Thursday, August 22, 2002
Slapping down the idiots
I know I am supposed to be packing, but I decided to surf while waiting for the last load of laundry, and I found something worth sharing.
By now, we've all seen the tedious diatribe from the Canadian bozo who makes readers of The Nation and Mother Jones look like Pat Buchananite America-firsters. Well, someone on MetaFilter, of all places, responded. Go read this scintillating takedown. It is absolutely brilliant.
(Link courtesy of Meryl Yourish.)
posted at 07:35 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
I am transferring to Europe tomorrow, and will be flying all day long. Blogging will resume on Saturday, if I can get an adaptor for the laptop computer. Otherwise, blogging will resume on Monday.
posted at 01:38 PM | permalink | Comments (2)
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Thoughts on the ESA
After reading an article in a recent issue of National Geographic magazine, I was intrigued enough to do a little more research on the subject of the Endangered Species Act. The article I was reading mentioned that the six largest of the Channel Islands (off the coast of southern California) have a population of foxes. These foxes are smaller than the grey fox found on the mainland, and are collectively known as island foxes. What caught my attention, however, is that each of the six islands' populations are considered to be different subspecies of the fox. Even though there is no difference between the foxes found, say, on Santa Rosa Island and those on San Nicolas Island, they are considered to be separate species (under the Endangered Species Act). I should point out, to be fair, that even if they were all counted as a single species, the island fox population is low enough to qualify for protection, but subspecies fragmentation (for lack of a better term) is one of the reasons that the ESA is such a mess.
An example is the Seaside Sparrow. In 1987, the last Dusky Seaside Sparrow died in captivity. No more seaside sparrows, right? Wrong. There are seven more seaside sparrow subspecies still alive, and their range is from New Hampshire to Texas (their winter range is from North Carolina to Texas). The scarcest of the seven subspecies is the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow, with an estimated population of 3000. I cannot find a total census for all seven species (nor can I find a list of all seven species, for that matter), but if 3000 is the low-water mark, we are talking about at least 21000 birds, of which the only major difference is the color of their plumage (some are darkerduskierthan others).
There are those who claim that the extinction of a species will irreparably harm the ecosystem. This is true if one refers to the total elimination of a step in the food chain. However, a cottonmouth (snake) does not differentiate between a Cape Sable seaside sparrow and a Scott's seaside sparrow, and if one of the subspecies were to become extinct, (perhaps due to a natural disaster), it is likely that another subspecies would move in to fill the hole.
Some will argue that the extinction of any species might cause the loss of a cure for a disease (usually cancer or AIDS is mentioned). This would be an effective argument if we were talking about a biologically distinct organism. This is not the case. A study was done on genetic differences between the "Northern Spotted Owl", the "California Spotted Owl" and the "Mexican Spotted Owl", three recognized subspecies of the same bird, all of which are considered endangered. There is a break in the range between the first two and the third, but the Pit River in California is the official division between the "Northern" and "California" subspecies, even though it is known that the birds on either side freely cross from one range to the other (presumably, the bird changes species when it flies across the river). The genetic sequencing for the three were identical, with the differences in color and size likely due to variations in diet and climate. Nonetheless, the furor over the "Northern Spotted Owl" has severely hindered the timber industry, and, according to a Wall Street Journal report (I do not have a specific date), paper costs have risen 25% due to efforts to preserve the northern subspecies. This is why there are those who are fighting to rein in the ESA, but environmental groups, eager to prevent devlopment or economic activity, have used the courts (and the Department of the Interior) to tie everything up in litigation. The misguided effort to preserve all possible varations of a species at all costs is one of the reasons for a backlash against the environmental movement; instead of rationally choosing which fights are important, and which are window dressing, the environmentalists wage all-out war on every single issue, many of which needlessly alienate potential allies. A reform of the ESA, eliminating the subspecies fragmentation loophole, would go a long way in reducing the number of lawsuits. Incidentally, this will benefit the movement, because they will have fewer cases to litigate, and therefore will be able to devote more time and money to the cases that remain, many of which will be truly valid.
posted at 11:54 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Bill Quick, over at Daily Pundit, linked to this drivel from San Francisco Chronicle ("The Chronic") columnist Mark Morford. I will attempt a rebuttal to the whole column.
Dang you left-coast liberal scum.
Well, he's off to a good start.
Buncha nugatory tree-hugging tofu-headed pacifist left-wing nutjobs, antiwar and Dubya-resistant and all smug and gay-friendly, sitting around naked in your hot spring mineral baths and enjoying deep-tissue massages in the woods and riding the mountain bike to the next polyamorous group sex vegan barbecue in the park. Christ.
If he ended it here, I'd be in total agreement with what's he said. Unfortunately, he had to continue.
Much of this country really does not like San Francisco in the slightest. This is my experience, a general sentiment culled from thousands of emails over a few years, excluding the happy throngs of yearning SF expats and the large numbers who consider themselves honorary SF-ites, underground progressives living like vegetarian pro-choice guerrilla rebels in patriotic ultra-affordable redneck burgs in dust-choked states that tend to rhyme with "Lexus."
Most of this country really does not like San Francisco's politics in the slightest. And the slap at Texas is just the first in a series of attacks Mr. Murford will be launching in this column.
Much of goodly America, from what I've read, thinks SF is truly beautiful and curious and worthy of a nice tourist visit to Fisherman's Wharf and maybe Alcatraz and North Beach for some overpriced pasta, strolling the streets with that oh-my-God-honey-grab-the-camera- look-at-all-the-crazies gleam.
San Francisco is a nice place to visit, not only for the crazies (of which there are plenty), but because the surroundings are beautiful, the parks (particularly the Presidio and Golden Gate Park) are gorgeous, and the weather is nice. San Francisco, however, does not have a monopoly on these amenities; San Diego and Monterey are also very nice, and for excitement, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami all blow the doors off the bay area.
But there is a certain chunk of the heartland, the "real" America (or "Amurika," as Geedubya calls it, or sometimes just "Merka," depending on how much he's struggling with the phonetics on the TelePrompTer), a great gaggle of honest hard-working citizens who write in and truly believe SF is Satan's own Romper Room, a festering cesspool of out-of-touch non-Americans who secretly worship Fidel Castro and want to abolish God.
"Amurika" is how LBJ pronounced it, not Bush. Bush mangles pronunciation sometimes, but this is not one of the words with which he has a problem. And yes, parts of San Francisco *are* a festering cesspool of out-of-touch non-Americans who secretly worship Fidel Castro and want to abolish God. The letters to the editor in the Chronic prove it every day.
And they think they are safe safe in the deeply mistaken knowledge that their kids will never get a nose ring or a sacrum tattoo or a hemp-wearing heavily dreadlocked boyfriend named Starrspanker, never suffer the slings and arrows of a nuanced progressive ideology featuring a deeper understanding of exactly who is profiting most from our "war" on terrorism.
While sacrum tattoos and nose rings are sadly popular at this time, it is rather unlikely that someone living in suburban middle America will have to worry about their children dating a hemp-wearing heavily dreadlocked boyfriend named Starrspanker, because the rest of the country realizes that the sixties ended over thirty years ago. As to that vaunted "ideology", Middle America recognizes (and rejects) Marxism, regardless of what its propenents are calling it. I won't even begin to discuss the realities of the war on terrorism (Morford's views are straight out of Chomsky).
They just open, say, the Provo Daily Gazette and read about the latest whacked Berkeley city proposal to legalize dog marriages or maybe SF's groundbreakingly weird surgery benefit for in-progress transsexuals and they scoff, viewing our fair City as incredibly weird and foreign and vaguely dangerous, an open threat to family and the sanctity of marriage and the GOP political war machine and pretty much the entire genital region in general.
Note that he doesn't DENY the nutcase proposals that come before the city councils in San Francisco and (or course) Berkeley; he just bashes those who don't share their views.
This is a hallmark of the leftwhen your ideas are bankrupt, attack the messenger. It's much easier to deflect attention toward someone else than to defend your own position. It happened during the Bill and Monica show, and during the McKinney campaign (she attacked Majette, because McKinney had no record upon which to run), and during the Global Crossing collapse (if Enron had lasted for three months longer, imagine how different that whole issue would have been framed).
Oh, we've got problems, make no mistake. Issues galore. Gaping woes. We are a deeply flawed city, an exasperating intellectual cluster-bomb sitting like a pimple on the face of a ridiculously large and confused state that can't even agree which end is more exploitable.
We are saddled with a sellout mayor and a wooden humorless governor, homelessness galore and far too many grimy streets that smell like a nasty mix of stale Starbucks and cheap leather and urine; water-use issues like a collective psychosis, tract home developments like a cancer, enough excessive PC puling and self-help whining to make Deepak Chopra wince.
Only in San Francisco could someone such as Willie Brown be considered moderate. The homelessness issue is due to the fact that successive city administrations in San Francisco (and the "Homeless Advocates") have refused to deal with the situation. The city smells bad because nobody has the intestinal fortitude to tell the vagrants that they cannot use the city streets as a latrine. Tract home developments are a response to the desperately needed housing that isn't available due to "no growth" advocates blocking any development in the city itself. And unsurprisingly, I agree 100% with the remark about the city's suffocatingly PC culture.
Energy disasters and environmental abuses and abundant self-righteousness, a state with far too many semi-quotable celebrities who truly think they know something about anything when in fact they know incredibly little about almost nothing.
The energy disasters are due to an unwillingness to build enough power plants to handle the demand (thank you, enviro-whackos). The rest of this paragraph is not too far off the mark.
We are precious. We are indignant. Our homes are wildly overpriced. We still ooze with far too much New Agey Birkenstock granola sentimentality. We are often wrong. But man, at least we try.
"Precious"how appropriate. I've already addressed the housing issue. The granola effect is self-evidentit is the source of much of the city's problems. And trying is pointless if you have no clue how to accomplish the task you are attempting.
Why, of course they hate us. What with all the incredible restaurants, terrific parks, a coastline to die for, beaches, dense forests and stunning untouched nature within a 15-minute drive, wine country less than an hour away, and more tolerance per capita than France and maybe Amsterdam combined except for all the hookers and the legal pot lounges. Gosh. Jealousy is a terrible thing.
More tolerance per capita than France doesn't say much if you're Jewish. (And the SFSU and UC-Berkeley contretemps make that comparison debatable.) The rest of the amenities have nothing to do with the reason people hate San Francisco; bringing them up is a straw man designed to divert attention from the real reason why SF is loathed by middle America.
We have interracial dating and happy mixed-race children and men flagrantly holding hands in the street as if it was no big deal, lipstick lesbians riding their Harleys to Peets on Sunday mornings, the best overall climate in the nation if you ignore the fog and entirely avoid the Richmond/Sunset.
That is all very well and good, but not everyone considers that to be the prime criterion when they are looking for a place to raise their families. Crime (which is rampant in the bay area), education (the public schools are atrocious), cost of living (the only place that makes New York look inexpensive), and job availability (there aren't many) are more important to most people than being able to watch women riding their motorcycles to get a cuppa joe.
We have phenomenal sushi and astounding art murals and Good Vibrations open late on Valetine's Day; we are the birthplace of the astonishing Burning Man desert art festival, home to the best burritos this side of Tijuana, panoramic views to make you weep, more world-class universities and Nobel Prize winners than all of Switzerland.
And we have, more than anything, a certain awareness, a consciousness, an attuned perspective unlike any other city. We are, as my S.O. calls it, a "womb" city, a giant incubator of new ideas and fresh perspectives, a destination for thinkers and rebels and innovators and mad scientists and various quasi-geniuses some of whom are wildly obnoxious but most of whom are truly interesting.
San Francisco is *not* an innovator. The city still thinks that it is the summer of love, and while the specific proposals change from year to year, the underlying attitude never left the sixties. The rest of the country recognized that time and tide wait for no man, but SF iconoclastically refused to move on.
You can find it here. You can find support and a niche for your crazy art, your vision, your body type, your particular freak flag, your perspective. Many people don't like SF because people dare to do things here, and they get away with it.
Most poeple don't like San Francisco because people get away with stuff that nobody in their right mind would sanction. The fact that the government in the city champions such idiocy is why it is disdained.
We are, in fact, quintessential urban America. More balanced and lush and less manic than New York, more temperate and quirky than Chicago, SF is what the freedom-inducing utopian metropolis was mapped out to be: which is to say, more open, tolerant, funked-out, colorful, strange, unorthodox, thoughtful, nature aware, baffled, contradictory, and kaleidoscopic than any other city in the nation. It is equal parts beautiful and annoying, frustrating and wonderful.
If San Francisco is quintessential urban America, we have an explanation for why so many people are fleeing the cities for the suburbs.
Perhaps this is why we seem to be so hated by sundry hunks of 'Merka. We get it right, even in how frequently we get it wrong.
posted at 01:21 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
I ran across this amusing diatribe (Warning: It's from The Nation), from 1996. Susan Faludi attacks Maureen Dowd for her lack of focus on Washington, and her shallow depth when she made a foray into the political world.
My, how times change! I doubt that anyone will find MoDo's scribblings of late to be "apolitical" , although "gossipy" still applies.
I found the article amusing because every single one of Faludi's attacks upon Dowd is from the left; she holds up Molly Ivins, Barbara Ehrenreich, Katha Pollitt and Anna Quindlen as examples of columnists Dowd should emulate (no mention of conservative women such as Mona Charen, Michelle Malkin, Kathleen Parker, and Phyllis Schlafly, of course; this is Susan Faludi), and she rants because Dowd wasn't using her space on the Times editorial pages for social crusades as did Anna Quindlen, her predecessor. An example of the outrage:
Dowd's decorative approach would be harmless, even fun, if she didn't bear the onus of being the Times's only female columnist. Quindlen dignified her post with strong, well-argued stands on social issues from abortion to rape to the rights of single mothers. "I'm a feminist, first and foremost," Quindlen told me. She saw her role as "a crusader for the voiceless," especially voiceless women. "Now there's a newer pundit role emerging," Quindlen said: "to illuminate the absurdity of modern life." She demurred from criticizing Dowd, whom she helped get her first Times job as a city reporter, but Quindlen said it troubles her that "I don't remember a column on abortion" by Dowd.
That's because there hasn't been one. Dowd appears to have no interest in addressing women's rights and she seems only to write about individual women when she can make fun of them, sometimes brutal fun, as she did when alluding to "the nervous retreat of the way-overweight Shannon Faulkner." (What did she think of the misogynous Citadel's treatment of Shannon? She never says.) The woman whose surface she derides with the most regularity is Hillary Clinton. Dowd sneers at the First Lady's "latest fluffer-nutter make-over," and then, after dubbing her "Earth Mother meet Mommie Dearest," she scoffs that it's "hard to believe" that Hillary Clinton gets a lot of flak because she's a strong woman.
The whole article is filled with logic (and I use the term loosely) like that. It's worth a look, simply because of the impact it might have had on Dowd. While she is still superficial, she is no longer apolitical.
posted at 11:35 AM | permalink | Comments (0)
Laugh of the day
"Today, I will repurpose my intrinsic humanity."
From the Affirmation Bullshit Generator for Sensitive New Age Guys.
(Link courtesy of Andrea Harris, who got it from Instapundit.)
posted at 09:19 AM | permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
Ding, Dong, the witch is dead
Cynthia McKinney gets knocked off by Denise Majette.
Even better, it looks like her dirtbag father (J-E-W-S) is getting waxed as well.
Georgia has been deloused.
This has been Reid Stott's story all the way; I just hitched a ride. Check out his coverage of the race here, complete with lots of lovely links.
posted at 09:55 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
This site is now the first result for "timekeeper" (out of 72,100 results).
Just in case anyone asks you, now you know.
posted at 08:32 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
USA Today bangs the reparations drum
This weekend, the USA Weekend newspaper supplement (carried by many newspapers in place of a locally produced weekend supplement, or Parade) had a love letter to the reparations movement (see Media Minded's post on the article), but that biased, one-sided article paled in comparison to today's odious piece in its sister publication, USA Today. This propaganda dominated the print edition's editorial pages. The piece, entitled "Reparations-payout debate undermines support", only mentioned in passing that there was still a debate about whether reparations should be paid; the rest of it discusses arguments in the black community about how they were to be paid, as if it were a fait accompli. A telling line from the article:
But unless African-Americans have a more wide-ranging, honest debate over this payout issue, it will continue to fracture the community and could very well undermine the entire reparations cause.
Which not only attempts to establish the legitimacy of the issue, but essentially excludes non-blacks from participating in the issue.
I can think of a whole laundry list of issues about why reparations should not be paid, but apparently my views are not valid, because I'm not black. Never mind that my taxes will pay for any such scheme (short of a special assessment on all non-blacks in the country), but I'm not entitled to debate the issue? I don't think so.
The reparations movement is hurt far more by smug, sanctimonous twaddle like this than by any jockeying amongst factions for a piece of the pie. Blacks are currently only 12% of the population of the US; excluding the other 88% is a sure-fire way to torpedo any support it may currently enjoy.
posted at 05:17 PM | permalink | Comments (2)
The gay general interest magazine The Advocate has a poll up which asks its readers
Do you think that there is a connection between support for gay and lesbian rights and support for Palestinian rights?
Which is ludicrous, because the Islamic fundamentalists that are fueling the intifada hate gays almost as much as they hate Jews, and of course Israel is the only country in the entire region that does not radically persecute gays.
I was interested in the current results; despite the "gay leadership" being very vocal in their support of the Palestinians, over 80% of the voters rejected linking the two issues. This is particularly noteworthy becasue the Human Rights Campaign (the largest gay lobbying group) gave Cynthia McKinney a $5000 contribution (link here) to her reelection campaign. Yes, McKinney has been a supporter of gay rights, but her support comes with a lot of baggage attached (her views on Israel, for example).
The poll (and a link to the results and comments) can be found here. Perhaps a little ballot-box stuffing (like thhe CAIR poll of a few months ago) is in order, although this one seems to be doing okay without any help.
(Link courtesy of Red Letter Day).
posted at 03:50 PM | permalink | Comments (1)
While obsessively checking out my stats on the Myelin Blog Ratings, I discovered a new blog has linked to me. While I don't know much about the writer, Queens Commons appears to be written by someone who lives in Queens, NY, one who is providing cites to Newsday, the Long Island-based daily to which nobody else seems to link. This is a good thing, as it means that one of the more influential dailies is now getting fact-checked. (Remember, Newsday covers all of Long Island, where the movers and shakers spend their weekends and holidays.) Queens Commons will be added to the bloglist with the next update.
(Edited 21Aug/1:30PMchanged link to direct to main page, rather than archive page.)
posted at 02:43 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, August 19, 2002
Enviro-nuts and Bush
While doing a little research today, I ran across an article posted in a newslist by Jeffrey St. Clair, co-editor of Counterpunch, an extreme-left newsletter that makes The Nation look moderate. The article in question was an article by Newsweek writer Howard Fineman. In an attempt to score a cheap hit on Bush, Fineman unwittingly hits upon the major difference between conservatism and Marxism:
As proof, Rove took note of a story in that morning's USA Today, describing Bush's new ranch home in Crawford, Texas, as an "eco-friendly" haven. "What matters are his actions over time," said Rove. "The public will see that he is an outdoorsman who cares about clean air and water and has innovative ideas." In fact, the new home is a model of green efficiency, with a water-recycling system and a geothermal heat pump. The cooling system is far more efficient than traditional central-AC units. But don't look for the Bush administration to require anyone to use it.
Yes, that is the point. Requiring people to use a certain system (one that is not by any stretch of the imagination cheap, BTW), is a hallmark of Big-Brother government run amok. Change the subject from green-friendly systems to school prayer, and I believe that Mr. Fineman's views on the subject would be quite different.
Another quibble I have with the whole subject: How much coverage did you see of this issue (Bush's green ranch)? Outside of the USA Today article (available only for a fee) and the mention in Newsweek, I cannot say that I saw much coverage of this at all. A quick Google search produces few hits that relate to the subject, and most are quite dismissive of the whole subject. It is a case of the Democrats saying "Do as I say, not as I do", while Bush says "Do what you wish; I will do what I want". Which do you prefer?
(Edit 19Aug/09:25PMfixed hard carriage returns in quoted text)
posted at 07:36 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday, August 18, 2002
Again from the Seattle Times, we have a new benchmark. A clean sweep! Every single letter in the Sunday Seattle Times is from an idiot. Anti-war idiots, anti-growth idiots, anti-chapter 11 idiots.
Letters to the Editor
Some of them have a few nuggets of intelligence imbedded, but they're coated with a layer of creamy goop. Others are simply jello through to the core. The fourth and seventh letters (anti-war letters) are the worst of the lot. Let's invoke Vietnam, Bush's service in the Air National Guard, "quagmire", and (in the last) a parallel with Saddam Hussein. Yes, Bush is famous for starving his people under sanctions, and gassing ethnic minorities in his country who oppose him. What an ass.
posted at 05:17 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Reader Carol (my unpaid intern) pointed out an article in today's Seattle Times that totally astonished me. One would think that I'd build up an immunity to stupidity after a few months in Seattle, but this boggles the mind.
Harborview staff safety jeopardized by policy?
Quoting the first few paragraphs of this news story:
A fugitive pedophile wanted by the FBI has a doctor's appointment. You know the time and place. What do you do?
If you're an employee at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, you're supposed to make sure the pedophile keeps his appointment, receives medical care and leaves without the police finding out he was there.
Providing felons, fugitives, drug addicts and homeless people with care is part of Harborview's mission. Hospital officials see it as a sanctuary and strive to ensure that prospective patients aren't scared away or offended by too much security.
But the dark side of sanctuary regularly reveals itself in the hospital's emergency room, where staffers are assaulted; in its bathrooms, where heroin addicts shoot up in the stalls; in its security logs, where assaults, thefts, rapes, robberies and drug violations are recorded.
Last month, a man with a .357 magnum and 100 rounds of ammunition walked into Harborview and killed himself in a remote first-floor bathroom. Administrators said they would review security procedures in light of the shooting, but a question looms:
Is Harborview too safe for criminals, and not safe enough for staff and patients?
"They call it a sanctuary, and yet their own employees are afraid to come there," said Field Training Officer Gary Talcott, one of 51 public-safety officers who provide security at the hospital.
This is what happens when you let a university (University of Washington) manage a publicly-owned facility (the hospital is owned by King County). Further, the local union leader is opposed to giving the security personnel additional powers, spinning it as a racial issue. Instead of making it a place where medicine is practiced, it has become a bastion of political correctness. The fact that they are endangering their other patients, their staff, and the surrounding neighborhood is irrelevant to them.
Read the whole article to fully develop a sense of outrage.
posted at 05:02 PM | permalink | Comments (1)