Mar 31 2010

Who writes these scripts, anyway?

Category: media,societyharmonicminer @ 6:43 pm

I was watching an episode of “The Good Wife”, a CBS series in which a district attorney is caught cheating on his wife and is convicted of some corruption in office, and goes to jail, amidst scandal and embarrassment for his family, including his “good wife,” who has to go back to work as a junior attorney at a law firm owned by her old friend.

I’ve seen it from time to time, and it hasn’t always been that bad, though I confess that I don’t usually watch that closely, since when I watch TV I’m usually working on some composition or arrangement in my home studio.

The episode I watched deserves a little commentary, however.  It features a character very closely modeled after Glenn Beck, whose voice even sounds like Glenn Beck (an obviously deliberate decision), broadcasting a daily hour news/commentary show, who is being sued for slander by a client of “the good wife’s” firm.  The Beck character has accused the client, on air, of murdering her missing young daughter, even though he has no evidence of this.  It also appears that the Beck character has called an un-named African-American president a “terrorist” on air.

Now, I know that CBS News is desperately jealous of the fact the FOX NEWS actually has an audience, and, unlike CBS, is expanding its line up and bringing in new talent all the time.  Does that justify thinly disguised deadly insults aimed at CBS’s competition?

For the record:  I know of no FOX show, including the ones that focus on these kinds of stories, that would simply come out and make such an accusation in the absence of evidence.  And, more to the point, Glenn Beck does commentary on the macro-issues of the day, not crime commentary.  He has not, and would not, refer to Obama as a terrorist, nor would any FOX commentator…  though I believe Keith Olberman came pretty close to calling a sitting president a terrorist, on MSNBC, during the Bush years.

So what we have here is simple.  We have scriptwriters who either knowingly mischaracterize people just to pander to leftist sentiment, or we have scriptwriters who have never actually watched Glenn Beck (or probably FOX news, for that matter) and are willing to tell lies about him (by implication, at least), or have simply believed lies someone has told them about Beck.

Maybe Beck should sue them for slander.

This has not been a good year for television.  I continue to wonder why the scriptwriters don’t understand that it’s the characters and plot that matter, not the political references.  And I continue to wonder why the grownups at the network aren’t supervising the sandbox.

As their ratings drop.


Mar 31 2010

Get ready to duck… but don’t bother to cover

Category: science,spaceharmonicminer @ 8:43 am

Dark, dangerous asteroids found lurking near Earth

An infrared space telescope has spotted several very dark asteroids that have been lurking unseen near Earth’s orbit. Their obscurity and tilted orbits have kept them hidden from surveys designed to detect things that might hit our planet.

Called the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the new NASA telescope launched on 14 December on a mission to map the entire sky at infrared wavelengths. It began its survey in mid-January.

In its first six weeks of observations, it has discovered 16 previously unknown asteroids with orbits close to Earth’s. Of these, 55 per cent reflect less than one-tenth of the sunlight that falls on them, which makes them difficult to spot with visible-light telescopes. One of these objects is as dark as fresh asphalt, reflecting less than 5 per cent of the light it receives.

Many of these dark asteroids have orbits that are steeply tilted relative to the plane in which all the planets and most asteroids orbit. This means telescopes surveying for asteroids may be missing many other objects with tilted orbits, because they spend most of their time looking in this plane.

Fortunately, the new objects are bright in infrared radiation, because they absorb a lot of sunlight and heat up. This makes them relatively easy for WISE to spot.

“It’s really good at finding the darkest asteroids and comets,” said mission team member Amy Mainzer of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas, on Thursday.

WISE is expected to discover as many as 200 near-Earth objects – but astronomers estimate that the number of unknown objects with masses great enough to cause ground damage in an impact runs into the tens of thousands.

Richard Binzel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the dark asteroids may be former comets that have long since had all the ice vaporised from their exteriors, leaving them with inactive surfaces that no longer shed dust to produce tails. He points out that many comets have very tilted orbits, and comets visited by spacecraft have been observed to have very dark surfaces.

I think I’ve met some people with tilted orbits lately.  Hey, ease up, it’s a joke.  But you can only seem to spot some of them with infra-red…

I’m glad there is Somebody watching over us.


Mar 30 2010

Rewarding illegal behavior with citizenship

An argument to be made about immigrant babies and citizenship

A simple reform would drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments that may soon again be at a roiling boil. It would bring the interpretation of the 14th Amendment into conformity with what the authors of its text intended, and with common sense, thereby removing an incentive for illegal immigration.

To end the practice of “birthright citizenship,” all that is required is to correct the misinterpretation of that amendment’s first sentence: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” From these words has flowed the practice of conferring citizenship on children born here to illegal immigrants.

……………………….

Congress has heard testimony estimating that more than two-thirds of all births in Los Angeles public hospitals, and more than half of all births in that city, and nearly 10 percent of all births in the nation in recent years, have been to mothers who are here illegally. Graglia seems to establish that there is no constitutional impediment to Congress ending the granting of birthright citizenship to those whose presence here is “not only without the government’s consent but in violation of its law.”

George Will’s piece, linked above, gives a nice history of the 14th Amendment, and explains clearly why it should not be interpreted to mean that all babies of illegal aliens are automatically US citizens.  But somehow, I don’t think Congress is likely to act on this anytime soon, since the Democrats want to turn as many illegals as possible into voters… for them.  That’s why they are loathe to enforce our borders, they are for same day registration/voting and “motor voter” laws, and are only too happy to accept the support of illegal alien activist organizations.

I’m sure the Democrats mourn the passing of ACORN, which was famous for finding ways for illegals to vote, not to mention evade taxes and other laws.

So we won’t see a Congressional reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment anytime soon.  But read all of Will’s piece.  It’s essential information for the next time someone tries to convince you that it makes any kind of sense Constitutionally for anchor babies to be automatic US citizens.


Mar 29 2010

There are no pro-life Democrats

Category: abortion,Congress,corruption,governmentharmonicminer @ 8:49 am

Neither side is happy with Stupak

We all know how Rep. Bart Stupak caved the day of the passage of the government takeover of health care. But we don’t know why.

Well, we do know why. We’ve known all along that Stupak supported ObamaCare. After getting his amendment passed to the original public option health care bill that passed the House in November, he voted for the final bill. But it is baffling to pro-lifers why he, who had the power to singlehandedly make or break health care reform, would give up all that power in the last minute for a worthless scrap of paper.

An executive order cannot change current law. They can easily be overruled by the courts, which have done so in the past. Legislation from Congress supersedes them. And an executive order can be rescinded at any time. President Obama could sign the order then revoke it 60 seconds later. If the new health care system withstands legal challenges and a possible repeal, this executive order will just become another Mexico City Policy, rescinded and reinstated whenever a new president takes office.

Stupak’s move pleases neither side of the abortion debate. The pro-life side thinks the order doesn’t go nearly far enough, and the pro-abortion side thinks it goes too far. The SBA List rescinded the Defender of Life award we were supposed to give Stupak at our gala two days ago. Other pro-life groups across the country have condemned him and are now working to defeat him instead of supporting him. Pro-abortion groups are doing the same. NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund are now backing Stupak’s primary challenger.

In an editorial to be published Saturday in the Washington Post, Stupak says, “The pro-life groups rallied behind me – many without my knowledge or consent – not necessarily because they shared my goals of ensuring protections for life and passing health-care reform but because they viewed me as their best chance to kill health-care legislation.”

Oh, yeah? Then why did pro-lifers in Congress vote in favor of the Stupak Amendment in November, thus opening the door for your group to vote for the bill and therefore pass it? And if you didn’t want pro-life groups rallying behind you, why did you accept their money and support?

Mr. Stupak, we trusted you. We thought we had found a hero, someone who was standing up for Life when it looked hopeless. And then we found out you’re just like any other politician, lying to the people to get your way. You broke our heart. And now pro-lifers are not rallying around you, but around your opponent. We’re going to do everything we can to ensure you get defeated with everyone else in November.

Actually, I think the Left is quite happy with Stupak. They got what they wanted from him, and he provided cover for Democrats from pro-life districts. In the end, he sold out to Obama and the Democrats for less than a mess of pottage.

The definition of a pro-life Democrat is someone who wants to say they are pro-life but vote for pro-abortion candidates and policies.  That’s because they think many other things are more important than ending legal abortion.  But you can’t be seriously pro-life and think that there is all that much that matters more than ending legal abortion.    So another way to describe a “pro-life” Democrat is as someone who is vaguely uncomfortable with legal abortion-on-demand, but doesn’t think it matters enough to do anything really significant about it, and certainly not enough to take any political risks for it, or risk losing on any other issue that matters more.

These days, pro-life Democrats always fold in the end, which is predictable by the fact that they caucus with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

The latest oxymoron:  pro-life Democrat. 

Add it to the list of species that went extinct in the 20th century.


Mar 28 2010

Wah. Wah-wah-wah. Boo-hoo. Wah.

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 4:59 pm

As Congress takes break, Obama names 15 recess appointments

President Barack Obama reignited a partisan fight over appointments Saturday when he announced his intention to fill 15 key vacant administration positions — that normally require Senate approval — while Congress is adjourned for vacation.

Saying he was tired of obstructionist Republican senators blocking his nominees for political purposes, Obama said he would resort to recess appointments to fill the jobs.

“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees,” Obama said Saturday. “At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of Treasury have been held up for nearly six months. I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of the government.”

It’s just so HARD to be President when you have a Senate that won’t confirm your nominees.  Especially when you really, really need to pay back your political cronies by appointing a highly partisan pay-back candidate, and those wascally weepublicans just won’t let you have your way.  And it’s so embarrassing to have to do what you rabidly criticized your predecessor for doing, but darn it, when YOU have a really, really good reason for appointing a payback candidate, you wish those right-wing lunatics would remember who won the election.

Maybe you should remind them who won the election.

Again.

While you still can.


Mar 28 2010

Seven Contradictions of Gun Control

Category: government,guns,justice,libertyharmonicminer @ 8:20 am

Six Contradictions, Seven Contradictions, who’s counting?

Herewith, Seven Contradictions of Gun Control:

*  Guns are used in crime  –  yet we have many laws restricting guns

*  We have many laws restricting guns  –   yet criminals can always get guns illegally

*  Criminals can always get guns illegally  –  yet we need more laws restricting guns

*  We need more laws restricting guns  –  yet states with more guns have less crime

*  States with more guns have less crime  –   but too many people have guns

*  Too many people have guns  –  yet we have many laws restricting guns

*  We need more laws restricting guns  –  yet criminals don’t obey gun laws

Coming soonSix Contradictions of Pinball


Mar 27 2010

Racing to racialize everything

Category: media,politics,race,racismharmonicminer @ 4:16 pm

I have already expressed my skepticism that “tea partiers,” protesting the government takeover of healthcare, actually used the N-word on African-American congress critters.

And now Andrew Breitbart shows that it looks less and less likely that it really happened, though it seems the Black Caucus members tried mightily to provoke an incident they could cry over.

I wonder what would have happened if the tea-partiers had marched through South LA carrying signs denouncing Obama-care and and video cameras to record their treatment by the community?  Because that’s about the level of provocation these congress-critters provided (apparently unsuccessfully) in an attempt to get the tea-partiers to react on film…  as if the congress-critters just couldn’t find another way to get where they wanted to go.

“Gosh!  Did I just happen to march through the middle of your demonstration?  I’m SO sorry.  I just didn’t see you until it was too late.”

Sure.


Mar 27 2010

The whitewash in the media continues, #3

Category: government,media,military,national security,Obama,Russiaharmonicminer @ 8:51 am

Hope springs eternal, I suppose. The major media continues to hope that the public has the memory of gerbil… or maybe a lobster. I suspect, however, that the Democrats may discover that the voting public has the claws of a lobster come this November.   Nevertheless, when you ordain a president based on hope, I suppose no one should be surprised if you evaluate his efforts from the standpoint of hope.  But hope is about all you have, despite your opinion that after Two big wins, a presidency <is> transformed for Obama:

Two big wins for Barack Obama at home and abroad — a historic health care bill and a new arms treaty with Russia — have injected sudden momentum into a presidency that had been looking beleaguered.

Well, yes, the health bill was historic, in the sense of a politically suicidal Congress ramming something through that 70% of the public really didn’t want, with naked bribery that would be illegal if a anyone else did it.

“What a week here,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs wrote on his twitter feed, as Obama concluded a new strategic arms reduction treaty in a call with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday.

What a week indeed.   As far as can be determined at this time, the cuts to which Russia agreed are in the area of strategic weapons only.  That means that battlefield and tactical nukes aren’t affected…  and Russia has a great preponderance of those.  It is those weapons that are a bigger threat to Europe, former Soviet satellites, and the Middle East, since they are all Russia has to counter its relative weakness in conventional weapons, compared to its Cold War heyday (though Putin is building up again, and fast, to try to recover the conventional strength that Yeltsin squandered, from their point of view).  Russia has plainly signaled its intent to use its possession of the main oil pipe into Europe (in the Georgia invasion) to control the Euro-powers.  Russia wants to regain its superpower status.   Putin is not a peace maker, unless it temporarily serves his larger purpose, which is expansion and power.

Biggest concern:  will Russia use this to get the USA to make cuts that matter, while Russia simply decommissions aging technology that may not be working too well anyway?  Second biggest concern:  how much of that aging nuclear technology and fissile material will be safely decommissioned into secure storage, and how much will mysteriously evaporate into the ether, maybe showing up on the black market?

It is risible that Putin and Medvedev would agree to ANYTHING that they didn’t believe strengthened them and weakened the USA in relative terms.  The US media (and, I fear, the US State Department) don’t seem to grasp the distinction between a piece of paper and actual peace.  North Korea has agreed to all kinds of things, and the media have hailed the negotiations that produced the agreements, and then had abrupt memory loss when North Korea reneged, leading to calls in the media for more negotiations.  Review the definition of insanity.  The Soviet Union, we now know (based partly on KGB files opened to the public after the collapse of the old regime), bent most arms agreements we ever made with them, when they could.  Putin regrets the passing of that brutal state, and is doing his best to emulate its power-grasping tendencies.

Putin has been busy rehabilitating Stalin in the minds of the Russian public.  Does anyone actually think that Putin/Medvedev are signing agreements either out of fear of US nuclear preemption (about as likely as the US nuking Mexico), or out of altruism and the desire for international amity (maybe they should get Nobel Prizes)?  If you are one who harbors either belief, I have a nice property with an in-ground swimming pool in Siberia that I’d love to sell you.  The pool isn’t heated….  but with global warming heating up Siberia, all you really have to worry about is rampaging polar bears looking for an ice floe to surf on.

No doubt Obama supporters will claim that the new agreement has strong verification protocols built in.  Maybe.  But Russia is a big, big country.  Obama has been busy cutting our space program, our military and our intelligence agencies.  Exactly what resources will he use to verify that Russia isn’t holding out the same way the Soviets did?  Those agreements had “verification” built in, too.

In six days, two of the biggest projects of Obama’s presidency came to fruition after months of painstaking work, transforming the image of an administration that had swung hard but failed to connect on big agenda items.

He has STILL failed to connect on the government takeover of health-care.  Don’t confuse holding hostages with hitting home-runs.

In any case, the public really hasn’t evinced much concern about Russian nukes lately, though doubtless the media will try to pump this “achievement” up into something deserving of the prematurely awarded Nobel Peace Prize.  I suppose my problem with this is simple:  Obama has not built up any trust in his ability to tell our friends from our enemies.  He is captive of the moral equivalence view that American objectives are no worthier than Russian ones.   At bottom, he does not believe in American exceptionalism, so he cannot defend American interests with a whole heart.  After all, we’re no better than anyone else.

By Friday, Obama could savor the spectacle of the pundits he frequently decries, switching from a “this presidency is over” mantra, to hailing him as a conquering domestic president and a global statesmen.

Yeah, and come next November he could be savoring that lobster we talked about. The claws, that is.  Now, that would be a change worth hoping for.


Mar 26 2010

Gosh, Pat, I didn’t know you were such an Obama fan

Category: Fatah,Hamas,Israel,jihad,middle east,national security,Obamaharmonicminer @ 8:00 am

Netanyahu’s Hollow Victory? Pat Buchanan’s apparent hatred of Israel continues to masquerade as “conservative” foreign policy prescriptions.

“The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”

With this defiant declaration, to a thunderous ovation at AIPAC, Benjamin Netanyahu informed the United States that East Jerusalem, taken from Jordan in the Six Day War, is not occupied land. It is Israeli land and Israel’s forever, and no Palestinian state will share Jerusalem. Israel alone decides what is built, and where, in the Holy City.

With his declaration and refusal to walk back the decision to build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, which blew up the Biden mission, “Bibi” goes home a winner over Barack Obama.

But it is a temporary triumph and hollow victory — over Israel’s indispensable ally. For the clash revealed that the perceived vital interests of Israel now collide with vital U.S. interest in the Middle East.

Memo to Mr. Buchanan: land taken in wars of self-defense is legitimately kept. That is the time honored historical fact.  Live with it.  Jordan will certainly have to.  So will the “Palestinians,” who COULD easily have been resettled in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, et. al., after the failure of those nations to destroy Israel in war.  (Of course, those people have been denied the opportunity to live elsewhere, because each of those nations had something to gain from keeping the hatred of Israel alive…  or so they thought.   In any case, none of them wanted the war to be over until Israel was destroyed.)  If Jordan had not attacked Israel, along with many others, Israel would not be building settlements in Jerusalem today. Everyone will have to live with the consequences of their decisions, including those made decades ago by different governments.

But there is nothing illegitimate, nothing at all, about Israel keeping the land it won while defending itself (almost unsuccessfully so) in wars not of its making.

Memo to the rest of Israel’s neighbors: if you want to keep the land you have now, don’t attack again.

Memo to Obama:  Israel’s support in the USA is broad and deep.  You might want to remember that.  The honeymoon is over.  You might want to remember that, too. 


Mar 25 2010

Famous sayings of pinball

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 11:53 pm

Herewith, famous sayings of pinball players of my misspent youth and early adulthood.

* “It’s hard to play pinball when you have both hands wrapped around your neck.”  (An obvious reference to “choking” while trying to flip.)

*  “Hey, another Lazzie ball!”  (So named in honor of Lazarus being raised from the dead, in reference to the relatively rare phenomena of missing with both flippers up the middle, and the ball hitting the back wall and bouncing back into play anyway.)

*  “Another pin-ball related fatality.”  (Don’t ask.  I won’t tell.)

*  “Wow!  A double match, a special and two wins on points!”

*  “I had the high score on Highway Patrol for three weeks running!”  (Pull over, buddy.)

*  “Life isn’t fair.  HE got extra ball, double multi-ball on the same turn, a special and a round the world bonus.  I got bumpkus.”  (Live with it.  You could have been playing Alien Invasion or something.)

*  “I usually try to catch it on the flipper.”  (Nothing to do with dolphins.)

*  “You’re not holding your jaw right.”  (That’s pure mythology.  The set of the jaw has nothing to do with the ballistics involved.  However, the angle of your left knee certainly does matter.)

*  (After a TILT and lost ball)  “Hey, I hardly touched it!”


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