Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pictures from the Road

Some more photos from the California trip. Tomorrow, I'll discuss some TV in celebration of the return of Mad Men.

The Roaring River in Kings Canyon.
Roaring River Falls.
Looking up to two sequoias.
General Sherman's tree.
The trunk of the General Sherman Tree.
Walking up Moro Rock.
View of the Great Western Divide from Moro Rock.
Look, Mom. Friends!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dangerously Dumb People in the World

It's Friday, which means it's time for this week's dangerously dumb people in the world.


3rd: A tie to John Boehner, Thaddeus McCotter, Johnny Isakson, John Mica, and Charles Grassley -- all Republicans -- for hypocrisy in the first degree.

All have suggested the current health care bill could lead to government-led euthanasia. All have voted "yea" on a similar bill in 2003. Here's the conference agreement provision of relevance in that bill:

The conference agreement provides coverage of certain physician's services for certain terminally ill individuals. Beneficiaries entitled to these services are those who have not elected the hospice benefit and have not previously received these physician's services. Covered services are those furnished by a physician who is the medical director or employee of a hospice program. The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary's need for pain and symptom management, including the individual's need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning. Payment for such services equals the amount established for similar services under the physician fee schedule, excluding the practice expense component. The provision would apply to consultation services provided by a hospice program on or after January 1, 2005.

Don't believe me that they voted for it?

So what are these people fearing?

(Boehner and McCotter)




Grassley's comments were particularly despicable. This type of rhetoric is exactly what I was talking about in my ominous post yesterday. It is this type of talk, I believe, that is dangerous to the current and future state of America. Grassley should do the country a favor and resign. Promptly.

Fear-spreading liars. Representing us daily.

2nd: Sarah Palin, for basically the same thing.

Guess what advance directives are, Ms. Palin? Don't know? Don't care? It is possible to be stupid and apathetic at the same time.

Here is the official document:

So why does Palin deserve special recognition? Well, because I believe her comments, in particular, have fueled this "death panel" nonsense.

Now imagine her as President.

1st: Approximately 12% of North Carolina conservatives, for not knowing Hawaii is a part of the US. Rachel Maddow tells the rest:

People who don't know Hawaii is a part of the US? And these people can (and probably do) vote? That's why those 12% are this week's dangerously dumb people in the world.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Calling Deputy Downer

I'm not known for being a doomsday theorist. I tend to mock people who prematurely believe the latest international skirmish is the slippery slope that leads to the so-far-nonexistent Third World War. Yes, I do call every disease in existence "swine flu" in the present-day sensationalistic media climate.

What concerns me most about this world is what we don't immediately see or classify, yet we know is there. Just under the surface, waiting for some event, or "spark", to ignite a conflagration of panic, anarchy, and inevitable macabre that sets us back years, decades, and -- in the worst of scenarios -- centuries.

What I see going on in America presently is people supplying the fuel for the destined match that drops onto it. history has shown us...that fuel is propaganda, purposeful misinformation, and a growing sense of acceptance for fringe groupthink.

I had a few comments during my "birther spiel" a couple of weeks ago saying I was overreacting. "The birthers are a small number of stubborn idiots who don't really affect the mainstream." "They should be ignored, and that is how they will go away." It is enticing to just ignore them, certainly, and in many respects, this tactic works. I wholeheartedly believe that a good attack against dangerous media "P1s", as they are called, is to stop listening to them. The problem, obviously, is that the media P1s attract the audience P1s, and there is no way of stopping them from listening and acting upon their words/actions.

If we review the shenanigans pulled by the media P1s Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck in recent days, we would see two people who have recklessly called people racists, who have desecrated the American flag to "prove a point", who have dreamed up the murder of Congress members, and who have completely fabricated elements of legislation that are clearly not in existence. Lou Dobbs continues to believe that Barack Obama has not shown an official birth certificate since the reemergence of the birther movement, even though he has done so ad nauseum. And besides indirectly abetting the eventual murder of Dr. George Tiller by abusing the freedom to speak, Bill O'Reilly has "reported" a company's involvement in enemy attacks when there is absolutely no evidence to support such a claim.

I believe in freedom of speech, but there is a line in the sand...and somehow, this line has been drawn such that this idiocy and, in fact, very dangerous speech is allowed in the media today. O'Reilly's claims about General Electric actually do qualify as slander. There is no question. Even with the disclaimer that the information was not confirmed, it violates any version of journalist integrity and obviously results in the negative image of a business (GE) and a product (MSNBC). And who reported this? No identification was provided. With no factual basis for such a claim, the reporting of GE's involvement with selling roadside bombs is, as GE has indicated, "maliciously false".

But, what I am seeing in town halls is a growing number of P1s (Making them P whats, exactly? P5s? P10s?). With the health care debate, it has become an issue of "death panels", or the clearly obvious tactic of labeling the government as "all-controlling, all-Communist, all-the-time". It is fear-mongering in perhaps one of the most evil ways. It is scaring the elderly into believing the government will kill them. And, because it is fear-mongering, it is working. Because people who don't know all of the details behind health care in this country are going to believe what the "experts" believe. And the "experts" are saying things like "you should be fearful".

In these town hall meetings, it is the elderly who are standing up and yelling and accusing the government of being able to pull the plug, literally, on their lives. These aren't P1s yelling and screaming. These are serious people, with serious medical issues, who seriously believe the lies being spread by the actual P1s.

A casual scan of the "news" the past couple of days has allowed me to see those with "death lists", those who truly believe the birthers "have a point", those who believe that America has been "taken over"...

This has got to stop. Something bad ... WILL ... happen if such "speech" is allowed to continue. If high-profile, actually-intelligent, purposely misinforming people/politicians/members
of the media continue to feed the P1 groupthink and continue to scare the P99s, in a climate of economic turmoil, bad things will happen. Very bad. Violent. And potentially irreparable.

Ignoring P1s? It's not an option anymore.

Finally, there's this...

In the video, which details several "issues of the day" yesterday...the North Carolina poll is particularly shattering and eye-opening. A staggering 12% of North Carolina conservatives (plus or minus) don't believe Hawaii is a part of the US?

And saying Stephen Hawking wouldn't have survived British (i.e., universal) health care? Yikes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Full of Wonder

I wonder why Lou Dobbs still has a job.

I wonder if the advertisers at the Weather Channel realize how hysterically bad their "Storm Tracker Jim Cantore" commercials are.

I wonder if 7 billion people in the world is the tipping point.

I wonder if ripping up a poster of Rosa Parks is any indication of just how serious the racism problem remains in this country.

I wonder why economists believe the recession is over, but no one else does.

I wonder if my grandmother will die because the government will pull the plug., I don't. I'm not (that much of) an idiot.

I wonder if there is any curry better than that available at Pad Thai.

I wonder why so many people care about the status of Paula Abdul.

I wonder if people on death row who also use Facebook publicly update their status messages counting down the days until they die.

I wonder why Glenn Beck still has a job.

I wonder if I will ever have my hair cut again.

I wonder if the phrase "abnormally cool" in central Oklahoma during the summer is a misnomer.

I wonder at the infinite beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

I wonder if I will ever stop this blog entry.


For those who have read my "find out things you couldn't care less about me" blog posts, you can stop reading. Otherwise, because I was tagged on a "Getting to know you..." note, read on:

1. What time do you naturally wake up in the morning? Morning?

2. How do you like your steak? Bloody as hell

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

4. What is your favorite TV show? Breaking Bad

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? New Zealand

6. What did you have for breakfast? See #1.

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Anything Asian.

8. What foods do you dislike? Anything American. Well, not true, but anything American fast food.

9. Favorite Place to Eat? Pad Thai

10. Favorite dressing? Caesar

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Toyota (Corolla)

12. What are your favorite clothes? khakis

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Southeast Asia

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Both?

15. Where would you want to retire? Alaska

16. Favorite time of day? Anytime without sunlight.

17. Where were you born? Omaha, NE

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Hockey

19. Who do you think will not tag you back? N/A

20. Person you expect to tag you back first? N/A

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? N/A

22. Bird watcher? How is this a question? I like bird watching.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night

24. Do you have any pets? Any pet would be grateful not to have me as a pet owner.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? Trust me, "new and exciting" don't really fly with me.

26. What did you want to be when you were little? Not little.

27. What is your best childhood memory? Realizing I was out of childhood. Technically, that would not make it a childhood memory, though.

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Cat

29. Are you married? Heh.

30. Always wear your seat belt? Have you seen me drive? Of course I do.

31. Been in a car accident? Yes.

32. Any pet peeves? Read my blog, and you'll find about a million of them.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Those that you can eat without the pizza.

34. Favorite Flower? The flowers I don't have to buy for the girlfriend.

35. Favorite ice cream? chocolate chip

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Steak 'n Shake

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Zero, but I'm guessing that was a "false pass".

38. From whom did you get your last email? Andrew Mercer

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? What credit card?

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Climbed a very tall staircase at 12,000+ ft above sea level. I paid the altitude sickness price for it.

41. Like your job? It's the only reason I'm in Norman.

42. Broccoli? And cheese.

43. What was your favorite vacation? Wow, that's a hard question. I have loved every vacation I've had. I have very fond memories of my 2006 Canada vacation, though.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? Somer and Amber. I guess only one of them is a person.

45. What are you listening to right now? My air conditioner.

46. What is your favorite color? Blue

47. How many tattoos do you have? Nada. Should this be changed?

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz? Zilch. And everyone thanks me for it.

49. What time is it: 6:02 pm CDT

50. Coffee Drinker? On rare, high-stress occasions. Tea is preferred.