Wednesday, February 16, 2011

coupla things

thing1: IBM's "Watson" just crushed Ken Jennings & Brad Rutter on Jeopardy.

thing2: As loyal readers may have noticed, my postings have become ever-more infrequent.
Other things are consuming my time for now, and I think it time to formally announce an intentional period of inactivity.
So - I'll be taking a few months off.

See ya later.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Branding: "the radical Christianist agenda"

"Far-right", "religious right", even "Christian right" have lost their punch, and their meaning.
What's needed is a good, catchy brand for the drivel currently being spewed by the GOP.
I propose, "the radical Christianist agenda".
- matches their "radical homosexual agenda"
- uses word-formation analogous to "Islamist"
- avoids tarring all Christians... just the Christianists

The elements of this radical Christianist agenda? A good start can be found in recent headlines from Think Progress:
In First Month Of Legislative Session, GOP Lawmakers In Five States Seek To Eliminate, Criminalize Abortion

GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy Says Being On Medicaid Is ‘Actually Worse’ Than Having No Insurance

Rep. Fred Upton On Global Warming: ‘I Do Not Accept That It Is Man-Made’

Tim Pawlenty Refuses To Say Whether Gays Should Be Allowed To Serve In The Military At All

Alabama State Senator Advises Politicians To ‘Empty The Clip’ To Stop Undocumented Immigrants

REPORT: At Least 13 States Have Introduced Bills Guarding Against Non-Existent Threat Of Sharia Law

GOP Rep. Rehberg: Federal Judges Should Be ‘On The Endangered Species List’
Subjecting all so-called scientific "truths" to Biblical exegesis (preferably based only on a literal reading the King James version of the Bible); extreme and violent xenophobia; extreme and violent homophobia; extreme and violent attitudes toward government - particularly towards the FEDERAL government; extreme and violent anti-feminism - outlawing any and all forms of contraception (after all, God has commanded us to "be fruitful and multiply", and God slew Onan!); and, of course, denying that any so-called 'religion' has a right to be called such if it's not a "Bible-based" Protestant sect that accepts the inerrancy of the KJV as God's Own Words.

... I probably ought add 'contempt for the poor', and 'worship of Mammon', but the list above is a decent start. (Feel free to add your own suggestions in comments!)

These are the positions and attitudes that characterize the radical Christianist agenda.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"The more things change..."

Woodrow Wilson on Senate filibusters, 1917:
"A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible."
- quoted in Edmund Morris's Colonel Roosevelt
If nothing else, reading political history helps me realize that current political mess is not new, but has been a constant in American history.
There has never been a Golden Age...
... tho' today's Gilded Age has clear precedent.

[Just for fun: Wilson was a Democrat, the "little group of willful men" the minority Republican senators.]

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Here's a good idea!

From friend PENolan over at Menopausal Stoners:
Turn off Fox

Just for fun: it's REALLY COLD!

This looks like a picture from the sci-fi movie The Day After Tomorrow... but it's a satellite photo of current massive winter storm over U.S.!

Currently in Albuquerque: 4°F.

I put the sweater on the dog before walking her today.

I turned off the pond pump - figuring keeping water OUT of the line would be a good thing (I'll learn if this was a good decision tomorrow).
The pond has a small 'donut' heater that keeps a bit of water (about one foot in diameter) open.
Last I checked - a coupla hours ago, when I unplugged the pump - the pond was frozen.

I'm guessing northern U.S. is a bit chillier.

"American Exceptionalism" - then and now

A couple of nights ago I watched a program on PBS: Panama Canal.
Part of the American Experience series.

Anyway, the U.S. began construction of the Panama Canal in 1904.
The canal opened in 1914.
Ten years.
Cost? Something under $400Mn in 1904 dollars, equivalent to something under $10Bn in today's $$$.

So, in ten years, for less than $10Bn, we built a canal that continues to serve the world... and makes $$$ with every ship that passes through.
The investment paid for itself long, long ago!

Ten years later, we're still in Afghanistan, estimated cost $374Bn.
What have we got to show for it?
In 100 years, what will this "investment" have produced???

What the hell has happened to us???

... and, oh yeah: even after so-called 'healthcare-reform' legislation passed, we're STILL the ONLY DEVELOPED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD without some form of UNIVERSAL HEALTH INSURANCE!