Cycling Nonsense

Bicycling is in.

What was once the purview of children has now become the domain of adults, and what what was once a mere pastime has become the primary mode of transportation for many thousands of people, particularly those living in urban environs.

But the rest of the country has been slow to accommodate cycling as a means of transportation. Roads remain a dangerous place, whereupon cycling may pose significant risk to life and limb. Some of the danger could be mitigated by properly lighting and maintaining roads or widening them to include bike lanes, but we can’t discount that many bicycle-related injuries and fatalities are caused by negligent or malicious automobile drivers.

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The Strange Monochromatic Morality of David Brooks

The smug know-it-all in the wire-rimmed glasses is at it again. This time, he’s playing the part of National Security Adviser, laying out a clear plan for victory in the Middle East:

The Middle East is not a chessboard we have the power to manipulate. It is a generational drama in which we can only play our role. It is a drama over ideas, a contest between the forces of jihadism and the forces of pluralism. We can’t know how this drama will play out, and we can’t direct it. We can only promote pluralism — steadily, consistently, simply.

Sticking to our values means maintaining a simple posture of support for people who share them and a simple posture of opposition to those who oppose them. It means offering at least some reliable financial support to moderate fighters and activists even when their prospects look dim. It means avoiding cynical alliances, at least as much as possible. It means using bombing campaigns to try to prevent mass slaughter.

If we do that then we will fortify people we don’t know in ways we can’t imagine. Over the long term, we’ll make the Middle East slightly more fertile for moderation, which is the only influence we realistically have. Ideas drive history.

I know: it’s a far cry from the David Brooks we knew in 2003… you know, when he was cheer-leading for regime change in Iraq. But that’s neither here nor there, because David Brooks will never admit that he has said any of these things; he will continue to vomit vapidity into our intellectual water supply without conscience or remorse until the day he dies. Continue reading

The Esoteric Wisdom of Frank Luntz

The elections are over. We lost. They won.

But what does it mean?

To provide a meaningless answer to this meaningless question, the New York Times enlisted Frank Luntz, former adviser to Newt Gingrich (whom he describes, if I may digress, as “the smartest man I had ever worked for”; that should give you an idea of where this is going), and his asinine appraisal of the 2014 mid-term elections goes a little something like this: Continue reading

Forgetting something, Mr. Speaker?

“Does anybody think that Vladimir Putin would have gone into Crimea had George W. Bush been president of the United States?” asked the Republican Speaker of the House. “No! Even Putin is smart enough to know that Bush would have bunched in the nose in about 10 seconds!”

And the crowd went wild, forgetting, of course, that one time when Putin sent Russian troops into Georgia while George W. Bush sat around with his thumb up his ass.

 

 

What Reza Aslan gets Wrong About New Atheism

I really don’t understand the fascination with Reza Aslan.

Whether or not you agree with Sam Harris’ and Bill Maher’s scathing appraisal of one of the world’s larger religions, you’d have to be blind not to see Aslan’s interest in discussing his religion on the public forum. He’s an apologist, and like any other apologist he’s made a job out of twisting himself into cognitive knots trying to convince everyone his religion is anything but anachronistic and regressive. It’s quite stunning that right-thinking liberals who wouldn’t think twice about tossing the likes of William Lane Craig into the crazy bin fawn over Aslan like he’s some monolithic warrior for social justice, defending 1.57 billion people from the tyranny of two middle-aged atheist Americans.

After the much-publicized kerfuffle between Harris and white guilt poster child Ben Affleck, Aslan is still harping on them, and people are still eating his nonsense up like it’s in short supply. Continue reading

Third Rule of Preventing an Ebola Outbreak: Ignore Jesse Jackson

Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national being treated for Ebola in Dallas, Texas, is dead, and no one should find that surprising. With a lethality rate somewhere between 50-60%, your chances of surviving EVD aren’t all that great to begin with, never mind the total lack of demonstrably effective treatments for the disease.

Healthcare expert Rev. Jesse Jackson, however, is suspicious.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who’s serving as a spokesman for the family, said that was a concern.

“I would tend to think that those who do not have insurance, those who do not have Medicaid, do not have the same priorities as those who do,” the civil rights leader said.

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Second Rule of Preventing an Ebola Outbreak: Do not listen to Ted Cruz

It isn’t often Texas governor Rick Perry displays a moment of competency, and this one is definitely worth talking about.

Regarding the man currently being treated for Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Dallas, Perry said:

“There are few places in the world better equipped to meet the challenge that is posed in this case. … The public should have every confidence that the highly trained professionals involved here will succeed in this very important mission.”

I guess the smartguy glasses are working.

I guess the smartguy glasses are working

Much of the public panic over this disease largely stems from an abject failure to understand anything about it. The news isn’t entirely to blame for this; while mainstream outlets are milking this case for all the sensationalism it is worth, most articles have been quite clear in how the virus is transmitted from host to host. The bare fact of the matter, what many Americans just can’t seem to get through their thick skulls, is that Ebola has been enormously successful in West Africa because the region is seriously lacking infrastructure, technology, education and public trust. The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone are, by all measure, manifestly ill-equipped to combat the Ebola virus. We, however, are not. Continue reading

Evangelical relationship counseling in two words:

Get married.

That’s the sum of Christian Post guest contributor KC McCauley’s advice to amorous youngsters, at any rate. It’s typical evangelical drivel, nonsense pulled from thin air by a pontifical moralist manifestly unqualified to offer advice on the subject.

In the tradition of disposable internet articles, it takes the form of a list, “5 Rumors (or Lies) Young People Believe About Romantic Relationships”. Who are these young people? How many of them actually believe these rumors and/or lies? Who the fuck knows, but I’m sure KC McCauley’s demographic research is a model of statistical perfection. Continue reading

Rick Wiles: Idiot

I wouldn’t expect the host of a radio program called End Times to be possessed of an overabundance of intelligence, but a man as old as Rick Wiles really should by now understand how viral infection works. But, it would seem, he does not.

“Now this Ebola epidemic can become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague. It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming,” he said. “Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion.”
I guess the 800 or so people Ebola has killed this year were all either gay, atheists, sluts, or abortionists. Who knew?

In Extremis

The Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled yesterday that craft-superstore chain Hobby Lobby could, on religious grounds, exempt itself from a federal law that required contraception be covered under employees’ health plans. It was a bad ruling, but an entirely unsurprising one given the five conservative Republican justices’ positions on the issues of “religious freedom” and corporate personhood.

The majority opinion, written up by Justice Alito with Justice Kennedy concurring, is as intellectually stimulating as a well-placed boot heel to the balls:

In our constitutional tradition, freedom means that all persons have the right to believe or strive to believe in a divine creator and a divine law. For those tho choose this course, free exercise is essential in preserving their own dignity and in striving for a self-definition shaped by their religious precepts. … It means, too, the right to express those beliefs and to establish one’s religious (or nonreligious) self-definition in the political, civic, and economic life of our larger community.

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