Monday, July 30, 2007

Thank You, Marty Kaplan: The Only Thing We Have to Fear...

Marty Kaplan, writing in The Huffington Post, hits the Current Occupant's fear-mongering right on the button. We're terrible at risk assessment, he points out, and the sad fact is that another terrorist attack is, sooner or later, inevitable. What matters is what we do afterwards.

No matter what happens next in Iraq, something terrible is going to happen in America.

This is not defeatism. It is facing reality. [...]

Is there any doubt that the Bush administration, and its dead-ender allies in the Republican Party and the media, will use an act of domestic terrorism as a fresh opportunity to further demonize their political opponents and further compromise the Constitution? Will they truly be able to resist the temptations of martial law, emergency powers, and the phony prerogatives of the unitary executive in wartime? [...] When the unthinkable happens to us again, will the politicians who pissed away the unity following 9/11 in the sands of Iraq have the moral wherewithal to remind us that no matter how grief-stricken we may be, the sky has not fallen and the republic has not failed?

If I could manage to be smarter about risk than I usually am, I would worry less about the possibility of terrorism, and more about the probability that the same chickenhawks who exploited it before to sell us on war without end, will exploit it again to sing the virtues of temporary fascism.

Full text

Thursday, July 26, 2007

British Troops Not To Blame for Giant Man-Eating Badger Epidemic in Basra

Found this off Bruce Schneier's site:

British forces have denied rumours that they released a plague of ferocious badgers into the Iraqi city of Basra.
Word spread among the populace that UK troops had introduced strange man-eating, bear-like beasts into the area to sow panic.

Full text. What's frightening, of course, is that we've so deranged life in that part of the world that our allies have to deny this kind of thing. Reminds me of another bit from the Beeb I was quoting to my friend Stan today:
When Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, the distinguished musical satirist Tom Lehrer decided that he could no longer perform. "It was at that moment that satire died," says Lehrer, "There was nothing more to say after that."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Visual Illusion: You Won't Believe Your Eyes

Or, rather, you will believe them, mistakenly, which is exactly the point. See Astronomy Picture of the Day for July 17 (they got it off Wikipedia).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Please Take Ten Minutes and Watch This Now

Here is a member of the mainstream media, detailing the damage done to the republic by Bush and Cheney, comparing it point-by-point to Nixon's, and calling on them to crawl away. Resign. The word "impeachment" is in there a couple times too. Eloquently done, Mr. Olbermann.