Apr 13 2010

The Mainstream Media Is Too Liberal – Boo Hoo

Kal @ 18:39

Conservatives seem to be constantly complaining that The Media is all LIBERAL. That has never made sense to me, as lots of media types are more conservative than I am, but it is such a common complaint that maybe it is true. I wish I could believe it.

Conservatives feel persecuted and left out of a lot apparently. Today in The Atlantic Megan McArdle wrote a piece about how the poor conservatives are under represented in academia, which I came across via Crooked Timber quoting Megan McArdle:

Conservatives are, not to overlabor the obvious, marginalized in the cultural elite, even though they are powerful in the political elite. (At least some of the time, anyway). Obviously there’s been an enormous amount of ink shed about why this is, but my experience of talking to people who might have liked to go to grad school or work in Hollywood, but went and did something else instead, is that it is simply hogwash when liberals earnestly assure me that the disparity exists mostly because conservatives are different, and maybe dumber. People didn’t try because they sensed that it would be both socially isolating, and professionally dangerous, to be a conservative in institutions as overwhelmingly liberal as academia and media.

There was a lot more of course and Crooked Timber pointed out how ridiculous it all is. Lots of comments mostly agreeing for a variety of reasons, but one comment really caught my eye because it is the reason that I have long thought accounted for why so few conservatives are in these professions, if it is indeed true that conservatives are under represented.

Cervantes 04.13.10 at 8:18 pm

How about the causal story is backwards? See, what happens is, if you learn a lot of true facts, and you work hard to get good at thinking about stuff and understanding how facts can be established or contradicted, and how probably true facts fit together to create productive explanatory models, you generally end up drawing conclusions that don’t correspond to conservative ideology.

So you were qualified for an academic job first, and not so conservative as a consequence. Maybe you aren’t supposed to say that because it isn’t nice or something, I dunno . . .

One of my very conservative friends accuses liberals, especially me, of “having drunk the cool aid.” Given the “cool aid” definition of “applying known facts to produce rational results”, I am happy to accept the compliment.


Category: Politics | misinformation

Apr 11 2010

Permanent High Unemployment – Time to change the game

Kal @ 11:34

In the US somewhere between 10% and 20% of the working age adults are out of work and there are no realistic prospects of this changing any time soon. Many other parts of the world have way higher unemployment rates.

How it works now

To the unemployed individual this is devastating. At first, for the lucky few, there is unemployment insurance providing some fraction of the person’s former wage. After unemployment insurance runs out there is some form of charity, either from the community of from the family.

The unemployed person has had a change of status and in most cases a sever change in the amount of available resources, but these unfortunates do not go away. Many have families dependent on them for support and these support needs continue whether or not the person is working. Someone has to pay the rent and supply the food and other necessities of life.

In times of near full employment the unemployment insurance system works relatively well. The newly unemployed gets enough to get by but not so much as to be too comfortable while finding a new job. Jobs are easy to find and the earnest applicant finds one quickly with only a small disruption to life.

In times like these unemployment insurance really does not work at all. For every available job there are hundreds of over qualified applicants. The government keeps extending the unemployment insurance period, but nothing changes to make finding employment more likely. The working resent those looking for work and those looking can clearly see that the system is not treating them fairly.



Category: Conventional Economics | Guaranteed Wage | Politics | Recession | Sustainability

Feb 19 2010


Kal @ 18:51

The latest wingnut email. I am still researching this to find out what really happened, not that it would prove anything if it is exactly as quoted. Other than, I suppose, that there was a hot spell in 1922 also.

The Arctic  ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and  in some places the seals are finding the water too hot,  according to a report to the Commerce Department  yesterday from Consulit, at  Bergen ,  Norway . Reports  from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point  to a radical change in climate conditions and  hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.  Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice  has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.  Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the  gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have  been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the  report continued, while at many points well known  glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few  seals and no white fish are found in the eastern  Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts,  which have never before ventured so far north, are  being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.  Within a few years it is predicted that due to the  ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal  cities uninhabitable.



Category: wingnuttery | Sustainability | Politics | misinformation | hoax | Climate Change

Feb 11 2010

U.S – Third World Empire Police State?

Kal @ 12:27

John MIchael Greer lays out a persuasive case that the U.S. is really a third world country, but that our standard of living is so high because we are a military empire.

The US has the world’s most expensive military because, just now, it has the world’s largest empire. Now of course it’s not polite to talk about that in precisely those terms, but let’s be frank – the US does not keep its troops garrisoned in more than a hundred countries around the world for the sake of their health, you know. That empire functions, as empires always do, as a way of tilting the economic relationships between nations in a way that pumps wealth out of the rest of the world and into the coffers of the imperial nation. It may never have occurred to you to wonder why it is that the 5% of the world’s population who live in the US get to use around a third of the world’s production of natural resources and industrial products – certainly it never seems to occur to most Americans to wonder about that – but the economics of empire are the reason.

This is from his article Becoming a Third World Country. 



Category: Morals | Politics

Feb 10 2010

Straw men are so easy to knock down - Free Medical for All

Kal @ 11:15

The wingnuts have been kind of quiet lately, or maybe I am just getting bored with their ridiculous content. This one at least had a cute cartoon.

Free Medical Straw Man

Nothing I saw either during the presidential campaign or the subsequent health care battle promised free medical care at all. As I recall, one of the main points is to bring medical costs under control.

But hey, why deal with reality when a lie will do?


Category: wingnuttery | Politics | misinformation

Jan 12 2010

Google Gets It - A new approach to China

Kal @ 20:31

From the Official Google Blog

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.


Category: Morals | Politics

Dec 21 2009

Der Spiegel reporter tell Inhofe: “You’re ridiculous.”

Kal @ 12:16

Oklahoma is proud of him, or at least some of them are. From Climate Progress:

Sen. Inhofe (R-OIL) has mostly become a laughingstock on this continent.  He’s made absurd statements attacking military leaders trying to warn about the dangers of human-caused global warming (see Inhofe trashes generals who advocate for bipartisan clean energy legislation: They crave “the limelight”).  Heck even the Palin-embracing Washington Post mocks Inhofe as “the last flat-earther.” Not it turns out he’s a laughingstock on two continents now, as made clear in this Think Progress repost.

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/_6k4oCOrsOBE/SiqLQOR7m_I/AAAAAAAAAM4/IgauOfsTpwY/s400/bozo-copy2.jpgBack in September, godfather of global warming deniers Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) announced that he would be going to the U.N.’s climate change summit in Copenhagen this week to present “another view.” “I think somebody has to be there — a one-man truth squad,” he said. His “truth squad” later expanded to three, with Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) joining in.


Category: wingnuttery | Sustainability | Politics | Climate Change

Dec 20 2009

Nancy Pelosi jet smear rises again in wingnut email

Kal @ 13:14

The wingnuts have been a little quiet lately and I have been busy, but today I got one with this taunt:

Put this in your wingnut section, I dare you!!!!.....(:-)


No problem. The subject was: “Now here is something we can cap and trade”. Followed by: “This is totally disgusting.  We've got to get rid of her next year!!!!”

But on to the smear. It starts out with a nice picture of a jet airplane that links to a Boeing site describing a C-32A Executive Transport.

Boeing jet with US logo



Category: Politics | wingnuttery

Dec 6 2009

This Idiot Thinks Obama Was Born In Kenya

Kal @ 00:05

Whoever started this must really hate Obama since he is apparently blaming him for globalization and John Smith’s buying habits.

There are some good points in this wingnut email. Too bad they had to clutter it up with the birther junk at the end.



Category: Politics | wingnuttery

Nov 19 2009

A Plan to Power the US NOW 100% Without Imported Oil

Kal @ 11:27

This radical idea comes from John Michael Greer on his blog in a piece titled: Facing the Deindustrial Age

Thus it's one thing to try to find some way to power today's industrial system with renewable sources while leaving intact the structures of everyday life that give our civilization its extravagant appetite for energy. It's quite another thing, and much closer to the realm of the possible, to use renewable energy to meet the far more modest energy requirements of an agrarian society. Especially in North America, restating the question in this way opens up immense possibilities. Very few people who live on this continent, for instance, have noticed that it's only our energy-wasting lifestyles that keep us dependent on imported oil -- with all the unwelcome economic and political consequences that brings. Even 35 years after its own Hubbert peak, the United States is still one of the largest producers of oil on Earth. If the average American used only as much energy per year as the average European, America would be exporting oil, not importing it. Only our insistence on clinging to the dysfunctional lifestyles of an age that is passing away keeps such an obviously constructive goal off the table in discussions of national energy policy.

I will repeat the money line for emphasis: If the average American used only as much energy per year as the average European, America would be exporting oil, not importing it.

Of course, cutting consumption is not the only thing we should be doing. We should be adding renewable energy sources as fast as they can be manufactured until only the most basic transportation needs are powered by oil. If we limit the use of fossil fuels to powering airplanes, we probably have enough to last quite a long time.


Category: Sustainability | Solar | Resource Depletion | Politics | Economics | Climate Change