30 May 2007

I couldn't be happier for Elisabeth

Rosie O'Donnell Says She May Never Speak to Elisabeth Hasselbeck Again

I mean, this may be the best news Elisabeth has had all year. But why does Fox News think we care? Am I really that much of an outlier on their demographic?

26 May 2007

Disturbing Polls

The recent poll of American Muslims had some disturbing numbers in it, especially the one that said that up
About 1 in 4 young adult American Muslims says suicide bombings against civilian targets "to defend Islam" can be justified rarely, sometimes or often, according to a new Pew Research Center poll -- a finding that disturbed American Muslim leaders and thinkers across the country.
that the lead paragraph from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Others are far more Rosie in their outlook. Including, oddly, James Taranto at OpinionJournal.com, who writes:
We looked over the full results ... and our conclusion is that while there is something to be said for both of these interpretations [the SF Chronicle lead and USA Today's fluff piece] , on the whole there is more truth to the optimistic one. At the very least this survey strongly refutes the claims of some right-wing extremists that Muslims simply cannot adhere to civilized Western values. For although it is true that enough of the Muslims surveyed hold invidious views to give one pause, they are still a small minority.

Unfortunaletly, as Taranto points out later, terrorism is not a matter of needing a majority or even a substantial number of people to carry out a terrorist attack; a very small minority of people can do devastating damage.

I am not sure how this optimism is different than Ms O'Donnell, who said:

Rosie O’Donnell: "Faith or fear, that's your choice. You can walk through life believing in the goodness of the world, or walk through life afraid of anyone who thinks different than you and trying to convert them to your way of thinking. And I think that this country–"

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "Well, I'm a person of faith, so I, but I also believe–"

O’Donnell: "Well, then, get away from the fear. Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers."

Now, what do we do about it? I do not think that we descriminate against Muslims, but we need to be aware that there is a strong force which agitates within Islam against assimilation into the American mainstream, and some will follow that force.

If you want to realize how at odds with American values Islam is, read the following. Can you even imagine that this could possibly be a real story?

From IowaHawk (via JihadWatch)

Midwest Lutherans Largely Reject Violence

Chicago - By an almost two-to-one margin, Midwest Lutherans voiced solid opposition to decapitation, suicide bombing, and chemical warfare in a new comprehensive survey of their social attitudes.

The Pew Research survey, conducted May 13-19, queried nearly 2,500 randomly selected Lutherans at flea markets and convenience stores across the Midwest. Interviews were conducted in High Plains Twang, Great Lakes Nasal and Flat Ohio Valley Bland.

"If there is one headline here, it's how remarkably moderate the Lutheran community is," said Pew director Andrew Kohut of the survey, which was co-sponsored by the Council on American-Yooper Relations. "It really paints a picture of a dynamic culture in or somewhere near the American mainstream."

Kohut pointed to one of the study's key findings that only 29% of all respondents agreed that "bloody, random violence against infidels" was "always" or "frequently" justified, versus 56% who said such violence was "seldom" or "never" justified. The approval of violence rose slightly among younger Lutherans and when the hypothetical violence was targeted against Presbyterians, but still fell well short of a majority.

"The only demographic cohort we saw where murderous random violence had a majority support was among 18-35 year old male followers of the Wisconsin Synod," said Kohut. "And that was barely above the margin of error. Even then, fewer than half (41% to 46%) said they would personally volunteer to carry out the violence themselves."

Further bolstering the findings, Kohut noted that fewer than 6% of respondents physically attacked field interviewers during the survey.

Although a majority 87% of respondents agreed that "The world should be brought to submission under global Lutheran conquest and eternal perfect rule," there was a great deal of disagreement on the means to accomplish it. More than 95% supported "pancake breakfasts" and "popcorn fundraisers," but support dropped to less than 80% for "cow tipping" and "T-P'ing infidel houses." Support dropped even more dramatically for more violent means of conquest, such as "suicide bombing" (28%), "decapitation" (24%), and "running over Presbyterians with my Ski-Doo" (23%).

"Taken as a whole, the results show that Midwest Lutherans emphatically support a moderate, mainstream path to world domination," said Kohut. "These folks are well-assimilated into the broad fabric of American society, and unless you are Presbyterian, there is probably very little here to cause concern."

Kohut said that optimism about the results should be tempered by the grim economic realities faced by many in the Lutheran community. Nearly 65% of female survey respondents said they lived more than 30 minutes from the nearest outlet mall, while a strong majority of males said they were "often" or "sometimes" worried about having enough money for green fees and Leinenkugel.

Equally disturbing, many respondents reported experiencing discrimination at the hands of non-Lutherans. Frequently cited examples of non-Lutheran bigotry included "Got all nose-in-the-air like" (48%), "Made personal remarks about my hot dish" (37%), "Wouldn't let me borrow their combine head" (36%), and "Wouldn't stand still so I could kill them" (22%).

"I think it's important for all of us to remain vigilant against this kind of virulent anti-Lutheran backlash, and make sure they feel a welcome part of our society," said Kohut.

Ted Jarvenpaa, spokesman for CAYR, agreed.

"Ya, we're done doin' dat assimilatin' eh?" said Jarvenpaa. "Now it's your turn."

Like I said, I do not know what we do do about Islam in America, but as disturbing as this piece would be if it were real, the real survey ought to be equally disturbing to Americans of all faiths.

21 May 2007

Carter Again

Ok, first, Jimmy Carter says, during an interview about his new book of Sunday School lessons, that President Bush has the worst foreign policy in US history.

Then he backtracks and says that he was only comparing Bush's foreign policy to Nixon's foreign policy, and that he was "maybe careless."


Ok, but let's consider his fall back position.

While there was much to admire in Richard Nixon's foreign policy (though not perfect, it included reaching out to Mainland China, standing up to the Soviet Union, a rather conprehensive Latim American and African policy), Nixon's domestic troubles and his intentional foreign policies also led to his abandonment of the South Vietnamese, Cambodian and Lao peoples, handing them over to Communist oppressors, costing a couple of million Asian lives and dealing the United States its first military defeat.

Nixon was also the last of the U S presidents who could /would throw support to any brutal third world dictator simply because he was anti-communist. Carter campaigned on a human rights platform that rejected that aspect of U S policy and no president has followed it since.

Bush, on the other hand, stands by his policies in spite of how unpopular the war is and refuses to abandon the people of Iraq to internecine slaughter, thereby admitting a U S defeat where none yet exists.

And Carter thinks Nixon had the better foreign policy?

Not unless Carter was wrong about human rights (he wasn't) and American defeat and the slaughter of innocents is a good thing. (It isn't.)

As one of my few commenters said on another Carter post: Carter, what a clown.

19 May 2007

Taking Responsibility

Assuming that Global Warming is real - which I wonder about - and assuming that humans are causing it - which I doubt - I have a new, unlikely culprit. As far back as 1999, a study had reported that
it took a pound of coal to create, package, store, and move 2 MB of data. They also explained that while processors and other circuits were getting smaller and more efficient, demand for ever faster circuits (which are anything but efficient) was growing at a much higher clip. They figured five years ago that a PC required about 1,000 watts of power to operate (and this was using 1999's slower chips and smaller screens). At the time, the average home Internet user was online about 12 hours a week, which worked out to 624 kilowatt-hours a year. If you assume that Internet and PC use was up in the past five years, you're probably talking about 1,000 kilowatt-hours per PC. Back in 1999, consumers in the United States accounted for about 50 million PCs, with the remainder being business PCs. The ratio is probably not 1:4 consumer-to-business PCs, as it was in 1999, but is probably closer to 1:2. That ratio is important because business PCs run 40 or more hours a week instead of a dozen. That means that a business PC could be using as much as 2,000 kilowatt-hours to operate a year. If you extrapolate these ratios and power consumptions worldwide, that's 250 billion kilowatt-hours for home PCs and 1 trillion kilowatt-hours for business PC users. You heard that right: 1.25 trillion kilowatt-hours a year. That's how much energy goes into the PC, and in the summer months, that is how much energy must be removed from the office and home environment in warm climates. [Emphasis added.]
Another article discussing this same study reports that 8% of the US electricity usage. (Never mind that Salon is trying to debunk the study. Even if the 8% is over stated by a factor of two, that is almost 1/25th of all US electricity.) And if that is 8% of US usage, what percentage must it be in the emerging economies (India, China) where computer use is growing in the absence of electric garage door openers and mustache trimmers? A 2004 study from Duke states that
The Internet service infrastructure is a major energy consumer, and its energy demands are growing rapidly. One projection is that US data centers will consume 22 TWh of electricity in 2003 for servers, storage, switches, power conditioning, and cooling.
What, then, is the carbon footprint of the internet and all the pc's that have been purchased and plugged in simply because the internet was a must have? I do not know how to calculate it, but clearly the internet is a huge contributor to Global Warming! And who is responsible for
the Internet?
"I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer, March 9, 1999

So now, at last, we know who is responsible for Global Warming!

18 May 2007

Universal Studios

I do not get out to movies much, and I pay almost no attention to what studio has what movies out. And I know that Universal has spent a lot of time and effort on the newer Islands of Adventure theme park next door, but I am just wondering why, except for Shrek and the television properties (Nickolodian and Fear Factor), all the attractions at Universal Studios Orlando are tied to movies made in the '90, the '80s, even the '70s.

Aren't we 7 years into this decade? Seems to me that they better update ir ... or bulldoze it ... soon.

Not Your Grandfather's "imagination"

We also went to the 3-d movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience at the Imagination Pavillion at Epcot. It was pretty good, but there was this 8 minute advertisement for Kodak which we had to stand through.

The most annoying thing about this ad was that it kept on extolling the virtues of imagination, but then it kept asserting that in order to use imagination, you had to take photographs.


Disney again

I do not know if Walt Disney ever did any drugs, but the Small World ride would seem to be evidence in favor of the proposition.

16 May 2007

Speaking of nudity

From FoxNews.com
Nudists Seek to Attract Younger Members, Finding it a Tough Sell

Sunday, May 13, 2007

WOODSTOCK, Conn. — Here's the naked truth about nude recreation: The people who practice it aren't getting any younger. To draw 20- and 30-somethings, nudist groups and camps are trying everything from deep discounts to a young ambassador program that encourages college and graduate students to talk to their peers about having fun in the buff.

"We don't want the place to turn into a gated assisted living facility," said Gordon Adams, membership director at Solair Recreation League, a nudist camp in northeast Connecticut that recently invited students from dozens of New England schools to a college day in hopes of piquing their interest.

The median age is 55 at Solair, where a yearly membership is $500 for people older than 40, $300 for people younger than 40 and $150 for college students.

The Kissimee, Fla.-based American Association for Nude Recreation, which represents about 270 clubs and resorts in North America, estimates that more than 90 percent of its 50,000 members are older than 35.
The fundamental difficulty that the nudists face is that 50 year olds may enjoy being in the company of naked college students, but how many college students really want to be in the company of naked 50 year olds?

This is related to the fundamental flaw with the repeated complaints of regarding backscatter xray technology that privacy "experts" worry about for airport screening. The "problem" is that airport screeners could see a reasonable facsimile of the nude body of the passenger.

Be at peace, friends. Most people simply do not look that good naked. Therefore, is is unlikely that:
  • anyone is going to be lining up to be TSA screeners to catch a glimpse.
  • College students are going to be racing off to join 50 year old nudists.

Paying to be the Spectacle

In Season 4, Episode 7 of Saturday Night Live, Father Guido Sarducci (aka Don Novello) appeared and related a story that had supposedly happened to him. This is not a quotation, but is my rememberance of it:
I was down in Miami, and I saw this sign that said Nude Wrestling. So I went in and this lovely young woman, she was very cute, you know, says to me, $50. So I gave her $50 and she took me to a room with a curtain and said take off all your clothes and wait for the bell to ring, then come out of the curtain. So I took off all my clothes and it was getting pretty cold in there because it took her a long time I was guessing. And the the bell rang, and I went out and I am standing there in the wrestling ring and there is another guy just come out of a room on the other side. And he's looking at me and I'm looking at him, and the girl is nowhere to be seen and then I figured out that he had paid $50 too. And we were naked. And we didn't really want to wrestle.
******On our day in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park, we heard these bells start to ring and music started to play and they announced a parade almost as soon as we got there. So we ran to the side of main street to get a view of the parade. But here is the twist:

The Family Day Parade consisted of people who had also paid $50 a person to come to the theme park, and then were invited as special guests to be part of the parade. So they paid $50 so that the rest of us who had paid $50 could watch them.

At least they were not naked. And we really didn't want to wrestle.

A trip to DisneyWorld

Just back from the Orlando Area. I will post a few reflections over the coming days.

15 May 2007