The Intelligent Design Movement

March 28, 2010 · Print This Article

“If you really want to know what is at risk from the anti-evolution movement, look at Kansas. And the reason of that is, when the anti-evolution movement got control of the state board of education, what did they do? They rewrote the definition of Science itself. Not just Biology. Not just Evolution. Science.”

This is a great speech by Ken Miller about the dangers of the anti-evolution movement in America, and the very real danger that they pose to our education system. In the process, he presents conclusive proof of evolution (as if we needed any more) and rips apart the reasoning behind intelligent design. It’s almost two hours of video, but half of that is taken up by the QA session. Even that part is well worth watching all the way through.

California Housing

June 8, 2009 · Print This Article

sonoma housing California Housing

If you’re wondering what’s wrong with the housing market in California, look no further than this ad from last Sunday’s paper… SELLER MUST SELL! Well, okay, then! Let me just go to the bank and get a couple of millions from my saving account.

The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One

April 5, 2009 · Print This Article

This PBS interview with William K Black provides a great overview of the current banking crisis. How did we get here, where were the regulators, why is nobody getting prosecuted for fraud? Because, as Blake lays out quite convincingly, banking fraud is what created this crisis. A giant Ponzi Scheme, officially sanctioned and never investigated by the government. A tiny snippet from the 30-minute interview:

BILL MOYERS: And we have to know that, in order to know what?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: To know everything. To know who committed the frauds. Whose bonuses we should recover. How much the assets are worth. How much they should be sold for. Is the bank insolvent, such that we should resolve it in this way? It’s the predicate, right? You need to know the facts to make intelligent decisions. And they’re deliberately leaving in place the people that caused the problem, because they don’t want the facts. And this is not new. The Reagan Administration’s central priority, at all times, during the Savings and Loan crisis, was covering up the losses.

BILL MOYERS: So, you’re saying that people in power, political power, and financial power, act in concert when their own behinds are in the ringer, right?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: That’s right. And it’s particularly a crisis that brings this out, because then the class of the banker says, “You’ve got to keep the information away from the public or everything will collapse. If they understand how bad it is, they’ll run for the exits.”

Bristol Palin Breakup

March 11, 2009 · Print This Article

Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin, and the father of her infant, Levi Johnston, have broken up according to People magazine. [...]
Bristol gave birth to Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston back on December 28th of last year. She is currently taking classes in hopes of finishing her high school education.


I’m not here to gloat. I’m not here to judge or point fingers. Bristol Palin is a teenager, as is her ex(?) boyfriend. They have their whole life ahead of them. They’re at a stage in their life designed to figure out what and who they want to be. They are allowed to lead their lives the way they want. But boy, isn’t it obscene how badly the wholesome Republican world view is crashing down on them just a months after the GOP convention? And for that – that “wishful thinking” way of looking at the world, that “it’s gonna be perfect because we will it so” outlook on life, that hanging on to fairy tale values even when doing so might not be realistic or make sense – for that I award the first annual Jean-Luc Picard Facepalm Award.

facepalm Bristol Palin Breakup

Less than five months ago, the Palin family was presented as the perfect ideal of the perfect, ideal American family. Abstinence policies work! (Only it didn’t.) Palin’s daughter is going to marry her soon-to-ship-off-to-Iraq hero boyfriend! (Only they didn’t.) They’re going to raise the baby together! (Only they won’t.) “Vote for us! We’re calling it how it is, and our sense of reality is impeccable!”

And now what are we left with? Another teenage mother who is caring for her baby while trying to finish highschool. I’m sure she will do fine, the Palin family can offer a lot of support. Once again, it isn’t my intention to say “I told you so.” But I’m pissed. Not about the situation that Bristol Palin is now finding herself in. About a GOP who was either seriously believing their own hype, or trying to bullshit the country regardless. And too many people actually bought into it. Sad, sad, sad…

“Secret Recipe”? Yeah right.

February 18, 2009 · Print This Article

Am I the only one who is amused by Coca Cola ads that tout the commitment to their “secret recipe”? When, you know, HFCS profoundly changed the taste of their drink over the last three decades? Yeah, the Coca Cola Company is certainly committed to the purity of their drinks. Not marketing.

The Middle-Aged Fearmonger

January 4, 2009 · Print This Article

lipotor The Middle Aged Fearmonger

He is seated in a featureless gray room: middle-aged, charming, stylishly lit in black and white. A caption identifies him as John from Lafayette, California. And then John’s heartfelt story unfolds: John had a heart attack. At age 57, when nobody would have expected it. “Can you believe it?” It’s a rhetorical question, of course. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Not at age 57.

But of course there is a silver lining. John didn’t listen to his doctor’s warnings about his high cholesterol. John didn’t act before his heart attack happened. But we can. We can use Lipitor, which is clinically proven to lower bad cholesterol. Why take any risks when so much is at stake?

The commercial turns to color. John is enjoying life once again. And we can, too! We don’t have to worry about the troubling news that have just been delivered to us, because we can avoid John’s mistake: we can ask our doctors about Lipitor. And ensure that John’s cautionary tale wasn’t told in vain.

As the TV picture changes to two beer guys discussing the perfect balance of taste and refreshment, we’re left with a simple question: who is John? What is he? A survivor? A messenger, delivering a much needed wake up call? A future life safer? Or is John a fictitious person? An actor? Conjured up by an ad agency to spread the gospel of Pfizer, “the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company”?
In this day and age, we can’t be sure. John might be all of the above, or none. We do know one thing about who and what John is, though: John is a fearmonger. Sent by yet another pharmaceutical company to strike fear into the hearts of all people who were living a justifiably unconcerned life. Who were trusting their doctor to point out potential health problems, and then suggest the correct medication for help with the problems. Not the other way around.

John is a fearmonger. That message bears repeating. Because listening to fear mongers rarely has helped us with making informed decisions.

Listening to Critics

August 10, 2008 · Print This Article

Scott Kurtz is the author of one of my favorite web comics. I read PvP every day, and have even used his strips to send messages to my wife. Scott has had a few controversial opinions, but I usually don’t pay much attention to them. Most of the time, Scott is just telling people the uncomfortable truth, and they don’t want to hear it. Beside: success speaks for itself, and you cannot argue with somebody who has had as much success as Scott has had. That won’t keep me from arguing right here and now, though.

In a recent post, “Why We Insulate”, Scott was trying to explain why the book “How To Make Webcomics” doesn’t have a chapter on dealing with critical response to somebody’s work. Early in the post, he states this:

Why we insulate ourselves from the notion that the external critic can EVER be right, is because their critique is moot in regards to the progression of our work.

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More Ticketmaster Stupidity

August 9, 2008 · Print This Article

You might remember my scathing (non-deliverable) letter to Ticketmaster from a few months back. Not much has changed. I still don’t want to use Ticketmaster. But I decided to check on the availability and prices of some tickets today. And the process just made me laugh out loud in disbelief. Gather around everybody! Let’s poke some fun at Ticketmaster’s ridiculous “Are you really a human?” check.

ticketmaster 02 More Ticketmaster StupidityThe first word is “suitcase”. But what’s the second? “sibly”? What’s a “sibly”? That’s not a word in my dictionary. I’ll be suprised that turns out to be correct, and I refuse to type a word that doesn’t make any sense. Off to a bad start.

ticketmaster 01 More Ticketmaster StupidityAh jetzt ja. Eine Insel. Well, at least I can decypher this: “Kölnische”. “Titus”. No problem…if there wasn’t a freakin Umlaut in the word! Like 99.9% of all Ticketmaster customers, I’m using an US keyboard. How am I going to type this word without going through some serious extra pain to find the letter? Strike 2.

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John Edwards

August 8, 2008 · Print This Article

Wow. I’m not here to comment on the morality of John Edward’s affair, America already has too many oh-so-holier-than-thou pundits (who often turn out to be hypocrits). I really don’t want to be one of them. But why the hell did he run for president with this as baggage?! It was certain to be uncovered and milked by mudslingers across the presidential spectrum. Why do you run for president when you know that that presidential campaign would have been doomed? That just doesn’t make any sense to me.

Price Of Gas Around The World

July 29, 2008 · Print This Article

Here is a great chart that shows the price of gas around the world. America, take note! Of all the western industrialized nations, the US even now pays the lowest price per gallon!

This is something I’ve been telling people over the past few months: gas is expensive, especially in Europe. It should be expensive, so that we appreciate it and don’t waste it. Growing up in Germany, I got used to paying $2 per liter (and the current price is over $9/gallon in Germany). So the current price adjustment in the US, regardless of how much hardship it might create for some people, is a good thing. It drives innovation. Those 30mpg cars that everybody is hawking now came from somewhere. They came from nations that have been paying $10/gallon for several decades, and who put a high premium on fuel economy. Nobody should argue the value of that – not in a time where the global warning scare is moving front and center.