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: