December 21, 2005
1) Bush is doing X.
2) There have not been any major terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11
Therefore, X is a successful tactic for protecting us against terrorists.
Just because there hasn't been a terrorist attack doesn't mean that some particular tactic has been successful in fighting terrorism. Maybe the terrorists have lost interest. Maybe the terrorists have started reading my blog and have been pursuaded against terrorism. Maybe the terrorists got jobs and don't have time to blow themselves up or crash airplanes anymore.
It's just not logical to arbitrarily assert that any particular action is preventing crime. We need more information than that. What events have been prevented thanks to wiretaps? Secret prisons? New interrogation standards? My blog? Grape jelly?
Since bits and pieces of the Patriot Act are slowly expiring, I wonder if in the event of some terrorist action Patriot Act supporters will point to the last expiration to say, "Oh that last bit that expired must have been what saved us. Let's reinstate it."
The claims are a grotesque logical fallacy - grotesque because in many cases we're talking about actions that may affect our rights as citizens.
If supporters of some particular action want to make a better case for themselves (and stop irritating me) they will start addressing the principles behind the actions and offer concrete support for their conclusions. I know that doesn't make for a good sound bite, but if I were someone's PR manager, I would count stupid sound bits as solidly "bad."
December 20, 2005
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Under threat of legal action, more than 30,000 New York City transit workers went on strike early Tuesday, shutting down the nation's largest public transportation system just days ahead of Christmas.
"Transit workers are tired of being underappreciated and disrespected," said TWU President Roger Toussaint. "The Local 100 executive board has voted overwhelmingly to extend strike action to all MTA properties immediately."
One of the issues behind the strike is a ridiculous demand of guaranteed 8% raises over the next three years.
Meanwhile, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is calling the action "selfish."
I don't like unions. I don't like most all of the labor laws I've ever heard of; I think they're unjust in that they ask businesses to give preferential treatment to people who are members of
This MTA strike is a good example. If someone at my company told their boss, "If you don't give me at least an 8% raise for the next three years, I'm not coming to work," they would be fired. Actually, all forms of that sort of cohersive behavior should be greeted with immediate termination, in my opinion. But you're not allowed to fire people for being in unions.
Employment is just like any other trade; it happens by the mutual consent of employee and employer. If either party does something the other doesn't like, the second may choose to terminate the relationship.
So, the MTA people are striking and the city is considering suing.
This morning, there are 7 million people trying to catch cabs, walking, riding bikes, carpooling and driving because the service they usually PAY to recieve is being denied to them by those who are, in turn, PAID to provide it.
Steps could have been taken to prevent this, but they're all illegal.
December 13, 2005
But I will comment briefly on all the idiotic squabbling about "Tookie" Williams. I'm glad no one saved him; I'm glad he was executed. He was shown guilty and writing children's books doesn't bring justice to murders.
I'm not prepared to say that our justice system fails more than it succeeds, but its failures, particularly where the innocent are treated as guilty, are sufficient evidence that the system needs to be revisited.
STEM CELLS ARE NOT PEOPLE!!!
On a related note, people are so stupid about cloned humans, too.
CLONES ARE PEOPLE!!!
Every time I hear someone seriously questioning whether or not cloned humans have rights, I almost freak out and slap them about the head and face.
So, meanwhile, some folks are putting human cells in mice.
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Add another creation to the strange scientific menagerie where animal species are being mixed together in ever more exotic combinations.
Scientists announced Monday that they had created mice with small amounts of human brain cells in an effort to make realistic models of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
Still, the work adds to the growing ethical concerns of mixing human and animal cells when it comes to stem cell and cloning research. After all, mice are 97.5 percent genetically identical to humans.
"The worry is if you humanize them too much you cross certain boundaries," said David Magnus, director of the Stanford Medical Center for Biomedical Ethics. "But I don't think this research comes even close to that."
Researchers are nevertheless beginning to bump up against what bioethicists call the "yuck factor."
Stem cell researchers argue that mixing human and animal cells is the only way to advance the field because it's far too risky to experiment on people; so little is known about stem cells.
"The experiments have to be done, which does mean human cells into non-human cells," said Dr. Evan Snyder, a stem cell researcher at the Burnham Institute in San Diego. "You don't work out the issues on your child or your grandmother. You want to work this out in an animal first."
Snyder is injecting human embryonic stem cells into monkeys and is convinced that there's little danger.
"It's true that there is a huge amount of similarity, but the differences are huge," Snyder said. "You will never ever have a little human trapped inside a mouse or monkey's body."
Naturally, I think the bigger story is about how these mice give birth to human babies after just a 3 month gestation period and the ethical question is whether or not scientists should be allowed to have sex with mice even in the name of science. However, since we have to work with what we have, I would like to call your attention to how stupid the CNN bioethicists are.
Please tell me that no bio-ethicist is considering "yuck-factor" as a serious ethical concern.
I understand bringing it up as part of the list of reasons why people come to stupid conclusions about certain bio-medical procedures. But at the same time, no one wants to see athroscopic surgery either. Well, I do, but I'm a weirdo like that.
Have you see that show on TLC where they show the surgery happening? It's awesome! But many people have threatened me with bodily harm if I try to make them sit through a show like that.
Meanwhile, ethicists are clearly not doing their jobs because they haven't told scientists the difference between a regular mouse, a mouse with human cells, and a human being. Apparently, there is confusion.
In all seriousness, the question of determining the exact level of consciousness required to entitle a being with rights is a tricky and important issue. Due to our inability to account for it scientifically at this point in time, we grant the benefit of the doubt to all human beings. Other species with human cells in them doesn't count any more than having a baboon heart is grounds for disenfranchisement.
The interesting part about this to me is how the question comes to rise as implanting human brain cells into a mouse brain changes the level of consciousness in the mouse, bringing it closer to human level mental capacities.
Anyway, the "yuck factor" thing set me off and I just wanted to share.
December 03, 2005
A meditating teenage boy in south-central Nepal is drawing the attention of scientists after attracting huge crowds in the past six months and earning himself the name Buddha-reincarnate.
They are mulling over how to examine him without disturbing his meditation.
Ram Bahadur Bamjan's friends, relatives and managers say he has been meditating without drinking water for six months now and that he will carry on for another six years until he gains enlightenment.
Some claim that Bamjan has not had anything to eat or drink for six months. That claim is obviously false.
People cannot live for six months without food or water. People can't live without water for more than a few days. Cellular respiration is not such a mystery that any rational person with a basic science education can deny this. People in India with basic life experience cannot honestly deny the fact either, but it would seem they are determined not to be bound by the "oppressive" quality of reality that forbids the existence of contradictions.
This cannot possibly end well for them.
Update: Sorry. I'm still trippin' over this.
I am shocked that so many people who should know better are taking this claim seriously. It's ridiculous.
It's very, very, very obvious that the boy is eating at night.
Even the claim that he has been meditating this whole time is questionable, because in the various reports they say that he has spoken to people and gotten up to do things.
I mean, someone call the papers because I can fly. I can prove it, too: I have put all the lights on my Christmas tree without any help from anyone else. But my tree is over nine feet tall. How did I do it? I flew. That's how.
Call the papers, because Trey Givens can levitate.
Ignore the fact that there is a ladder in my living room right now. I must have flown. That's the only explanation.
It's so ridiculous. I'm shocked. SHOCKED!
December 01, 2005
It's about time. I was really getting scared for her. It's been like a year and a half that she's been hauling that thing around.
Jennifer, if you're reading, you're beautiful; I love you. Congratulations! (Call me!)
P.S. I was not reading e!Online. All of my celebrity gossip sites are completely disreputable. I would not be caught dead reading MSM gossip. At least not reading it before the rest.
Update: Rumor has it that the child's name is "Violet Ann Affleck" and not "Estrella Bucks Garner" as I had requested.
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