Obamandias

Obamandias

I met a traveller from a once free land
Who said: A vast and fathomless ego hath
Scorched the earth. Nearby, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose contempt
And tilted chin, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read.
Few survived that parliamentary Armageddon
The rest were run out of town on a rail, or fled.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Obamandias, king of kings:
Look on my legislation, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the ruins
Of that colossal Self, burnt and bare
The lone and lifeless prairie stretches far away.

My latest post at PJM:

Anarcho-Left Meltdown as Radical Infighting Turns Violent

“Like starving wolverines in a canvas sack, they tear at each other until there’s nothing left but shredded fur.

That’s essentially what’s happening on the West Coast anarchist scene, as far-far-far-far-left radicals have taken to assaulting the merely far-far-far-left radicals for being insufficiently revolutionary, opening up a huge rift in a political milieu that is now hemorrhaging adherents as we speak.

It all came to a head at this weekend’s Anarchist Bookfair in San Francisco, an annual convention of left-leaning anarchists and anti-civilization activists (which I covered extensively in previous years). One of the invited speakers was Lierre Kieth, a 45-year-old anarchist who spent decades on the cutting edge of environmental extremism, but who recently wrote a book explaining why she abandoned her once strict vegan diet after realizing that it probably wasn’t going to save the Earth after all. She’s still a committed anarchist, mind you, who “believes in militant action, even property destruction, if it can lead to change,” and who wants an end to all mass-production of food (i.e. agribusiness and factory farming), with the goal of restoring the Earth to its pristine pre-civilizational state if possible. Oh, but you see, that’s not radical enough for many of the deranged San Francisco Black Bloc anarchists, who somehow got it into their heads that she was a traitor to the cause and a puppet of the meat industry because she abandoned her vegan diet. And so, while she was speaking at the conference on Saturday, three masked young men rushed onstage and threw cayenne-pepper-laced pies in her face — an incident which was (as is everything these days) naturally captured on video:


…”

Rest the rest here!

The Footprint Theory of Life

New at PJM — you won’t want to miss this one! :


The Footprint Theory of Life

I made a resolution to lower my carbon footprint. Everyone‘s doing it. They say it’s good for the Earth!

I tried my best at first. But the more I learned about carbon footprints, the harder it became.

Turns out that just about every single thing I do uses up carbon! Since almost every form of transportation — trucks, cars, trains, planes, ships — uses petroleum-based fuel, and since petroleum is mostly just carbon mixed up with hydrogen, then everything I use, eat, touch or want requires carbon combustion to reach me. Damn! Every manufactured product of any kind is made up of raw materials that were dug up or retrieved by fuel-burning machines, then transported in fuel-burning trucks or trains to huge plants to be processed or refined, then transported in fuel-burning trucks or trains to different factories where they’re made into everyday objects, then they’re again transported by ship or plane or train or truck to the store, where I go to buy them. That’s a hell of a lot of carbon being used! Even if I ethically bicycle to the store to do my shopping, that’s only, at best, a 1% carbon savings over the amount of carbon that was required to get whatever I’m buying to the store in the first place.

But then I looked down at my bike and realized that it too followed the same high-carbon manufacturing trajectory to reach me when I bought it! And the tires on the wheels, and the steel in the frame, and the . . . well, it all just became too carbon-y to even ponder. Even worse, I just found out that the gasping and panting I do when bicycling is just another way of expelling carbon into the atmosphere! Has anybody calculated whether 20 minutes of heavy exhalations from bicycle riding produces more or less carbon than the three minutes of car exhaust it would take to travel the same distance? So much research is required! It’s simply overwhelming.

Why only carbon?

It began to dawn on me that my carbon usage was just the tip of the iceberg. I was literally devouring the Earth little by little as I used up all the other elements as well! Forget about my carbon footprint: What about my aluminum footprint? My oxygen footprint? My plutonium footprint? If I want to be serious about “living lightly on the land,” I feel that a complete inventory of ALL my elemental footprints is in order. And through that process, perhaps we all can learn to lower our footprints of each and every natural element.

Let us begin the inventory. …


Read the rest here!

New essay at Pajamas Media:

Anti-Bush Truther shoots up Pentagon; Should we play the political blame game?

On Thursday, a “9/11 Truth” fanatic named John Patrick Bedell started shooting at the Pentagon and managed to wound two guards before they mercifully put him out of our misery.

We now know that the guy thought the government and the Bush family were behind the 9/11 attacks (or “demolitions” as he called them), and was basically frothing at the mouth with Bush hatred.

Now, I’ve been to innumerable “Truther” rallies over the last 8 years, and can say with some confidence that about 98% of folks who think 9/11 was a hoax are left-wingers, or at the very least fit in very comfortably in the left-wing milieu, since the impetus behind Truthism is to undermine the basis for Bush’s “War on Terror,” an impetus which is also a cornerstone of modern Leftist thought as well.

So far, however, I’ve noticed a deafening quietude on the left-leaning blogs about this guy’s affiliations and belief systems. Those brave enough to troll leftist comments sections have noted mumblings therein that the guy was probably a secret “teabagger,” despite all evidence to the contrary. …

Read the rest here before you jump to any conclusions!

Join the Cocoa Party!

Tired of the Coffee Party and the Tea Party? We’re the newest game in town!

I woke up this morning and realized I didn’t want tea or coffee. I wanted hot cocoa!

So I turned on my computer and in a few minutes founded a new political movement — The Cocoa Party!

Yes, it was that simple.

Then I got one of my friends at the newspaper where I used to work to violate all professional journalistic ethics by writing a puff-piece about me without revealing that I used to work there. Thanks!

Also, thanks for not mentioning that I used to really really really like Kool-Aid.

Now, in between fielding 100 emails an hour from new members wanting to start chapters from Wasilla to Waco, Twittering 17 witty tweets per minute, fielding calls from TV producers and journalists, and weeping with joy and sincerity about our wonderful country, I barely have time to consider that I’ve just revolutionized politics — all before lunch!

But enough about me. This is about The Cocoa Party!

MISSION
The Cocoa Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see chocolate in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of chocolate, but the expression of our collective will to drink hot cocoa, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as cocoa-drinkers. As voters and caffeinated volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward the addition of those little marshmallows, and hold accountable those who want to ban hot beverages altogether.

We’re so grassroots, we’re weedroots.

About Us

We are diverse — whipped cream, cinnamon, mint-flavored, soy, or straight-up old-fashioned.

We are 100% weedroots. No astroturf Obama-campaigning former New York Times employees in the Cocoa Movement, no sirree! No grassroots racist fascist redneck Neanderthal Teabaggers either! And no hyper-partisan strategists calling the shots in this movement. We are a spontaneous and collective expression of our desire to forge a culture of ludicrous propaganda that is entirely blame-oriented.

We demand a government that responds to the needs of the majority of its hot beverage drinkers as expressed by our choice of mugs or cups; NOT corporate interests as expressed by misleading coffee advertisements posing as legitimate journalism!

We want a society in which hot cocoa is treated as sacrosanct and ordinary citizens drink it out of a sense of civic duty, civic pride, and a desire to taste something delicious. The Cocoa Party is a call to action. Our Founding Fathers and Mothers gave us an enduring gift — chocolate — and we must drink it to meet the challenges that we face as a nation.

Oh wait — I forgot: We don’t hate those Teabaggers or those upstart Java Jivers! No really, we don’t! In fact, we’re just like you guys. Honestly. You prefer one kind of hot beverage, we prefer another kind — it’s all good. Can’t we all just get along? But remember, there’s only room for one hot-beverage-weedroots movement in this sweet country of ours — so abandon your deeply held beliefs and principles and join our 100% authentic political uprising today!

Update: The Cocoa Party now has its own Facebook page!

(Cross-posted at PJM.)

The data underlying the famous “hockey stick” global warming graph has finally been found after having earlier been misplaced by leading climate researchers. The newly recovered data confirms the accuracy of the abrupt upward turn in readings characteristic of the “hockey stick” shape found in many global warming projections.

Up until now, however, the data on which the controversial graph had been based was presumed to be lost, so it was not known exactly which aspects of global warming the chart illustrated. Now that the data has been recovered, scientists can state with complete certainty that this updated chart accurately chronicles the past and future trajectory of the global warming crisis.

View the full-size graph by clicking HERE or on the small version shown below:

(Cross-posted at PJM.)

New from me at PJM:

First Ladies’ Pet Projects: Where Does Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Campaign Rank?

Here’s just a sampling — a chart illustrating part of the essay:


First Lady Pet Projects: The Rankings

The following chart ranks each First Lady’s pet project according to how socially significant it was and how successful she was in bringing it to fruition.

Two First Ladies on this chart (Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower) did not really have any pet projects worth noting, while two others (Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton) were what I call “Power First Ladies” whose activities and political involvement were so important that they didn’t really count as “pet projects” but rather were essential components of their husbands’ administrations. Because of this, all four have been excluded from the final rankings.

Although the chart starts in 1933 to be thorough, the list of First Ladies participating in the rankings actually begins proper with Jackie Kennedy.

The column on the right totals up each First Lady’s “Pet Project Rating” by assessing (based on my research) how significant (on a scale of 1 to 10) her pet project was to the nation at large, and multiplying it by how successful she was in bringing it off (again based on my research).

A note on the background colors:

      = Power First Lady (excluded from rankings)

      = Non-participating First Lady (excluded from rankings)

First Lady
(tenure)
Primary cause
(Secondary cause)
Significance  x   Success
(1 – 10 scale)          (1 – 10 scale)
= Pet Project Rating
   (1 – 100 scale)
Eleanor Roosevelt
(1933-1945)
National policy     10sig. x  6suc. =  60
Bess Truman
(1945-1953)
none
Mamie Eisenhower
(1953-1961)
none
Jackie Kennedy
(1961-1963)
White House refurbishment     1sig. x  9suc. =  9
Lady Bird Johnson
(1963-1969)
Beautification
( + Project Head Start)
    5sig. x  8suc. =  40
Pat Nixon
(1969-1974)
Volunteerism     4sig. x  3suc. =  12
Betty Ford
(1974-1977)
Equal Rights Amendment
( + breast cancer awareness)
    5sig. x  3suc. =  15
Rosalynn Carter
(1977-1981)
Mental Health     4sig. x  5suc. =  20
Nancy Reagan
(1981-1989)
Drug Abuse     6sig. x  6suc. =  36
Barbara Bush
(1989-1993)
Literacy     5sig. x  2suc. =  10
Hillary Clinton
(1993-2001)
National policy     10sig. x  5suc. =  50
Laura Bush
(2001-2009)
Education     5sig. x  5suc. =  25
Michelle Obama
(2009- )
Childhood Obesity     6sig. x  ?suc. =  ?

Curious about the rest? Read the whole thing here!

My latest at PJM:

Fancy carbon footwork: How Climate-Change Dance Theory spells the end of a movement

“A growing number of Americans are beginning to think that global warming alarmism is little more than some sort of hippie plot to drag us back to the Stone Age. Or, failing that, at least drag us back to the Hippie Age. And what with the abject failure of the international community to reach any kind of binding agreement at the recent Copenhagen climate conference, and the growing unlikelihood that the U.S. Senate will pass any bill to combat that chimerical foe Anthropogenic Global Warming, coupled with the scandal-a-minute collapse of any scientific “consensus” that we’re even changing the climate after all, the alarmists are now looking at a bleak future of their grand scheme devolving into nothing more than a passing fad along the lines of Hula Hoops or the Macarena.

The same thing happened in the 1960s. The early anti-war protests against U.S. involvement in Vietnam were fervent, sincere, and convinced of their eventual efficacy. But as months turned to years and the Johnson administration not only ignored the protests but escalated the war at every opportunity, it became painfully obvious that the anti-war movement of the mid-’60s had failed. It may have gotten a lot of protesters laid, but it did nothing to actually stop the war. By the time the late ’60s rolled around — i.e. the Hippie Age — most protesters had little or no expectation that their antics would influence Nixon to stop bombing Indochina (or whatever other shenanigans he was up to that week); rather, protests had become mostly an excuse to party. Or, seen from the reverse angle, most public musical events for the younger generation by then acquired a political overtone, so that you were no longer just dancing for the fun of it, but were now “dancing for peace.”

Dancing for peace, 1969.

My thesis is that once any movement begins to engage in hollow, ridiculous and futile gestures (such as “dancing for” anything), it’s an indicator that the movement has run out of steam and will soon go extinct. It is therefore with great interest that I’ve been noticing not just the strange new outbreak and continuous barrage of climate change dances but more significantly an upcoming lecture being given at U.C. Berkeley entitled Mitigating Global Warming Through Art — Exploring the Importance of Music for the Change of Lifestyles. The listing for the talk (given by visiting lecturer Maximilian Mayer at U.C. Berkeley’s Institute of European Studies) notes that “Music in general and art in particular seems to be a promising Archimedean point for multiple new life styles. Performing music and dancing combine the advantages of those three alternative approaches. Additionally, they may be powerful enough to substitute the culture of consumerism since they enable a creativity-based self-autonomy as well as cultural self-sufficiency.” In other words, not only have the global warming alarmists started dancing in a last-ditch attempt to save the planet, but they have now even developed an academic pseudo-scientific theory as to why dancing is a necessary and perhaps the only remaining way to prevent the climate from changing. …”

Read the rest here!

Crib Notes Technology Cost Analysis

Most politicians use “crib notes” of some kind while giving speeches.

Some bring 3×5 cards listing key points. Others refer to handwritten rough drafts. And some even read from pages on which the entire speech has been printed out.

But Barack Obama and Sarah Palin each have their own unique crib notes technology. The two diagrams below analyze how much each type of technology costs per speech.

When Films are Ruined by “Special Features”

My latest post at PJM — something non-political this time around:

When Films are Ruined by “Special Features”

A teaser:

“Recently I rented a DVD of the award-winning 2003 documentary Winged Migration. Famed as one of the most unique and beautiful films ever made, Winged Migration literally takes the viewer up into the sky as it follows birds on their long-distance seasonal flights around the world. Somehow, seemingly as if by magic, the cameras are right there amongst the migrating birds, and you feel as if you are flying thousands of feet in the air with your fellow avians over landscapes which range from the picturesque to the breathtaking. When the film was over, all I could say was “Wow!”

Making Winged Migration.

And then, I made the terrible, terrible mistake of clicking on “Special Features” in the DVD menu. Ten minutes later, I realized retroactively that I didn’t like the film after all. In fact, I hated it.

Why? Because among the special features was one of those short “The Making of…” mini-documentaries which divulged the secrets of how they filmed Winged Migration. And it revealed that the film was all a lie. A beautiful lie, but a lie nonetheless.

The filmmakers had not documented any actual migrations. Not only were the birds not migrating, they weren’t even wild birds! They were basically trained actors, with wings. The “making of…” documentary showed, step by step, how they had hand-raised some migratory birds from the moment they hatched and had, using the “imprinting” techniques of Konrad Lorenz, tricked the birds into thinking that the cameramen were their mommies. As explained in wikipedia, “The filial imprinting of birds was a primary technique used to create the movie [Winged Migration], which contains a great deal of footage of migratory birds in flight. The birds imprinted on handlers, who wore yellow jackets and honked horns constantly. The birds were then trained to fly along with a variety of aircraft, primarily ultralights.”

So to film the birds “migrating” somewhere, the director actually just attached a camera to a motorized hang glider (called an “ultralight”), then let the birds out of their cages and started filming as the birds followed the ultralight around on a short flight, after which they all landed and were put back in cages. To make matters worse, the birds didn’t follow the ultralight from region to region on long-distance flights, as the viewer was led to believe. No, as revealed to my shock in the “making of…” documentary, the filmmakers packed the birds away in shipping containers and actually trucked them around the world (on vehicles or in jetliner cargo holds) and then unpacked them only when they were at some pre-determined spot chosen by location scouts for its natural beauty. At which point, the ultralight would again take off, and the “migrating birds” would follow it around for a few minutes, before landing and getting back in the cages. …”

Read the rest here.