Friday Random Ten April 28, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in General.
Johnny Cash: Busted
Big Boi: Bowtie
Lennon: 5:30 Saturday Morning
NoFX: Not Your Savior
Kayne West: All I Have
2Pac: Me Against the World
Slow Gherkin: I Can't Stand
U2: In God's Country
Propagandhi: Resisting Tyrannical Government
Colbert: American Hero? April 28, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Humor, News and politics.
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Stephen Colbert lays the smackdown on Bill Kristol.
Thanks to Colbert for calling bullshit when he sees it. I'm still somewhat saddened that men like Colbert and Jon Stewart seem to be the only ones willing to truly call out politicians any more. Where the hell is the "mainstream" media?
Morons with Blogs April 28, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, wingnuts.
There are no shortage of idiots with access to the internet, but I particularly like it when people can't read the info they're quoting. Take this guy, for example:
Next time you hear some liberal moron whining about gasoline prices, here’s a reality check for them. Per gallon of gas, guess how much the oil company makes?
"Thursday, Exxon Mobil announced it had earned $8 billion in profits in the first three months of this year. For outraged consumers, the staggering profit numbers boil down to this: Exxon earned 9.5 cents on every $1 of gasoline and oil sold, cashing in on skyrocketing prices at every stage of the process.
'The big money for Exxon Mobil,' says oil trader John Kilduff of Fimat USA, “is being made by taking crude oil out of the ground and refining it into gasoline and selling it on the street corner."
Okay, so Exxon makes about 10 cents a gallon. Not a huge profit margin, is it? Now, by way of comparison, the average per-gallon gasoline tax is 45.9 cents, according to the American Petroleum Institute (PDF file). In other words, on every gallon of gas sold, the state takes FIVE TIMES MORE MONEY than the greedy bloodsucking oil companies.
Where’s the outrage?
One wonders what the "fair" amount this guy imagines for gas profit should be. It's about $10 a DOLLAR (not a gallon) right now: so each time anybody anywhere fills up with their gas, they make ten cents.
To note a few of the many logical problems here:
1) The key figure here in terms of understanding Exxon's profit is how much they make on their per-dollar investment, not per-dollar sales. Any decent economist will tell you the per-sales-dollar number is meaningless for tracking the financial health of the company. The key is how much a company must invest to make that 10 cent profit, not how much it might sell. If you don't believe me, look at the finiancial data serious investors examine. To re-state, because it's so important: if you want to look at how well a company is doing, look at its profit per dollar invested, not its profit per dollar sold.
2) How much should the government take out in taxes? We certainly want things like roads–infrastructure being, after all, one of the major reasons we have a gas tax. I know that ultra right-wingers think we shouldn't use taxes for anything, but I'd rather see my money go to public wellfare than jowelly executives whose retirement pacage alone is 144,000 dollars for each day they worked.
3) Neither the profit margin nor the state is wholly responsible for the price of gas. The bigger question is, what makes the per-barrel price of oil so high, since that's the majority of the cost-per-gallon of gas? Well, supply and demand + big-ass SUVs plus growing world population + a refusal to conserve + the Iraq war + the Iran mess + deminishing oil reserves = big gas prices. If you want to assign blame to the government assign it for not properly regulating our oil and transportation industries, for getting us into super-expensive wars that hurt oil stability, for Bush's dick-waving contest with Iran, for a refusal to invest seriously in alternative energy…the list goes on.
So all our friend with the terrible argument messed up on was his figures, his understanding of the figures, his understanding of economy, his understanding of the government's role in the whole mess and his analysis of the data. Well done!
The banana: an atheist’s nightmare April 28, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Origins, Religion, Right-wingers, wingnuts.
This is just too good to miss. The Kick Cameron-produced series "Way of the Master" which features some of the most stupid arguments ever caught on film, has proof of "Intelligent Design": that banana just fits us so well.
Make sure to watch at least from the 3:30-4:30 mark. It's great stuff. Note especially how well the banana fits into our mouths and hands.
Evil Bender may have to change his opinion on ID. Maybe, with all the vacancies created by failing to teach kids real sex ed, we could show them this video instead. You know, to prove that God exists or something.
American Foreign Policy: the more things change… April 27, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Friends, News and politics.
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There's a great post by Luaphacim discussing the failures in American foreign policy:
Wilson saw himself as holding a morally superior position (which, it could be argued, he did), but that's not the problem here. The problem came when he decided that America should better the morality of the world (via military involvement in the Great War and subsequent political involvement in the League of Nations) and make it "safe for democracy." Ever since, we have been using a wide variety of militarily and diplomatically coercive techniques to get the world to fit into our mold of a Free, Egalitarian (well, nominally, at least), Representative Constitutional Democracy. That's what got us into 'Nam, that's what got us into Iraq, and that's why we place embargos and travel restrictions on Cuba.
Tellingly, Wilson's efforts were in vain. He soon discovered that neo-Christian liberal ideology could not overcome Bismarckian Realpolitik in the international sphere
I don't have the history background of my friend luaphacim, but he makes some very good points here. The problem isn't that we value "democracy"–or at least say we do. The problem is that we have a long history of failing to make tha democracy appealing to other countries. You will find few people more committed to Republican ideals and personal freedoms than myself, but that does not mean that I support US policy of general intervention. Military might does not make the case for freedom, nor does a foreign policy of threats and strong-arm tactics.
If we want to make the world "safe for democracy" it's time to make the world admire us instead of distrusting our hypocritical double standards. The ideals of personal freedom and representative government our powerful, but they lose power each time we violate their tenants in order to "make the world safe." We claim in this country to believe in the marketplace of ideas, that glorious idea that the way to fight wrong-headedness is to show a better way. If we really believe in the values we espouse it's time we showed the world we can live by them. Let's fix electoral problems here at home, lets care for our poor and marginalized, let's cut of funding to countries (like Israel and many others) that claim to appriate our values yet trample them, and let's stop giving mere lipservice to the idea that violence should never be anything but a last resort.
America, let's do as we say.
Olbermann, The Lizard Queen and Double Standards April 27, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Dubya, News and politics, Terrorism.
Our friend The Lizard Queen will be eager to see this new video where Keith Olbermann examines the posibility that Mary McCarthy, formerly of the CIA, has become a scapegoat used by the Bush croneys to intimidate people from pointing out possibly illegal administration policies.
For those of you who haven't followed the story, our president, who almost certainly authorized the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame to the press in order to put a political "hit" on a man who was saying true things about the administration's case for war in Iraq, is now "cracking down" on leaks like the ones that led to the national discussion over the "American gulag" black-ops prisons.
Their initial target is McCarthy, who was fired from the CIA after failing a polygraph test about the leaks. Never mind that such tests are notoriously inaccurate, that they're not admissable in most court proceedings because they have no merit, that didn't stop the Bush people from riding her out of town on a rail.
So let's be clear about what's happening here. "Declassifying" intelligence information and damaging our intelligence capabilities is perfectly acceptable behavior, but bringing to light top-secret prisons that most likely violate international law is akin to supporting terrorists.
It's worth repeating: the Plame leak damaged this country's intelligence capability; the black-op prisions leak did no such thing.
Mr. President: when will you stop hurting this country's ability to fight your "war on terror"? When will you deliver on your promise to punish those responsible for the Plame leak? When will you stop putting politics over the well-being of America? Have you no shame, sir?
More on Bodily Rights April 27, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, reproductive rights.
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I've been planning to respond in more detail and with less sarcasm to Marshwiggle's argument about "personal responsibility," but before I got around to it, I discovered that the always witty and perceptive Punk Ass Mark has done a better job than I could have:
"The anti-abortion argument is that yes, like a careless driver, a person having voluntary, optional sex is “entering into a contract” in the absolutely usual sense of being responsible for the consequences of one’s actions. Some risks are unjustified and are a violation of that very general “contract” at the outset; other risks are justified but the risk-taker is still responsible for bad outcomes for others. If you gamble and lose, it’s a violation of the “contract” not to pay up.
If I thought a fetus was a person, I’d have to be anti-abortion on those grounds."
Man. Harsh on sex here, Paul. The careless driver analogy doesn’t mean one or both people humping are the “careless driver” –neither are. The analogy only serves to illustrate that just because a particular risk of something you do becomes a reality, it doesn’t mean you’ve given up your right to your own body. If I choose to drive, I don’t give up the rights to my body to a drunk driver. If I have sex, I don’t give up the rights to my body to the government or a fetus or my partner. And you can never make me give them up, or you have urinated all over the foundation for personal rights.
Evil Bender would only like to add that, beyond the much bigger issue of personal rights that is at stake here, there is also a big feasibility problem in the "you had sex, you should carry the fetus to term" argument. What about a woman who is likely to be killed by complications should she have another baby? Would we really argue that her choices are to never have sex again or to die as a consequence of the sex?
More importantly, and on the human rights subject that is much more important, there are lots of things that CAN happen as the consequences of our actions. Taking resposibility for them does not mean we give up our rights, in the same way that saying something stupid doesn't mean we don't get to speak freely or having once voted for Tom DeLay doesn't mean you should lose your chance to vote.
I expect everyone to take responsibility for their actions, and, as I've outlined previously, I don't believe that anyone likes
abortion: it is a last resort, at best. In the same way I believe have responsibility for children they help create, I believe that pregnant women have a responsibility–especially to themselves–to consider the best choice for them. I continue to reject the idea that their choice to have sex somehow cedes their bodily rights.
Open Thread April 26, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in General.
Evil Bender is curious about what you're thinking about today, and would like to hear from you.
If you need something besides the day political news to get you started, here's a quote from our good friend the Lizard Queen:
"[Evil Bender,] you are the most belligerent person I've ever met."
Coulter and Dembski: Unintelligent design April 26, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Origins, Religion, wingnuts.
Good News, Everyone! We get to play "who loses more credibility". Today on our show, who loses more credibility from working together: the Discovery Institute's Dembsky, or our personal favorite ultra-conservative whackjob with a huge adam's apple, Ann Coulture?
Red State Rabble has more:
One of the things Dembski's embrace of Coulter makes explicit is that intelligent design is not just an expression of religious fundamentalism, but of ultra-right fanaticism, as well. The cranks who embrace intelligent design have always argued that anyone who accepts the science underlying evolution is, by definition, an atheist — Ken Miller, Fr. George Coyne, the 10,000 clergypeolple who signed the Clergy Letter Project notwithstanding.
Let me just add that people who think science can't exist alongside religion not only have a faulty view of science, but also have a pretty low opinion of a deity who carefully goes around making sure we can't trust emperical observations.
O RLY? April 26, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Religion, reproductive rights, sex.
However, this is how I would address the mother's rights issue. I will throw in the caveat that my logic is not applicable in cases of rape, however, the majority of abortions are not due to rape, and so I will address only the non-rape cases. I will for the moment, grant that I have yet to formulate an effective legal arguement reference rape and body rights.
Unlike organ donation, conception takes two people, and the risk of pregnancy due to sexual activity is rather widely known. Having said this tongue in cheek, there are few people who engage in sex without knowing pregnancy is a possible outcome.
Now, having wasted your time by reiterating the obvious, I would point out that there is a responsibility issue involved. When you take a certain action, and the consequence follows, why should the consequence be at fault for your action?
Evil Bender wonders if Marshwiggle would apply the same logic to God. God, in his infinite wisdom (as we're told) created some people as "objects . . . for destruction," knowing that they would sin and go to hell. Why should people be doomed to hell because they were created by a God who knew they'd end up there?
More to the point of the discussion, chosing to have kids can lead to the result of them having organ failures. Shouldn't the parent then, by Marshwiggle's argument, be required to give up their organ even at the cost of their own life? After all, they're responsible for the results of their actions, and their children shouldn't pay the price, right?
There's lots more to say here, but I'll close with this: since Marshwiggle admits that his logic doesn't apply to women who are raped, would he ask women to be forced to prove rape in order to recieve an abortion? If not, what solution does he propose, since obviously these women weren't responsible for the child they carry?
[Addition: thinking over this post, I'm remembering how poorly my sarcasm sometimes plays in this medium. So let me say this: I'm not actually advocating anyone buy the above arguments. I am suggesting that they are logically parallel to Marshwiggle's argument.]