Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lying

I've quoted him before, and will again: "There's hot air on both ends of the spectrum,"–Neil de Grasse Tyson, astrophysicist. Let's take one widely repeated accusation on the right—President Obama has refused foreign assistance in the oil spill fiasco. This is a common claim, but it is simply false. I advise you to see Fact Check.org, one of my favorite websites, for proof this is a lie. Fact Check and Politifact are two of the few reliable websites for political information. Don't believe anything on Fox, MSNBC, the right-wing blogosphere, or the left-wing blogosphere. None of them care about the truth; they will lie shamelessly to advance their agenda.

Slightly different subject: Here's a few science organizations who are apparently in on the global warming "hoax": The National Academy of Sciences, The American Geophysical Union, The American Meteorological Society. There's a very extensive list at 0:52 of this presentation of other organizations in on the "hoax."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some new political laws–according to me

Davis' Law 1: Don't pay attention to what politicians say, pay attention to what they do— E.g., Woodrow Wilson "he kept us out of war", FDR "your boys will not be sent to war", Lyndon Johnson "American boys will not do the fighting Asian boys should be doing", and George W. Bush "humble foreign policy." (Yes, Roosevelt was right to lie, but that doesn't invalidate my point). It's not just war: Bill Clinton promised the most ethical administration ever; Bush said the fundamentals of our economy were fine in 2007, ad nauseam. So when Glenn Beck tries to find sinister Marxism behind ever Obama utterance, ignore him. It doesn't matter what Obama or any other politican says—as the cliche goes, talk is cheap.

Davis' Law 2: People who follow a rigid party line—on either the right or left— are shallow thinkers at best, and at worst just plain dumb. Then again, party line thinking can lead to lots of fame and money–e.g. Olbermann, Limbaugh, Hannity, Maddow, etc.., so maybe stupidity isn't always the reason.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Orwellian nonsense

This contradictory argument comes from an op-ed by Gerald O'Driscoll Jr. from the Cato Institute. It was published in the Wall Street Journal Monday June 14(subscription required):

Government regulation is intended to protect the public interest against bad or irresponsible behavior by private parties. In the case of offshore drilling, the federal government has assumed the role of solving a collective action problem. Potentially all Americans benefit from the drilling, but those living in coastal areas suffer disproportionate harm from mishaps. The government theoretically negotiates on their behalf and establishes rules to protect them.

The Gulf oil spill and the global financial crisis both demonstrate the failings of big government.
Obviously, regulation failed. By all accounts, MMS operated as a rubber stamp for BP. It is a striking example of regulatory capture: Agencies tasked with protecting the public interest come to identify with the regulated industry and protect its interests against that of the public. The result: Government fails to protect the public. That conclusion is precisely the same for the financial services industry.

His conclusion is what you would expect of a free market ideologue: since regulation was ineffective in the BP case, let's get rid of all regulation. It doesn't work anyway. Let's take that argument to its reductio ad absurdem:

1. People die from bad food and drugs despite the FDA. Let's abolish it.
2. There's still pollution despite the Clean Air Act. It should go ASAP.
3. Some people go to the Cato Institute website and don't embrace libertarianism. The website might as well be shut down.
4. All this spending on the military and there's all these evil guys in North Korea, Iran, etc.. Time to privatize the armed forces.

Another question... what exactly is meant by "big" government. How is that label determined? Is it the amount of agencies, the size of the budget, what exactly?

Monday, June 07, 2010

More nonsense from a TP member

In a discussion group on Facebook, a tea party member actually said "Government has failed at everything it's done other than killing people." Fully conceding the government does bad and counterproductive things, I reject this statement. I will quote the esteemed physicist Lawrence Krauss:

“The increasingly blatant nature of the nonsense uttered with impunity in public discourse is chilling. Our democratic society is imperiled as much by this as any other single threat, regardless of whether the origins of the nonsense are religious fanaticism, simple ignorance or personal gain.”

Here's a few things government hasn't failed at (besides war, which even most of the TP members, if not Ron and Rand Paul recognize): cleaner air and water, funding scientific innovations, safer food and drugs, and the voting rights act. The TP movement, as I have said before, is not a conservative movement. It is a radical libertarian utopian movement. Like all utopian movements, it allows no dissent from the orthodoxy. I've been removed from Facebook pages and discussion boards for merely questioning their premises. No heretics allowed!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

He pitched a perfect game

This isn't a sports blog, but I'll make an exception today. Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga lost a perfect game to a bad call with one out to go. The umpire admitted he blew the call. So the question I raise is simple: why not declare to be true what actually happened? He deserves the perfect game and MLB should officially declare the blown call null and void. As a side note: this is a damn good argument for instant replay.