SocraticGadfly: 4/17/11 - 4/24/11

April 23, 2011

Getting Gospel sychronization wrong - Templeton-worthy?

Or, why an academic expert in engineering should NOT stick his head into New Testament studies.

Colin Humphreys, a professor of materials sciences at Cambridge, claims to have "reconciled" John and the Synoptic Gospels' different datings of Maundy Thursday and the Lord's Supper, among other Passiontime events

The Telegraph explains the work of the professor:
Matthew, Mark and Luke say that it was at the start of the Jewish feast of Passover. John writes that it happened before Passover. In his new book, The Mystery of the Last Supper, Sir Colin deploys the full gamut of biblical, historical and astronomical sources to iron out the contradiction. The first three gospel writers – known collectively as the Synoptics because they largely tell the same stories, in the same sequence, of Jesus’s life – were, he suggests, using an old-fashioned Jewish calendar, whereas John was basing his timescale on the lunar calendar in official use back then, as now. Once you take this into account, he claims, all four writers were actually referring to the same date – April 1, 33AD. This was a Wednesday, rather than a day later, marked as Maundy Thursday by Christians. Because he can pinpoint the date, Sir Colin argues, Easter should move to a fixed time each year – the first Sunday in April – rather than being the current moveable feast.
Wrong, wrong and wrong.

Humphreys ignores that Mark ("father" to Luke and Matthew's accounts on the Two-Source Hypothesis) had good reason for dating the Last Supper differently in relation to Passover. He also presumes that the four "canonical" gospels are writing historically, should be considered as historical documents and, I guess, that they should be considered as accurate ones unless clearly not.

He's clueless, and Telegraph reporter Peter Stanford, who fairly gushes over Humphreys, is no better.

Of course, with the blathering of Cambridge University Press about his book, "The Mystery of the Last Supper," Humphreys is surely in the running for a Templeton Prize

Hold on, high speed rail

Both the NYT and Washington Post op-ed pages weigh in.

In the Times, Richard White, a Stanford history professor who identifies himself as a liberal, looks at the old transcontinental railroad as a caution against subsidies to high-speed trains today.

He then talks about assurances of how well high-speed rail will do in the Golden State:
Those assurances are based on rosy and widely ridiculed ridership projections. Critics, the most trenchant of whom are part of the Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail, say that only two high-speed rail routes run without operating subsidies: Paris to Lyon and Osaka to Tokyo.
He's not alone in noting that.

In the Post, columnist Charles Lane talks about "China's Train Wreck." Beyond the fact that high-speed rail in the Western world is iffy and dicey, in China, which President Obama has cited, it appears to be (shock!) the stuff of slipshod construction, graft, bribery and more.

The bad construction? So poor that Beijing has ordered top speeds to be cut 30 mph.

Now, if even more liberal types in California, where a Los Angeles-San Francisco line makes sense otherwise, are opposed to subsidizing it, then it may be a clunker indeed.

Where's Ross Perot at on Texas state budget?

And, I mean Ross Sr., as in "Ross is Boss" from the 1992 presidential election, not Ross Jr. of Alliance Airport and Dallas sports background.

As longer-term Texas residents know, Ross Sr. was a spearhead behind the Texas Legislature's passage of the 22-1 student-teacher ratio for elementary school classrooms.

The ratio is almost certain to go by the boards if the Texas House, not Senate, gets its way on the future budget.

Well, I don't know where Ross is at, but 22-1 co-spearheader Tom Luce says it's no longer needed.

At the start of this year's session of the Lege, he warned of the money it would cost.

Yet, he says class size is still important, and other than finances, can offer no good reason for junking it. Here he is:

Ross himself appears to be emitting crickets from his mouth and nothing else, though.

More on the Apple iPhone spying

First, Apple has already spoken, indirectly, about this issue in the past, but it's still not talking now.

Among its claims is that it "decouples" the GPS tracking data it gets from individual phones. Well, if that's the case, then why can't it also create a way for that data to be erased from the original phone after 12 hours, if a jailbreak app can do that and more.

Then, there's Steve Jobs' hypocrisy about how it's OK for Apple to spy on its users but NOT for third-party app makers to do this:
"Before any app can get location data, they can't just put up a panel asking if it can use location, they call our panel and it asks you if it's OK," Jobs said.

"That's one of the reasons we have the curated App Store. A lot of the people in the Valley think we're old-fashioned about this. But we take it seriously."
Some of us think it's not "old-fashioned," but Orwellian.

Second, not so smug from Jobs haters. Some Android phones do the same thing.

Texas dispatch — If there were a god to pray to about rain

As I'm sure every good liberal or skeptical/secularist friend of mine knows, as does everybody in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry has declared three days of prayer (where's the accompanying fasting, Rick?) in response to massive wildfires in an extremely dry state.

If I saw reason to believe such a deity existed, here's the humble words of intercession I would offer instead of Perry's:

Dear God:

Please grant Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the great bulk of Republican members of the Texas Legislature, and Texas' Republican Members of the U.S. House and Senate — along with neighbors in Oklahoma, in similar dire weather straits and of like-minded Republican leaders — the use of their brains.

Specifically, open their minds to the reality of the scientific study of climate change and global warming. While I do not tie all of the current weather problems to anthropogenic climate change myself, I recognize it as a factor and recognize that in the years to come, due to it, more Texas springs will be as hot and dry as the one we have now.

Along with that, dear god, grant Gov. Perry and all these other Republican leaders the humility to recognize and accept that the United States has no special divine blessing, no special divine protection from self-inflicted problems and no "exceptionalism." Grant them the further humility to recognize that the Republican Party is not always right, that Texas doesn't have magic answers on economics

Grant Gov. Perry and these others a spirit of penitence as well. Bring them to mind of the sins committed for greed, rapaciousness against the earth that they believe you created and more. And, with this spirit of penitence, bring their penitence into action — actions of changing their evil ways.

If that not be enough, oh god, you can more forcibly change human wills at times.

Or, as you are portrayed in what Christians call the "Old Testament," you can harden human wills as the last act before visiting your divine vengeance upon the unrepentant.

If that needs be your action, so be it, but, remember the innocent progressives, as Abraham asked you before you visited Sodom and Gomorrah.


April 22, 2011

Could debt restrict Cards' offers to Pujols?

Two months ago, it looked like the St. Louis Cardinals were making a lowball offer indeed to Albert Pujols.

Now, while it still seems to be a lowball offer in relation to other top league players, in relation to the Cardinals' debt load, maybe it isn't.

The Cardinals, as a percentage of estimated team value to debt, are one of the more finance-strapped teams in the league, as this in-depth blog makes clear. The team's debt adds up to more than half the team's estimated worth. By debt percentage, the Cards rank seventh; by amount, they're fifth.

Per pending changes in MLB rules related to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the Cards are fairly close to "flunking" the rules.

Blogger Larry was working off this in-depth report of MLB team debt at Forbes.

April 21, 2011

Dumb but true crim

Type your summary here Type rest of the post here

Cluster bombs - more U.S.-Israeli hypocrisy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is semi-officially condemning Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi for alleged use of nasty cluster bombs.

Two SLIGHT problems, though.

1. We, along with Libya, have failed to sign a 2008 convention against cluster bombs' use. Our military-industrial complex is a huge maker of the devices. And, as the second page of the story notes, we sold plenty to Israel.

2. Which used them indiscriminately in Lebanon and elsewhere:
"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.
I guess the military-imperial U.S. establishment thinks that in the days of Google, it can still get away with telling such monstrosities.

More on the issue and our similar hypocrisy on land mines here, from Human Rights Watch.

The AP story, in the top link, pulls some of the info together in one graf, that may get cut in many hardcopy newspapers:
The campaign against the weapons picked up steam after Israel's month-long war against Hezbollah in 2006, when it scattered up to 4 million of the munitions across Lebanon, according to the U.N. In response, more than 100 countries pledged to ban the bombs. The United States has rejected the call, insisting that the bombs are a valid weapon of war when used properly. Libya also has never signed a treaty banning them.
Agreed that Libya may be targeting civilians. That said, that's what Israel did in Lebanon. That's what we allegedly did in Iraq (and, like Israel, with white phosphorus, too).

Meanwhile, in the world of realpolitik, Clinton hasn't said what the U.S. will actually do about this. Team Obama is caught between the rock of Wilsonian idealism and the hard place of further mission creep. (See Kurds, Iraq, and George H.W. Bush.)

Apple spy probs heat up - devices used for govt spying!

As I blogged yesterday, if you have an iPhone or iPad, Apple is potentially spying on you. Ditto if you save iPhone or iPad info to a Mac computer.

I saw this and said, "just wow." In the consumer part of the tech world, Apple, even more than Google, has a reputation (though not totally deserved even before this) of being "good guys."

No longer, eh?

Not only is Apple sniffing out and tracking your location, the data it gets from that is unencrypted.

I said yesterday that people are surely waiting on Steve Jobs to explain this.

So far, crickets.

But, another information security analyst makes three interesting claims, the last the worst.

1. This isn't new or secret. Supposedly, according to Alex Levinson, it's been on older versions of Apple devices and so reported.

2. Apple isn't keeping this data. That's even asother researchers claim the tracking is likely a mistake, which gives us two other issues.
A. If it's a mistake, then why's it been on Apple devices in previous generations?
B. If it's NOT a mistake, why should we believe Apple isn't collecting this data? Remember, it's competing more and more, if indirectly, with Google for online advertising.

3. This isn't listed as a separate point; Levinson's actual point 3 recapitulates Point 1. But, here's Levinson giving us the Orwellian secret, per Financial Times:
Through my work with various law enforcement agencies, we’ve used h-cells.plist on devices older than iOS 4 to harvest geolocational evidence from iOS devices.

An information security analyst has been helping police departments spy on people's locations!

Levinson adds:
When the iPhone 4 came out, I was one of the first people in San Francisco to grab one.
Well, of course. You needed the latest generation of your spy tool.

Per his bio, Levinson advises both governments and private businesses.

Another blogger has already followed up on these ideas in an interview with Levinson.
Levinson declined to divulge the names of those agencies (whom he had advised), but told me that he had worked with “multiple state and federal agencies both in the U.S. and internationally.”
So, what other governments are snooping on iPhone users? In response to my initial blog post, a friend in Japan said she'd be far from labeling Apple as "evil." Want to at least partially rethink?

And, speaking of corporations ...

Let's see, a corporation could give all its employees iPads or iPhones as a perk, or a work tool, then spy on them. How much more Orwellian can this get? (Wait, I'm not sure I want to know.)

Given all this, and assuming this isn't a "mistake," it's no wonder we hear just crickets, not Steve Jobs, at Cupertino, Calif.

That all said, there is an app to stop this. You have to jailbreak your iPhone first. (I assume this all applies to iPads, too.)

More here on what may also be a Fourth Amendment violation against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Update, April 23: First, Apple has already spoken, indirectly, about this issue in the past, but it's still not talking now.

Among its claims is that it "decouples" the GPS tracking data it gets from individual phones. Well, if that's the case, then why can't it also create a way for that data to be erased from the original phone after 12 hours, if a jailbreak app can do that and more.

Second, not so smug from Jobs haters. Some Android phones do the same thing.

Latest Obama re-election lie - gas prices

President Barack Obama is talking about how he will investigate alleged manipulation of gas prices before they hit $5 a gallon at the pump.
President Obama said today his Justice Department is creating a team to "root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices."

"That includes the role of traders and speculators," Obama said at a town hall-style meeting in Reno, Nev. "We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain."
To which I say: "Really?"

Let's see.

Six months before you were elected, oil was at $147 a barrel, even above the $110 now. While Peak Oil and a surging (pre-crash) global economy were partial reasons, many analysts thought commodities speculators, hedge funds, etc., were adding $20 a barrel, or more, to oil's price.

Let's see, part 2.

During what passed for financial regulation reform, commodities and derivatives regulation (along with regulations of CDOs and other speculative alphabet soup from the mortgage world) got token discussion ...

And zero action.

So, again, why should we believe you now, Mr. President? You're the man with all the Goldman Sachs/Robert Rubin acolyte financial advisers. You're the man who took more Wall Street money than John McCain.

So, no, I'll pass on believing you now.

Beyond that, Obama knows that daily pump prices, as opposed to actual per-barrel prices, have little to nothing to do with speculators.

Shockingly, Obama did mention the word "conservation" in the town hall.

Obama already in campaign mode on global warming

The President has no problem in talking about climate change deniers in San Francisco, but, even at a Democratic event, if it's in Houston or Atlanta, the same strong words aren't so likely to be there.

Meanwhile, as recent Texas wildfires may indicate, global warming's effects are out there. So, too, are the continuing efforts of denialists that Obama can attack in San Francisco.

Dear Sarah Palin: Re records, "birtherism" and ....

Don't you think it's time to unequivocally put to rest rumors about Trig Palin's birth?

Unless you can't?

Geoffrey Dunn is a credible person, and it's clear he's not wild-eyed about rumors that you're not Trig's mom. But, he notes carefully, given chance after chance for you to prove that you ARE Trig's mom, you fail.

Abjectly and utterly.

Per my own previous blogging on, and meta-investigating of, this issue, I don't think Bristol Palin is Trig's mom.

But, I do think, per a commenter on another blog, that maybe you were trying to induce "abortion through neglect."

I also think, per your rocky history with "First Dude," that, while you may well be Trig's mom, Todd may well NOT be Trig's dad.

That said, as Dunn notes, given chance after chance to set the record straight, to even tell a coherent story of the weeks up to Trig's birth, you've shown yourself both incapable and unwilling of doing so.

Is it any wonder that, as Dunn notes, even people with no political axes to grind, from pre-McCain campaign days in Alaska, simply find you unbelievable, i.e., incredible?

It's also sad that people like Justin Elliott and Dave Weigel just don't get it.

This is more than just "untrustworthiness." The way Sarah Palin has deliberately non-addressed this goes to the heart of her character.

Go here for my original main post on Trig's birth certificate, with later commentary.

April 20, 2011

Linguistics smacks down Pop Evolutionary Psychology

I saw this while on vacation, and hadn't had a chance to blog about it.

Shades of Sapir-Whorf!

It appears that language usage, in the case of one language family versus another is fairly strongly influenced by cultural background.
The authors say their findings run contrary to the idea of Noam Chomsky's generative grammar, which says the brain has hard and fast ordering rules for language. They also contradict the "universal rules" of Joseph H. Greenberg, who said languages tended to choose certain patterns over others.

"Culture trumps the innate structure of the human mind," said study coauthor Russell Gray, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. "We need to take much more seriously the role of cultural factors in changing language diversity."
Even if overstating the case, if it's half true, it not only undercuts Chomsky, it's another blow to the "massive modularity" idea of the brain.

Without looking at it in just that light, though, it does raise other issues of social and cultural evolution. Nature has more.

Beyond the easy references to how this undercuts (what doesn't, really) the "Pop" version of evolutionary psychology, this has more serious linguistic implications.

Greenberg, beyond being a "universalist" on linking phenomena of languages, was also a "clumper" in terms of how many, or how few, language families he postulated. This is especially true in his analysis of Native American and sub-Saharan African families.

But, if his "implication universals" idea isn't so true, then perhaps some languages he has clumped together should be bound more loosely. If we don't become "splitter" into many more language families, perhaps we should at least discuss the idea of subfamilies.

Time for a new Cards' closer

Sorry, Bernie Miklasz. You're wrong, Bernie. The Cardinals need to replace Ryan Franklin as closer.

Jeff Gordon gets it right. Even if the position is overrated, the Cardinals need somebody who is more a lockdown pitcher than Franklin.

Franklin isn't that guy. He had only one really good year, 2009, and he's now 38.

My vote? Jason Motte.

That said, Tony La Russa has made the call, and for now at least, it looks like it might be closer-by-committee, with Mitchell Boggs joining Motte, at least.
La Russa stood by his description of Boggs and Motte as not being "ready" for the ninth inning, but added that didn't mean he would hesitate to use them in that role this coming week. While La Russa's vague description of his plan Tuesday — "Watch the game and see who comes out," he said — implied a rotating cast for closer, the manager's history suggests a hot hand will get preference.
And, how's that for a weak vote of confidence? Boy, I'll be glad for a new manager.

Steve Jobs and Apple are spying on you

Well, if you have an iPhone or iPad, they are. Ditto if you save iPhone or iPad info to a Mac computer.

I saw this and said, "just wow." In the consumer part of the tech world, Apple, even more than Google, has a reputation (though not totally deserved even before this) of being "good guys."

No longer, eh?

Not only is Apple sniffing out and tracking your location, the data it gets from that is unencrypted.

Here's the final insult to injury:
It turns out that there is no way to remove the data from your iPhone or 3G-enabled iPad — and there is no way to stop the devices from recording anything further. All you can do is secure the information that is on your computer — you can do so by selecting the "encrypted backups" options in the syncing settings — and be aware that all this data exists.
Waiting for Steve Jobs to explain, or try to explain away, this one.

April 19, 2011

Trump spreads backside, Brooks inserts head

I think not just David Brooks, but New York Times columnry in general, has hit a new level of suck-up-itis after Brooks' new paean to Donald Trump. One quote, from near the end of the column, should suffice as proof:
A child of wealth, he is more at home with the immigrants and the lower-middle-class strivers, who share his straightforward belief in the Gospel of Success, than he is among members of the haute bourgeoisie, who are above it. Like many swashbuckler capitalists, he is essentially anti-elitist.
Brooks' Bobo-ism, married to a Trump lovefest. Does it get any more saccharine?

Let's deconstruct this.

First, Brooks has probably never even met, let alone interviewed, any "lower middle-class strivers."

Second, Brooks obviously hasn't read about Trump's boasting about how much more money he has than Mitt Romney.

Oh, Trump's an elitist all right. His "elite" list starts with one person: Donald Trump.

Is this the type of drivel the NYT wants to paywall? Good luck with that.

Bobby Lee hagiography in the NYT

As part of the the New York Times' ongoing "Disunion" series about the Civil War in its Opinionator Op-Ed area, Elizabeth Brown Pryor writes about Robert E. Lee's decision to forgo high Union command offered to him by Winfield Scott, then resign his commission while awaiting political decisions in his native Virginia

But, we're getting a new round of sesquicentennial hagiography of Lee, perhaps.

At one point, Ms. Pryor says:
Nor was he against the pro-slavery policies of the secessionists, despite postwar portraits of the general as something of an abolitionist.
Pure hagiography.

Few people know that Robert E. Lee, NOT Nathan Bedford Forrest, was the first choice to head the Ku Klux Klan. But Lee, of a higher, more genteel class of slaveowner, one who had never been a slave trader, after all, declined.

Here's more of that hagiography:
The decision was made yet more difficult by Lee’s pacifism.
Really? The pacifism that made him glad to see John Brown hang? The pacifism that led him to lead the effort to capture Brown in 1859? I agree with another commenter to the blog that lifelong Army officers usually aren't noted for their pacifism.

The Bonds trial and the HOF

Do baseball players who have allegedly been roiding even care about the Hall of Fame? Do owners, commissioner Bud Selig and other image-managers care that they may not care?

The trial of Barry Bonds, along with Bud's denialism, shown by not naming Bonds by name in a comment about Bonds' trial, provide a good opening for that, which ESPN writers take on.

Jemele Hill says Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez and others probably didn't care then and don't care now. Money, competitiveness and ego were all factors.

Gene Wojciechowski pictures Bonds getting in after seven years of wait, and dropping a Bonds-ego-infused tirade of an induction speech on the crowd.

But, will he get in, even after a seven-year wait? If Bonds hurt his public image as much as Lester Munson says, maybe he won't.

Meanwhile, Jim Caple visualizes ManRam's HOF induction day, speech AND plaque.

Let's play Swap-A-Commissioner

Oh, what fun this could be.

Here's how it could work.

David Stern moves from the NBA to the NFL. There, fleeing officiating that allegedly gets worse by the playoff series, with accusations of not just badness but favoritism toward or bias against certain teams, along with mid-level franchises like Sacramento moving because they can't compete financially, and a possible owner lockout or player strike ahead, he gets Roger Goodell's problems.

Those include, of course, an actual lockout, concerns over concussions and other injury issues, and a relatively young commissioner still trying to ride herd on some owners.

Stern, probably the most asshat of the big three sports (sit DOWN, NHL) commissioners, would probably love the opportunity to bitch-slap Jerry Jones and Peyton Manning at the same time.

Goodell, whose league has never faced questions about how well it tests for steroids, while many wonder if the concussion problems going all the way back to the 1970s have a steroid connection, gets to go run MLB in place of Bud Selig.

Bud has "faced" steroid issues in baseball ... by not facing them. By so incredibly not facing them that he didn't even mention Barry Bonds by name in a comment about Barry Bonds' trial! Goodell can learn lessons about stonewalling his own sport while relaxing with owners complacent from being chloroformed by a commish who is one of their own.

Selig, as punishment for his denialism, gets to move over to the NBA and try to run a league that's about ready to explode. Besides dodgy reffing and Mr. Donaghy of past infamy being convicted on issues related to game-fixing, you have the possibility of a second lockout or strike in less than 15 years, Sacramento being the third team relocation in five years, Stern's own stupidity in past placement of franchises in Charlotte (twice!), Vancouver (plus relocation to Memphis!) and bringing out five times as many conspiracy theories as Selig and Goodell combined.

Other than realizing how good he has it in baseball, Selig would probably convince NBA players to see what in the way of PED usage they can get away with and how much owners could wink at that. Bud could also give the conference champion from the conference that won the All-Star Game playoff home court advantage. Or, the worst team from the conference that loses gets the No. 1 draft choice! Maybe, in a bit of sports karma, the NBA could even cancel its 2011-12 season. Or maybe Selig could inflict that on the NHL instead.

Ricardo Sanchez to make U.S. Senate run? Puhleeze

Color me skeptical, as in 2002 Texas gubernatorial run by Tony Sanchez skeptical, that Ricardo Sanchez can be a magnetic drawing card to bring massive amounts of Texas Hispanics to the polls for the Democratic Party.

Sanchez, best known for his Abu Ghraib baggage, says he's considering a run to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison. That's after heavy recruitment by top state Democrats.

First, per the second story, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray is delusional if she thinks Sanchez, or about any Democrat, has a chance at that seat in 2012, unless one of the GOP primary losers runs an independent general-election campaign.

Second, per the Tony Sanchez parallel, what's Ricardo Sanchez's political positions? Is he, too, a closet Republican? And, have Ben Barnes et al "test driven" him with any sample marketing?

Third, fairly or not, there IS Abu Ghraib.

South suburban Dallas paper officially a flop

Not quite two years ago, Today Newspapers in suburban Dallas, my previous employer, officially folded.

Well, the ad manager there, combined with an area real estate person, thought they could start a new one on the cheap. They had grand ideas of how big an area they could cover on news and sports with one-person editorial coverage. They asked me to be their (part-time) editor to start, and, being unemployed, I agreed.

Well, they didn't ask me whether any of their business, editorial or circulation ideas agreed with reality. So, I blogged about that. And, in part because I said the old ad manager/new publisher was part of the problem behind the ideas that weren't tenable, she (and the real estate agent friend) fired me.

Well, if you're doing stories about Dallas, not the suburbs, and stealing them from U.S. News, you're not really relevant to your suburbs. When you officially sign the paper up to join CrazyGood, which combines a bit of Facebook, a whole lot of multi-level marketing, and a whole 10 percent payout to charity, as part of trying to create citizen journalists, you're not going to be that relevant. When you're doing this because you've yet to hire even a part-time editorial person after canning me, you're not a newspaper in any real sense of the term.

You're a PR sheet. Nothing else.

And, when your comments in private, versus in public, about City of Duncanville officials, among others, reach high levels of hypocrisy, you're not even a very honest PR sheet.

Of course, all of this reflects demographic and other issues that led me to also blog, two years ago, that south suburban Dallas wouldn't get a real newspaper for years to come.

Focus Daily News could be that paper. But it won't. The commitment to local news and local sports is still spotty. The print quality, photography and other things are ... horrible. But publisher Marlon Hansen is committed to having a daily paper there so he can make money off national ads, but not with the same amount of news coverage as the paper once had, at least at times -- a full decade ago.

Obama to SCOTUS: "Trust us on environment"

And, sadly, in the case of six states suing power plants because the EPA continues to drag its feet on carbon dioxide regulation rules, the high court seems ready to believe Team Obama.

First, the EPA will do nothing before November 2012. That's clear.

Second, there's not a high chance it will pass very tight standards after that.

Third, on issue after issue, Obama has already shown just how "trustworthy" he is.

Does Obama want to "lose" budet negotiations?

Greenwald offers plenty of evidence that what some inside-the-Beltway Democratic-type bloggers think is bad negotiating by Team Obama is actually just what he wants to do. And, Glenn didn't even mention the Carfood Commission.

That said, Glenn rightly notes that the Josh Marshalls of the world who bewail what they see as poor negotiating skills will vote "Obama right or wrong."

April 17, 2011

West Antarctic ice in more trouble

Warming waters from the Pacific are increasing temperatures on the ice sheet and the Antarctic Peninsula. With this news, we may be seeing another global warming feedback mechanism starting up.

Old? I won't be seeing you in church

Not that I would have been there anyway, but, increased longevity is statistically associated with lower church attendance.
Ten extra years of life expectancy correlated to an 8.4 percent drop in people's likelihood to call themselves religious.

Similarly, an increase of 10 years of life expectancy was linked to a decrease in religious service attendance of between 15 percent to 17 percent. These numbers held true even after controlling for income, past communism (which tends to decrease religiosity), prevalence of Catholicism and Islam in the country, and variations on religious beliefs about God, heaven and hell.
Whether or not there are atheists in foxholes, there should be more and more at retirement villages and nursing homes, eh?