Why don't we just say something like this to the Intelligent Design people?
So, you reject the Biblical account of creation. Six days and then a day of rest. You don't believe God can do that? Why make up a pseudo-scientific theory when you have the word of God on what actually happened? The Bible doesn't mention Intelligent Design or jump through hoops to make room for the dinosaurs. I'm shocked at your disbelief. At least the evolutionists accept Darwin. Why do the ID people reject what God dictated to Moses that appears in the Book of Genesis? Then again, Darwin gave only one account, but Genesis has two. You don't believe either of them? Rejecting God twice? Darwin, a minister, never did that even once.
What if they gave a war protest and everybody came?
When the Pentagon ran a private rival to Memorial Day and Veteran's Day this September 11, it appears not many came.
The few news stories, mostly in the Washington papers, stated politely that "thousands" marched that day. At least some of those were simply supporting the troops, some wanted to hear Clint Black for free, and some wanted to give President George W. "W" Bush and his war a big boost. But only "thousands" came, which means 9,999 or fewer, despite all the organizing skill and clout that the Pentagon and the Republican party brought to it. The march's web site disappeared and apparently the less said the better is the word on the street.
Yesterday, "hundreds of thousands" showed up for an anti-war rally. Let's say, just for argument, that "as many as" 10,000 showed up for the Pentagon affair and that "only" 200,000 showed up yesterday, that's 1 for 20. Of course, it could have been 3000 and 300,000, or 1 for 100. And that's despite the fact that there is no anti-war movement and that the organizers of yesterday's rally were a mixed bag of leathery leftist apparatchiks with ancient grudges against the Philadelphia police and the Israeli government, no real rally bait at all.
It comes down to this. The administration put their torture, pre-emptive war, and incompetent imperialism up against an inarticulate "none of that" and lost miserably.
Isn't the federal government the largest consumer in the consumer economy? Doesn't the federal government buy 15 per cent of the cars, 15 per cent of the pencils, 15 per cent of almost everything that gets sold? Or is it 20 per cent?
Doesn't that give a corrupt person in charge of procurement policy in a corrupt administration an enormous, virtually invisible, opportunity for throwing around favors?
In other words, isn't it likely that David Savafian is more than just another one of Jack Abramoff's many, many crooked Republican friends? Isn't it likely that he's a key player in his own right?
The press, and web logs, for that matter, seem to be treating Savafian as just another indicted official (sorry, "former" official who resigned 72 hours ahead of the sheriff), as if he were just another speechwriter or "aide", rather than as the man with the national purse at his disposal.
The highly moral JO got just a little upset at the breakfast table:
The hype-ocrisy machine cranks up again
The earth is spinning crazily off-axis this morning, my friends -- Kate Moss has betrayed our trust! How could a supermodel, of all people, be thoughtless enough to use illegal drugs? What was this wretched soul thinking? Or maybe she wasn't. When I think of all the wholesome, good, clean, Christian supermodels whose integrity is now in question, I weep for the future of the fashion industry and indeed, of our great country itself. And let us not forget even for an instant the children who look up to these paragons of virtue -- what about the children????
Letters from Republicans we never finished reading
Sent to me, Tom, for unknown reasons, by "Ken Mehlman, RNC Chairman" (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Dear Joanne ,
Last year, when I served as President Bush's re-election campaign manager, you were an essential part of our historic effort. Today, as chairman of the Republican National Committee, I would like to welcome you back to our team with this email.
According to the BBC, British forces negotiated the release of two undercover soldiers originally arrested by Basra police from a jail run by Shia militia. The major ngotiating tool: six armored vehicles.
Said a BBC reporter:
"Now we are in the situation where presumably revenge will be sought by relatives of the dead Iraqis - and our allies in the police, I think there has been a complete breakdown of trust and it's going to be very difficult for British troops to call on them."
Such a tidy little war we've gotten ourselves into.
No going off on a tangent, or a secant either, sines of the times
Trigonometry was my highest mathematical achievement. I understood it and could do it, although it hasn't come up much since, but when I read this statement, I wonder how I ever did manage to understand:
"So teachers have resigned themselves to teaching students about circles and pi and complicated trigonometric functions that relate circular arc lengths to x and y projections – all in order to analyse triangles."
Mathematics students have cause to celebrate. A University of New South Wales academic, Dr Norman Wildberger, has rewritten the arcane rules of trigonometry and eliminated sines, cosines and tangents from the trigonometric toolkit.
What's more, his simple new framework means calculations can be done without trigonometric tables or calculators, yet often with greater accuracy.
Established by the ancient Greeks and Romans, trigonometry is used in surveying, navigation, engineering, construction and the sciences to calculate the relationships between the sides and vertices of triangles.
"Generations of students have struggled with classical trigonometry because the framework is wrong," says Wildberger, whose book is titled Divine Proportions: Rational Trigonometry to Universal Geometry (Wild Egg books).
Dr Wildberger has replaced traditional ideas of angles and distance with new concepts called "spread" and "quadrance".
These new concepts mean that trigonometric problems can be done with algebra," says Wildberger, an associate professor of mathematics at UNSW.
"Rational trigonometry replaces sines, cosines, tangents and a host of other trigonometric functions with elementary arithmetic."
"For the past two thousand years we have relied on the false assumptions that distance is the best way to measure the separation of two points, and that angle is the best way to measure the separation of two lines.
"So teachers have resigned themselves to teaching students about circles and pi and complicated trigonometric functions that relate circular arc lengths to x and y projections – all in order to analyse triangles. No wonder students are left scratching their heads," he says.
"But with no alternative to the classical framework, each year millions of students memorise the formulas, pass or fail the tests, and then promptly forget the unpleasant experience.
"And we mathematicians wonder why so many people view our beautiful subject with distaste bordering on hostility.
"Now there is a better way. Once you learn the five main rules of rational trigonometry and how to simply apply them, you realise that classical trigonometry represents a misunderstanding of geometry."
What if the memorial had been shaped like a cross?
The memorial for the "Let's roll!" passengers whose plane went down in Pennsylvania is going to be a red crescent. Wingnuts are flying high on outrage. Liberals are in full tut-tut mode at these boors who don't understand art.
Just a minute, if you please. What if the memorial had been shaped like a cross? A Star of David? An ankh? Kokopelli? A feather from a white chicken? A prayer wheel?
Isn't it just possible that using a religious symbol of any kind would be offensive? And, if so, isn't the symbol of the religion in whose name the plane was attacked, however false to Islam the attackers may have been, just not a very wise or tasteful choice?
The "Crescent of Embrace" looks like a mistake to me. No one is going to get it, however beautiful it may be in the abstract. Everyone is going to think of Islam when they see it. Sorry, but this doesn't seem fair to either the victims nor to the millions of peaceful Muslims.
The situation in Algiers got a bit more surreal this week when the U.S. military asked the anarchists for help in providing basic services to local residents. A medical military clinic commander asked the folks running the Common Ground Clinic if they could lend a few medics and doctors to the military until the military sets up a “permanent” health clinic on Newton Avenue on Monday.
I suppose, with most of the Bill of Rights terrorized into shreds, this seemed like a dandy idea to a Republican governor on a hopeless quest to fill the shoes of George W. "W" Bush but in the Governor's religion, no one but his fellow apostates are permitted inside his Holy Tabernacle. As the Salt Lake City guidebook puts it,
Only LDS members are permitted within, but you may admire it from outside.
But then, as Brother Dave notes, bugging mosques will do no good because we don't have enough translators to process the Arabic intelligence we've already gathered.
One man who knows what he is doing is worth a dozen who don't have the slightest idea what is happening.
A member of the Lone Star Military Vehicle Association gasses up the M35A2 (a ten-wheel-drive two-and-a-half-ton truck), loads it with water and food, pops on the old army uniform (and a .45-caliber automatic) and heads east into the disaster.
They are also streaming New Orleans music from "WWOZ in Exile". When John Lennon died we heard lots of Beatles music. Maybe . . .
Just to give some of the flavor, here's one name for each letter of the alphabet: Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Eddie Bo, Harry Connick Sr., Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Snooks Eaglin, Jonathan Freilich (New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars), Paul Grass (Egg Yolk Jubilee), Matt Hampsey (Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots), Iguanas, Jerry Jumonville, Antoinette K-Doe, Louisiana Red Hot Records, Marine Forces Reserve Band (just above six from the Marsalis family), Naked on the FLOOR (just above six Nevilles), Anders Osborne, Earl Palmer, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Kermit Ruffins, Saint Louis Slim, Willie Tee, Martin Urbach, Hubie Vigreaux, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Masataka Yamazake, Zydepunks. And X for unknown. I know you haven't heard of all of these players, neither have I, but the home of American music has been destroyed. There are hundreds more on the list, Peter Holsapple, Alex Chilton, Irma Thomas, Fats Domino. No word on Ernie K-Doe.
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown made it out of town, but died the next day in Texas. He was 81, singer, songwriter, guitarist, fiddler, bandleader, country singer, jazz player, R&B all-star, and keen personality.
I'll bet he managed to turn on the TV "all by self" to find out what was happening in New Orleans, as opposed to President Bush, who had to wait for someone to make him a DVD to watch the next day so he wouldn't appear utterly uninformed when he landed in the devastated region five days after the storm and flood.
Mrs. George W. "W" Bush referred to Katrina as Corrina.
She must have got her tongue wrapped around her eyeteeth so she couldn't see what she was saying (as we say down south). Maybe she thinking of the good old song recorded in New Orleans by Big Joe Turner, the Boss of the Blues:
I left Corrina, way across the sea I left Corrina, way across the sea If you see Corrina, send her home to me
Just another heedless heartless thoughtless misspeaking from the heedless heartless thoughtless Bush family.
The administration is holding back on giving aid to the flooded because they know that with global warming New Orleans won't be the last city to be flooded and they don't want to establish any expensive precedents.
On the other hand, it looks like the next two years will be as entertaining and enlightening as the last five years have been stultifying and depressing.
His summary, Enough of your yang, it's time for some yin!
The administration of George W. "W" Bush may be incompetent and corrupt, but they're tops in PR, spin, and looking good. Right? Certainly, they would never make the mistake of making people think of other instances of royal indifference to the sufferings of the little people:
President Bush would never accept a gaudy guitar with the presidential seal and take a rock star pose with it. That might make people think of Claudius Nero, who is still being criticized two thousand years later for strumming on his lyre and singing of lost Troy while Rome burned.
He would never pose with a cake. That might make people think of Marie Antoinette's patented diet for the poor.
He would never let his glamorous (though shark-smiling) secretary of state celebrate the flood shopping for a closet shoerack full of $500 Ferragamo sandals. People might think of Imelda Marcos.He wouldn't ever let her wear jack boots either. Same principle. The attention to detail is astonishing. No taking in a Broadway show for her.
This PR president would be right out there on Day Zero in the middle of the water, dressed in his designer flood-fighter outfit (nice high brightly colored buccaneer hip boots for him), wielding his brushclearman's chainsaw like Excalibur. He certainly would be too savvy to be dancing around at campaign fundraisers and ribbon-cuttings when he could be adding another action figure to your collectible shelf.
Nosirree bobtail. None of that would happen, because they're masters of spin and PR and they'd never make those kind of mistakes. If they did, someone might think of "Apres moi, l'deluge."
PS -- And he'd never be seen crossing the tarmac cuddling his little lapdog like Charles the Second with his silky spaniel. Not when there's hurricanes to fight and "folks" dying.