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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Border Fence. Teh Stoopid

All the nativists love the idea of a border fence between us and those little brown farm workers and house painters. Penn Gillette, the chatty half of Penn & Teller, had a bit on their Showtime show where they hired a crew of illegals to build a fence to the standards of the INS, and then split the illegals into three teams and had them attempt to go through, over and under the barrier. None of the teams took longer than sixty seconds, and they were allowed no ladders or tools. There are these places we called prisons where we have armed guards, high walls and razor wire barriers and people get out of them all the time. To dream that an unattended wall is going to protect us from the lawn mowing classes is the height of foolishness. 

The border wall has got it all. Expensive, won't do what it's built for, environmentally damaging, politically damaging. Cheap ugly.  Did I mention expensive? For the price of the wall we could build thousands of new, energy efficient high schools. The fence/wall exiles property owners from their own land and cedes territory to Mexico, but the righties love it.

Islands Of Plague

There is a news item today saying four Whidby Island Little League teams are having to forfeit their seasons because of an outbreak of Whooping Cough (pertussis). Pertussis? You may well say. Isn't that a nineteenth century disease that was virtually wiped out by vaccines? While Whidby is a large Island in the Sound, it is still and island and suffers from problems and advantages of island living. Island cultures are by nature are insular and somewhat isolated. The anti-vaccinationism movement has taken strong root on the islands of The Puget Sound with their unsupportable linking of vaccines with autism. Panic is an ugly thing, and it doesn't get much uglier than brainwashing parents into withholding proven disease preventatives  with fear of retardation. Human animals used to die out in great numbers due to contagious disease, and with the coming of prophylactic vaccination these diseases became very rare in the developed world. Without the threat of imminent death, and the existence of worrying, untreatable conditions like autism, some peddlers of woo have come to link vaccines with the condition. The woo became a movement, and took root in suburban white neighborhoods. Islands are their own echo chambers and amplify both the good and bad. 

Both Whidby and Vashon Islands have a large anti vaccinationism contingent among the (mostly female) parents of pre-school children. Vaccinations rates have plummeted and predictable diseases have come back to kill. Perhaps as islands they will serve as cautionary tales of disaster in quarantined anti-vaccinationist enclave. It's too damn bad children have to suffer so their parents' appetite for woo can be met.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

America! Now With Official State Secrets!

Prior to the rise of the conservatives there were disagreements within the government, but research could be generally trusted to be presented as unbiased data that could be used with faith that everyone was reading off the same sheet, even if they came to different conclusions. Now data points are declared inconvenient and excised from the repository of available information. This week the Vice President's office has been caught editing Center for Disease Control reports on global warming's effect on the spread of disease.  Editing out the documented spread of disease vectors and emergence of new diseases far outside their historical boundaries. Thanks to decades of conservatives attacking the Environmental Protection Agency's credibility the public is confused as to the agency's motives. Not so with the CDC.  Science will always tell you things you don't want to hear, and that is its greatest sin.

If it will work, here's the link to the PDF of the before and after CDC papers in question:

Monday, July 7, 2008


The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

Not Ned Flanders nor Scar-face, but just right. I believe that using cussing assiduously and sparely is both more effective and more gentlemanly.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Biblical News Item

So they write this one off to wine and paranoid schizophrenia. If only.

From The Kitsap Sun:


A 37-year-old mentally ill man was arrested Friday after drinking more than a bottle of wine, loudly reciting from the Bible and then shoving his sister and mother when they tried to calm him down.

Bremerton police were called to the house on the 100 block of Arvon Avenue after receiving word of a domestic assault, reports said. The man also shoved his mother during the confrontation and threw a chair against a wall, causing some damage.

The man has been treated for paranoid schizophrenia but drank about 1½ bottles of wine, which has led him in the past to violent behavior.

The 42-year-old said she heard her brother “shouting out biblical passages,” she told investigators, and went to try and calm him down. The man told officers he was reading the Bible “loudly” and that his sister should be arrested for telling him what to do, the report said.

Iran's Most Wanted.

I heard on NPR last Thursday that Iran has added being an Atheist to the list of capital offenses that will get you a long drop at the and of a short rope. Already the Islamic Republic has hung some four thousand gays and twice that number of B'Hai and Balouchis. Perhaps more. There are other Iranian minorities that are regularly executed, but figures aren't available.

Like being on the Un-American Activities Committee's list or Nixon's enemies list this is one list I would be proud to be on, and now, without any effort, I am! Our local religious bigots would love to emulate Iran in cleansing America of her unclean and godless, but all they will ever can hope is a religious war between Christian sects.