Air Conditioning for your Freedom

20 06 2011

Gizmodo has a short article about the military’s use of air conditioning with tents.

“the Department of Defense spends $20 billion air conditioning tents and temporary structures for the military. That’s more than NASA’s entire $19 billion annual budget

The most interesting bits from this article however are actually the reader comments.  While some bemoan such blatant idiocy (air conditioning un-insulated structures) there are a surprising number of comments which rail against anyone questioning this use of money as unpatriotic and immoral.

stratocaster28 wrote, in response to one of these questioning comments: 

“In another time, you would have been branded a traitor for what you just wrote, and probably executed.
. . .
You’re a traitorous hypocrite accusing the very people who put their lives on the line so that you can have the right to the same air conditioning i’m sure YOU DO USE, with the peace and the economy to enjoy it in.
. . .
Don’t even try to justify what you wrote, you simply cannot.”
 grok666 wrote:
“you should kiss the ass of the next military member you see in thanks for helping to protect the country that makes your life so easy to bitch about the leadership without being hunted down and killed for your viewpoint.”
Lovely.  Don’t question authority you ungrateful little bastards, just bend over and take it if you don’t want to be called a traitor.  I’ll show you an inefficiency! 
 
It’s 2011 and we still have to deal with these morons?  really?
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Quote of the Day – Leo Tolstoy

17 01 2010

Patriotism … for rulers is nothing else than a tool for achieving their power-hungry and money-hungry goals, and for the ruled it means renouncing their human dignity, reason, conscience, and slavish submission to those in power. … Patriotism is slavery.

Leo Tolstoy





Obama Speaks on Healthcare

10 09 2009

Left —— Medium —— Right

The political spectrum according to Obama.

obama_smoking

Jolly jeepers it would be nice if Obama kept one of his campaign promises.  Just one.  He did get a dog, but that one doesn’t count.  Evidently insurance will now be mandatory under Obama’s healthcare reform.  He says he favors a public option, but stops short of saying it is a requirement.  One reason I liked Obama more than Clinton in the primaries is that he didn’t favor making insurance mandatory.  One of the reasons I liked him better than McCain, among many, was his strong support of a public option.

Oh well, I guess I should have voted for Clinton and McCain’s love child.  I guess I did.

But what is key here is that the Obama camp left themselves with no room for compromise.  Those of us actually on the left wanted a single payer system – we have compromised.  The public option seemed like a good middle ground between us and the right.  But by starting with the public option, Obama has given the right the ability to try to reach a compromise from the public option.

Oh well, I guess healthcare REFORM will have to wait for the next president.  Obama has got some good ideas but ultimatly is leaving healthcare in the hands of insurance companies. . . and we’ve all seen how that works out.





Dysfunction’s Role in Religion

28 08 2009

From Newsweek (believe it or not):

In brief, the number of American non-believers has doubled since 1990, a 2008 Pew survey found, and increased even more in some other advanced democracies. What’s curious is not so much the overall decline of belief (which has caused the Vatican to lament the de-Christianization of Europe) as the pattern. In a paper last month in the online journal Evolutionary Psychology, Gregory Paul finds that countries with the lowest rates of social dysfunction—based on 25 measures, including rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, unemployment, and poverty—have become the most secular. Those with the most dysfunction, such as Portugal and the U.S., are the most religious, as measured by self-professed belief, church attendance, habits of prayer, and the like.

What is also disturbing about this is that the US is considered a country with more dysfunction.





That’s How They Get You!

27 08 2009

The Ethiopian Review has a great article listing the top ten reasons why we should hate cell phone companies.  I’ve always thought that I was getting screwed, and evidently I was right:

For example, Verizon plays: “At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5.”

Everyone already knows how to leave a voicemail message. Apple required AT&T to drop the requirement, for example, and somehow iPhone users are still communicating with each other.

Pogue estimates that Verizon, for example, takes $620 million a year away from customers for all the collective “minutes” required to listen to these messages. That’s just one carrier, and just one example of how carriers make money by optimizing what they call Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).

I’d love to hear a rebuttal to this article from the cell phone companies.





The Necessity of Cable News Quacks

18 08 2009

When one thinks of people like Glenn Beck, Keith Olberman, Bill O’Reily, and Rush Limbaugh, one often finds oneself wanting to stab ice picks in one’s ears. These people are commentators, not newsmen, but this distinction is not understood by a lot of people.

But let’s imagine a world in which these vitriolic opinionated ass-hats didn’t exist.  It would be a world of reporting only the facts.  “People gathered outside the capitol today and protested the legality of President Obama’s birth certificate.”  “Some republicans are upset about the death panels that would be created under the congress’ health care reform bill.”

The point is that there are some truly crazy people out there and perhaps it takes some crazy people to cover them.  I’ve seen the so called serious news cover these events and with only a few exceptions they are far more interested in not offending anyone that they don’t say anything at all.  They’re afraid that if they point out that there is no way that Obama isn’t a citizen they’ll be accused of being left wing and biased.  The right has embraced so many lies that it is impossible to report the truth without appearing to be leftist.

When we have actual US Congressmen (I’m looking at you, Michele Bachmann) who think that the census leads to internment camps, who receives huge amount of campaign donations from the insurance companies and proceeds to act as their puppet, who has consistently worked to incite violence against those who oppose her, who thinks CO2 is natural and therefore harmless to the environment, and who thinks  that we need to go through and purge the congress of all of those with what she has determined to be “anti-american” philosophies – why shouldn’t we have crazy people on tv talking about them?

Until we start electing serious people there will be no possibility of serious news.  This is not to say that there are not good news sources out there, and it is not to say that all cable news commentators were created equal.  But it is to say that the serious news should spend less time complaining about the so-called “fake” newsmen on cable news and start complaining more about the “fake” people who are deciding our fate.

57558631-oreilly





Alternative Medicine an Alternative to Effective

3 08 2009

Salon has a great piece about the somewhat more than sketchy health articles on the Huffington Post.

 2949268903306ff47cc3b

I get a lot of news from the Huffington Post.  It is even my homepage on my computer.  But I’ve also learned never to venture into the “Living” section – as it is full of almost nothing but metaphysical homeopathic bullshit.

While I admit that the drug companies have too much pull over health-care in this country, I also know that they are not ones to turn down a profit.  The drug companies are not engaged in a conspiracy in which they convince the American people that only their drugs work for any given illness.  If drinking wormwood tea made cancer go away they wouldn’t try to cover it up, they would try to sell it.

I often hear people say we just need to give homeopathy a chance – that we are too biased to traditional western medicine.  What they don’t understand is that we did give alternative treatments a chance.  We gave all treatments a chance, and those that worked became medicine and those that didn’t became “alternative medicine”. 

The scientific method applies the same to western medicine as it applies to gravity or to the nature of matter.  Just because you want Aloe Vera Gel to cure your arthritis doesn’t mean it will.  Either accept everything that the scientific method gives us or accept none of it.  If you pick and choose than you undermine it’s very usefulness as a system.

The government is spending an increasing amount of money by investigating the legitimacy of so-called alternative medicine.  And so far all they’ve found is that they are simply an alternative to effective.  And yet they through more money down the well. 

Like the family that was recently held responsible for the death of their child (for not taking her to the hospital in lieu of prayer) people put themselves and others at risk when they turn away from western medicine.

Our culture’s growing appetite for natural and organic foods cannot be allowed to spread to far.  Soon there will be a movement against penicillin and the very plastic that makes the syringes that carry it.

Our intellects enable us to create things from other things – it is why we’re on the top of the food chain, it is what makes us human.  Homeopathy is a move away from progress, from evolution.  It is a move to simpler times, with simple remedies, simple sickness, and simple death.