Monday, August 29, 2011

Republicans Against Science

Thinking provides inconvenient truths and, among conservatives these days, there is too much of that.

Republicans Against Science -

Jon Huntsman Jr., a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, isn’t a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination. And that’s too bad, because Mr. Hunstman has been willing to say the unsayable about the G.O.P. — namely, that it is becoming the “anti-science party.” This is an enormously important development. And it should terrify us.

Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance -In 1798

What did the Founders know about Founders Intent anyway. They were just a bunch of revolutionaries and, worst of all, liberal.

Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance -In 1798 - Forbes

The article itself generated sufficient buzz to get picked up over at the Washington Post's blogs where they brought in Adam Rothman, an historian at Georgetown:

"It's a good example that the post-revolutionary generation clearly thought that the national government had a role in subsidizing health care," Rothman says. "That in itself is pretty remarkable and a strong refutation of the basic principles that some Tea Party types offer." 
"You could argue that it's precedent for government run health care," Rothman continues. "This defies a lot of stereotypes about limited government in the early republic."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Once again, fundamentalists embarrass West Bend in a national forum.

Thanks to the Weigand/Maziarka clique for having once again called attention to West Bend as a bastion of 18th century anti-Enlightenmentism.   After the Wisconsin State Journal ran the story on Ms. Weigand Debunking Evolution at the Dane County Fair, the zealots at the Institute for Creation Research picked up the story.

Even crazier, the West Bend Daily News reprinted the ICR's "response" for, you know, informational purposes.  Not to stir up controversy and sell more papers.  No.

Unfortunately, trees were killed to make the paper this drivel was printed on and, while I do not believe trees have rights, per se, I don't approve of waste.

With my professor's hat on, the ICR once again gets an F for intentionally equivocating on the term, "belief" solely for the purpose of misleading the reader.

"Equivocation" is the use of the same term in two different ways, and it's standard Creationist Three-Card-Monty.  The logical trick is pretty simple.  They fudge the definition of  "belief" in order to make their case seem reasonable.

Some beliefs depend on evidence, and some don't.  The first are called inductive inferences, the second are called 'superstitions'.   Creationists, and fundamentalists of all sorts (whether Christian, Islamic, or Jewish)   need to make the distinction between inductive inferences (also called "science") and superstitions (also called "superstitions") fuzzy because the moment you can see the difference clearly, their arguments evaporate.

For more fact-based reality, do check the National Center for Science Education which, thankfully, keeps an eye on attempts to sneak creationism and a fundamentalist religious view into the public school science curriculum... something the Weigands and Marziarkas are bent on bringing about in contravention of the rule of law.

The original can be found, with footnotes and everything at the ICR site.  Here's a chunk of it.

A Wisconsin-based evolutionary botanist said that the booth "is a testament to the power of belief and the difference between belief and science." But his statement is wrong, because it assumes that science does not involve belief, when in fact belief is a fundamental requirement for operational science. Prior to investigation, any scientist must first believe that the world operates according to regular principles, that his or her study results will meaningfully correlate to reality, and that there is such a thing as truthful reality. These beliefs find their foundation only in biblical Christianity.

The assertion that science is separated from belief also wrongly assumes that belief in creation does not involve scientific examination of evidence. This assumption is convenient if a person prefers to ignore the reams of scientific evidence that point to recent, special creation.

The claim that this booth is attempting "to debunk scientific fact" is apparently a shallow slander. Instead, it looks as though Weigand and her sponsors actually promote just the opposite approach: Encouraging people to do better science by interpreting hard evidence using common sense, instead of relying on the dogmatic propaganda that is necessary to prop up evolution's failed paradigm.

The only dogmatic propaganda here is the use of badly translated and politically charged Greek and Hebrew to make the case for importing religious fundamentalism into our publicly funded schools.

Tea party more unpopular than atheists and Muslims

Resentment and animosity are not a good basis for a political movement?


Tea party more unpopular than atheists and Muslims | Capitol Hill Blue

A New York Times/CBS News poll shows tea party support down to 20 percent while unfavorable opinions of the group have doubled.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives

The dangers of closing your mind... regardless of your politics:

Note to students: get read. The 2011 Mind-Set of Faculty Born Before 1980

Here's the list of what you need to know about us. File this under "professor management" and consult it regularly during the semester. And, for the record, I was born before 1970. A bit.

The 2011 Mind-Set of Faculty (Born Before 1980) - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not. Worth repeating.

An experiment in plutocracy in Iceland precipitated a revolution... in the best American tradition: which explains why we haven't heard anything. » News » The World » Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not

What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.

Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country. As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF. The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts. As Grimsson said: “We were told that if we refused the international community’s conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North. But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.” (How many times have I written that when Cubans see the dire state of their neighbor, Haiti, they count themselves lucky.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

West Bend School District divided by politics - JSOnline

West Bend School District divided by politics - JSOnline

What's missing from this news story is that most of the acrimony in West Bend politics during the past 10 years can be laid at the door of a handful of people for whom the rule of law is an inconvenient truth blocking an agenda informed more by religious commitments than civil ones.

Joe Carlson, former school board president, and someone who knows more about business than the entire Common Sense Citizens cadre, nailed the real problem for West Bend:

"If you're a moderate Republican in West Bend, you're a liberal," Carlson said.

By the standard's of the Koch brothers devotees in the Common Sense Citizen Krewe, Barry Goldwater would have been considered a socialist.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Perry On Evolution: 'It's A Theory That's Out There'

Of course.

Perry On Evolution: 'It's A Theory That's Out There' (VIDEO) | TPMDC

It is unclear what Perry meant about Texas schools teaching both creationism and evolution, as teaching creationism in public schools is illegal. There have been several attempts to introduce "supplemental materials" into Texas curriculum that would express doubt over evolution, or to advance creationism under the name of "intelligent design." But these efforts have not come to any major fruition.

This is also not to say that communities there will all teach evolution with gusto -- but if teaching creation were done in any official capacity, it would be struck down as an unconstitutional establishment of religion under decades of case law from the Supreme Court and lower federal courts.

Jon Stewart to Fox News: Making the Super-Rich Pay Taxes is "Class Warfare"? No, the War Is on the Poor.

Jon Stewart to Fox News: Making the Super-Rich Pay Taxes is "Class Warfare"? No, the War Is on the Poor | AlterNet

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Tea Party: just a front for politically aggressive religious fundamentalism

As time goes by, more of this will surface.

What I Learned in Two Years at the Tea Party | The Awl

That the Tea Party is just a way to repackage the religious right has no better proof than Ralph Reed. Reed has taken the tenets of the 1990s Christian Coalition that he directed for the "Faith and Freedom Coalition," which is now a major player at Tea Party events.

Palin, Credit Ratings, and Tea Party’s Denialism

Wow, you know I've always thought the Left occasionally exhibits denial in the face of an obvious interpretation of the facts... but the Right has come to rely almost entirely on denial in the face of the facts themselves.

How quickly they avoid the point that Alaska's bond rating went up because Governor Palin RAISED TAXES.


Oh, well, she couldn't run as a right wing candidate unless her base ignored that, right?

Again, better Right than right.

Palin, Credit Ratings, and Tea Party’s Denialism | Addicting Info

West Bend, front and center in America's Banned Books Week remembrances.

Our little klan of fundamentalist rabble rousers has kept us front and center. Check the site and click around on the map!

Mapping Censorship | Banned Books Week

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Michele Bachmann: because Sarah Palin was too smart to be a Tea Party Candidate.

Michele Bachmann Says The Darndest Things - YouTube

Can Theology Evolve? More trouble for fundamentalists.

More data, knocking at the door. Recent discoveries suggest that most homo sapiens have a bit of Neanderthal DNA in them.

If there was no Eden, there was no original sin. This isn't actually a problem for most Christians, who interpret these beautiful ideas metaphorically, but for the Fundamentalist Christian-ists currently running the Tea Party, their entire worldview cannot bear to look science in the face.

I note it because they seem to be hijacking America and dragging the rest of us along with them.

Here's the link and a clip.

Can Theology Evolve? - Forbes

University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne sums up the problem in his inimitable fashion:

I’ve always maintained that this piece of the Old Testament, which is easily falsified by modern genetics (modern humans descended from a group of no fewer than 10,000 individuals), shows more than anything else the incompatibility between science and faith. For if you reject the Adam and Eve tale as literal truth, you reject two central tenets of Christianity: the Fall of Man and human specialness. These can then be saved only by post facto theological rationalizations about why humans are special in an evolutionary sense, and also sufficiently sinful to require salvation.

I don’t know about human specialness, but on the Fall he is correct.

New slang from Andy Borowitz.

Twitter / @BorowitzReport: New Slang:

Iowa (v): To award a victory to a visibly insane person. "They gave Charlie Sheen a new show? Way to Iowa."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bachmann starred in movie warning public education would spark new Holocaust

of course....

Bachmann starred in movie warning public education would spark new Holocaust | The Raw Story

In a strange revelation Thursday, Mother Jones magazine unearthed a mostly forgotten 2002 movie that stars none other than Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann during her days as an education activist, warning Americans about a coming second Holocaust brought on by the U.S. public education system.

Boots and Sabers leveraging the 2010 Presidential race?

Saber rattling, wild west gun slinging, and prayer in the place of civic policy and law.

An interesting comparison between Rick Perry and our own local military fashionistas at Boots and Sabers.

Rick Perry Running for U.S. President of Chinese Cyber Espionage

And our own Owen Robinson.

Why do we need democracy when we have swords, jodhpurs, and God?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wisconsin recall fight ends where it began: With a Big Lie

I heard in one of the upcoming recall ads that Walker's budget cut millions and yet saved 1000s of teachers' jobs!

Better Right than right!

Wisconsin recall fight ends where it began: With a Big Lie - The Plum Line - The Washington Post


In the real world, of course, labor unions actually agreed to those concessions, yet Walker pressed ahead with his union-busting proposal anyway, which is what prompted the whole battle.

Various efforts to submerge this truth have been central to conservative arguments about Wisconsin throughout this battle. Prominent conservative columnists such as Charles Krauthammer have pretendedthat Walker’s proposals shouldn’t have surprised Democrats, and that Dems subverted the will of the people by resisting them, which is aprofoundly distorted history of what actually took place.

Meanwhile, Scott Walker himself has sought from the beginning to downplay the importance of his union-busting proposal by insisting that he campaigned on it. Politifact decisively debunked that claim, and Walker himself subsequently admitted under questioning that he hadn’t explicitly campaigned on the proposal at all.

The real reason Republicans and conservatives need to continue dissembling about what happened is that poll after poll has shown that the American people sided with public employees in this standoff, and don’t think their bargaining rights should be taken away. It’s fitting that the public face of the national GOP is seeking to elide this inconvenient fact and falsify the history of events in Wisconsin one last time on national television for all to see as this whole affair comes to its conclusion.

Smart ALEC dirt.

More not-really-surprised-anymore info on ALEC in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Wire: ALEC Chair and Representative Robin Vos Killing Recalls « segwayjeremy

Monday, August 08, 2011

‪Trickle Down Tales‬‏: Walker's plan for Wisconsin's future.

‪Trickle Down Tales‬‏ - YouTube

Wisconsin GOP Lady Pol Proves Drunk Driving Not Just For Male GOPers

Great mug shot too.

Wisconsin GOP Lady Pol Proves Drunk Driving Not Just For Male GOPers

Amber Hahn is was a Wisconsin county GOP chair whowent on Fox News not long ago to pose as a “random concerned parent” full of Panic and Outrage over the dangerous “pro-union propaganda” teaching of labor union history in public schools. Then Hahn drove her car around drunk until it crashed while her three children were also riding in the car. That’s a little bit terrifying and hypocritical, you might say! Eh, here is the thing about a “family values” politician, tho: danger to children only exists if it is utterly fictional. Real Danger does not count.

Strachota, and the rest of the Wisconsin Echo Chamber, get the jobs number wrong.

In her column in the West Bend Daily News over the weekend, state Assembly Rep Pat Strachota -- a generally non-insane Republican voice for our corner of the state -- was apparently overwhelmed by the Walker echo chamber when she writes:
The end result is that Wisconsin’s ranking has risen for places to do business and in June jobs created here accounted for 50 percent of the jobs added in the entire nation. [My italics...] These early results show we are on the right track and can only continue to improve. Quite a stark contrast to our state’s previous tax and spend policies. The Legislature also passed legislation to require a two-thirds super-majority vote to raise income or sales taxes unless a statewide referendum supports the increases. This will ensure that Wisconsin stays on the right fiscal path.

This little meme of disinformation went around pretty quickly, and was debunked pretty quickly as well. Apparently Rep Strachota didn't see that memo....

PolitiFact Wisconsin | Wisconsin Republican Party says more than half the nation's job growth in June came from Wisconsin

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Alberta Darling caught in a big lie.

Held off on the worst lies until pretty close to the election. Desperation looks like this.

Although, Darling hasn't called her a baby eating Satanist yet. Maybe she's saving that one up for Monday.

PolitiFact Wisconsin | Wisconsin state Sen. Alberta Darling says Rep. Sandy Pasch voted to allow using tax money to pay for Viagra for public school employees

Alberta Darling delivers for out-of-state billionaires

She's merely a caddy in the country club of America... and still hopes one day they'll let her be a member.

John Nichols: Alberta Darling delivers for out-of-state billionaires

As co-chair of Wisconsin’s powerful Joint Finance Committee, Sen. Alberta Darling was charged by Gov. Scott Walker with cobbling together the most anti-public education budget in state history. And Darling delivered, with a plan to slash $800 million in funding for public schools across Wisconsin while scheming to shift tens of millions from the state treasury into the accounts of private schools.
Darling was not doing just the governor’s bidding, however.
She was delivering for the American Federation for Children, the powerful national network of billionaire campaign contributors that has been pouring millions into school privatization projects in numerous states.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Justice for West Bend GSA. Right wing whines.

More proof that the so-called conservatives in our area are more interested in Boots and Sabers than they are in the Rule of Law -- or even liberty for all. For them, it's better to be Right than right.

Which is why the GSA here will continue to require federal court protection of their liberties.

West Bend School Board must recognize Gay-Straight Alliance - JSOnline

The dispute began when the school board denied the student group official status — even though the club had been meeting unofficially for years — at its May 9 meeting. Official recognition allows a club to be in the yearbook, raise money on campus, post information in the schools and use the schools’ equipment and resources.

The lawsuit filed against the board stated the board’s action was in violation of the Equal Access Act and the First Amendment. After the lawsuit was filed, the board voted to rescind its previous vote and recognize the group if the lawsuit was dropped.

“In litigation the losers don’t get to dictate the terms of the lawsuit,” Fincke said.

In a news release, Fincke wrote it was necessary for the student group to “have long-term protection” due to the views of some board members and religious community leaders.

Monday, August 01, 2011

GE moving Waukesha operations to Beijing.

In the Told Ya So, department:

Hey, all of you genius executives and CEOs who, 15 years ago, sat around at Washington County Economic Development committee meetings and said we'd be able to bring manufacturing back to a rust belt state because China would never develop a labor force capable of competing with "real technology"?

Right, please forgive me if I'm uncomfortable trusting our economic future to people who couldn't see the implications of China right in front of their noses.

GE Moves 115-Year-Old X-Ray Unit’s Base to China to Tap Growth

General Electric Co. (GE)’s health-care unit, the world’s biggest maker of medical-imaging machines, is moving the headquarters of its 115-year-old X-ray business to Beijing to tap growth in China.

“A handful” of top managers will move to the Chinese capital and there won’t be any job cuts, Anne LeGrand, vice president and general manager of X-ray for GE Healthcare, said in an interview. The headquarters will move from Waukesha, Wisconsin, amid a broader parent-company plan to invest about $2 billion across China, including opening six “customer innovation” and development centers.

The move follows the introduction earlier this year of GE Healthcare’s “Spring Wind” initiative to develop and distribute medical products and services in China, GE said in a statement today. More than 20 percent of the X-ray unit’s new products will be developed in China, LeGrand said.