Friday, June 05, 2009

Some guy at The Corner whines about how hard it is to pronounce Sotomayor's name, and Wonkette rightfully and humorously makes fun of him. Circle of life.

I love it when op-ed writers write things that I've been saying for years.

The Obama administration is spending $2.4 billion from the stimulus package on carbon capture and storage projects -- a mere down payment. Imagine what that money could do if it were spent on solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. Imagine if we actually tried to solve the problem rather than bury it.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I've mentioned my disdain for the phrase "judicial activism" once or twice in passing, but even within the universe where that's a legitimate objection to a judicial nominee [and it is not], objecting to judicial empathy is spectacularly stupid.

(Clips from the Daily Show segment linked above.)
Ed Gillespie: I may have empathy for the little guy in a fight with the big corporation, but the law may not be on his side.
Sen. Orrin Hatch: "Empathy." What does that mean? Usually that's a code-word for an activist judge.
Laura Ingraham: That is a singularly loopy idea for a qualification for a justice.
They're like caricatures of themselves, these people.

(I'd like to try to put myself in their shoes, but I'm worried that would disqualify me from ever holding judicial office.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So, seriously, have these people never even heard of the tobacco industry?

For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

"The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied," the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.
"Oh, and, uh... doubt is our product," the experts added.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This is too great.

In case it gets taken down (which it surely will once Barton figures out why it's gotten a couple of hundred times more views than any of his other videos), here's a helpful transcript:

Rep. Barton: You’re our scientist. I have one simple question for you in the last six seconds. How did all the oil and gas get to Alaska and under the Arctic Ocean?
Sec. Chu: (laughs) This is a complicated story, but oil and gas is the result of hundreds of millions of years of geology, and in that time also the plates have moved around, and so, um, it’s the combination of where the sources of the oil and gas are–
Rep. Barton: But, but wouldn’t it obvious that at one time it was a lot warmer in Alaska and on the North Pole. It wasn’t a big pipeline that we created in Texas and shipped it up there and then put it under ground so that we can now pump it out and ship it back.
Sec. Chu: No. There are–there’s continental plates that have been drifting around throughout the geological ages–
Rep. Barton: So it just drifted up there?
Sec. Chu: That’s certainly what happened. And so it’s a result of things like that.
(Note: if you're just reading the transcript, you don't really get the full benefit of the sarcasm dripping off of Barton's words when he asks, "So it just drifted up there?")

Anyone can lack a basic understanding of geology. To be so out of it that you think you've stumped the Nobel Prize-winning Energy Secretary with a question from 8th-grade science class -- a question that you yourself clearly cannot answer? Well, that takes a Republican from Texas.

(First seen at Wonkette. Helpful transcript via Twitter Room.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Joe Nocera argues a point on the A.I.G. bonuses that I've been trying to articulate for a couple of days. Worth a read.

There are times when anger is cathartic. There are other times when anger makes a bad situation worse. "We need to stop committing economic arson," Bert Ely, a banking consultant, said to me this week. That is what Congress committed: economic arson.
I wouldn't go quite as far as "fiddling while Rome burns" (Nocera would, and does), but I think we're definitely well into the realm of "focusing on a tiny, contained fire while a much larger, scarier one is taking over the rest of the town." (Which, unbeknownst to most people, is something that Nero also did.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Great Moments in Congressional Debate, from Friday (courtesy of TPM's Day in 100 Seconds):

(The amusing bit starts at about the 1:00 mark.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

From a few weeks ago: a neat op-ed by linguist Steven Pinker on the oath of office mix-up.

How could a famous stickler for grammar have bungled that 35-word passage, among the best-known words in the Constitution? Conspiracy theorists and connoisseurs of Freudian slips have surmised that it was unconscious retaliation for Senator Obama’s vote against the chief justice’s confirmation in 2005. But a simpler explanation is that the wayward adverb in the passage is blowback from Chief Justice Roberts’s habit of grammatical niggling. ...

In his legal opinions, Chief Justice Roberts has altered quotations to conform to his notions of grammaticality, as when he excised the “ain’t” from Bob Dylan’s line “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” On Tuesday his inner copy editor overrode any instincts toward strict constructionism and unilaterally amended the Constitution by moving the adverb "faithfully" away from the verb.
The essay is headlined "Oaf of Office," so I was hoping it'd hew a bit more closely to my own read on the situation (that Roberts simply forgot his lines, and scrambled) than it actually did. But it's an interesting read all the same.

Ars Technica has a neat piece on the current pseudo-controversy in the field of global warming cooling warming.

The facts are that 2008 was cooler than the last few years, but warmer than most in recent history, which lends itself to spin based on the predilections of the person talking about it. But some of that spin specifically plays upon the widespread innumeracy of the public, which isn't well prepared to separate trends from short-term variability, or recognize when certain figures are selectively chosen. We'll try to separate out some of these in a way that will hopefully help readers make a bit of sense out of the conflicting noise.

Monday, February 09, 2009

From The Onion:

Area Girlfriend Was Voting For Cardinals

SAN FRANCISCO—When asked which team she wanted to win the NFL's most coveted prize, local girlfriend and Super Bowl party attendee Christy Lester, 25, told those in attendance that she was voting for the Arizona Cardinals. "I'm voting for them because I like their quarterback Matt Lineman [sic]. He's hot," said Lester, who, though she has never filled out a ballot of any kind for a Super Bowl, added that in 2008 she voted for the New England Patriots, that she forgot who she voted for in 2007, and that in 2006 she voted for the team Jerome Bettis was on because that's the team her dad likes. "That commercial was so hilarious." Historically, NFL championships have been decided by tallying the number of points scored during four quarters of football and not by ballots cast by a public electorate.

Two other recent Wonkette highlights:

Wonkette (which is pretty consistently hilarious these days, incidentally) tallies Hill Republicans' stimulus objections.

So, here are some specific things the GOP will not condone, in this bill they’re not going to vote for, anyway:
  • A billion dollars extra for the 2010 U.S. Census, which is going to pay good money to many jobless people in every American town — and shore up Lockheed-Martin, which is getting $500 million to build the data systems and run the machinery.
  • $75 million for FBI employee salaries, because why would you want to pay America’s top cops to do law enforcement and investigations, in America?
  • $200 million for computer centers at community colleges, because if poor unskilled workers want to "learn the computer," they should just go to Stanford instead of complaining.
Say what you will about Republicans, but they do love Stanford.

Cleaning out the Google Reader backlog, and came across this. Relive our country's proudest moment!

Charles Gibson: No, no. Mr. Kenney. I didn't ask for the spelling. I asked if you agree with the Bush Doctrine?

John Kenney: Do I agree with what part of it, exactly? I assume, if it is a doctrine, as you say it is, that it has multiple -- what's the word I'm looking for? -- grommets.

C.G.: I don't think that's the word.

J.K.: No? How about parts?

C.G.: Possibly. Let me ask you this. Do you know what it is, sir?

J.K.: Me? Totally. Absolutely, Charlie. No, I was just thinking about your, um, your little microphone. On your tie there. I thought it was an ant.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Deep Thoughts:

As transcribed by Daily Kos's brownsox:

I'll be honest with you. I don't think journalists should be anywhere allowed war. I mean, you guys report where our troops are at. You report what's happening day to day. You make a big deal out of it. I... I think it's asinine. You know, I like back in World War I and World War II when you'd go to the theater and you'd see your troops on, you know, the screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for 'em. Now everyone's got an opinion and wants to down our... and down soldiers. You know, our American soldiers or our Israeli soldiers. I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting. You know, war is hell. And if you're gonna sit there and say, "Well look at this atrocity," well you don't know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it.
Joe the Intellectual Giant.