wonder that any explanation is ever given for them since they are usually given at the end of a President's term. Everyone understands those pardons to be helping out friends and political allies. Yes, even then, issuing too many of these to 'true' criminals can give a black mark to Presidents, including Bill Clinton, who handed a bunch of them out in his last days. But Bush spoke about how Libby's sentence was too harsh in trying to justify his immediate commutation before Libby could serve even a day in jail. Why even bother justifying it? There isn't any reasoning to justify it. It's a complete conflict of interest. There isn't one rational law for friends of Bush and another for everyone else.

Lies, lies, lies and hypocrisy.

# # #
NewsHour discussion

# # #
Another Times article talks about how sparing Bush had been on pardons and commutations before Libby's commutation.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Want to win your case at the Supreme Court? Woo Kennedy

Link Much as been made of the single remaining swing vote now that O'Connor has left the bench: Anthony Kennedy. It appears that perhaps some small hope of liberal victories still remain despite the two new white guys.

-- Updated 7/6

Economist says that liberals will now rightly focus on winning in the legislature rather than the Supreme Court. I think that there certainly is great power there.

Iran the cause of some mayhem against US in Iraq

Link The US asserts they have been training and arming Shiites in Iraq to attack Americans.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bush threatens veto unless DC funding made anti-gay

Link Wow, it seems so beneath the President to use his veto power in petty and mean ways.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

41% of gay Brit students assaulted / Hate-Crimes Legislation

[Towleroad] [BBC] And 17% received death threats. I wonder if it isn't even worse in the US. Education spokesman: "Whether a young person is gay, seen as being gay or has gay parents, homophobic bullying can make their life a misery."

# # #

Queerty reports HRC is asking for your support to urge Congress to pass hate crimes protections. At least listen to the Cindy Lauper classic in the YouTube ad.

Doctors like to talk about themselves

Link My GP is great, a nice asian woman with seemingly infinite patience. This article talks about how some doctors forgot to ask what patient was there for. For some reason, I can easily imagine some male doctors doing exactly what's mentioned in the article: self-centered b*stards. And you know that I haven't anything against males, but I can just perfectly picture it. A tall, white, male doctor starting a conversation about my summer and in a blasé manner -- knowing that no patient in need of medical help would dare stop him -- continuing to talk about his family and his vacation last year in Italy for several minutes.

British Gov't refutes Intelligent Design as Not Science

Slashdot pointed to the Register article saying that Intelligent design isn't science. Vastly different from what our government under the Bush administration would say.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bloomberg waves rainbow flag in pride parade

Link Elizabeth Edwards says she is fine with same-sex marriage. This puts her somewhat opposite her husband. I'm afraid for me there's no collateral benefit from that, unless she convinces her husband to change his stance.
Meanwhile, possible long shot independent candidate Bloomberg marches in the New York pride parade along with Mayor Ed Koch. Although Bloomberg is left-handed, he apparently isn't gay -- he is seeing a girlfriend after divorcing his wife of 19 years. I think I'd vote for Bloomberg if he ran, although it depends on whether he's got a chance or not. He's expressed his opinion that he is for same-sex marriage, although somewhat muddled by the city filing an appeal to a ruling for same-sex marriage. Still, his entrance could be like a Ralph Nader and screw the country with another 'W'. But then again no one could be as bad as 'W' though.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Link Apparently, humans are immune to PtERV1, a monkey virus. Some monkeys are immune to HIV. It's theorized that for humans to be immune to PtERV1 they lost the capability to be immune to HIV.

Not sure if I understand why that must be from the article, but perhaps some of the proteins needed to be immune to PtERV1 are different from what's needed for HIV, so a 'normal' evolutionary process would only protect against one or the other. I don't think it means that eventually some humans wouldn't eventually get immunity from HIV, but it would take thousands of years and sustaining medicines might confound the Darwinian process. Of course, in the process tens of millions would die.

Having it both ways: an executive and congressman

Link Cheney is using executive privilege and lawmaker's privilege to obscure his tracks. The guy is a total sleezeball to need to make this kind of argument.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Same-sex marriage passes New York Assembly

Link Unfortunately, the state Senate is still held by Republicans. They say they're not even going to debate the bill in that Chamber. Too bad because Spitzer introduced it. California's got the opposite problem.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Congress to finally go after the oil company subsidies

Link Previous incentives to increase domestic production will be replaced with alternative fuel research funding.

Americans getting a little smarter in Iraq

Link At least someone is thinking.

-- Updated 6/24

Apparently it didn't work. High level Al Qaeda has left the region. Link

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Times writer takes on Lou Dobbs for untruths

Link For all his claims to be a populist, Lou Dobbs seems too much of an advocate for xenophobic and racist causes.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Injecting fiscal responsibility

Link The Democrats may pass a Pay as You Go bill, but would the President veto it? The author notes future structural deficits from medicare and social security are a major concern.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Faith-based group flips earmarked coast guard cutters

Link This is supposed to be a moral organization, but they're not averse to asking for money/donations for a particular humanitarian purpose and doing something else entirely with that money.

Fallacy: Trading safety versus fuel efficiency in cars

Link Interesting that Honda agreed that no such tradeoff was necessary. The US automakers are pushing back hard. Probably Toyota is quietly in the same camp as Honda.

U.S. Civilian Surge -- State Dept

Link The CS Monitor reports on a much smaller, but hopefully effective civilian surge which will bring training for oversight and other governing functions.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Islamist rules for suicide bombing can all be bent

Link Well I suppose one can't be surprised. It's sort of like war. All the rules change once someone says it's war.

China food fakery (updated)

Link Pretty disgusting. People say the Chinese are just interested in making money. And here it is openly demonstrated that they really don't care how they make money. The feed makers were defrauding the buyers. The chemical makers claim the chemicals were harmless, but they basically turned a blind eye and were enablers for the feed makers to cheat others -- knowing that the feed has no nutritional value. Ethically deficient? Driven by greed?

While I wouldn't doubt it if they claimed that they learned this attitude from rapacious Western multinational corporations, a disturbing aspect of this story fits with another stereotype I've heard others say about the Chinese. That they don't want to get involved. If a nearby person is dying of a heart attack, they won't call 911 or do CPR. They'll claim it was none of their business. Or they didn't know what problem the guy was having. Or they don't want the police to think they killed the guy. Or they don't want to be charged for the 911 call.

While it doesn't excuse anything, one possible explanation for this behavior is that because of widespread government corruption, they've had the habit of not reporting anything to the authorities, because if they did, it might be seen as unwanted meddling and come back to harm them in some way.

-- Updated 5/17

A story on the fallout from the tainted pet food from China.

-- Updated 6/10

Link Making a quick buck in China with fakery.

Poisoned toothpaste and chili sauce from China

Link More excellent stuff from China. Makes me want to just go out and buy everything with a made in China name. The only problem is that Chinese ingredients seem so ubiquitous. They can supply pet food, toothpaste and who knows what else.

-- Updated 6/2

Link Tainted Chinese toothpaste in dollar stores in the US.

-- Updated 6/10

Link Too much preservatives in chili sauces from China.

-- Updated 6/15

Link Chinese stonewalling on fake glycerin.

Monday, June 04, 2007

China talks about climate change

Link Perhaps it's just political posturing, but China seems to be taking a stance -- although a weak one -- on preventing damage to the environment through climate change.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Surge not quite as expected

Link Dare I say it? Does it seem like it's not working? I do tend to give up too easily. Perhaps we should wait longer for more soldiers to get killed.

See this post on a similar theme about Delta company.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ginsburg speaks from the bench on dissents

Link I must say Roberts and Alito seem to be putting pressure on the more liberal side of the court. Ginsburg seems determined to bring their new conservative opinions to public view.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Need some good karma? design for the poor

Link Some interesting ideas there. I should think there should be plenty more, if designers make it a priority.

Special Ops (Special forces) in Iraq

Link Hadn't heard much about SF in Iraq, but I guess they're doing somethin'.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

If the Americans leave Iraq things would get worse before getting better

Link In the article, a Sunni says: "Still, we need America to make the country more stable and not leave Iraq in the trouble, which they, themselves, have caused."

I'm sure I'll regret saying this, but I think things will get worse when the Americans leave certainly. But then they will get better as it gets naturally partitioned and American forces stop artificially propping up the place. The insurgents may eventually go for scorched Earth policy, but maybe not.

Half the Iraqi army are insurgents?

Link No wonder the Delta company is disillusioned.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Big loss brings soldiers to say "I love you, man!", but too late for the sarge

Link Squad searching for missing soldiers in Iraq suffers heavy casualties from an off-road bomb and has a small emotional breakdown.

Seeing oneself in third person indicates positive personality

Link One of those strange psychological studies which tries to explain something you might know intuitively. That is, if you can see something bad which happened to you objectively rather than personally, you will be happier. Time probably naturally helps this process. But some people have the ability to step back and evaluate experiences with some distance.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

General Batiste speaks against Iraq war in ads

Link He was fired by CBS as a consultant shortly thereafter -- I got a mail from to petition Les Moonves to reinstate him. But perhaps the beginning of a new political career for Batiste?

Economist likes Hillary's chances

Link Some of the reasons cited make sense.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More firings in the works for offensive racial remarks (updated)

Link I'd like to say that I'm sure these guys will get the boot too. But Asians don't have an Al Sharpton, though perhaps we can ask for his help. I hardly watch CBS, but I'd offer that I'll never watch another tired Katie Couric broadcast again.

-- Updated 5/15

Queerty reports the DJs were finally given the boot by CBS.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Supplemental versus budget

Gates argues that doing war funding in two month increments isn't feasible. If that's the reasoning, then why doesn't the Bush White House go through a full budget instead of going through supplementals. Supplementals seem like a way to sneak war funding out of the scrutiny of normal budget process.

Is that the case or is there some other explanation?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

BP's Lord Browne (updated)

It just seems to impute more shame on gay folks when someone powerful wants to hide their homosexuality. He's of a different age, and perhaps lives in old Victorian England in his mind, where revealing such things are unthinkable. I suppose he thinks he's won by preventing his private life from been posted for all to see. I can see myself valuing my privacy as well. But less may have been made of this whole thing if he'd just let things be published and made no comment. I suppose it depends though on what 'bad' aspects might be revealed. Still, I would be happy to hide under a rock for a couple years if I could hold on for 2-3 months as a lame duck CEO for $7.7 million bonus. Then again, if I'd already attained hundreds of millions, what good was that tainted and piddling bonus, if I felt like a little money grubbing shit taking it.

I just read that the Canadian was a student -- so likely very young. The student was apparently quite a money grubber. It seems Browne might have taught him a lesson, no?

-- Updated 5/7

As reported by Towleroad, Lord Browne's rent boy was a young, reasonably good looking kid. At least he might have been worth all the trouble.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Food subsidies lead to obesity

Link In a piece written by the author of 'The Omnivores Dilemma', we understand how the food subsidies in the farm bill cause the cheapest food to be the least healthy -- explaining why the poor are also the most obese.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Partitioning Iraq

Link I'd written earlier that I'd thought that partitioning Iraq would be a way to prevent genocide of Shia on Sunni. I put it this way since Sunni's are the minority and have little political power. Seems like the US military was attempting to do just that in Baghdad, but now al-Maliki says he's against such a move. Of course he's a Shia, so I don't know whether we can trust him.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bush loses is first and second cabinet members to scandal and failure

Rumsfeld, Libby, Wolfowitz, Michael Brown (FEMA), Gonzales: I'm sure I'm leaving out more wonderful white male buddies of Bush. People said in 2000 that it didn't matter that Bush was an idiot, he had a wonderfully experienced cabinet.

Well, I think it turns out the only good guy Bush had was Powell, and nobody at the White House listened to Powell. Everyone else was corrupt, inept, and a liar. Turned out even Powell was a liar at the UN.

What's really sad that Rumsfeld and Cheney came from Ford's cabinet. Ford was a good guy, but he sure had bad judgment of character.

-- Updated 4/19

Economist talks about how the Neocons have been discredited -- mostly by their own failure.

-- Updated 5/15

Interesting story about Ashcroft and Gonzales.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Brain genes on the X-chromosome

I've read that researchers had found that many genes for intelligence are actually on the X-chromosome, and since males only have one copy of that chromosome, any mutations which might be recessive in girls are expressed in boys. This could be the reason behind the wider variance in intelligence in males compared to females -- supposedly males can be really smart or really dumb. Lately, I've found mostly evidence of the latter. Also, it means that these particular X-chromosome brain genes come from the mother only. No wonder I don't have my dad's gift for math.

-- Updated 5/1

Link It seems what I said above was not quite correct. Apparently, one of the X-chromosomes is mostly shut down in girls as well. Hmmm.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fierstein argues against prejudices double standard

Link Why do Ann Coulter and Isaiah Washington get a relative pass for calling people f----t? And Imus get fired for calling others nappy headed hos? Fierstein wonders why and thinks it's due to a double standard.

Perhaps there aren't insult words strong enough that we can hurl at straight white Christian males in America to understand what it's like to be insulted with such words. Cracker, breeder, red-neck, bible-bearing, poor white trash don't quite meet the level of insults straight white male people can say towards women, Jewish people, gays and blacks. I think people just need to take a moment to put themselves in other's shoes. This seems to be a lost art in this day and age, but a capacity that all humans have.

One can complain about thought police and mind-control, but really this argument isn't about what people think. People can think what they like, but if a public figure makes public insults, he/she is going to have to pay the price. I just hope it that unlike what Fierstein says, gays don't remain the only group bigots can insult publicly and not lose their job.

-- Updated 4/15

Expectations, context and target matters according to Times piece.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Iraq Shia urged to fight Americans by al Sadr

Link I'm beginning to think the Americans are in a trap. Bush created this mess which is Iraq, and now the Shia majority is going to start genocide against the Sunni minority once the American soldiers leave. America will be blamed for that. Then again, al-Qaeda and the Sunni insurgents are working together to increase the violence. But this makes the Shia majority are angry enough to write them out of further influence in Iraq which will hamper any chance of political reconciliation. America will probably be blamed for that too.

Perhaps we can somehow escape our duties by saying the Iraqis are doing this to themselves. But still the Americans are in fact the ones who created this situation in the first place -- 'you break it, you own it.'

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dutch seem to have a good idea with peaceful counter-insurgent tactics

Link It's not a clear winner as far as tactics, but it looks better from the point of view of long term strategy.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Shiite Cleric wants civil war

Link The powerful Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani rejected the call for modification to de-baathification laws in place currently in Iraq. It seems to me that Iraq wants civil war. I say let them have it, and we should step aside to let them know there are consequences to being unreasonable.

EPA needs to regulate warming gases

All over the news: the Supreme court says EPA needs to do something about carbon dioxide and methane. Now, let's see if the Bushies actually do something. I can see a lot of feet dragging, half measures and excuses coming.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ethanol a red herring

A lot of news items have come from Bush's trying to 'encourage' automakers to make E85 compatible cars. But where is all the ethanol for these cars going to come from? More subsidies for corn which is already heavily subsidized? Several articles have stated that the economics of ethanol as a fuel aren't good. We have to heavily subsidize the crop and in actuality put in 75% or more of the energy we get out of it. Perhaps this can be drastically improved, but aren't we putting the cart before the horse. Shouldn't we make it economically viable without subsidies before encumbering automakers with switching costs.

The Sierra club says that automakers get out of the CAFE (fuel efficiency) standards with an E85 loophole. This is a very bad thing.

-- Updated April 2

Well now that I think about it, perhaps 25% efficiency isn't too bad. But you are trading off huge amounts of potential actual food production for ethanol production. I still think it only sounds good if there's more like 50% or better efficiency. Somebody should do a full on cost/joule on solar vs wind vs ethanol taking into account fixed costs like solar panels, turbines, farm machinery.

Hillary Clinton

From what I've heard Carter was a nice guy. Ford got some important things done in his short time in office. I have a respect for Reagan's accomplishments. But what can I say, Bill Clinton is still my favorite President. Still, you can like Bill and not like Hillary, or vice-versa. But I think I am willing to give Hillary another listen. For some reason, I don't think I like Barack Obama. Perhaps, it's his more lukewarm responses on gay rights questions, his smoking (despite his current stance that he is trying to quit), or just his unattractive face (sorry guy) -- a young President should at least be good looking as compensation for the lack of experience. Of course, Hillary probably isn't terribly attractive, but I guess that doesn't matter to me. Al Gore could run, but he's gotta lose a lot of weight to have a chance, I think. It's getting to be too late for him. I'm not even looking at the Republican candidates.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Climate change in Arizona highlands

Link More fires, droughts, endangered species, and higher temps potentially point to climate change. Like the poles, it seems high altitude ecosystems can witness massive changes with small temperature shifts.

Northern Ireland agreement = Iraq in 30 years?

Link It's a strange parallel, but perhaps if the Americans leave Iraq and dangle financial incentives to cooperate that's what would happen?

Friday, March 23, 2007

NYT editorial says laws likely broken in prosecutor firings

Link David Brooks, a NYT columnist, said probably no laws were broken. But another editorial in the Times says there may have been.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Politically motivated prosecutor firings obscured by lies

Link Another case of lying and stupidity on the part of the Bush administration. Of course, Bush has the prerogative to get rid of the prosecutors he doesn't like. But in an attempt to hide the political nature of the firings, the administration decided to bad mouth some reasonably good prosecutors by saying the firings were performance based.

Apparently Reagan and Clinton conducted purges of all of the justice prosecutors at the start of their terms. W apparently did the same, but had second thoughts about these eight. Doesn't this mean he and/or his administration has poor judgment?

Updated 3/15
Economist story

Monday, March 12, 2007

Article tries to explain the reason why CT screening for lung cancer isn't good for you

Permalink The complexities of overdiagnosis and mortality rate improvement are explained.

Biofuels could be created efficiently by adding hydrogen

Link Hmmm, interesting ideas on biofuels. You could perform electrolysis on water to get hydrogen and then use it to convert biomass to alcohol?

Laughter as a social lubricant

Permalink A study shows the reason why a nervous laugh can be normal.

My brief take on earlier and later DST

It's a nice idea to try to save power. I think it would have been fine except that we have a bunch of electronics that does this change for you, but around the first week of April. Everything I've read says to manually change the time on things that didn't do it automatically for you last Sunday, but nobody wants to talk about how things will be screwed up in the first week of April and in the fall when some of your electronics will set you forward and back again if you leave DST turned on on those devices. My problems are with my digital watch and my vcr and old WinME PC. I was thinking to turn off DST on all of those items, although the old WinME PC is on so infrequently it probably won't matter as long as I remember not to rely on the time.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Climate change affecting property values?

Permalink Some serious thoughts about property around Manhattan and how it might be affected by storm surge.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

La Nina coming

NOAA says La Nina may come in the next couple months. This could increase the possibility of hurricanes in the Atlantic back to 2005 level.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

60 minutes on US Financial Troubles

Link The story provides some food for thought. I've heard there are economists who say trade deficit isn't a problem. It just means were trading dollars for goods that we want. But this piece seems to take a different tack. It seems to say that we won't be able to afford social security and Medicare for the boomers because we will need to pay interest on all our debts. I guess that means interest on the treasury bills? I'm a little confused, but the other way is to devalue the dollar, meaning we could just print more money. But if we have runaway inflation we'll be in trouble, right? It could lead to stagflation or recession. I wonder if I should be buying Euros or something.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Warmer winters bring reduced maple syrup yields in US

Permalink Another global warming impact. Maple syrup production may entirely move to Canada.

Iraq Partition?

Permalink NYTimes piece on how physical and social interactions between Sunni and Shiite have become so dangerous they are entirely cut off in Baghdad. I can't help but wonder if the next likely step is one like Northern Ireland, a wall and partition.

NYTimes prints the anti-gay f-word slur from Coulter

Permalink Weird. Just a little while back, with the Isaiah Washington statement, NYTimes refused to actually print the word. Now when Ann Coulter says it about John Edwards, it's okay to print. Maybe it makes sense, but then I don't know what the rules are. Hopefully they can enlighten us.

Anyway, it's just incredible that Coulter decides to use the word.

But what was her reasoning behind using the word? She seemed to say she was intending to use it as in insult and not to say that he is actually gay. But that he is a weak, effeminate man. That is really the most offensive use of the word regardless of whether it is applied to a gay man or not.

More or less erudite reasoning on the matter here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hardaway a bigot, and likely feigns apology

AP story on NYTimes [Why didn't the Times do their own story? Lazy bums.]

"Well, you know, I hate gay people. I let it be known, I don't like gay people. I don't like to be around gay people."

"I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

Amazing. I don't have a right to exist? As just about everyone has commented, the statement just validates the need for an equality movement. In an ironic way, thank you: Mr. Hardaway.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

AP story on NBA's Amaechi Coming Out

Link AP rightly says that a soon to be retiring player outing himself or herself is old news. It's been done. How about an out active professional team sport player?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Washington State procreation and marriage initiatives

Link Towleroad reports on Washington state initiatives to link children and marriage and make children a requirement for marriage. A sarcastic move as a response to the WA supreme court ruling, but I wonder if anyone would get the point. Straights have a tendency to ignore the obvious -- which is why we got the ruling in the first place.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Snickers ad: homophobic

Towleroad reports on the Superbowl ad for snickers where two guys kiss and then are forced to "do something manly". I saw it and was pretty put off. I guess I'll not buy or eat another Snickers bar ever again. And I guess that extends to: M&M'S, Mars, Milky Way, and Twix from the parent company. Probably better for my health anyway. They've pulled the ad and the homophobic NFL teams' reactions and sort-of apologized. But it's not enough for me anyway. Hmmm, I should boycott the NFL too... Well, I never watched much football anyway.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Op-ed says Bush committed felonies and should be prosecuted

Permalink Bush authorized wiretaps without going through the FISA courts. If so, this is illegal even if he is the President. The author says Bush needs go to trial and face up to any punishment.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More people agree on evidence of global warming

Link I'm biased in favor of scientists, but I would say that even skeptical people might believe in global warming from human burning of fossil fuels based on the evidence presented.

-- updated 30 Jan

Permalink Scientists imagine impacts from global warming. One which surprised me: the Mediterranean will become unbearable in summer.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Miserable failure result disabled on Google

Permalink What a bummer! Google has decided not to allow the Google bombs succeed in making the result for "miserable failure" to lead to a first search result of George Bush at the white house website.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

NYTimes Permalinks

Link I just realized that there is a way to get permanent links to NYTimes articles which will survive and not get archived and lost from view. I'll try to use those from now on.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Isaiah Washington, fighting for career, apologizes deeply for anti-gay slur

Link The New York Times doesn't even write the word, but you can guess what word it is that Washington allegedly said once on the set of Grey's Anatomy and definitely said once in public at the Golden Globes -- of all places. And it wasn't the short version, it was the long version used profusely on playgrounds in elementary and middle school while I was growing up.

I must say that I'm impressed that the country has come to a point where saying it in public is getting close to saying the slur against African Americans in public by a non-African American. Not sure why but African Americans themselves get a pass in using that slur.

I'm ashamed to say I've used the anti-gay word before, before I was out. Maybe out gay people get a pass for saying it, but now I wouldn't do it -- it still has too many hurtful associations.

Huge carnage in Baghdad marketplace

Link Terror pure and simple. Things aren't looking good for the surge. I mean I don't see any way it can stop things like this.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

More US women out of marriage than in it

Link Census results show this shift. With some income gains, women are enjoying independence.

War in Iraq: $1.2 trillion

Link It's an enormous sum. Unfathomable and maddening considering my tax money is contributing to such a useless enterprise. 1.2 million, million dollars.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bush desperate and delusional

Link After reading this article I was convinced that Bush is hoping beyond hope that his own crazy plan to salvage Iraq 'victory' will succeed. It's too bad he's putting a number of American soldiers in harms way with such a low chance of success.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Women in love with gay guys

Link I thought these were interesting but sad descriptions of love gone wrong.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Man rescued by stranger

Link A pretty amazing thing to do. With a subway train closing in, a man fell onto the tracks. A stranger traveling with his two small kids knew well enough that there is space to survive with train passing overhead and pushed the man and himself into that space saving the man.