20 May 2012

Odds and ends

I didn't have time to do a link round-up today, but here are a few items that caught my attention:

This week brought us the best Romney quote yet: "I’m not familiar precisely with what I said, but I’ll stand by what I said, whatever it was."  Like the etch-a-sketch thing, it fits the guy like a glove.

The National Review accused Elizabeth Warren of plagiarizing a book which, as it turns out, was published after her own book was.  This is really kind of sad because the National Review, long ago, was actually a pretty respectable magazine.  In the 1980s I subscribed to it.

The most barbarous regime on Earth has just banned the use of the English language in business.  Well, we'll soon see how much the endorsement of some tinpot medieval theocracy matters to the global status of our language.  Interestingly, the place where I read this was the English-language website of Russia TV.  Apparently a strong, confident non-Western society does not feel slighted by using English to communicate internationally.

The Washington Post reported that, as of last year, slightly more than half of all the babies born in the US were non-white -- and so naturally everyone has to pick up on this claim and ruminate on it.  Of course, as I've pointed out earlier, the claim itself -- like the claim that half the total US population will be "non-white" by 2050 -- is true only insofar as the person pictured at the top of this post is "non-white".  (It's highly unlikely that the racial categories we use today will still be meaningful in 2050, anyway.)  Such reports may be useful to the right wing for keeping their knuckle-dragging legions agitated and ready to rumble (and vote), but they don't reflect reality.

As Europe and (much of) the United States have become essentially de-Christianized over the last century or two, science has flourished and forged ahead there.  Unfortunately the process also works in reverse.  South Korea, unlike its neighbors Japan and China, has proven highly susceptible to Christian proselytizing -- about 30% of the population is now Christian -- and now we see the fruits of this:  the Ministry of Education has agreed to remove evolution from school textbooks after a campaign by Christian groups.  PZ Myers thinks this suggests a possible strategy for intellectual warfare.

David Frum critiques OWS:

.....hobo camps.....defined OWS as a movement of its own oddball 1% rather than the American mainstream. If instead OWS had staged daily 1-hour teach-ins—followed by trash pick-up in the parks where it convened—it might have proceeded to build on its first success.

Commenter "ItsTimeNow" responds:

We did. We had daily cleanups, sometimes more. We had multiple teach ins going on all the time. Is it our fault the media didn't report this and instead focused on the fringe elements? The homeless who will naturally wander in? There were incidents were the city drove up with vans, and released mentally insane people right there, across the street from Zuccotti! We accepted them instead of forcing them out on the street, and for that we got a bad reputation.

Don't believe every impression you get from the MSM.  They're pushing a narrative.

The G8 summit just concluded in Washington ended with Obama endorsing the new pro-growth, pro-jobs, anti-austerity wave sweeping Europe, strengthening France's new President Hollande who is the most powerful representative of that movement.  Let's hope that this will embolden the Greeks (who return to the polls next month) to give even more of their votes to Syriza, the far-left anti-austerity coalition, which is committed to defying the EU on this issue.  The cut-spending austerity-mania pushed by the EU and by US Republicans has already inflicted horrific suffering and sent country after country into an economic death-spiral.  The faster it is swept away by Hollande, Obama, and other enlightened leaders hopefully to be elected in other countries soon, the better.

As if bitter-end über-austeritard Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, weren't having a lousy enough day already, she had to stand next to British Prime Minister David Cameron and watch as a British team squashed Germany in some big-deal soccer game.

Finally, a couple of video tributes to Mitt Romney:


(found via Smartypants)


(found via Dogs against Romney)

10 Comments:

Blogger LadyAtheist said...

I wonder if the Quiverfull movement will be gaining in popularity with the news that white people won't be the majority soon. The Duggars portray large families as such a happy happy happy Stepford lifestyle after all.

21 May, 2012 05:29  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I didnt even know that the Saudi's were so strick on the English language, the calendar thing I expect I reckon, even the Jew's got their own year ... I mean ... arent the Saudi's one of our greatest business partner's and allies? Oh well.

The Frum piece on OWS was actually mild as far as any criticism compared to what some folk's say about them I reckon, lot's of folk's "do" though look at it as pissing in the wind, I simply think it's fuel to cause growth of other movement's related.

Have a good un Infodell ....

21 May, 2012 11:01  
Blogger B.R. said...

I hope South Korea enjoys the brave world of science circa 1800. When their Dark Age is over, perhaps they'll try harder to keep up.

21 May, 2012 11:52  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

LA: It will probably gain in popularity among those who don't have to go through the actual pregnancies personally. Like I said, this yikes-they're-outnumbering-us thing is good for keeping the knuckle-draggers agitated.

RC: Yes, the Saudis are such great allies that they spend tons of oil money funding Wahhabi missionary activity in places like Afghanistan, which results in whole herds of empowered nutjobs like the Taliban, who gave a base to (mostly-Saudi) al-Qâ'idah to attack us from. As for trying to ban English, weak and insecure societies tend to obsessively fear contamination of their culture by outside influences.

BR: I hope scientists and other rational people there will fight back. Among other things, they could point out that their country will fall behind its traditional enemy Japan if it lags in science.

21 May, 2012 12:57  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Oh crikey, that's all this world needs--another populous country believing in myths and marching itself back into the Dark Ages.

On second thought, maybe Liberty University can relocate there?

Loved "The Demon Barber of Wall Street."

21 May, 2012 13:10  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

The story about the census demographic changes, particularly the explanation of "white Hispanics" reminds me of a woman in our office (Department of Human Services) who was our Spanish translator.

I always found it amusing that, when asked if she spoke Spanish, Becky would slightly indignantly respond: "I don't speak Spanish. I speak Castilian".

21 May, 2012 17:41  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SK: I'd rather Liberty University relocated to the Arctic ice pack. I assume they don't believe in global warming, so they should feel perfectly safe there.

Roy Zimmerman has quite a talent for political songs!

RtS: That's another point -- "Hispanics" are far from homogenous. Not only does the language vary from country to country and region to region, but people from Spain, Mexico, Cuba, etc. are far from having a common identity. I'm sure most people from Spain identify more with Europe than with Latin America.

21 May, 2012 17:46  
Blogger B.R. said...

That does sound promising. I think the Koreans have had it in for the Japs since they invaded with their samurai armies in 1592. Hopefully, the rational will fight back. If they have a competent court system, the creation-tards don't stand a chance. Just look at their record of legal battles here in the states, which have been pre-disposed towards anti-science for a lot longer.

21 May, 2012 18:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Actually the enmity is said to go back to the invasion of Korea by the Japanese Empress Jingo in the 3rd century (sadly, it turns out her name is not the origin of the term "jingoism":-)). I hope you're right about the courts, although the best outcome would be a public backlash by people realizing what this would do to the country's standing in science and education.

23 May, 2012 05:48  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

EXCELLENT anti-Romney vids, Infidel753! :-)

24 May, 2012 08:58  

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