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ThoughtCriminal's Journal
Posted by ThoughtCriminal in General Discussion
Mon May 09th 2011, 11:16 PM
(with Apologies to Carl Sagan)

I spent the most of the first half of my life in Alabama, the latter half in Arizona I'm old enough to have memories of George Wallace closing our neighborhood school to prevent it from being desegregated. It was my introduction to racial politics in the "Heart of Dixie". I have some perspective of what it is like to very Blue in a Red state, and about the stereotypes about residents of the American South.

People are generally surprised when I tell them that I'm from Alabama. The lack of an accent throws them off (There are various explanations that I won't go into here). What sometimes happens next is interesting. If you want to find out about "Closet Racism", just step into the shoes of an adult white mail, and tell people you're from a deep southern state. I find that liberals will sometimes get a little cautious - until they find out I'm "Actually OK". I don't mind it much, I consider myself lucky that I was raised by progressive parents. I know far too many of my schoolmates from those days have not shaken the generations of prejudice. What is more alarming is the reaction I more commonly get from conservative acquaintances. When they find out that I was raised in the south, they sometimes think it's safe to express views about race that I doubt they would voice in public. I'm told that they admire "Southern Values" with regards to race and they assume that I share that viewpoint since 1 - I'm white and 2 - I'm from the south.

I experience both liberals and conservative geographic stereotyping - but I think there is a substantial difference. The liberals are relieved that I'm not racist and the conservatives are shocked and disappointed.

I have not traveled outside of Arizona much in recent years, but I would not be surprised to get a similar reaction these days. I do not want to be "Congratulated" for our "Bold immigration reform" or hear how swell they think Sheriff Arpaio is.

Just remember that if you mix all in a paint can, it's going to be some shade of purple, even in the reddest and bluest of states.
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Posted by ThoughtCriminal in The DU Lounge
Sat Jan 31st 2009, 04:31 AM
Now, I understand that these shows have fans here, but I can't stand them.

Now, it might be that my tolerance is too low to watch enough to appreciate their appeal, and there are plenty examples of non-reality shows that suck even more, but here's what I hate:

- All Circus, No Bread
- On reality shows, being a self-absorbed asshole is a plus, Sociopaths rule.
- The worst kind of high-school personality politics
- Thrive on conflict rather than cooperation
- Humiliation is essential
- Cheap production, no writers, no actors, no talent, no creativity beyond a freakish initial concept - You can't hire scabs this cheap.

I'm kind of hoping that their popularity starts to fade.

I think eventually, we will associate these reality shows with the Bush era the same way we remember rigged game shows along with the 50s/McCarthy era. They did not start or end with either, but I don't think it is entirely coincidental that they peaked at the same time.

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Posted by ThoughtCriminal in Environment/Energy
Tue Jun 17th 2008, 05:15 AM
OK, this one is getting widely circulated by right-wing bloggers and forum spammers (probably coming to email spam soon):

"Top 10 reasons to blame Democrats for soaring gasoline prices" by William Tate

Oh, and they're eating it up (without reading it very carefully)

Let the debunking begin - feel free to add and refine.
(If you're short on reading time, just skip to #2 - it's high entertainment!)

10) Democratic opposition to ANWR

Claim: If we could get 1 million barrels a day from ANWR, it would reduce the price of oil by 50 cents a gallon immediately.

Reality Check: According to a more recent analysis the Dept of Energy, even if ANWR would have very little impact on gasoline prices:

"But the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent statistical agency within the Department of Energy, concluded that new oil from ANWR would lower the world price of oil by no more than $1.44 per barrel—and possibly have as little effect as 41 cents per barrel—and would have its largest impact nearly 20 years from now if Congress voted to open the refuge today. "

(note that's 41 cents per barrel of oil, not gallon of gasoline)

"EIA said its projection is that ANWR oil production would amount to 0.4 percent to 1.2 percent of total world oil consumption in 2030. The figure is low enough that OPEC could neutralize any price impact by decreasing supplies to match the additional production from Alaska, EIA noted."

9) Coastal Drilling - Democrats have consistently fought efforts to drill off the U.S. coast,
Tate fails to mention that there was also substantial Republican Opposition to offshore drilling - when it's their coast.

- The moratorium that Clinton signed - was an EXtension of a ban enacted by George H.W> Bush in 1990: /

- George W. Bush and his brother Gov. Jeb Bush, also opposed drilling off the coast of Florda:

- Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also opposed coastal drilling in California.

Tate then mentions that "the Chinese now slant drilling for oil just 50 miles off the Florida coast" and links to this article (which he apparently di not bother to read):

Here are some of the portion that he neglects to mention:

"Yet no one can prove the Chinese are drilling anywhere off Cuba's shoreline. The China-Cuba connection is "akin to urban legend," said Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican from Florida who opposes drilling off the coast of his state but who backs exploration in ANWR."

"China is not drilling in Cuba's Gulf of Mexico waters, period," said Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow with the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami and an expert in oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Martinez cited Pinon's research when he took to the Senate floor Wednesday to set the record straight"

"China's Sinopec oil company does have an agreement with the Cuban government, but it's to develop onshore resources west of Havana, Pinon said. The Chinese have done some seismic testing, he said, but no drilling, and nothing offshore."

There's more - but I can't post the whole article.

Tate make no effort to quantify the price impact of fully exploiting offshore oil drilling and no attempt to evaluate the well known risks that even frighten the most conservative Republicans - when it's their beaches. And after Katrina, some wing-nuts still think offshore drilling is a good idea?

8) Insistence on alternative fuels One of the first acts of the new Democrat-controlled congress in 2007 was an energy bill that "calls for a huge increase in the use of ethanol as a motor fuel and requires new appliance efficiency standards." By focusing on alternative fuels such as ethanol, and not more drilling, Democrats have added to the cost of food, worsening starvation problems around the word and increasing inflationary pressures in the U.S., including prices at the pump.

As a source, Tate links to this article (again either not reading it, or assuming that his readers won't):

Here are some of the parts that he missed - I will highlight the part of the sentence that Tate edited out:

"The energy bill, which also calls for a huge increase in the use of ethanol as a motor fuel and requires new appliance efficiency standards, was approved by the House 314-100 after clearing the Senate last week, 86-8."
Can you guess why he cut off the rest of that sentence? Now, I would like to think the Democrats had a 86-8 edge in the Senate and 314-100 edge in the House, but it sure looks to me like a lot of Republicans supported this bill.

Can you also guess why he left out this part?:
"After the Senate approved the legislation last week, the White House immediately said Bush would sign it once it reaches his desk."

He sure didn't want to quote this paragraph:
"Democrats said the fuel economy requirements — when the fleet of gas-miser vehicles are widely on the road — eventually will save motorists $700 to $1,000 a year in fuel costs. They maintain the overall bill, including more ethanol use and various efficiency requirements and incentives, will reduce U.S. oil demand by 4 million barrels a day by 2030, more than twice the daily imports from the volatile Persian Gulf."

Regarding corn ethanol and food prices, he ignores this portion of the article he used:
"The bill requires a massive increase in the production of ethanol for motor fuels, outlining a ramp-up of ethanol use from the roughly 6 billion gallons this year to 36 billion gallons by 2022. After 2015, the emphasis would be on expanded use of cellulosic ethanol, made from such feedstock as switchgrass and wood chips, with two thirds of the ethanol — 21 billion gallons a year — from such non-corn sources."

He quotes a seperate article for the ethanol- food price connection:

And again leaves out a critical line:
"Adding to the worries about corn-related food prices is President Bush's ambitious goal, announced in his last State of the Union address, that the United States will produce 35 billion gallons of ethanol by 2017"
It's a George W. Bush plan - yet Democrats are to blame???

Above all, Tate does not even try to explain why alternative fuels and more efficient cars are responsible for $4+ gasoline.

7) Nuclear power - Tate notes that:

"The last nuclear reactor built in the United States, according to the US Dept of Energy, was the "River Bend" plant in Louisiana. Its construction began in March of 1977."

and adds: "Need I say more?"

Uh, yeah. Like maybe some analysis as to WHY no new plants have been constructed, what it would cost, who would pay for the insurance , where the waste would be stored, or how much oil could be saved if we had?

6) Coal - Let's just ignore environmental costs - they're hidden!

And where in any of his sources does Tate show Democratic opposition to coal liquefaction projects?
"The coal industry praises Obama's reintroduction, with Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), of the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007 last week, which would provide incentives for research and plant construction. The industry says the technology, which converts coal into diesel engine fuel, would reduce America's dependence on foreign oil through a new, home-mined fuel that burns as cleanly as gasoline."

5) Refinery capacity

Most of the price increases we are seeing are directly connected to the price of crude oil. Oil was $28 a barrel in November 2000, now it's close to $140 (June 16, 2008).

When A right-winger tells me that no new refineries have been added in the past 30 years, I ask them if they think the U.S. population is the same as it was in 1959 - the last year that we added a state.
"Environmental regulations are not preventing new refineries from being built in the U.S. From 1975 to 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received only one permit request for a new refinery. And in March, EPA approved Arizona Clean Fuels’ application for an air permit for a proposed refinery in Arizona. In addition, oil companies are regularly applying for – and receiving – permits to modify and expand their existing refineries."

"Oil companies have exploited their strong market position to intentionally restrict refining capacity by driving smaller, independent refiners out of business. A congressional investigation uncovered internal memos written by the major oil companies operating in the U.S. discussing their successful strategies to maximize profits by forcing independent refineries out of business, resulting in tighter refinery capacity. From 1995-2002, 97% of the more than 920,000 barrels of oil per day of capacity that have been shut down were owned and operated by smaller, independent refiners. Were this capacity to be in operation today, refiners could use it to better meet today’s reformulated gasoline blend needs."

Then ask them to get specific - what did the Republicans do about this "Problem" during the 6 years that they controlled all 3 branches of government?

4) Reduced competition - "With consolidation in the oil industry, has come reduced competition. Remember, most of the major oil company mergers -- Shell-Texaco, BP-Amoco, Exxon-Mobil, BP-ARCO, and Chevron-Texaco -- happened on Clinton's watch. The number of oil refiners dropped from 28 to 19 companies during Clinton's two terms."

Now here we go, I really expect that Republican Conservatives are going to get behind the idea of breaking up the oil companies! Anybody in the DOJ who wants to suggest some anti-trust action is going to get their head mounted in Cheney's bunker.

Note that the chart used as a source by Tate shows that the consolidation continued into the Bush Administration (down to 13 by 2006 I think). Not that he thinks his readers will actually look at it.

3) The Global Warming Myth

I could post pages and pages about this brand of anti-science idiocy. But the sources that he quotes do not quantify any connection to the current jump in oil prices and carbon limits since cap and limit legislation has not been passed. As for the future, here's the part of his link his readers are supposed to miss:
"After Sen. John McCain emerged as the Republican candidate for president on the Feb. 5 “Super Tuesday” primary, the price of carbon dioxide traded on the Chicago Climate Exchange jumped from $2.70 for $4.50 per ton."

2) Speculation - I think this one is my favorite
Tate writes:
"Given the unchanged equilibrium in global oil supply and demand over recent months amid the explosive rise in oil futures prices ... it is more likely that as much as 60% of the today oil price is pure speculation,"

OK - so according to Tate and his source the other nine reasons Tate has given turn out to be B.S. or at least 60% of it.

Tate continues:
"The trading of energy commodities by large firms on OTC electronic exchanges was exempted from (federal) oversight by a provision inserted at the behest of Enron and other large energy traders into the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000." The bill was signed into law by Bill Clinton, in one of his last acts in office."

Fair enough - now here is where this gets hilarious! Tate's source is this Wikipedia entry:
"The CFMA has received criticism for the so-called "Enron Loophole," 7 U.S.C. §2(h)(3) and (g), which exempts most over-the-counter energy trades and trading on electronic energy commodity markets. The "loophole" was drafted by Enron Lobbyists working with senator Phil Gramm <1> seeking a deregulated atmosphere for their new experiment, "Enron On-line"."

Tate left out the part about the loophole being drafted by Enron lobbyists working with REPUBLICAN Senator Phil Gramm (and later McCain advisor)

What is the Wikipedia source for that entry? ... A DAVID CORN ARTICLE in MOTHER JONES!:

I'll bet he never bothered to look at the footnote.

Here's my favorite part:

"President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress were locked in a budget showdown. It was the perfect moment for a wily senator to game the system. As Congress and the White House were hurriedly hammering out a $384-billion omnibus spending bill, Gramm slipped in a 262-page measure called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Written with the help of financial industry lobbyists and cosponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the chairman of the agriculture committee, the measure had been considered dead—even by Gramm. Few lawmakers had either the opportunity or inclination to read the version of the bill Gramm inserted. "Nobody in either chamber had any knowledge of what was going on or what was in it," says a congressional aide familiar with the bill's history.

If you post nothing else in rebuttal - make sure you inlcude this and make sure to emphasize that THIS is Tate's argument and HIS actual source. I'll bet that he changes the article to delete/replace reason #2 though.

1) Defeat of President Bush's 2001 energy package

Tate quoting the NY Times:
"Mr. Bush's plea for a new dialogue came as his administration published the report of an energy task force containing scores of specific proposals... for finding new sources of power and encouraging a range of new energy technologies."

Now, would that be the Cheney's "Energy Task Force"? The one that is super secret that the public is not allowed to know who was in it or what was said?

"The article went on to quote some rather prescient words from the President, "this great country could face a darker future, a future that is, unfortunately, being previewed in rising prices at the gas pump and rolling blackouts in the great state of California" if his plan was not adopted in 2001."

Blackouts? in California? Now how could that happen again? See also #2

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Posted by ThoughtCriminal in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Jun 07th 2008, 05:44 PM
It was running really good when they took it in 2001. Here's what we're going to find when we get it back.

1. First, they cancelled the insurance - the premium money was spent on a big party for their cronies.
2. Then they went down to the "Instant Cash" place with the title and got a high interest loan in our name. The cash went to gifts for some of the closest cronies.
3. Next, they crashed it into another country's living room. We get sued for for damages.
4. Then they took it to a chop shop, traded it for cash and threw another big party for the cronies.

And finally, they blame the Democrats for all the above.

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Posted by ThoughtCriminal in The DU Lounge
Sun Dec 09th 2007, 12:59 PM
Based on "Global Fire Power Rankings" from:

Let's take a look at first round matches. Remember - nuclear weapons are not permitted until the semi-finals!

1 - United States
16 - Iran

Coach Cheney was quite excited about drawing Iran in the first round.

2 - Russia
15 - Canada

Russia was hoping to start with a 3rd-World country in the 1st round. Canada wishes it was hockey.

3 - China
14 - Mexico

China's 14:1 ratio in Military personel is going to be hard for Mexico to overcome.

4 - India
13 - Indonesia

India has big leads in almost every department (Spending, personel, armor, artilley, aircraft)

5 - Germany
12 - South Korea

One of the most interesting 1st round match-ups. Both countries anticipated a fight for some time - just with somebody else.

6 - France
11 - Italy

The 1st round's only neighboring countries.

7 - Japan
10 - Great Britain

A re-match from WW-2

8 - Turkey
9 - Brazil

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Posted by ThoughtCriminal in Political Videos
Tue Apr 03rd 2007, 09:17 PM

Coping with a totalitarian regime.

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Posted by ThoughtCriminal in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Mar 06th 2007, 08:01 PM
As a clearinghouse of right-wingnut ideas on science, history and everything, it is fascinating to visit the conservative answer to Wikipedia:

Here is a sampling of some of the many "truths" one can find there:

Patriotism means unquestioning obedience and loyalty to the Leader of the country, so long as he is true to conservative Christian principles.
The opposite of patriotism, treason, is the act of questioning, criticizing or voting against the Leader. However, it is not treason to oppose a Democrat president

The 19th Amendment:
was a violation of the principle of states' rights.

National Socialist German Workers’ Party:
All Nazis are atheists. However, in fairness, it should be noted that not all atheists are necessarily Nazis (for example, some are Communists).

The Law of Mass Conservation:
Matter cannot be created (except by the Almighty during the Genesis creation event<1>) or destroyed (except by the Almighty at the End of Days), it can only change form.

Nobel Prize:
The selection process has become political, as it was not given to Ronald Reagan or Pope John Paul II or to anyone who criticizes the theory of evolution.

Intelligent Design:
The theory of Intelligent Design has little or no support outside the United States, because most other developed nations are too far down the path of un-Godliness and anti-Christianity

Nicolaus Copernicus:
To this day, most Protestant countries reject the Copernican theory

Let's just say that, to borrow a phrase from Lewis Black, we are dealing with people who think "The Flintstones" was a documentary.

Global Warming:
Also, these scientists are mostly liberal athiests, untroubled by the hubris that man can destroy the Earth which God gave him.

Wikipedia is 6 times more liberal than the American public.


It is amusing to click on the "History" tab and examine the "Diffs". Then follow the edit history of some individuals.

Hiram Whickermeister III for example:

Who likes to edit entries to emphasize the christian fundamentalist viewpoint.

For example, he changed:

"Newer vaccines are being used against sexually transmitted diseases, which raises more difficult ethical issues like should children get a vaccine that will encourage them to behave irresponsibly? It's a difficult question."

to -

"Newer vaccines are being used against sexually transmitted diseases. This is wrong, as it frees children to behave irresponsibly. Vaccines against STDs are unnecessary for those who live Godly Christian lives; such diseases are the just punishment of those who are un-Godly."

So that -

"Liberal vagueness removed (there is no doubt that vaccines against STDs are bad"
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Posted by ThoughtCriminal in Religion/Theology
Sat Jul 15th 2006, 11:01 PM
Right Behind

Suddenly, without any warning, millions of people vanish. The Rapture arrives, but those remaining are perplexed. Over the next few days it becomes clear that the departed are not members of the Christian Religious Right, but seem to be limited to the tolerant, the liberal, the advocates of peace, the quiet ones - Christian and non-Christian, faithful and non-believers. Only those who understood that only their religious dogma was "The Way" remain.

With remarkable speed, the remaining religious leaders revise prophesy to explain what has happened: "God has removed the Godless from Earth to create a paradise for us". We just misunderstood. But, as reports from all over the world began filter through the chaos, it becomes clear that there are problems in the revised interpretations. Fundamentalists of all faiths have been left behind. - Clearly, God has left them more work to do in the elimination of evil...
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