Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Crash Meme Continued

The old car/airplane/train wreck meme is reappearing in the comics pages only this time the vehicles/people have generally already gone over a cliff or they have hit the ground.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

This is not quite as overwhelmingly funny and rude a roast as Stephen Colbert gave to George W. Bush a couple of years ago but it ain't no Rich Little neither. It still never fails to make me feel better about America when I hear Obama speak. The fact he can deliver a series of excellent jokes is really tasty gravy.

Let Bygones...?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


What an old fashioned idea: the beat cop. A cop that walks around your neighborhood, knows your name and the names of your kids and is more worried about keeping you safe than trying to find an excuse to search your car.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Expanding Universe

Just a few days ago I was thinking about quantum mechanics and the differences and similarities between atoms and galaxies, quarks and planets and like that. During the course of my thinking I was reminded of the stereotypical stoner college student saying, "Dude, what if the earth is just an electron and the sun is a neutron and we're all part of a molecule in some dude's finger." And then I encountered a Mandelbrot set after not thinking of them in years.

Mandelbrot Fractal Set Zoom To E71 - Funny blooper videos are here
Similar shapes and structures throughout yet no two are identical and the complexity continues through all magnifications both increasing and decreasing. And then I see a report on a nano scale light bulb that can be used to test the differences between the quantum realm and the thermodynamic realm. The rules of these two domains do not play well together, to say the least. And then I'm looking at the Astronomy Picture of the Day (or APOD) and see this picture of the Eskimo Nebula.

Y'know what it looks like to me? It looks just like the first moments of a nuclear explosion.


Is it all a matter of scale? Are there really different rules as scale changes? Is it just a matter of not understanding how time acts in relation to scale? Gosh, I wish I was smart enough to figure this stuff out.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Absolutely amazing.

Maybe a New Needle Would Help?

Do I Have Swine Flu?

Do I have swine flu?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Approval Ratings

A Thousand Reasons Cokie Roberts Should Not Be On NPR... EVER.

I remember having my hackles raised by Cokie Roberts last year when then President-elect Obama went to visit his dying grandmother in Hawaii and this aging news parrot regurgitated the right wing's talking point du jour that he was running off to some place "exotic." Repeating this ugly nonsense requires the same journalistic ethics as the "terrorist fist bump" statement/question or Fox Noise's "some people say" bullshit slanders ("some people" being the shitheels in the "news" room at Fox). So it warmed my heart to be linked to this story from Slate which absolutely rips on Roberts and NPR for giving her air time. [thanks Harper's]

Perfectly Obvious Cokie

Behold how little substance NPR's Cokie Roberts can pack into four minutes of airtime.

By Jack Shafer - Updated Friday, May 1, 2009, at 6:50 PM ET

...I can think of no comparably sized media space that's as void of original insight and information as Roberts'. Her segments, though billed as "analysis" by NPR, do little but speed-graze the headlines and add a few grace notes. If you're vaguely conversant with current events, you're already cruising at Roberts' velocity. Roberts doesn't just voice the conventional wisdom; she is the conventional wisdom. Give a listen to her March 9, 2009, chatter:

Some [Republicans] say the president is doing too much, what he's doing too much about things they don't necessarily want him to do right now—healthcare, education, energy. And they're worried that he's using this crisis for big changes that they don't want. And, of course, that is the case. The administration will try to do that. But they go between saying that he's a socialist, and the president did seem to feel the need to call a New York Times reporter after an interview this weekend to say he's not a socialist. And the Republicans are saying he should—some Republicans—that he should nationalize the banks. So it is, you know, it is all over the place.

And then some say he should be doing more. Others say he's mortgaging our children's future. So I think that they're just trying to get their voices out there, mainly trying to drown out Rush Limbaugh's voice as the voice of the Republican party.

If you can find an original thought in there, you're welcome to it.


Don't despise Roberts' journalism just for what she says but for how she says it. The most irritating of her collection of tics is declaring a specific news topic "interesting," "very interesting," or "really interesting." Yet her declarations almost never signal the approach of anything notable: It's her way of squid-inking the waters so she can say something completely superficial and escape before the listener can think it though. Examples:

"It's interesting, Harry Reid is also somewhat crossways with the president on the issue of earmarks."
March 2, 2009

"Well, you know, what is interesting is when you talk to Republicans in Congress, they say, look, we know we're not voting with [Obama]."
Feb. 23, 2009

"Senator Gregg is an interesting choice for commerce secretary."
Feb. 2, 2009

"Each side [is] trying to make bi-partisanship a partisan issue. You know, I'm being more bi-partisan than you are. And that's an interesting dynamic to see play out."
Jan. 25, 2009

"But one thing I found really interesting is [Bush] said he didn't feel isolated in this job, which you've heard from other presidents."
Jan. 12, 2009

"But Bob Gates is a very interesting character."
Dec. 1, 2008

"Well, there's this interesting scenario that both campaigns have spun out, that they could each end up with 269 electoral votes, a tie, and each would need one more to get to the 270."
—Oct. 6, 2008

"So it's going to be interesting to see how [the Palin nomination] plays out."
Sept. 1, 2008