Archive for September, 2007

A Failure of “Ideas”

Monday, September 24th, 2007

In response to Ameni… Amedin… the President of Iran’s1 visit to New York, and subsequent talk at Columbia University, Maynard at Tammy’ Bruce’s blog had this to say:

When a reprehensible argument appears on the surface to be reasonable, you’ve got to look for the joker in the deck. There’s usually a ridiculous underlying assumption that you have implicitly accepted without realizing it. Case in point: Yes, there is some merit to the argument that we should be exposed to “diverse and upsetting ideas”. For example, if Ahmadinejad were saying that Hitler’s murdering the Jews was a good thing, then that would arguably constitute a “diverse and upsetting idea”. But to allege that the Holocaust never happened is not an idea, it’s a lie. It’s not a matter of opinion; it happened. This perceived obligation to propagate the evil deceits of a genocidal maniac is not the hallmark of an elite educational establishment, but rather the sign of a lunatic asylum.

The thing I like about that argument is that it applies far beyond the specific situation he’s referring to. This is a beautiful illustration of what is so wrong with a lot of political discourse these days.

1: Ahmadinejihad

Introducing the Blackintosh

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

I’ve been a fan of Apple for a long time now, and I’ve weathered a lot of claims that Apple was going to go out of business any day now, or that their products aren’t any good, or too expensive, etc. etc. People like to bash the company. But today I think I’ve seen the nadir of Apple criticism. Apparently, somebody thinks ol’ Steve-o is racist, because….

Oh hell. Read it for yourself.

The name of the post is “Is apple RACIST??????? …”

I hate to use the term people of color [I’m sure you do — ed] but I didnt want to leave anyone out. by color I mean anyone not white as a ghost, sorry if I offend, but I was offended by the lack of thought. But if you are in a club, which is the best place to take pics or camping with friends, or just haveing a night out on the town you cant take a photo memory of it cause the iphone does not have a flash. I do not like looking like a little brown spot in photos with my lighter friends and i dont want to carry around a camera if my phone has a camera on it, just to much to carry[…]. I hear tail that apple mac is not going to do anything about this problem and that they are willing to lack in the giant shadow they have made.

So… this woman thinks that caucasians are “white as a ghost”, and is calling Apple racist? I wonder how she would respond if I said she was “black as pitch”. Beyond that the sheer lunacy of the claim is stunning. Really it’s a case of this person, (whose linguistic skills aren’t anything worth writing home about), using a word that she’s undoubtedly heard hundreds of times, but never understood.

Racism??? Somebody needs to read this barely-literate boob the story of the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Insta-Update: Looks like I noticed this just in time. Apple has already pulled the post.

Geek. Geek’s Wife.

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Two items:

  • Saturday morning I spent about an hour posting corrections and additions to the Wikipedia entry for Doctor Who. I didn’t have to look anything up.
  • Later the same day my wife wanted to test if you could write on a tile with marker and clean it off later. The test message she wrote was, and I quote:
    Hello World! :)”

Obviously she’s learning.

Sanctimony in government

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

I saw the following letter to the editor in today’s Crain’s Chicago Business. It is written by Kathleen Grady, the chairwoman for the Illinois Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association. All emphasis (and interjections) mine:

Crain’s recent article “Last call” (Aug. 6) on cigar smokers no longer able to light up at local establishments deserves some clarification. While we understand that the issue presented is convenience vs. health,[…]

Okay, let’s pause right there a moment. “[W]e understand that the issue presented is convenience vs. health”. Clearly you understand nothing, then. The issue at hand is personal freedom in an ostensibly free society. You curtailing others’ rights for your own convenience, Ms. Grady, is the issue. Business owners have a right to allow their customers to smoke (well… should). You have the right to either patronize those establishments, or not, as you choose.

[…]we know that health must prevail and be protected.

It would be good for your health if you were forbidden by law to ever leave your house. Hell, how about we simply forbid people to drive? Damnedably “inconvenient”, but if you actually believe the statement that you just made — that health “must prevail and be protected” above convenience — then you must be all for it, yes? No? Why not? Do not dismiss this as reducto ad absurdum — you are the one making the extreme, absolutist statements, not I.

We are sorry that the new Smoke-Free Illinois Act will inconvenience some cigar smokers.

We are sorry that the new “get your ass to the back of the bus” Act will inconvenience some negroes….

We know that based on other communities’ successes, cigar bars will not suffer tremendous losses and patrons will continue to enjoy cigar establishments, with the added benefit of improved health.

Smoking is deadly — period.

There you go again with the extreme, absolutist statements. Decapitation by machete is deadly — period. A lungful of Cyanide gas is deadly — period. Smoking is unhealthy. There is a vast gulf between the two terms. (I’ll give you a hint — if a person can do a thing on a regular basis for 50 years it doesn’t qualify as “deadly”.) Anyone who is unable to make such obvious distinctions has no business dictating behavior to others.

According to American Heart Assn. research, a smoker’s risk of developing coronary heart disease is two to four times greater than a non-smoker’s.

Wait just a moment. You just said it’s deadly “period”. Full Stop. So why are you proceeding to explain yourself? Do you not quite trust your own statement?

Non-smokers’ risk for heart disease jumps nearly 60% when they are exposed to secondhand smoke. Sitting in the non-smoking section of a restaurant for two hours is equivalent to smoking almost two cigarettes.

Which study is this? Does it draw from the same deeply flawed data that gave us the infamous 400,000 smoking deaths a year?

These statistics are devastating and more than a little alarming.

Of course. Like all good socialists you understand that the best way to gain control of a free people is to scare the shit out of them. “We’re All Gonna Die!!! New Laws!!! New Laws!!! Only Government Can Save Us From Ourselves!!!”

When logic doesn’t work, use emotion. (also see: global warming, gun control)

We applaud the General Assembly and Gov. Rod Blagojevich for this tremendous victory toward improving public health[…]

By the way, is that the “Royal We” you keep using? “We” are not amused. “We” in no way approve of this legislation.

[…]and for acknowledging smoke-free workplaces and establishments as a sign of the times.

You act as though something being a “sign of the times” is an automatically good thing. Terrorist threat is also a sign of the times. Contemporaneous commonality does not equal virtue.

The funny thing? I have some bad allergies, bordering on asthma. Certain pollutants, including cigar smoke, can set me off quite severely. The ability to go into any restaurant and know there will be no smoking makes my life easier; and yet I still oppose this type of government control. Why? Because unlike you, Kathleen Grady, I do not place my personal preferences above the rights of others.

[Update: added “gun control” link, above]

Here we go again…

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

A cartoon depicting Muhammad's head on a dog body

From National Review:

Swedish artist Lars Vilks was invited by an art school to participate in an exhibit with the theme, of all things, of dogs. Vilks, something of a provocateur (his website has a cartoon of a Jew?s head on a pig?s body), submitted cartoons including one with Mohammed?s head on a dog?s body (it?s connected to the contemporary Swedish craze for ?roundabout dogs,? but that?s another story). Before the exhibit opened, his drawings were removed by the organizers, citing possible security threats. Another gallery followed suit, claiming similar worries.

A Jew’s head on a pig’s body? At least he’s an equal-opportunity offender.

The protests have already started, including the government of Iran demanding that the Swedish government censor the artist. Naturally, they claim, it’s all a Zionist plot. Meanwhile the angels of tolerance in the Pakistan government are “determin[ing] the future course of action against the repetition of such provocative publications”.

Death Threats in 3… 2… 1…