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Waste of Space

[ 8 ] April 23, 2008 |

You will be shocked to learn that Maureen Dowd’s column today says that a male Democratic candidate is really a woman, and a female Democratic candidate is really a man/castrating bitch. And this crackpot nonsense is expressed entirely through witless cliches only Camille Paglia or Ann Althouse could find clever. (Note: this post may be applied to all past and future Maureen Dowd columns about Democrats.)

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Another reason to love xkcd

[ 0 ] April 23, 2008 |

I continue to think this comic is written by a woman contrary to what its own author claims.

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Penn Primary

[ 16 ] April 23, 2008 |

I don’t have much to add, and watched about as much coverage as Ezra, because the result is clear: Obama remains a near-lock, and Clinton’s not going to drop out after a 10-point win. I would like to second what should be an obvious point from Isaac Chotiner: claims that Obama “has to” start winning or seriously cutting into Clinton’s core constituencies in upcoming states are silly. He already has a majority coalition for the primary, and as far as the general election poor people and older women aren’t going to suddenly turn into a Republican constituency.

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Give Us This Much

[ 9 ] April 23, 2008 |

Hey, at least unlike certain cities I could name, my old hometown was certainly devoid of rioting!

(I really shouldn’t joke about this, since I was in Montreal for the Gucci Riot following the Habs winning in ’93, which came a few block from my apartment; fortunately, I was one of roughly 14 people at the 12-inning Expos game that night, so they were over by the time I got home…)

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Ace in the Hole

[ 10 ] April 23, 2008 |

Photobucket

Ang Lee speaks out against proposed Tory legislation that would deny the usual Canadian tax credits to “films and videos deemed offensive to the public.” (In fairness, if it would have stopped Lost and Delirious from being made it would prove that even social conservatism has its upside.) More important tonight, however, is that he can serve as a good luck charm, as he shows good judgments about both Western Canadian cities and hockey teams:

Lee captivated his audience with his friendly, unassuming demeanour.

His next movie, he disclosed, is “a comedy about the sixties,” but he would also love to make a film one day in Vancouver.

“I think this is the most beautiful city in the world …. I hope it’s a hockey movie. I want to make a movie where Canadians win, not always Americans,” said Lee, who became a fan of the Calgary Flames during the filming of Brokeback Mountain.

Hopefully Game 7 will be a little more suspenseful than tonight’s primary. (For some reason, I’m guessing some LG&M readers care more about the latter, so this can serve as a Primary Open Thread.)

…ugh, this fiasco has been much more The Hulk than The Ice Storm…

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Things That Are Cool.

[ 10 ] April 23, 2008 |

Add this one to the list: going to the Supreme Court to watch oral argument for a case you worked on. I can now attest that it’s pretty damn cool. And also, quite an odd experience to find myself nodding along with Scalia and thinking Ginsburg is on the wrong track.

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In-the-Tank Hack of the Day

[ 7 ] April 22, 2008 |

Mr. Richard Cohen, ladies and gentlemen!

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Why Vaccination Matters

[ 0 ] April 22, 2008 |

I was going to link to this (via Angry Professor) even before Obama brung the stupid.

The baby was 9 months old, his birth weight was 8 lbs 5 ounces. At six months he weighed just shy of 20 pounds. Today he weighed 15 pounds – he was a skeleton and he was dying.

Mom had brought him in after treatment by his naturopath had failed. Constant coughing had made it impossible for him to take in adequate nutrition and starvation, coupled with a raging bacterial pneumonia were conspiring to shortly end his very short life.

We worked feverishly. Intubation, IV boluses, major antibiotics, vasopressors. All futile.

At 9:03 pm, after 30 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation we pronounced him dead.

This boy had pertussis. His mother choose not to vaccinate him. I won’t enter that debate. Anyone who has ever watched a child die or become permanently disabled from a preventable illness supports vaccination.

The lesson to all this is that “teach the controversy” and “reasonable people can disagree” mantras need only apply to issues that are genuinely controversial or to disagreements that include two camps of people who actually possess reason.

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Gates Smacks Down Air Force, Again

[ 13 ] April 22, 2008 |

SecDef Gates at the Air Force Air University:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday the Air Force is not doing enough to help in the Iraq and Afghanistan war effort, complaining that some military leaders are “stuck in old ways of doing business.”

Gates said in a speech at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., that getting the Air Force to send more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Iraq and Afghanistan has been “like pulling teeth.”

Addressing officer students at the Air Force’s Air University, the Pentagon chief praised the Air Force for its overall contributions but made a point of urging it to do more and to undertake new and creative ways of thinking about helping the war effort instead of focusing mainly on future threats.

“In my view we can do and we should do more to meet the needs of men and women fighting in the current conflicts while their outcome may still be in doubt,” he said. “My concern is that our services are still not moving aggressively in wartime to provide resources needed now on the battlefield.”

In part this is a call for more UAV activity over Iraq and Afghanistan, but it’s also clearly an attack on the USAF’s focus on the F-22 and other advanced combat systems. These systems are typically being justified by the potential of war with China, and likely wouldn’t contribute significantly to the wars we’re already in.
Christian at Defense Tech thinks that this is an unfair line of attack, and suggests that the Air Force has, in fact, been pretty agile. I agree with Christian up to a point; in spite of the various tomfoolery of Charles Dunlap and all of the complaints about insufficient numbers of F-22s, the Air Force has done almost all of what has been asked of it. To the extent that the use of airpower has been insufficient to the task, the flaw isn’t predominantly within the USAF itself, but rather with the larger strategic plan and institutional structure. But then I suspect that what SecDef Gates is really calling for here is that the Air Force act more like the Navy. The Navy want expensive, high tech weapons that will be useless in Iraq, but it has been much quieter than the Air Force in its pursuit of these weapons. The Navy has also worked hard to develop for itself a peacetime mission that doesn’t concentrate on preparing for or fighting a high intensity war with China.

So, what I think Gates is really suggesting is that the Air Force should manage its outbursts, rather than that it has done a particularly poor job at the task at hand.

See also Matt.

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Pandering We Don’t Need

[ 0 ] April 22, 2008 |

Seriously, Obama needs to stop with this public-health-damaging nonsense immediately.

…what Megan says in comments is worth elevating here:

And to second (third, fourth, whatever) those above – the science is not inconclusive. But I am willing to concede that this is one of those times when the precise language of scientists (and in particular, statisticians) can become misconstrued. In particular, no study can ever ‘disprove’ much of anything. All it can do (and many, many studies consistently have, in this case) is fail to find a link. In statistical terms we always call this ‘failing to reject the null hypothesis of no relationship.’ It’s a weird double negative, but it’s careful for a reason – we always set up our experiments assuming the thing we’re trying to disprove is true. Our conclusion options are to reject the null (and conclude that a relationship exists) or fail to reject the null. We typically shy away from clearly stating that this means conclusively that no relationship exists, since as scientists we’re always open to the possibility of being wrong – perhaps another study will come along with better/different methodology and contradict our findings, perhaps someone will have more money and more time and collect more data and contradict our findings, etc. However, all that hemming aside, just like a scientific theory is treated with more confidence than the layman interpretation of the word ‘theory,’ when numerous studies consistently fail to reject the null hypothesis, most reasonable scientists are comfortable assuming that this means that no relationship exists.

Clinton too, ack.

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This Thing Isn’t Over Yet?

[ 13 ] April 22, 2008 |

I guess my prediction today will be…Clinton by 13.

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From the Administration That Just Loves Legalese

[ 0 ] April 21, 2008 |

Further proof that the Bush administration thinks it is above the law, or that the law is just not worth following: according to the government accountability office (GAO) the administration’s push to restrict the use of S-CHIP funds to cover people above the poverty line was in violation of federal law.

The legal opinion, requested by a bipartisan pair of senators, lambasted the president for vetoing Congress’s twice-passed expansion of the SCHIP health care program, which provides health insurance for kids whose parents are too wealthy to get Medicaid but too poor to be able to afford private health insurance. Congress twice approved more money for SCHIP, and BUsh twice vetoed it, mongering fears about socialized medicine.

So there we have it. 70,000 fewer kids insured than would have been possible plus a violation of federal law for good measure.

(via Bitch PhD)

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