Tuesday, July 30, 2013

obliquely optometrically optimistic

update & bump: more clues
  • the night-vision halos from the implant are no worse than the globby halos i've always had.
  • the headaches from mismatched eyes are mild and should only last another two weeks.

i'll give you several clues - in an uncharacteristically upbeat form - to figure out what's been going on with me this week:
  • legal blindness is to actual blindness as dirty windows are to concrete windows.
  • medical advances can correct many vision problems, and have recently made multi-focal replacement lenses available.
  • i did not waste money previously on a lasik procedure.
  • the total cost of repairs will be less than 40% of the cost of my car, and those costs will be offset by less expenditures in the future on glasses.
  • recovery times are far less than in the past.
  • obamacare has not yet crippled the eyecare industry.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


trying to be fair on obama's comments about the trayvon martin case (etc.) today, because i heard both good and bad portions:
First of all, I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.
very true.

so have zimmerman's.
...The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that's how our system works.
also true.
But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.
how did i know there was a "but" coming?
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.
we knew about the drug use. were you into guns and mma smackdowns too?
And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.
understandable - but dwelling on that past won't solve anything and usually makes things worse (see also: middle east).
There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me -- at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

And I don't want to exaggerate this...
if true, please tell your msm, naacp, and black panthers to stop exaggerating it.
...but those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.
inescapable? so you're saying that community is incapable of progressing out of their bias? if so, perhaps you should stop condemning those "bitter religion and gun clingers" for "bringing their experiences to bear" (not to mention homophobes, klansmen, pedophiles, and those who suffered reverse discrimination under affirmative action.)
The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws -- everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.
certainly if any racial disparities still exist in our justice system, they should be purged - according to rule of law, not fiat and witch hunt. but again (as you mention later), things are getting better.

and please remember, there are two kinds of disparities. those stemming from inequities in the law should be dealt with through legal channels. but i suggest that much of what is perceived as disparity comes from actual, objectively measurable, differences in who commits the crime to begin with (as admittedly you do allude to that below). since the amount of original crime stems from cultural dysfunctions, it would be best to cure those dysfunctions than "reverse discriminate" in enforcement and prosecution of crime. nobody should "get out of jail free" because of their skin color (and its history) - from manson to madoff to mumia.
Now, this isn't to say that the African American community is naïve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact -- although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. They understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.
actually the whole "holder, sharpton, and matthews, et al" protest industry relies on that naïveté, and demonizes everyone who does not share their delusions.
And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else. So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it and that context is being denied.
so, which side of the fence are you on? you cite statistics that prove a difference (racist (tm)!) but that they're only an excuse and therefore not valid.

please pick one and stick with it - i know that's difficult within the chicago/beltway machine...
And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
racist (tm)!
Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family. But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.
much better.
I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here.
oh goody! is he going to "fast and furious" some guns into chicago and detroit, or just pardon some more black panther goons this time?
Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code. And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.

That doesn’t mean, though, that as a nation we can’t do some things that I think would be productive. So let me just give a couple of specifics that I’m still bouncing around with my staff, so we’re not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.
speaking of "traditionally"... presidents used to uphold and defend the constitution, but that hasn't stopped you alinskyites yet.
Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.
once someone who actually believes in justice heads that department, that will be a great idea.

so fire holder now.
When I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.
you might not want to brag on that "collected data" at the moment, big brother.
And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and, in turn, be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously, law enforcement has got a very tough job.

So that’s one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought to bear if state and local governments are receptive. And I think a lot of them would be. And let's figure out are there ways for us to push out that kind of training.

Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it -- if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.
ummm, sure.

where there's actual injustice, let's fix it. though that centralized planning approach you're so fond of is rife with injustice.
I know that there's been commentary about the fact that the "stand your ground" laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand...
a.k.a. "but", again.
...if we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see?
the kind of peace and security and order that i'd like to see has nothing to do with your nanny-state solution for every single problem.
And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these "stand your ground" laws, I'd just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
the answer is not ambiguous: if zimmerman had waited for martin, jumped out, hurled racist epithets (like "creepy ass cracker"), broken his nose, and repeatedly slammed his head in the concrete, then YES.
Number three -- and this is a long-term project -- we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African American boys. And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?
yes yes yes! (if by "invest" you mean values, morals, and ethics, not some clintonesque midnight basketball nonsense.)
I'm not naïve about the prospects of some grand, new federal program.
I'm not sure that that’s what we're talking about here. But I do recognize that as President, I've got some convening power, and there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes, and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African American men feel that they're a full part of this society and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed -- I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation. And we're going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.

And then, finally, I think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching.
(after gasping for air and wiping away the tears of laughter) ah, whew, much better.
There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race.
tip one in that conversation: stop screaming "racist" every time the topic is broached.
I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have.
true. also true of other talking heads besides politicians. (i'm looking at you, sharpton... (not literally))
On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there's the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can? Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.
a very good idea - i hope you're suggesting all races do this instead of just the honkies?
And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they’re better than we are -- they’re better than we were -- on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.

And so we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues. And those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature, as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did; and that along this long, difficult journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union -- not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.
very nice, a good ending. (provided the "union" you're talking about is america and not the afl-cio or n.w.o.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sympathy for the Green Bean, v.2

update and bump: this article was ahead of its time - plants can talk to each other


Vegetable-rights activists have launched a novel campaign arguing that vegetables -- contrary to stereotype -- are intelligent, sensitive entities no more deserving of being eaten than fish. Called the 'Think Vegetatively' Project, the campaign reflects a strategy shift by People for the Ethical Treatment of Vegetables as it challenges a diet component widely viewed as nutritious and uncontroversial.

"No one would ever pull a fish out of the ground and eat it." said PETV's Fred Fennel. "Once people start to understand that vegetables are just as intelligent as we are, they'll stop eating them."

The grass roots campaign is still in the germination stage and will likely face a hailstorm of skepticism. Most established health organizations recommend vegetables as part of a healthy diet, and many academics say it is wrong to portray the intelligence and pain sensitivity of vegetables as comparable to fish. University of Seattle scientist Rose Jimson contends that "while vegetables are very complex organisms that do all sorts of amazing things, to suggest they are aware and concerned about what's happening to them, that's simply not the case."

For years, the PETV, headquartered in Greenleaf, CA., has campaigned against farming and gardening, challenging claims by Jimson and others that harvested vegetables do not feel pain. PETV is also concerned about the high levels of manure in the environment of many vegetables.

The 'Think Vegetatively' Project has two goals: to depict the common practices of farming as cruel, and to convince consumers that there are ethical reasons for not eating vegetables. The project was inspired by several recent scientific studies, which discovered that certain vegetables' intelligence actually exceeded that of the researchers.

"Vegetables are so misunderstood because they grow in such distant foreign lands, like Nebraska," said Robin Carrotson. "They're such interesting, fascinating individuals, yet they're so incredibly abused." University of Edinburgh biologist Kale Green agrees, "Most people dismiss vegetables as dimwits, but in many ways, their cognitive powers match or exceed those of 'higher' vertebrates, including activists and protestors."

"There's no doubt that vegetables of all kinds are capable of learning fairly complex tasks," Green said. "They can learn from their environment and experience." Sao Paolo University researcher Rudy Baga de Treesa, for example, reported that the Chilean cave beet is able to draw detailed mental maps of its surroundings in Photoshop and post them on the internet.

To press their argument, PETV activists plan demonstrations starting next month at selected vegan restaurants and salad bars nationwide. PETV also will propose changes to standard farming practices, such as requiring that farmers perform Broadway musical numbers for the crop before the harvest.

National Farm Institute president Larry Redcorn says "It's irresponsible to discourage people from eating vegetables at a time when doctors and dietitians advise eating them twice a day. If anything, we should be eating more vegetables." He also questioned the high level of support for sparing cute vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots yet minimal concern for species like bok choi and jicama, suspecting a root of ethnic bias in those preferences.

The PETV, ignoring such criticisms, remains undeterred. Her voice quivering with emotion, Robin Carrotson exclaimed, "Won't someone please think of the cabbage!"


Inspiration for this came from this article, which was so bizarre it required little editing to produce a 'Scrapplefaced' version. For a somewhat more violent take on the topic, see also the lyrics to "Carrot Juice Is Murder".

Update: Welcome Carnival of Comedy #3 visitors.

(s/quantum theory/experts)

xkcd is thinking small

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Texas Abortion Bill

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators descended on the Texas Capitol Monday, the majority expressing their opposition to new abortion restrictions that a Democratic filibuster and raucous protests derailed last week.

Lawmakers convened a new special legislative session aimed at reviving the bill that would limit where, when and how women may obtain abortions in the state. Supporters say it will protect women’s health and fetuses, while opponents say it is designed to shutter the state’s abortion clinics.

More than 5,000 demonstrators gathered at noon to oppose the new abortion restrictions... State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Forth Democrat whose filibuster in the last session helped catapult her into the national spotlight, told the crowd that their support helped her maintain the effort.

...hundreds of protesters in the public gallery and surrounding Capitol corridors cheered so loudly that senators on the floor weren’t able to hear, and the bill died as the clock ran out.

With lawmakers heading back, Sen. Donna Campbell, a New Braunfels Republican said, “I believe more presence by law enforcement will help keep disruptive behavior from thwarting the democratic process.”

She said more families may turn up to express their views and “every Texan’s voice deserves to be heard. Not just the noisiest and unruliest.”

Lainie Duro sat on the Capitol floor at 8 a.m. Monday with a stack of feminist literature and sex education books.

“I’m always part of the unruly mob. We refuse to be ruled,” she said. “Poor women, women of color, rural women. If they need abortion they will not be able to get an abortion.


i'm pretty sure "lurch(ing) from disaster to scandal and back again" is his strategy...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

at least it wasn't a mitsubishi ad

one wonders what lurks in the calculations of google ad algorithms...

maybe it's just supposed to be a pun about targeted ads ;)

click the link, and your airspeed may vary

Saturday, July 13, 2013

pirates of the colorado

tonto say "ugh" about the new lone ranger movie? no, it was the audience.

update: there's already a poster for the sequel

does anybody remember laughter?

graphic humor ahead:

and a graph

public lynchings

sultan knish, again:
The Romans had their arenas, Elizabethan England had bear baiting and Obama's America has the trial. HLN has already shot past CNN with wall-to-wall coverage of the latest trial whose defendant is indistinguishable from a celebrity and whose coverage is barely distinguishable from that of the movie premiere.

But in between the usual criminal cases whose defendants seem like failed aspirants for the Big Brother house or Survivor, reality TV stars who found fame with a butcher knife, are the politically edifying cases. The ones that aren't just meant to humiliate and degrade the participants and the viewers, but to indoctrinate them as well.

It is into this category that the Zimmerman trial falls. It's an involuntary case based on insufficient evidence whose course was compelled by government intervention. And like the tribunals of the French Revolution or the Moscow Trials; it's there to teach us something. And the thing it's there to teach us is racism hysteria.

Racism is the new sex for a creed of politically-correct puritans who are obsessed with a new kind of prurience. As the last sexual taboos fall by the wayside, the new taboos are political and the new witch hunts are all about exposing hidden reservoirs of bigotry among celebrity chefs and lurking White Hispanic menaces.
read it all, and the preceding article.

a (sadly) hilarious must-listen

as the page suggests, listen to both links in order - james lileks on hugh hewitt

Friday, July 12, 2013

yes, let's have that conversation...

Some questions should be asked after (black) Ashley Jacob stabs (white) Heather Burke on the NYC subway:On second thought, we all know what those answers are - sadly.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An Open Letter to Wendy Davis

matt walsh via imao:
...congratulations after that abortion rights filibuster you pulled off in the Texas senate this past week. The media tells me it was “historic” and “game changing” and “epic,” and I know it must have been because they only use those terms to describe, like, ten or twenty different events every day. What a heroic performance it was. You were like Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa and Harriet Tubman, all rolled into one. Except they stood for courage, righteousness, truth, peace, and love, while you stood for the billion dollar abortion industry. They protected and defended life, while you protected and defended your right to destroy life. They faced grave danger, you face the adulation, admiration and campaign donations of the media, Hollywood, the president, pop culture, the abortion lobby and millions of Americans. The parallels are striking...
read it all

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

algore is below sub-zero*

apparently reagan's cfc cleanup did more to slow global warming than algore's carbon credit scam ever did.

* bonus points for anyone who gets the title reference

Sunday, July 07, 2013

one does not simply walk into the beltway

believe dustbury:
...there are creatures far worse than Nazis out there, and rather a lot of them are holed up even now in Mordor-on-the-Potomac
among them wormtongue pelosi and the mouth of socialism.

...and the burning O has spies everywhere...

Friday, July 05, 2013

revolutions vs liberty

sultan knish:
Some countries have revolutions all the time. After a while revolution becomes a national sport. In banana republics, the overthrow of one dictator to make way for another gives everyone a day off from work. But these revolutions, no matter how they are cloaked in the familiar rhetoric of liberty, are nothing more than tyranny by other means.

What made the American Revolution unique was that its cause was not the mere transfer of power from one ruler to another, or one system to another, but a fundamental transformation of the nature of rule. Every revolution claims to be carried out in the name of the people, but it's never the people who end up running things.

The Declaration of Independence did more than talk about the rights of the people. It placed the people at the center of the nation and its government, not as an undifferentiated mass to be harnessed for whatever propaganda purposes they might be good for, but as individuals with hopes and dreams.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

That is not merely some bland reference to a mass of people. There is no collective here, only the individual. The greater good of independence is not some system that will meet with the approval of the mass, but that will make it possible for the individual, each individual, to live a free life, not a life lived purely for the good of the mass, but for his own sake.

In a time when government mandates caloric consumption, cracks down on cold medicines and regulates every aspect of daily life for the greater good - the declaration that started it all declares that the purpose of government is not social justice, a minimally obese population, universal tolerance or even equality. Equality is acknowledged as a fact, not as a goal...

We live in an age of collective tyrannies under systems that seek to maximize the ideal welfare of the group. They care nothing for the happiness of the individual. And they care even less for the notion that the individual has a right to achieve that happiness by pursuing it on its own terms, rather than through their socially-approved and market-tested form of happiness.
as always, read the rest.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


cause you probably missed seeing them on that obscure little site :)

the wind dies down
i'm no greenie, but i do applaud *real* efforts to try energy sources that do not burn irreplaceable resources.

filing false reports is a crime
but what else do you expect from a mob of baby-killers?

it will happen
we just don't know when or where.

it's worse
flyers can't have shampoo.