Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for December, 2012

Whales Got Legs! (AKA Yet Another Blow To Creationist Twits)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 31, 2012

One of the things the creationists like to wave around as “proof” of creationism is the idea that whales couldn’t have evolved from land mammals because there’s no evidence of hind legs on them or their ancestors.

Except that there is, as Stephen Jay Gould pointed out many years ago, in a lengthy point-by-point rebuttal.

Go read it. It’s lovely. And it’s buttressed by some recent discoveries in the Valley of the Whales in Egypt.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Who Is Professor Laura Hollis?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 30, 2012

I wanted to go back to Charles’ piece on what turns out to be a Townhall column by one Laura Hollis, a professor of some sort at Notre Dame — and more interestingly, a former director of the “Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies”.

Fee fie fo fum, methinks I smell the blood of a wingnut-welfare recipient. The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies certainly sounds to me like a typical sheltered workshop for growing conservatives in a hothouse-flower environment where they never have to come into contact with any realities they or their indoctrinators don’t like. Let’s do a little digging:

The person who founded the Gigot Center, which is a part of the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame, is a gent named Dr. James H. Davis:

James H. Davis received his PhD in corporate strategy from the University of Iowa, MBA from Idaho State University, and MEd and BA from Brigham Young University. From 1998 to 2008, he was director of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Mendoza College of Business. He received the Notre Dame College of Business MBA Outstanding Professor of the year award in 1996, 1998, and 1999. He was awarded Outstanding Professor by Purdue University’s German International School of Management Administration in 2001. He was named the 2002 Inspiration Teacher of the Year for Notre Dame’s executive programs. He received a Kaneb award for outstanding undergraduate teaching in 2003.

Hmmm. Brigham Young University? The scent of wingnuttia is getting stronger.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

We accept your surrender

Posted by Charles II on December 29, 2012

The following is one of the more recent right-wing salvos circulating the Net (my emphases in color; crossposted to DK):

Post-Mortem
Laura Hollis, Nov 08, 2012

Laura Hollis is:
Current: Associate Professional Specialist and Concurrent Associate
Professor of Law at University of Notre Dame. [Note: ND Law lists Hollis as an Assistant professor.]
Past: Director at Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Associate
Director and Clinical Professor at University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign.
Education: University of Notre Dame Law School, University of Notre Dame.
Summary: She has 20+ years’ experience in curriculum and other program
development and delivery.

I am already reading so many pundits and other talking heads analyzing the disaster that was this year’s elections. I am adding my own ten cents. Here goes:

1. We are outnumbered. We accurately foresaw the enthusiasm, the passion, the commitment, the determination, and the turnout. Married women, men, independents, Catholics, evangelicals – they all went for Romney in percentages as high or higher than the groups which voted for McCain in 2008. It wasn’t enough. What we saw in the election on Tuesday was a tipping point: we are now at a place where there are legitimately fewer Americans who desire a free republic with a free people than there are those who think the government should give them stuff. There are fewer of us who believe in the value of free exchange and free enterprise. There are fewer of us who do not wish to demonize successful people in order to justify taking from them. We are outnumbered. For the moment. It’s just that simple.

2. It wasn’t the candidate(s). Some are already saying, “Romney was the wrong guy”; “He should have picked Marco Rubio to get Florida/Rob Portman to get Ohio/Chris Christie to get [someplace else].” With all due respect, these assessments are incorrect. Romney ran a strategic and well-organized campaign. Yes, he could have hit harder on Benghazi. But for those who would have loved that, there are those who would have found it distasteful. No matter what tactic you could point to that Romney could have done better, it would have been spun in a way that was detrimental to his chances. Romney would have been an excellent president, and Ryan was an inspired choice. No matter who we ran this year, they would have lost. See #1, above.

3. It’s the culture, stupid. We have been trying to fight this battle every four years at the voting booth. It is long past time we admit that is not where the battle really is. We abdicated control of the culture – starting back in the 1960s. And now our largest primary social institutions – education, the media, Hollywood (entertainment) have become really nothing more than an assembly line for cranking out reliable little Leftists. Furthermore, we have allowed the government to undermine the institutions that instill good character – marriage, the family, communities, schools, our churches. So, here we are, at least two full generations later – we are reaping what we have sown. It took nearly fifty years to get here; it will take another fifty years to get back. But it starts with the determination to reclaim education, the media, and the entertainment business. If we fail to do that, we can kiss every election goodbye from here on out. And much more.

4. America has become a nation of adolescents The real loser in this election was adulthood: Maturity. Responsibility. The understanding that liberty must be accompanied by self-restraint. Obama is a spoiled child, and the behavior and language of his followers and their advertisements throughout the campaign makes it clear how many of them are, as well. Romney is a grown-up. Romney should have won. Those of us who expected him to win assumed that voters would act like grownups. Because if we were a nation of grownups, he would have won.

But what did win? Sex. Drugs. Bad language. Bad manners. Vulgarity. Lies. Cheating. Name-calling. Finger-pointing. Blaming. And irresponsible spending. This does not bode well. People grow up one of two ways: either they choose to, or circumstances force them to. The warnings are all there, whether it is the looming economic disaster, or the inability of the government to respond to crises like Hurricane Sandy, or the growing strength and brazenness of our enemies. American voters stick their fingers in their ears and say, “Lalalalalala, I can’t hear you.” It is unpleasant to think about the circumstances it will take to force Americans to grow up. It is even more unpleasant to think about Obama at the helm when those circumstances arrive.

5. Yes, there is apparently a Vagina Vote. It’s the subject matter of another column in its entirety to point out, one by one, all of the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of the Democrats this year. Suffice it to say that the only “war on women” was the one waged by the Obama campaign, which sexualized and objectified women, featuring them dressed up like vulvas at the Democrat National Convention, appealing to their “lady parts,” comparing voting to losing your virginity with Obama, trumpeting the thrills of destroying our children in the womb (and using our daughters in commercials to do so), and making Catholics pay for their birth control. For a significant number of women, this was appealing. It might call into question the wisdom of the Nineteenth Amendment, but for the fact that large numbers of women (largely married) used their “lady smarts” instead. Either way, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are rolling over in their graves.

6. It’s not about giving up on “social issues” No Republican candidate should participate in a debate or go out on the stump without thorough debate prep and a complete set of talking points that they stick to. This should start with a good grounding in biology and a reluctance to purport to know the will of God. (Thank you, Todd and Richard.)

That said, we do not hold the values we do because they garner votes. We hold the values we do because we believe that they are time-tested principles without which a civilized, free and prosperous society is not possible.

We defend the unborn because we understand that a society which views some lives as expendable is capable of viewing all lives as expendable.

We defend family – mothers, fathers, marriage, children – because history makes it quite clear that societies without intact families quickly descend into anarchy and barbarism, and we have plenty of proof of that in our inner cities where marriage is infrequent and unwed motherhood approaches 80 percent. When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, many thought that the abortion cause was lost. Forty years later, ultrasound technology has demonstrated the inevitable connection between science and morality. More Americans than ever define themselves as “pro-life.” What is tragic is that tens of millions of children have lost their lives while Americans figure out what should have been obvious before. There is no “giving up” on social issues. There is only the realization that we have to fight the battle on other fronts. The truth will win out in the end.

7. Obama does not have a mandate. And he does not need one. I have to laugh – bitterly – when I read conservative pundits trying to assure us that Obama “has to know” that he does not have a mandate, and so he will have to govern from the middle. I don’t know what they’re smoking. Obama does not care that he does not have a mandate. He does not view himself as being elected (much less re-elected) to represent individuals. He views himself as having been re-elected to complete the “fundamental transformation” of America, the basic structure of which he despises. Expect much more of the same – largely the complete disregard of the will of half the American public, his willingness to rule by executive order, and the utter inability of another divided Congress to rein him in. Stanley Kurtz has it all laid out here.

8. The Corrupt Media – is the enemy too strong? I don’t think so. I have been watching the media try to throw elections since at least the early 1990s. In 2008 and again this year, we saw the media cravenly cover up for the incompetence and deceit of this President, while demonizing a good, honorable and decent man with lies and smears. This is on top of the daily barrage of insults that conservatives (and by that I mean the electorate, not the politicians) must endure at the hands of this arrogant bunch of elitist snobs. Bias is one thing. What we observed with Benghazi was professional malpractice and fraud. They need to go. Republicans, Libertarians and other conservatives need to be prepared to play hardball with the Pravda press from here on out. And while we are at it, to defend those journalists of whatever political stripe (Jake Tapper, Sharyl Atkisson, Eli Lake) who actually do their jobs. As well as Fox News and talk radio. Because you can fully expect a re-elected Obama to try to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in term 2.

9. Small business and entrepreneurs will be hurt the worst For all the blather about “Wall Street versus Main Street,” Obama’s statist agenda will unquestionably benefit the biggest corporations which – as with the public sector unions – are in the best position to make campaign donations, hire lobbyists, and get special exemptions carved out from Obama’s health care laws, his environmental regulations, his labor laws. It will be the small business, the entrepreneur, and the first-time innovators who will be crushed by their inability to compete on a level playing field.

10. America is more polarized than ever; and this time it’s personal. I’ve been following politics for a long time, and it feels different this time. Not just for me. I’ve received messages from other conservatives who are saying the same thing: there is little to no tolerance left out there for those who are bringing this country to its knees – even when they have been our friends. It isn’t just about “my guy” versus “your guy.” It is my view of America versus your view of America – a crippled, hemorrhaging, debt-laden, weakened and dependent America that I want no part of and resent being foisted on me. I no longer have any patience for stupidity, blindness, or vulgarity, so with each dumb “tweet” or FB post by one of my happily lefty comrades, another one bites the dust, for me. Delete. What does this portend for a divided Congress? I expect that Republicans will be demoralized and chastened for a short time. But I see them in a bad position. Americans in general want Congress to work together. But many do not want Obama’s policies, and so Republicans who support them will be toast. Good luck, guys.

11. It’s possible that America just has to hit rock bottom. I truly believe that most Americans who voted for Obama have no idea what they are in for. Most simply believe him when he says that all he really wants is for the rich to pay “a little bit more.” So reasonable! Who could argue with that except a greedy racist? America is on a horrific bender. Has been for some time now. The warning signs of our fiscal profligacy and culture of lack of personal responsibility are everywhere – too many to mention. We need only look at other countries which have gone the route we are walking now to see what is in store.

For the past four years – but certainly within the past campaign season – we have tried to warn Americans. Too many refuse to listen, even when all of the events that have transpired during Obama’s presidency – unemployment, economic stagnation, skyrocketing prices, the depression of the dollar, the collapse of foreign policy, Benghazi, hopelessly inept responses to natural disasters – can be tied directly to Obama’s statist philosophies, and his decisions.

What that means, I fear, is that they will not see what is coming until the whole thing collapses. That is what makes me so sad today. I see the country I love headed toward its own “rock bottom,” and I cannot seem to reach those who are taking it there.

Laura Hollis

[From the right-winger who forwarded Hollis' message] If we cannot regain control of those critical institutions (“that instill good character – marriage, the family, communities, schools, our churches”), that Ms. Hollis enumerated, and rekindle the rational, sane and conservative values they once represented,…..WE ARE DOOMED TO CONTINUE THIS SLIDE INTO A LEFTIST, PROGRESSIVE, LIBERAL LED DECAY and ULTIMATE COLLAPSE.

Please share this with as many as you can!!

Many of the right-wingers of Hoover’s day at least had the grace or the wit to understand that they had done something wrong by blowing up the capitalist system. Today’s conservatives are so puffed up with hubris that the only place they see faults is in the people they demonize as being irresponsible children engaged in sex, drugss, and filthy language (even while accusing those same people of demonizing conservatives). 

Hollis doesn’t even seem to recognize that there was another hurricane before Sandy which the government had trouble responding to.

So, please, Ms. Hollis. Since you’re so personally dishonest and so completely bereft of ideas, please do walk away from politics and let America hit rock bottom. If you leave this country alone long enough, it might just recover from the stupidity and greed of your party.  Small thanks to the Democrats, I’m sure, but at least they aren’t actively trying to spend more than the taxes the government collects.

Posted in evil, Republicans as cancer | 5 Comments »

The wheels of justice

Posted by Charles II on December 29, 2012

Some of you may know Victor Jara, a Chilean musician who was swept up in the Pinochet mass arrests and executed. The legend is that, while interned at the Chile sports stadium (now Victor Jara Stadium), he encouraged resistance by playing his guitar. When his captors smashed his fingers and told him to play, he continued his defiance by singing until at last they silenced him with machine gun bullets. It probably happened a little differently, but there’s no doubt that he faced death bravely.

Aside from politics, he was just a great guitarist and vocalist.

Via Bohica at DK, his killers have been indicted: Lieutenant Pedro Barrientos, Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Sánchez, and six more.

I hope God adds a little to their sentence for their crimes against acoustic guitar.

Hear Arlo sing his story.
___________
Update: Litho has more.

Posted in abuse of power, history, Latin America | 1 Comment »

Policemen are your friends

Posted by Charles II on December 28, 2012

This is a story that was buried in the Christmas data dump. It seems that the FBI has overstepped the boundaries of what can be considered apolitical law enforcement. Again.

DemocracyNow:

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: Well, the documents, as you stated, show that the FBI and American intelligence agencies were monitoring and reporting on Occupy Wall Street before the first tent even went up in Zuccotti Park. The documents that we have been able to obtain show the FBI communicating with the New York Stock Exchange in August of 2011 about the upcoming Occupy demonstrations, about plans for the protests. It shows them meeting with or communicating with private businesses. And throughout the materials, there is repeated evidence of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, American intelligence agencies really working as a private intelligence arm for corporations, for Wall Street, for the banks, for the very entities that people were rising up to protest against.

… even in these heavily redacted documents, you can see the FBI using at least private entities as a proxy force for what appears to be infiltration. There is—there are documents that show the Federal Reserve in Richmond was reporting to the FBI, working with the Capitol Police in Virginia, and reporting and giving updates on planning meetings and discussions within the Occupy movement. That would appear, minimally, that they were sending undercovers, if not infiltrators, into those meetings.

There is another document that shows the FBI meeting with private port security officers in Anchorage, Alaska, in advance of the West Coast port actions. And that document has that private port security person saying that they are going to go attend a planning meeting of the demonstrators, and they’re reporting back to the FBI. They coordinate with the FBI. The FBI says that they will put them in touch with someone from the Anchorage Police Department, that that person should take the police department officer with him, as well.

And so these documents also show the intense coordination both with private businesses, with Wall Street, with the banks, and with state police departments and local police departments around the country.

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD: I think that that is very much a measure of box checking by the FBI. I don’t believe—and their documents show that they did not believe—that this was a movement that posed a threat of violence. Now, throughout the documents, they’re using their counterterrorism resources and counterterrorism authorities, they are defining the movement as domestic terrorism and potentially criminal in nature. But the fact is, they also throughout the documents say that they know that this is a peaceful movement, that it is organized on a basis of nonviolence. And by that logic, of course, you can investigate everyone in every activity in the United States on the grounds that someone might do something sometime. And, in fact, think about the tea party rallies. The tea party was having rallies all around the United States where their members come carrying weapons—they’re open carrying—including at events where the president of the United States was speaking. But the FBI is turning its attention to this movement.

And when they reference the locations in Florida, I think that’s actually a political analysis, a recognition that this is a movement whose time has come. And whether it’s in hibernation right now, it is based on an organic reality of the economic situation in the United States. And the FBI is referencing the high level of unemployment, the needs that people have, and it’s a recognition, too, of the dynamism and the dynamic nature of the people of the United States, the people all over the world, when they organize and come together. That’s the threat that we believe the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are truly focused on, not a threat of violence.

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD:…his is just part and parcel of the long history of the FBI. And this is not the first incident, it is not going to be the last, and it’s not the worst, to be honest. We all know that. It’s not—you know, the FBI has a long history — ’50s, ’60s, ’70s — of mass surveillance, of targeting of people based on political ideology, of efforts to disrupt the movements for social justice, for efforts to shut down black liberation movement, the antiwar movement. And in the ’70s, of course, there were these great revelations about the abuses of the FBI, of the CIA, of other security agencies. And there were the Church Committee hearings. There were supposedly protections put in place. But we can see, you know, decade after decade, with each social justice movement, that the FBI conducts itself in the same role over and over again, which is to act really as the secret police of the establishment against the people.(emphasis added)

And, you know, it’s not just a secret police directed against all subversive movements, but specifically against left-wing movements. The FBI took decades to engage against the KKK, was blindsided by Tim McVeigh, and as far as we know are doing nothing to rein in the sorts of people who use threats of violence–or actual violence– against persons/property in an attempt “to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).”

The very definition of law suggests a universally applicable principle. But the Tea Party was treated as a legitimate political movement, while Occupy was treated as a domestic threat. The Tea Party engaged in intimidation against political officials. Occupy (maybe) broke some windows in Oakland (unless it was agents provocateur).

There is nothing recognizable as a “law” in the way these two movements have been treated.

Posted in FBI, Occupy movement, terrorism | 4 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on December 28, 2012

Friday Cat Blogging

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 4 Comments »

For the archives: the decline in productivity

Posted by Charles II on December 27, 2012

I linked the following Fed Letter by Fabina and Wright in comments below and wanted to promote it to a post.

In this Chicago Fed Letter, we describe the recent behavior of productivity in the United States and in other advanced economies around the world. We show that there has been a dramatic reduction in the rate of growth of productivity across almost all advanced economies over the past ten years. Moreover, this reduction began prior to the onset of the global economic crisis and, hence, it appears to reflect a fundamental decline in the rate of growth of efficiency of economies, not simply declines in factor utilization.

The authors don’t reach any firm conclusions on cause. I tend to think that measurement is the main issue, with trade being the culprit, but there’s no doubt that investment in human capital and infrastructure has declined in the US and many other western countries. It also seems likely that all the investment in repression (war, surveillance, border control) by western countries is a low-return investment. But it’s worth thinking about.

Posted in economy | 1 Comment »

Pro-Gun Blogger Fountain Has Anti-Woman Friends

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 27, 2012

destroy the bitch

Before anyone puts too much stock in pro-gun blogger Christopher Fountain’s rationale for posting the home addresses of various newspaper personnel because their newspaper (for what rationale, I’m not sure) posted publicly-available information about the gun permit holders in the area — namely, that he did it to allegedly help/avenge/? abused women — I suggest you check out the web site of one of his biggest fans, who favorably links to him:

Destroy the bitch

Having started out with a hard slam, Mister Cold Fury shows he was just warming up:

… People, you all know I’m a peaceable, conciliatory type. I would never advocate harassing this arrogant shrew to within an inch of her miserable life, making her completely uncomfortable and even afraid in her own home, trembling at the mere prospect of leaving the premises or turning on her computer as a consequence of her outrage against all decency.
I wouldn’t suggest that people call her at all hours, or hold screaming protests on her front lawn complete with bullhorns and windbreaker-clad thugs skulking about and issuing threats against her spouse and children. I wouldn’t call for additional harassment of her despicable employer in hopes of getting her fired. Nor would I wish to see her every waking moment turned into a living nightmare from which there is no awakening.

[...]

I therefore present this link purely for informational purposes, as I’m sure CynDee (eyeroll) did with her original article, with no intent to intimidate or inconvenience… Burn in hell, you abominable shrike.

Just kidding, my ass. In my opinion, he wants her dead and burning in hell because she knows how to search for publicly-available information.

I have no idea what she was trying to do, but to me it’s pretty obvious what Cold Fury Guy and his BFF Fountain are trying to do, and that’s to exert what they see as righteous payback against a “bitch” and a “shrew”.

UPDATE: Thanks to Charles, I’ve been alerted to one of Fountain’s regular commenters, “Jack”, claiming to have acquired information on Cyndee Royale’s Amex and Visa purchases:

more from Fountain post - commenter claims to have Cyndee Royale's AmEx and Visa card histories

And yes, it turns out that Chris Fountain isn’t exactly the enlightened friend to women that he makes himself out to be when he’s trying to defend the indefensible. He stated of Journal-News reporter Heather Salerno “I believe she manned the free condom table” at her college — i.e., he’s saying he thinks she was a dirty nasty slut in college, but did so in a way that allows him to avoid using the S-word. This actually got one of his conservative readers to chide him a bit, saying “Why did you go the low road with THAT one? I thought this was supposed to be a game of my-journalistic-ethics-are-better-than-yours. But now… you have undermined everything you have accomplished over the past 3 days via this one 8-word post up above.”

Outraged con chides Chris Fountain for his sexism RE female reporter

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Ashley Judd Has Mitch McConnell Pee-His-Pants Scared RE: 2014

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 27, 2012

This is hilarious. Ashley Judd hasn’t even come close to openly stating she’d like to run against Mitch McConnell, yet the fact that she is within four points of him in two separate polls — one of them a Republican internal poll — has him panicking a full two years before the election:

Two weeks ago, Public Policy Polling found that McConnell, with an approval rating of just 37%, is the least popular senator in the nation. In a hypothetical match-up against actor Ashley Judd, the Republicans’ Senate leader was ahead by only four points, 47% to 43%.

McConnell’s office responded to the poll with a conspiracy theory, which was odd, and by conducting an internal poll, which turned out to be even odder.

Sen. Mitch McConnell is looking to knock Ashley Judd out of the Kentucky Senate race before she gets in.

The Senate Minority Leader’s campaign has leaked the results of a poll on some of Judd’s positions, saying it proves the Hollywood actress doesn’t pose a threat to his re-election if she decides to launch a campaign.

The polling showed that McConnell’s lead in a hypothetical matchup with Judd jumps from 4% to 20% once voters know more about her, according to a memo provided to Politico.

So, let me get this straight. PPP found McConnell leading Ashley Judd by only four points, 47% to 43%, leading the senator’s aides to allege a conspiracy. But when McConnell conducted his own poll through a Republican polling firm, he learned that his lead over Judd was … four points, 47% to 43%.

Hilarious as it is, McConnell is right to be worried. If the North Carolina Democrats had managed to talk Andy Griffith into running, he would have beaten Jesse Helms like a gong back in 1990, and very likely died as a United States Senator.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

The FreedomWorks Implosion: Big Money Beats Handguns

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 26, 2012

I’m cueing up the Warren Zevon for this story on FreedomWorks:

[On the day after Labor Day, 2012] Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.

Stephenson, the founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a director on the FreedomWorks board, agreed to commit $400,000 per year over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s agreement to leave the group.

Dick Armey is a legend in conservative circles. He was one of the leaders of the 1994 GOP effort that saw them taking both houses of Congress. Yet he’s now done, probably for good.

If you wanted any further confirmation that the Tea Party movement is not now a ‘grass roots’ phenomenon but total rich man’s Astroturf, here it is.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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