Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finally

The mountains have been getting creamed over and over, but Denver's been dry as a bone. I've had my (x-country) skis in the back of the car for weeks, to no avail. Now:

A winter storm warning that includes Longmont [sorry, don't use the city paper anymore; Longmont is north and west of here about 25 miles] indicates that the storm could drop 5 to 10 inches of snow on the Denver metro area.
Goodie, sort of. One of these days the shoveling will kill me, and while the high today was 55, they're calling for zeroish over the next few days.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

CO legislator kills pregnant woman in car crash

Stuff happens, of course, and apparently she wasn't drunk, but state senator Suzanne Williams is a hypocrite and a forgetter of convenience. NineNews' story (which very oddly begins with the fact that the woman killed was a distant relative of another CO state senator):
Texas safety officials say a 2010 Honda CRV driven by Williams was heading north when, for some unknown reason, it veered into oncoming traffic and hit the 2003 GMC Yukon driven by Eric James Gomez of Amarillo.

According to Texas officials, Eric Gomez tried to avoid the crash, but the vehicles crashed head-on in the center of the roadway.

Brianna Gomez's baby was delivered by C-section and is currently in critical condition at Northwest Texas Hospital. Brianna Gomez, who was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning. Lundberg says Briana Gomez, originally from Ouray, also had two daughters.

Investigators say Williams was wearing a seatbelt. Her son, 41-year-old Todd Edward Williams of Denver, and her oldest grandson, 7-year-old Tyler Williams, were not wearing their seatbelts and were ejected from the car. Both were listed in stable condition at Northwest Texas Hospital.

Williams' other grandson, 3-year-old Tristan Williams, was also not wearing a seatbelt, but was not ejected. He too was listed in stable condition at the same hospital.
As the story points out,
Williams is on the Colorado Senate's Transportation Committee and has pushed for legislation giving police officers authority to pull drivers over for not wearing seatbelts. Right now, not wearing a seatbelt is a secondary offense in Colorado. . . .
Williams says she doesn't remember much from the crash, but:
"It's a tragedy that I now have a personal experience with a highway accident," Williams told 9NEWS over the phone from Texas on Monday. "It's been very traumatic."
Poor baby. Oh, wait. The actual ba--er, fetus--lived.
9NEWS asked Williams why her family was not wearing seatbelts during the accident and she said she did not have time to answer the question.
Williams has come up on this blog before. She suggested repealing the Columbus Day holiday a few years ago.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The march of Science!

Missed this last month, but still worth a look. An online periodical called, edgily, Edge: The Third Culture, asked a bunch of more-or-less prominent ginks, "The flat earth and geocentric world are examples of wrong scientific beliefs that were held for long periods. Can you name your favorite example and for extra credit why it was believed to be true?"

A surprising number of respondents (many of them non-scientists, by the way) cited the theory that stress (the hurly-burly of modern life and all that) caused ulcers. Other faves were the ether; the miasmic theory of disease; eugenics; intelligent design; Lamarckian inheritance; and spontaneous generation.

My own favorite response was from a Garniss Curtis, "Geochronologist Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley; Coauthor, Java Man":
For years I believed the Government's insistence that UFO's did not exist until I saw one under circumstances that could leave no doubt. Subsequently over many years I have seen three more. Being a scientist and professor at U.C. Berkeley, I quizzed many graduate students, asking them if they think they have seen UFO's would they come to my office and tell me about them. To my surprise, several of them did, and some went on to teach at various universities such as CalTech, and Johns Hopkins. They found, as I have, if a person hasn't seen one, he/she won't believe you. I have convinced only one scientist, and this was by giving him two excellent books on the subject which he read carefully, He came to me and said, "I am now a believer, but why this government secrecy?" I replied that I didn't know but that it must be extremely important to some branch of the government in the military.
Wonder what those two books were?

Some of the suggestions are actually interesting, but really the only reason I bring this piece up is that of the 65 respondents, not a single one mentions the humongous, maggoty, stenched-out elephant in the room. Need a hint? Its initials are A. G. W. One guy, Paul Kedrosky, maybe sorta hints at it:
My favorite example is about science itself. For the longest time scientists didn't believe that their own discipline followed rules, per se, but then Imre Lakatos, Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper and, my favorite, Paul Feyerabend showed how science was sociology, was prone to enthusiasms, fashions, and dogma, and so on. It was one of the most important realizations of my doctoral program.
But apparently it doesn't happen anymore.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Funny line (category: unintentional)

From Dot Maver, president of something called the National Peace Academy, on an old C-Span forum on "child soldiers."

"I hope you can hear me not just through your ears, your concrete minds, but through your hearts."

The National Peace Academy. Bunch of deluded los--I mean, "peacebuilders" and "peacelearners."

What am I doing watching old forums on C-Span on X-mas morning, anyway? None of your business.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Found stuff--doing time edition

If you're looking for something to be thankful for this Christmas (besides the usual), how about this: you're not in jail (probably).

These were in a pile of papers somebody dumped somewhere (look ma, I'm Julian Assange!). They belonged to a guy who spent something over a year in jail (Delta Correctional Center in Delta, CO) for I know not what defugalties.

One of the first handouts they gave him, one imagines. "Carry yourself in a confident manner."




In chains, as he should be:



First (or maybe second) infraction: unauthorized mail stuff:



A note to his moll: "Thank you for being the piss in my pants."



Getting an aspirin.



"when they got me."



Some of us more than others:



Keeping up on the reading. No doubt this tome is where he got "Thank you for being the piss in my pants":



Determined to change his ways:



RSVP:




Second infraction, contraband clothes:



Parole! One hundred bucks goodbye money. Cheap bastards.



Tips for staying out:



Update: Whoops, forgot the last page of the "Checklist for success": "Certain lifestyles are costly":

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lousy pictures taken

Of the yclipse last night. They all sucked, but this one at least had the advantage of sucking weirdly.


(click to desmallize)

No idea why it looks like a live TV camera shot from around 1965.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fish head

Sounding like a founding No Labeler, Stanley Fish once again pretends to be evenhanded in the battle between conservatives and lefties over academic bias, indoctrination, funding, and all that happy crappy. His focus is a new book, Academic Freedom in the Post-9/11 Era, "which boasts a roster of prominent left-wing academics including Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, Ward Churchill, Henry Giroux, Norman Finkelstein and Cary Nelson," and which, to Fish, is remarkable for "how conventional (for me a good word) and, yes, conservative, [its] authors are both in their pronouncements and their performances."

This includes Wart, whose "lengthy essay" is
free of political posturing. His concern is with due process, academic integrity and the freedom the University of Colorado Regents’ statement proclaims, the freedom “to discover, publish and teach truth as the faculty member sees it, subject to no control or authority save the control and authority of the rational methods by which truth is established.”
Merry Christmas.

Update: Oh, all right.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Abstract of the week!

From the "peer-reviewed" journal Climatic Change.
Past connections and present similarities in slave ownership and fossil fuel usage

Jean Francois Mouhot

The first part of the paper demonstrates the connection between the abolition of slavery and the Industrial Revolution: steam power changed the perception of labour; new techniques facilitated diffusion of pro-abolition pamphlets; fewer threats to basic existence resulting from industrial advances fostered sensibilities and moral standards toward abolitionism; and, through industrial development, the North grasped victory in the American Civil War. The second part presents similarities between societies in the past that have used slave labour and those in the present that use fossil fuels. It argues that slaves and fossil-fuelled machines play(ed) similar economic and social roles: both slave societies and developed countries externalise(d) labour and both slaves and modern machines free(d) their owners from daily chores. Consequently, we are as dependent on fossil fuels as slave societies were dependent on bonded labour. It also suggests that, in differing ways, suffering resulting (directly) from slavery and (indirectly) from the excessive burning of fossil fuels are now morally comparable. When we emit carbon dioxide at a rate that exceeds what the ecosystem can absorb, when we deplete non-renewable resources, we indirectly cause suffering to other human beings. Similarly, cheap oil facilitates imports of goods from countries with little social protection and hence help externalise oppression. The conclusion draws on the lessons which may be learned by Climate Change campaigners from the campaigns to abolish slavery: environmental apathy can be opposed effectively if we learn from what worked in the fight against this inhuman institution.
(via commenter "Noah2010" at the Monbiot piece mentioned two posts below.

Headline!

From the India Times: "Ward Churchill Loses Appeal to Win Cack CU Job"

Look, a jungle bu--er, squirrel!

In his latest Guardian column, George Monbiot excoriates Richard North of the usually fine EUReferendum blog for (thrice) using the phrase "jungle bunnies" in posts attacking the shoveling of EU money to African corruptocrats in the idiot quest to stop "global warming."

The result, of course, is tu quoque frenzy, as everyone and his dog leaps to accuse the other side of racism, censorship, being a flying pedophile, etc.

Fine, fine. North also responds (weakly, I think). In any case, it's all just a distraction. But fun, like (in certain circumstances) a baton in the nads.

Update: Totally o/t, but you know what I found out the other day? The D-a-W is an AGW skeptic. Could have knocked me over with a 4-iron (if there is such a device). How could I not have known this? I mean, she is generally, how you say, voluble on any and all subjects, but for some reason never made her opinion known, even after reading years of my drivel on the subject.

Even more staggering (stop with the 4-iron, already) is that this is a woman who is to the left of Dennis Kucinich. No lie. Sometimes Christmas does come early.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Have to admit

Some of these Wikileaked cables are pretty funny. The Graun:
Cuba banned Michael Moore's 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a "mythically" favourable picture of Cuba's healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a "popular backlash", according to US diplomats in Havana.

The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.

But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so "disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room".

Castro's government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it "knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them."
Update: Appears the Guardian might (warning: goes to Bloatboy's blog), I say might, have been wrong. No denial of the doctors-walking-out part, you'll notice.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Vote Lo--er, Yes!

AmIAnnoying.Com asks, Is Ward Churchill annoying?

Among the possible reasons offered for one to find him annoying is, "He frequently wears huge aviator sunglasses."

At the moment, slightly over 70 percent find Ward annoying.

Coming soon to a power grid near you

Telegraph: "£500 on electricity bills to pay for green energy."

Needless to say, 99 percent of the 500+ commenters on the article are less than happy.

(via commenter Viv Evans at WUWT)

Update: Caz comments from another part of the rapidly crazening Anglosphere:
We're paying an extra $40 or something a quarter for smart metres that haven't been installed, and which are, any case fully paid for by our taxes in the first place. That is, since the gov't has made it mandatory, they're paying all of the utility companies to implement the metres (that means paying for everything from project managers and business analysts to new billing software and all hardware and infrastructure).

I still haven't figured out why we're paying twice for something we don't yet have, and which will save consumers nothing, nor help them to monitor electricity use, because they won't be putting the electricity readers inside people's homes ... they decided that the 'money saving' smart metre, which was supposed to save on electricity use, since consumers would be able to "see" every minute of the day how much energy they were using, would be cheaper if you left out the digital readers.

Oh yeah: electricity costs have increased by a gazillion dollars too.

And if anyone can explain why we in Oz are paying twice for smart metres, please feel free to spell it out for me like I'm a simpleton.
I'll just add: (Crickets).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More concern about Churchill decision

In the HuffPo, "Denver-based attorney and conservative political strategist" Jessica Corry on the Colorado Appellate Court's decision in the Ward Churchill case:
Make no mistake. Disgraced University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill deserved to be fired. To be rather blunt, and as has been well documented over the last several years, he just wasn't that good at his job. But as fate would have it--and as a Denver jury concluded--he was fired for the wrong reasons. While the media provided a brief mention of an appellate court's denial of his plea to get his job back, too many reporters failed to tell the more important part of this story: the decision may hurt future public employees seeking redress and accountability over legitimate job losses and discrimination. . . .
In the parlance of today, IA emphatically NAL, so for all I know Corry and DU law prof Alan Chen (whom Corry quotes) may be right to be concerned. In any case, Churchill's attorney David Lane (who, Corry reveals, is representing her in a lawsuit as well) will hammer on this point to the Colorado Supreme Court and beyond. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what they have to say, if anything.

Taglines

Last week I went over to Kos to enjoy the self-mutilation and head-exploding after the tax deal. (Housekeeping question: How does one clean blood off the inside of a monitor?)

That was fun, but better, I finally collected some of my favorite taglines from a few of the regulars. Don't know who started the practice, but they are windows to the lefty soul. Here goes, without comment and more or less in the order I pulled them.

Class war and Climate Change don't need us to believe in them

Bernie Sanders: A Senator who would rather risk losing his voice than his integrity

How can anything good ever gain traction when the media is blathering on without ethics and without direction?

Disclaimer: I am a political enemy of the Obama Administration. I am a friend of the working class

Top 1% of all income earners in the US made 23.5% of all income. Let's give them 23.5% representation & disallow contact w/ the other 76.50% of representatives

Proud Member of the Vast Sanctimonius Wing Conspiracy

We Destroyed this Village in order to save it from the Viet Cong er um Taliban

without the ants the rainforest dies

...the worst "foreclosure" - we truly lost the house

Life is less stressful when you realize that Obama is a Republican in "D" clothing

People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.

The United States is not just losing its capacity to do great things. It's losing its soul.--Bob Herbert

Fare thee well, global extinction's forever. So what the hell, order your Mercedes in leather. - Boston

Have the TeaPublicans fixed the economy yet?

Any war requires forces that use their pen against the enemy, not in foolish tirades against their own leader, abetting the enemy. ~qua

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? Eleanor Roosevelt

Shamefully we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management. Edward Kennedy

I am Blackwaterdog! I support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party!! Want some? Get some SUCKERS!!!

90% tax on all income over a million or more: a simple solution to funding Healthcare Reform, extending Social Security benefits and other budgetary concerns.

"If the early settlers were as pro-peace and anti-war as their descendants are today, how different things would be." ~ Pondering Cherokee Chief ;p

S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain." (unknown)

Barack Obama: Ignores his legal obligation to prosecute people who tortured prisoners to death. Good at photo ops, though.

Proud member of the sanctimonious professional left and supporter of Wikileaks

I am the promise of all mankind, just like you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Goodbye, DP

So I really did change my homepage to the Guardian, and am I glad I did. A snigger of headlines from today's edition.

Not unexpected:

"Stockholm bombing: Iraqi group linked to Al Queda praises attack" Subhead: "Suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly referred to as 'martyr' on Islamist website"

A dumb one, but a martyr nonetheless. Related, perhaps:

"Anti-Muslim US preacher Terry Jones could be banned from UK" Subhead: "Home secretary Theresa May under pressure to close borders to Florida pastor who threatened to burn Qur'an"

Not unexpected, except to the Met Office:

"Weather set to take Arctic turn as big freeze returns to Britain" Subhead: Forecasters say thaw is a brief spell of better weather before ice, wind and snow returns later this week across the country"

Totally expected, but insane:

"CancĂșn agreement rescues UN credibility but falls short of saving planet"

Shucks. Sub: "$100bn 'green climate fund' committed to help poor countries defend themselves against climate change - money likely to come from private sector"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jackson v. the Crete

A brief interview with Ward Churchill by what must be a student journalist at Grinnell (IA) College's newspaper, the Scarlet & Black ("The first college newspaper west of the Mississippi"), after Ward spoke at the school last week. Nothing new, except the interviewer's amusing mishearing of tribal names. JWP points out, for example, Churchill's old claim that he's Keetoowah-Cherokee, which the poor student hears as "Katua-Cherokee."

Funnier (at least to me), was Churchill's assertion (as rendered by the student) that the Cherokee "fought with Andrew Jackson against the Crete."

Other than that, whatever, though Ward does seem to be sailing pretty close to the wind, word-salad-wise.

Update: The D-blog took some pics in Grinnell a few years ago. Some cool buildings

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

For the first time in nearly six years of blogging . . .

I'm afraid to post about something I want to post about.

And to think just a couple of weeks ago I was chortling gheyly about another threat.

This is not funny. And it was infringement on a DP column by Mike Rosen (rightie yacker on the big AM station in Denver) that they went after first. I may have to make my first-ever call to a talk show to see how he feels about that.

No more DP homepage (I think I'll go to the Grauniad); no more linking; no more quoting, at all.

What self-destructive idiots.

More on that certain law firm

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Spagnuolo enters the ring

We knew Glenn Spagnuolo, former head rabble-rouser of the long-defunct crap-rad group Re!create 68, had been learning kickboxing (Laurie told us about it), but we didn't know he had participated in a match. Here it is:


Nothing much happens for the first five (of just over six) minutes, then--well, watch.

They're both really slow, aren't they? But you have to give Glenn at least one jaded thumb up for being willing to risk inverted testicles and cauliflower brain for whatever reason he's doing so.

The ringside guy, of course, mispronounces "Spagnuolo."

(h/t "Diels" in comments a couple posts down)

Update 12/6/10: Jeez, just noticed the header on the vid misspells Spags' name too. Guy can't catch a break.