Monday, October 25, 2010

No True 'Merkin

Charles "Bell Curve" Murray writes in Kaplan Daily (forget about a link, this is far too bad for linkage):
There so many quintessentially American things that few members of the New Elite have experienced. They probably haven't ever attended a meeting of a Kiwanis Club or Rotary Club, or lived for at least a year in a small town (college doesn't count) or in an urban neighborhood in which most of their neighbors did not have college degrees (gentrifying neighborhoods don't count). They are unlikely to have spent at least a year with a family income less than twice the poverty line (graduate school doesn't count) or to have a close friend who is an evangelical Christian. They are unlikely to have even visited a factory floor, let alone worked on one.
Just so that you won't have to seek out his wretched pile of camel spunk, let me explain what he's saying. The whole article talks about some "New Elite" that apparently the Teatards dreamed up, and Chuck here decided must be right, because it fit his preconceived notions exactly. It's all basically one big violation of the "No true scotsman" fallacy. No true 'Merkin would live in a city, or not read Left Behind, or not watch The Price Is Right.

As I understand it, though, the great thing about America is not supposed to be that we are all robots who follow one exact path, but that we're a nation of diversity. Everyone, everywhere, is different from everyone else. We all have different experiences, and yet we're still Americans. I'm still an American in spite of the fact that I've never gone to Branson, Missouri, nor have I watched any mixed martial arts (though I do know what "MMA" stands for).

But the best part of all of this is that Kaplan Daily gave Murray a live Q&A time, in which he revealed that he is currently writing a book about this whole "New Elite" thing. Because Bobos In Paradise wasn't insipid and idiotic enough. Also too, I look forward to Andrew Sullivan giving it a rave review.*

*Cf. Murray's previous magnum opus, The Bell Curve. It's infamous for the contention that different races are more intelligent because of genetics. When someone calls your book "a scabrous piece of racial pornography masquerading as serious scholarship," ur doin it wrong.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Zombie Highways

Oh hai, folks of South Atlanta! Did you know that Nathan Deal wants to build a big ol' highway right through your neighborhoods? Maybe you remember the Northern Arc, from when Roy Barnes was governor? All the white suburban folks were angry because they would have to move, and also deal with more traffic. In the end, the whole plan got scrapped. Welp, now you guys get to have the same kind of fun.

And, hey, it turns out that the Northern Arc is still alive and kicking. Because, of course, the best way to relieve traffic is to build roads, right? At this rate, my grandkids will inherit an Atlanta that has been completely paved over, in order to "relieve traffic". No one can possibly mention the possibility of a better MARTA, because it would bring drugs, murder, and uncouth brown people to the peaceful suburbs of Cobb and Gwinnett.

Thanks a lot, assholes.

Your D.C. Press Corpse, a.k.a. Trained Parrots

Tom Scocca:
Dreary talk! While other people were getting ready to play or watch football, the political analysts were diagnosing or conjuring "GOP momentum" and the "enthusiasm gap." Even though, as before, most voters were not casting ballots, it was a pivotal weekend. 
Well, that was certainly a blow to the Democrats. They might come out of this election cycle with a majority in only one house of the legislature. Plus control of the presidency. Basically, it is the French Revolution all over again.
Honestly, I don't know why people consider Politico to be a serious publication. They're the ultimate political stenographers, barring the occasional flash of real journalism, like Laura Rosen. In fact, I take back the title of this post. It's an insult to trained parrots. They, at least have an excuse: they don't know any better.

And Now For Something Completely Different: "Jack! You have debauched my zombie!"

As a fan of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, I heartily endorse this:
"Stephen, you stray from the point. There is a zombie climbing the halyards. Remove it. Feed it, sing to it, do what you must, but get it down before it entwines itself in the cat-harpings."

"Indeed I have fed it," snapped Maturin. "I laid in an ample supply of Portable Brains or ever we left the dock."
That evening, just as the Captain and Stephen were poised to launch into Handel's Creation (as transcribed for violin and violoncello), a wailing voice could be heard. Both men paused to listen. The words -- word, to be precise -- became clear.
"Jack! You have debauched my zombie!" 
(thx Dr_Fidelius @

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tea Party Parasites

Hypocrite Joe Miller: I am not a hypocrite.
Back in June, Miller was saying this about his Republican primary opponent Lisa Murkowski, blasting her for supporting a state health care program:
As you are aware, just last week the Anchorage Daily News reported that the Denali KidCare Program funded 662 abortions last year. Senator Murkowski has been a champion of this program, voting against the majority of her Republican colleagues for CHIPRA (HR 2) in January of 2009.
Of course it now turns out that back in the Nineties, Miller himself and his three children (with one on the way; he now has eight) were at one point receiving assistance via a program almost exactly like the Denali KidCare program, which is only for low-income earners. Various reportsnote that Miller received this assistance after he’d bought a house and been hired by a prestigious law firm; he also got low-income hunting and fishing licenses during that time. It’s also come out that he received some $7,000 in farm subsidies and that his wife received unemployment insurance benefits.
But, but, young bucks buying t-bones!

Miller basically goes on to justify this by saying that he used it just to get through hard times, not like those moochy poor people who spend their lives on it. He also argues that welfare programs should be controlled by states, which is utterly incomprehensible to me. Why would states do better at managing welfare programs than the federal government? It's just useless bullshit dogmatic federalism.

This is one of the things I find fascinating about the Tea Parties. You have seniors carrying big signs demanding that the government get out of their Medicare, and demanding that there be no socialized medicine (except for Medicare). You have military veterans angrily insisting that the federal government is a big anti-federalistic parasite. Except of course that the government trained them, paid them, and took care of them in the military; and now that they're out, they probably get some kind of pension (or maybe they're in the Reserves)

But these things are not inconsistent to the Tea Party. Because they are Patriots, and those poor people (generally presumed to be of different skin color) are just big ol' moochers who don't want to be productive.

No double standard here, folks. Move along, move along.

(thx Kos)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

But Mommy, Science is Hard!

It should come as no surprise that Joe Lieberman and Joe Scarborough are full of shit, although I was a bit surprised that someone like RFK, Jr. would fall victim to the anti-vaxxers.

Then I read his article on it. It's a mass of hyperbolic conclusions, with no evidence provided for any of the assertions that he makes. There are "truckloads" of studies supporting the evidence. How big of a truck? How many? You do know that a truck could be loaded with nothing, right? Also, there's a "staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal...and autism". Don't say that the number is staggering, actually give a number. It could well be a staggering number because it's very low- after all, celebrities wouldn't make baseless assertions without actual evidence. That's why they're celebrities, because they cannot tell a lie.

He gives absolutely no scientific evidence, so I'm afraid:

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It's hard to believe that it has been 9 years since September 11, 2001. Really, I just can't believe it.

When it all started I was 11. I was in sixth grade. Those 9 years cover all of my time in middle and high school, plus more than half of my time in college. They cover 45% of my entire life on this planet. It's kinda mindboggling.

And yet, I can still remember, like so many others, what I was doing that day.

It was a normal school day, until I got to science class. At some point, the principal came on the PA and said that everyone should return to homeroom. Nothing else. I had no earthly clue what was going on. The teachers either didn't know or didn't want to tell us. At this point, I'm inclined to think it was the latter.

So we all went back to homeroom, and sat there for the rest of the school day. All school events had been canceled, and lunch was curtailed. Parents kept coming in to pick up their kids, but none of us knew what had happened. At some point, the teacher turned on a radio that she had, and we listened to NPR, but the exact things that had happened were still a mystery.

It wasn't until I got home that I learned what had happened. Then, I saw all of the video, over and over again. Flight 175 hitting the South Tower. Both towers collapsing, one after the other. The huge clouds of debris bearing down on fleeing New Yorkers. Firefighters charging in to rescue people, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. It was probably too much for me to handle.

Even then, I called myself a Democrat, if only in a rudimentary, childish way. Bush's "victory" in the election had seriously disappointed me, and he hadn't really done much better since. But on that day, I felt that I should lay that sort of thing aside, and simply support my country. If only I'd had more reason to keep feeling like that.

"The past is never dead. It isn't even past." -William Faulkner

In a way, 9/11 is still with all of us, to this day. The World Trade Center is far from being rebuilt. So many of those brave firefighters and police suffer from medical problems caused by exposure to dust from the WTC. We're still fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq as a direct result of this attack. 9/11 will reverberate through our society for years to come.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Live from the Great Orange Satan: "Georgia primaries: Results are in"

[x-posted from Daily Kos]

Well, we have the results from today's primaries in Georgia, and they are veddy veddy interesting. In the governor's race, we're headed for a runoff on the Republican side, while the newly anointed Democratic candidate came through in a landslide. Meanwhile, there are also results for two potentially vulnerable Democratic seats. And it's all right below the fold, here:

Firstly, the governor's race. As expected, former Gov. Roy Barnes is the Democratic nominee, unsurprising given his recent poll numbers. On the other side of the aisle, we have a runoff brewing between former Secretary of State Karen Handel and former Congressman Nathan Deal. This has the potential for some quite fascinating wingnut freakouts, given that Handel has received the endorsement of teh Great Wasilla Wingnut, while Deal got a recommendation from Newt Gingrich. I say "potential" because I'm not sure to what extent the endorsers will back their respective endorsees. On the other hand, I do expect to get bombarded with despicable ads about how much Karen Handel likes teh ghey, and I also expect Handel to move way far to the right. She'll probably find some way to associate herself with the Tea Party in one way or another.
At any rate, I'm not sure about November. It seems pretty close right now between Barnes and either potential Republican candidate, although we're going to see shifting one way or the other during the rest of the campaign. I'm not sure how the runoff will affect Handel's or Deal's numbers in a face-off against Barnes; will it sour voters on the eventual nominee? Then there's the urban-rural dynamic in Georgia, which is always a factor in our politics down here. Nominating Handel might allow the GOP to compete more in urban areas, though I'm not sure this would actually be enough of a difference in the end.
Of course, the real news in this race is how the mighty have fallen. Yes, the Great Ox(endine), once the front-runner in this race, is in 4th place, and will probably remain there. Alas, poor Oxendine. So it is that the very imaginatively titled "Contract with Georgia" shall not come to pass. He's like Georgia's Mitt Romney (minus all of teh Mormon): He started out well, but faded when the actual election came around.
In other races, Carol Porter, wife of House Minority Leader Dubose Porter, won the right to lose to Republican incumbent Casey Cagle in the race for the Lieutenant Governorship. Also, Labor Commish Michael Thurmond gets the honor of losing to Johnny Isakson in the race for the Senate seat that Isakson currently occupies.
Now, on to the important U.S. House races. Jim Marshall (GA-08) and John Barrow (GA-12), both Blue Dog Democrats, both won the noms for their respective districts. Marshall and Barrow could be in trouble, come November, and I base that on the fact that they are generally in trouble when facing challenges. GA-08 has a PVI of R+10, while GA-12 (which does include some Democratic strongholds) is borderline at D+1. Barrow, then, may be heartened to learn that Republicans Ray McKinney (the teapartier) and Carl Smith are caught in a runoff. Marshall, I suspect, is less pleased that his Republican opponent, state Rep. Austin Scott won more than 50% and avoided a runoff.
I will end with the House race that most affects me, the 4th District. Hank Johnson has been a great congressman, and one misconstrued remark about Guam was not about to change my mind. I'm very happy to say that Hank beat former Dekalb County CEO Vernon Jones and Connie Stokes, a Dekalb County Commissioner. Mostly I'm happy because this marks the second electoral smackdown of Vernon Jones, who is a horribly egotistical asshat, the end. Congrats, Hank! I look forward to the crushing defeat of Liz Carter, the Republican candidate, on Election Day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

wasting my time

Pope Ratzi Gets Blingee'd!
I parked this blog name months ago, with some vague idea that maybe some day, I might use it in some way. Then, while I was archive bingeing on another blog, I started wondering why on Earth I hadn't made use of such a marvelous blog title. So, I'm designating this as my personal blog for when I feel like it.

Unfortunately, I can't really claim the idea for the title "Felonious Popes"; I lifted it from Lewis Black. Since he is a Jew, and I am a Presbyterian-raised agnostic, I think we're both immune from charges of blasphemy. Also, I doubt that there will be much to do with popes committing crimes on here, unless I feel like it.

Look for book reviews, essays, history lessons, or whatever I feel like posting to pop up here from time to time.