Saturday, February 28, 2009

John McCain: Twittererer

When even John "John McCain is aware of the internet" McCain is using Twitter I guess I have to start taking it seriously. Maybe I should move the Basement there so I wouldn't write such long damn posts? Nah.

Anyway, here's John McCain's Twitter feed where he lists his "top ten porkiest projects" in the new budget. From what I can gather Republicans just hate science. Among the projects that draw McCain's ire are pig odor research in Iowa (he should live downwind from a confinement farm and see if his attitude changes), astronomy in Hawaii "because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy" (ha! screw you, science! also, I'm curious if he has ever supported money for the observatories in his home state...), the Center for Grape Genetics "quick peel me a grape", a honey bee factory, and, finally, beaver management in North Carolina and Mississippi.

Here's where it gets hilarious. Before he edited all the funny out of it his post read "$650,000 for beaver management in North Carolina and Mississippi - how exactly does one manage a beaver?" Well, John, allow me to demonstrate...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Baseball

I'm not one of those dorks who talks about how great it is when spring training starts, waxing on about the crack of the bat and "oh, praise the heavens, baseball is back again! Hallelujah!" Really, I'm not. I do enjoy a good baseball game though and I am looking forward to checking out the newly renovated Kaufman stadium (although no cheap outfield seats? boo) and the slightly improved but still mediocre at best Kansas City Royals!

What's really exciting me is this contest to decide what the retro giveaway will be on the July 4 game against the ChiSox. Will it be the white seat cushion? Meh. Will it be the floppy hat described as "the hat that knows how to relax and not take itself too seriously"? Uhh, that sounds pretty lame. What about the Royals halter top? Eh, I'm intrigued. Ooh, here we go, the Royals tankard! "Say "Cheers" for this popular item and lift an ice-cold beverage in a Royals tankard." Now this sounds like an idea I can get behind.

The halter top sounds great and all and I'm loving the retro pic they have up there. Unfortunately, having been to many games, I'm shuddering at some chunky chick from Raytown squeezing into her "one-size-fits-all" freebie while her tatted up meth-addicted boyfriend accuses anyone who walks by of "hitting on my woman." Uhh, tankard it is!

Let's look through the promotional schedule and figure out a few more games to go to.

"College Happy Hour Night"? I'm guessing that's not what I'm thinking it is.

"Faith and Family Day with postgame concert by MercyMe"? Oh, man, I love those guys and I'm sure they'd love us at Faith and Family Day.

A couple of figurine giveaways, a lot of Retro Nights which usually mean cheap prices, and of course several buck nights which are always great for seeing how many hot dogs you can shove down your throat in an inning but overall the quality seems down a little from last summer. I guess I'll just have to hold out for that tankard.

Funny?


I think Louis CK is kinda funny. Did anybody else ever see that show he had on HBO? I only caught like 5 episodes of it in my haste to attempt to watch every single thing they had listed OnDemand before I moved out of my old place and never had HBO again but I thought it had some great moments.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

One Amazing Fish

Here is some video footage of Macropinna microstoma, a deep sea fish that was captured on video and on camera in its natural environment for the first time in 2004. The images and video were released this week. The fish has a transparent head with it's eyes embedded inside where they can rotate to view all directions. They've known about the fish for several decades but were unaware of this capability. The video is below and there are some more detailed pics at National Geographic. Apparently it uses the green covering over its eyes to shield it from the sun so it can spot the luminescence of the long jellyfish from which is steals its food.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Worst. Degree. Ever.

People (unfairly) give Philosophy majors a lot of shit for having a worthless degree but here is one that is about a billion times worse than the worst stereotype of that. Creationist geology.
The program will be unique in that no other Christian school, that holds to a literal six-day account of Genesis offers geology as a major for undergraduates. The course of study will be taught from both naturalistic and young-earth paradigms of earth history.
I'd say good luck finding a job with that but I'm sure the Creation Museum is always looking for fake scientists to lie to kids.

Step one for Operation "Republicans: Off Da Hook" fails miserably

I didn't actually watch more than a few snippets of Obama's speech, choosing, instead, to celebrate Fat Tuesday with Newcastle and red beans and rice. From what I've read most people think he did a pretty good job and the early poll numbers certainly seemed to reflect that. However, most of the buzz has been about Louisiana Governor (and 2012 presidential hopeful?) Bobby Jindal's epic rebuttal fail. Here are a few spliced together clips of the lowlights along with the Fox News(!) commentators absolutely hammering him. Wow, really?

After viewing this I wondered if this guy had ever given a speech in his life. His inflection and tone were just so incredibly bad and unappealing to anyone who might be watching. This comparison has been made thousands of times today but it's too perfect not to say he's an absolute dead ringer for the sound and speaking style of Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock. Hilarious.

I'm not sure if you've seen the content of his speech but telling a story about the government failure during Hurricane Katrina is supposed to do what? Remind us of what a complete disaster the last Republican administration was? Republicans are trying to go back to their old playbook that calls for "claim government can't do anything right." Well, after living through the last 8 years the lesson most people seem to have learned it is actually important to have a competent government and if you're intent on proving government can't work or don't think it will work even if you try then maybe you shouldn't be in charge anymore. Well, according to Bobby the lesson is:
The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and the enterprising spirit of our citizens. We are grateful for the support we have received from across the nation for the ongoing recovery efforts. This spirit got Louisiana through the hurricanes and this spirit will get our nation through the storms we face today.
Well, all of that compassionate heart and enterprising spirit kind of sucked at getting people evacuated or maintaining a levy so we decided to go ahead and delegate those responsibilities to the government.

It turns out that Bobby is an even less imaginative play caller than Dan McCarney on 3rd and Long because right after "blame the government for everything" in the playbook is the "find seemingly outrageous examples of spending to demonize" play.
It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a "magnetic levitation" line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring." Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.
Ooh, Congress burn.

This is where it really gets hilarious. Apparently buying more fuel-efficient cars from our struggling car makers won't create jobs or save money! That supposed $8 billion for a train from Vegas to Southern California? Umm, doesn't exist. That money will be spread around to routes already designated by the Department of Transportation as ready for an upgrade. Even if it did go to Vegas it's not like millions of people travel there every year anyway, right? Then there's something called "volcano monitoring." Ha! Who would ever want that? Well, besides the people that live next to volcanoes or around fault lines, I guess. If the government doesn't monitor these things who exactly does Bobby think will do it?

The rest of the speech was pretty blah. More of the usual but he did mention that Republicans believe in equal access to health care for everyone which was news to me. Too bad their actions don't exactly reflect that but maybe they'll be open to some changes once Obama gets around to tackling that issue (ha, fat chance).

I didn't know much about this guy coming in having only read about him but I knew that he was supposed to be the GOP's big realistic (sorry, Sarah) hope at countering Obama's change. Hey, we've got a brown guy, too! Having seen him I'm not sure the American people are ready to elect a peppier Mr. Rogers as president, especially when all he does is shit on popular ideas while offering nothing compelling of his own.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Great moments in GOP hip hop history

Who can forget Mitt Romney? Who who?

A Day in the Life of Abbey Road


Pretty sure I'd freak out on some people if I had to drive this road every day.

Real Mutha Fuckin' GOPs

This post from Daily Kos pretty much made my day. It starts by quoting a Washington Times story on the new Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Steele, and his attempts to jump start the fading GOP. I read it and honestly thought it was a satire piece until I realized they actually were quoting the article.
Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an “off the hook” public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.” [...]

Under Mr. Steele's helm, the “old” may seem inappropriate in the Grand Old Party's affectionate nickname. He said he is putting a new public relations team into place to update the party's image.

“It will be avant garde, technically,” he said. “It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone - off the hook.”

Does that mean cutting-edge?

“I don't do 'cutting-edge,' “ he said. “That's what Democrats are doing. We're going beyond cutting-edge.”
Holy shit that was awesome. Kos compares it to the Simpsons' episode, "The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show" where the producers of "The Itchy and Scratchy Show" add a surfing, skate boarding, rasta-fied dog that loves to recycle....TO THE EXTREME! in an effort to appeal to kids. It's almost too perfect.

Lady: We at the network want a dog with attitude. He's edgy, he's "in your face." You've heard the expression "let's get busy"? Well, this is a dog who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

Krusty: So he's proactive, huh?

Lady: Oh, God, yes. We're talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.

Meyer: Excuse me, but "proactive" and "paradigm"? Aren't these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important? [backpedaling] Not that I'm accusing you of anything like that. [pause] I'm fired, aren't I?

Myers: Oh, yes.
So, there's Steele using words like "avant garde" and "off the hook" while having absolutely no clue what any of them mean. Also, is there ANYTHING about the GOP that is in any way even remotely "avant garde"? Plus, he even GOES BEYOND CUTTING EDGE! He's so far ahead of cutting edge he's not even using a knife! I have no idea what's beyond the cutting edge but the Republicans are there....TO THE EXTREME!

So, what's driving all of this?
”There was underlying concerns we had become too regionalized and the party needed to reach beyond our comfort” zones, he said, citing defeats in such states as Virginia and North Carolina. “We need messengers to really capture that region - young, Hispanic, black, a cross section ... We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-surburban hip-hop settings.”

But, he elaborated with a laugh, “we need to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets.”

So, you know, take all those conservative policies that screw poor people but convince those people that they're actually a good idea by putting a "phat" beat behind them. Also, one-armed midgets? Dude, that is not the preferred nomenclature. Little people, please. And "uptick our image"? Another nice buzzword.

Republicans are hilarious because they see all of Obama's success and decide that the best way to counter all of that is with a black guy of their own and a new "hip hop" image. Hello! Your policies have failed. No one wants you anymore but I guess if you're going to be around you can go ahead and keep entertaining me with slightly offensive efforts at outreach like this one.

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Sarah Palin - The Great Republican Hope

JUNEAU, Alaska -- A couple of weeks before the Alaska legislature began this year's session, a bipartisan group of state senators on a retreat a few hours from here invited Gov. Sarah Palin to join them. Accompanied by a retinue of advisers, she took a seat at one end of a conference table and listened passively as Gary Stevens, the president of the Alaska Senate, a former college history professor and a low-key Republican with a reputation for congeniality, expressed delight at her presence.

Would the governor, a smiling Stevens asked, like to share some of her plans and proposals for the coming legislative session?

Palin looked around the room and paused, according to several senators present. "I feel like you guys are always trying to put me on the spot," she said finally, as the room became silent
.
Uh, in what respect, Gary? All of them. Any proposals that are put in front of me over the years. Maverick.

You're a freaking governor and you can't come up with any kind of BS about what you want to accomplish. Would it really be that hard to give some mumbo jumbo about addressing the tough economic climate and falling oil prices and blah blah blah. I know nothing about Alaska but I think I could have come up with something better than that. Could you really not see this one coming? I mean the mere fact that you're meeting with a bunch of state legislators who are talking about the upcoming year didn't tip you off that you might want to have some sort of grasp on the issues facing your state?

Sarah, the reason you always feel like people are hitting you with "gotcha!" questions or "putting you on the spot" is because you're a freaking pinhead. I can't wait for you to lead the Republican charge in 2012. Please let that happen.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

That's boring! You're boring everybody! Quit boring everyone!

Charles Darwin has the first known written use of 144 words in the English language including "alfalfa" and "rodeo." However, in irony of ironies he coined the term "creationist" when he wrote "What a joke it would be if I pat you on the back when you attack some immovable creationists."

Another Stream of Adled Consciousness Post

How come we can find $1.5 trillion for a useless war in Iraq but fight to the death over cutting a billion or so for building schools or investing in science when our entire economy is going down the shitter?

To me this new "like" feature on Facebook is about the dumbest thing ever. I know anytime they change anything people freak out and create groups whining about it but I'm actually someone that liked "new" Facebook. That made sense to me but I can't figure out a point to this at all. If someone likes something can't they just write a comment saying what they liked about it? Now I have to worry about whether "likes" are ironic and try to parse what every one of them means. Or I could just ignore it completely.

I have to stop Facebook friending conservatives. Between the high school friends and the guy in my program I can barely turn on the computer without somebody bitching about the stimulus or Obama or something. Today an old high school friend requested my friendship and here was the conversation that occurred starting with his status and including commentary that's running through my head:
"AA is dreading passage of the stimulus"
MVD: "In English please...? WTF is passage of stimulus??" Wow, not exactly much a news follower are you?
AA: "Obama mistakenly thinking that printing a bunch of money and building bridges will fix our flawed economic system." Right, he's clearly mistaken. I mean, like 90% of the people who devote their lives to studying economics think this is a good idea but I'll take your word for it.
MVD: "THAT I understand! Thanx!" Welcome aboard.
NM: "I dunno man, I could REALLY use an extra $13 per paycheck. I mean, wow, IMAGINE the possibilities that that $13 dollars could create!! Makes me want to vomit. Thanks, Mr. O, the Messiah!" $13? What the fuck is $13? I don't even know how to respond because I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about.
RS: "Amen! Only 1339 days until he's out of office." Yeah! Bring back Bush!

I suppose I'm being a little harsh because he is a really nice guy it's just, well, you and your friends have shitty politics and should stop forcing me to acknowledge that fact. Heh. As hard as I try not to I find myself getting involved in these conversations on occasion because I feel that there comes a point when I can no longer allow ignorance to go unchallenged.

I'm really curious about asking my fellow grad student what he thinks about the $8.5 billion going to the NIH to fund exactly the type of research we do. Maybe the stimulus doesn't suck so bad when it's funding YOUR job or are you just a hypocrite and buying into a system you don't believe in? I mean, I'm sure the private industry would fund all kinds of research for things that probably wouldn't make them any money, especially in times like this, right? Also, as a scientist, I'm not sure I could handle the fundies running things in my party.

Speaking of that, happy birthday Chaz Darwin! There was a mention of this in my local paper and someone made a comment about how scientists are trying to distance themselves from Darwin today and he was wrong, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, his theory was so terrible that 150 years later it is still largely intact and forms the basis for all of biology. What a loser.

I was going to insert a picture of Jesus riding a dinosaur but there are too many great ones to chose from so I'll just direct you to the Google Image search for "Jesus Dinosaur."

Hey, Abraham Lincoln too! Two great dudes born exact same day and year! A birthday for the ages!

Obama seems to keep extending the olive branch of "bipartisanship" and having it shoved straight up his ass by the Republicans. He goes out of his way to include their crappy ideas in the stimulus and none of them vote for it. He appoints a Republican to Sec of Commerce and he refuses to vote for any of the legislation then announces he's pulling out moments before Obama begins a major speech in favor of it. I'm all for working together and all that jazz but you need two willing parties and the Republicans have made it pretty clear they will not compromise on anything unless by compromise you mean give them exactly what they want. All of this is politically driven and I guess by sending the economy further down the shitter and fighting tooth and nail to get a few more million out of the educational system they're going to win everyone back. F them. It's time to start ramming some real shit down their throat. Give me single-payer universal health care now.

Via my Kansas Jackass I found this great editorial in the Johnson County Sun detailing all of the taxes cut by the Republicans in the last several years and the $7.6 billion in lost revenue due to that. The budget is $300 million short and is nothing but skin and bones. Meanwhile they're asking everyone to cut out a little bit more but there's nothing left. They aren't going to be happy until our educational system from kindergarten through university is a rotting carcass that will produce mindless drones that won't question anything and an educated class that just wants to get the hell out to somewhere sane.

Alright, this was way long but I had to get some of that off my chest.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My WTF? Headline of the Day

From the Huffington Post:
"WATCH: Salma Hayek Breastfeeds African Baby"

Turns out the headline pretty much sums it up for you although I haven't actually watched because I'm in the workplace. I can just imagine my boss coming up behind, "Whatcha watching?"
"Umm, Salma Hayek breastfeeding an African baby."
"Oh, ok."

Speaking of Salma Hayek she has been absolute gold as a guest star on 30 Rock so far. Her character itself isn't even that great but she's amazingly hot and they've gotten some great setups out of it. Last week's episode, "Generalissimo" might have been the best of the year. Does it get any better than Liz Lemon roofie-ing Don Draper and realizing "I am the Generalissimo!"?
"I don't even know what that means!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Burning Questions

If the country is really teetering on the brink of another depression how is Paul Blart: Mall Cop making over $100 million? I guess all those Oscar nominated movies aren't escapist enough. Or maybe people just love them some Kevin James in fake mustaches.

A sheriff in South Carolina decided to address criticism he recieved over going after Michael Phelps for smoking the reefer in his county not by letting the matter go but by tracking down eight other people at the party and arresting them. I'm kind of curious how they can prove that there was actually weed in that there bong. Well, I guess they did seize it before it could be sold on eBay (I guess everyone from the bong owner to the cameraman to the guys that won $2,000 off Phelps in beer pong are trying to cash in on this). This is quickly becoming the dumbest story of all-time as the morality police are wringing their hands wondering why someone won't please think of the children while meanwhile they're putting up the picture every chance they get.

As far as travesties of the War on Drugs go this is pretty far down the list but our country's obsession with stuff like this kind of boggles my mind sometime. I watched a really good documentary from PBS's Independent Lens on a series of 1999 drug arrests in Tulia, Texas. In this town of 5,000 an undercover cop (featuring a shocking mullet considering this was 1999) claimed that he made enough drug buys to arrest 46 people (40 of whom were black). When the hanging juries started handing out decades-long sentences the rest of them pleaded guilty even though some had no criminal records and even had alibis stating they couldn't have sold any drugs when this guy said he did.

After some great legal work it was discovered that this undercover cop was a crook, liar, and cheat and the people were released. Meanwhile the county tried to cover all of this up because they were bringing in so much federal and state money to fight their "drug problem." It was an amazing story that, sadly, isn't all that shocking any more.

Also from the "Nothing You Could do Would Possibly Shock Me Anymore" file PETA dressed up in KKK sheets to protest outside of the Westminster Dog Show because both groups want to create a master race. Sigh.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Perhaps a phone call would have sufficed

Perhaps a slight overreaction
When a guy doesn’t want to talk, there’s only so much a girl can do.

For instance, police said, things went very wrong this week when a 19-year-old woman persuaded a friend to kidnap her ex-boyfriend and bring him to her so they could talk about relationship issues.

The male kidnapper showed up with a gun Thursday at the Overland Park house where the 18-year-old boyfriend was playing video games. But the victim refused to go.

The would-be kidnapper then drove away, and Overland Park police made an arrest soon after. On Friday morning, police in Parkville arrested the woman who allegedly sent him.

Olympic Hero nothing but a dirty pothead?

Michael Phelps teaches kids that the way to win 8 gold medals is to take huge bong rips.

Derrick Thomas


Hall of Fame, bitches.

Well deserved. I have a great memory of watching that game where he set the record with 7 sacks with my dad and I can still picture him burning a tackle around the corner and tomahawking the football out of the QB's hand.