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backlashes and backlashes and backlashes

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

nationalreviewgoingafterneil  “Smarter Than Thou”…

“America’s Nerd Problem”?

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been the recipient of a seemingly bizarre political backlash — after the conservative magazine National Review penned a takedown cover story on the “Cosmos” host last week depicting him as a smug, intellectual bully.

The story struck many as odd given Tyson’s gentle, geeky presentation style. Comedian Bill Maher had Tyson on his HBO show over the weekend, trying to make sense of the backlash.
“You’re a scientist, and a black one, who’s smarter than [conservatives] are,” Maher quipped.
The line got laughs, but it’s worth remembering that Tyson served the George W. Bush administration as a member of the Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond in 2004. Conservatives have no problem harnessing Tyson’s intellect.

The “Adlai Egghead” problem rears its ugly head in America, I suppose.


recurring political scandals, 2014 edition

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

So.  Senator John Walsh, interim and soon to be candidate for six year term, in Montana… and his own particular manifestation of the “Biden Problem“…

Sen. John Walsh (D – Montana) is being accused of plagiarism for failing to properly cite the work of others in the master’s thesis he wrote while at the Army War College in 2007. Indeed, it has been widely reported that as much as a quarter of what the senator wrote—and presented as his own work—may have been the ideas and/or words of other prominent experts on Middle East policy.

When asked about this apparent transgression, Sen. Walsh stated that he believed he had done nothing wrong. He didn’t recall using sources improperly, but he is considering apologizing to scholars he failed to cite. A campaign aide for the senator acknowledged the plagiarism, but indicated that Sen. Walsh did not intend to deceive anyone and that his actions should be viewed in the context of a successful military career during which he was a highly decorated officer who served with distinction in the Montana National Guard. The aide noted that Sen. Walsh was going through a difficult period in 2007.

It’s not like he cribbed from wikipedia.

Some are asking if there is a relationship between PTSD and plagiarism.  There is none—at least not a direct one.

I wonder if he had a poetry writing class where he turned in a bunch of Pink Floyd lyrics?

hope, redux redux

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Nothing to do with the politics or policies in this headline… but… this is getting to me.

The misuse of the word “Hope”.

Promises of Hope Tarnished by Lack of Change.

I first noticed this with John Edwards, who offered in 2004 that “Hope is on the Way!”  Impossible.  As it is an implied future for the present.

There is no promise of “hope”… there is “Hope”, perhaps, which itself is “promise” of the future.

Then again I didn’t much like Obama’s 2008 campaign, which garners some admission from someone I know recently “He was just better than the other guy”.  Indeed.  So I thought at the time.

back when some party could win 49 states…

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

This is interesting.  Donate to the Republican Party, and get yourself … a Reagan / Bush ’84 shirt.

To go alongside the “Oliver North for President” t-shirt I once saw, sort of akin to an “Alfred E Neuman” shirt or … you know… all the permetations of satire that come with the Obama “Hope” shirt (etc).

Or this vintage t-shirt, which… didn’t exist the first time.

Sure.  Reagan / Bush 1984.  Why not?  Whatever!

on the current immigration issue

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Without saying a thing about what ought be done about the specter of unaccompanied children traveling illegally across the Mexican / American border, or even if this is in the end a smart part of a strategy…

there is something absurd in Obama requesting funding for an ad campaign telling parents not to send their children across the border like that…

because, you know… it’s not exactly a thing that’d be an optimum choice for them, and even if an ad campaign telling them not to do so is in some way effective… it’s not exactly a message that comes out well… and seems like a dark comedy.

the red shirt phenomonem, revisited

Friday, July 18th, 2014



(1) If you’re wearing a Red shirt on the Starship Enterprise, you’re okay… all the engineers have red shirts.

(2) Unless, you’re beamed down to the planet, at which point all the alien creatures in the known universe are like bulls chasing after the red flags.  Sensory triggers work the same the universe over.

(3) Unless one of the aliens down there is a female love interest for Kirk, for reasons that need some scientific explanation.

Is that it?

Jesse Ventura rolling into the news

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

And … interesting question

I’m confused. Why should I care about Jesse Ventura?

But not a very good answer.  Or maybe an answer which leads one item to the “not valid” claim in Jesse Ventura’s defamation lawsuit?

He is also reportedly thinking about running for president in 2016 — and choosing Howard Stern as his running mate.

Maybe you care about that.  Hell… I care about figures such as Jim Rogers in Oklahoma and Gordon Allen Pross in Washington, so I can’t besmirch you.  But it is an odd “so what?” about Jesse Ventura.

He now hosts a show on Ora, where he “offers his electrifying insight into the nation’s most pressing problems. No suits, no censors, no red tape. Just Jesse Ventura as we like him: bold, brazen, and bare-knuckled.”

Interesting because the lawsuit is against a man who alleged to have gotten into a barfight.  The thing is it seems Jesse Ventura has a point…

Kyle said that, when Ventura told him that the SEALs deserved to “lose a few guys,” he punched him, and Ventura “went down.” After he [Kyle] repeated the story, on “The O’Reilly Factor,” Ventura—who denies disparaging seals, and claims that no altercation occurred—filed defamation charges.

… but I also have to wonder if the point is lost in a half chance that Ventura’s real problem isn’t the old “Americans deserve to die” canard as the idea that this man claims he punched him out cold.  The story looks phony as a Pro Wrestling bit, of course, and full of a false patriotic “whoop”ing.  So I don’t know what Ventura wins or loses from it’s existence.

yes. But can he sneak in another win?

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Ah, the Life of a perennial “hobby” candidate.

The signs Rogers holds are white poster board scrawled with various political messages written in black permanent marker. Emblazoned in white letters on his bright red sweater, its shoulders beaten by the sun, are the words “Oklahoma Jim Rogers U.S. Senate 2004.”
“I get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and on the street by 5 o’clock, and I campaign at restaurant centers and on the corner and wherever I can find a crowd gathering or leaving,” Rogers said. “I stay with it all day.”

Jim Rogers US Senate 2004?


The occasional passing car will honk, and rarely, someone walking past will stop and talk for a moment before moving on, said Mark, a taxi driver who asked that his last name not be used. He drives the yellow taxi that takes Rogers from corner to corner to campaign, as he puts it.

Mark said Rogers pays him about $30 an hour to wait in his car as he waves to what he hopes will be his future constituents.

Someone’s making money off his campaign.  Once in office, he will be beholden to that taxi driver.