Maurizio – Omnologos

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“Intellectual” Liberal Americans: Insane, or Just Morons?

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Continuing my earlier blog on the biggest issue facing Democrats in the USA: their gigantic superiority complex.

There is a scene in Alan Sandler’s “Mr. Deeds” when three high-society New York types (Kurt the Opera singer, William, and George the New Yorker writer) are shown as bordering on the inhuman, as too full of themselves.

That’s what these words by Expat Yank reminded me of:

Unless they go through “rehab,” as yours truly did — meaning, in short, until they grasp the realization that to be a “non-international” American who attends church regularly does not automatically mark one out as a bigoted nitwit — liberals cannot help themselves. Upon what they believe to be the high-horse is where they are most comfortable. They simply cannot imagine that they are NOT absolutely more sharp-minded and heavyweight than their opponents.

The major reason for that self-delusion? Since the mid-1960s, Democrats have actually come to believe — honestly — their own puffed up view of themselves as the default party of “great thoughts“ […]

the Democratic party has changed: it is no longer the party of FDR and Truman. For the last 45 years it has become instead the party of JFK idolatry and imagined “Camelot.” Reared on an endless diet of “Jack and Jackie in Paris” […] and so much more, many to most Democrats sincerely now appear to believe that to be a Republican is . . . to be a moron. […]

when dealing with what might be considered opposing conservative opinions, liberals are often quick to lose perspective, react emotionally and all too often embrace outright intellectual snobbery.

And as to that latter mostly with so little justification, since few Democrats are themselves actually anywhere approaching nearly as smart as they perceive themselves to be […] a liberal (meaning a Democrat), when confronted with your opposition, might try that for a moment, but if you hold your ground and respond in kind he will tend far too often to descend to the famous argument-tipping “huff,” roll up his eyes and proclaim you obviously just another unworldly simpleton who needs to retake 1st Grade.

Expat Yank is a “disgruntled Democrat turned Republican“. I have a feeling, he knows what he’s talking about.

Trouble is, I do not see Kurt, William and George understanding a single word of the above.

When will all this insanity end?

Written by omnologos

2008/Oct/05 at 22:50:36

Debunking Sarah Palin’s “Device in the Right Ear” Claim

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There’s quite a few websites claiming people have spotted some kind of device in Sarah Palin’s right ear, during the VP debate on Thursday night. A “willyloman” post “What Does Gov. Palin Have in Her Right Ear?” signed “Scott Creighton” seems to be among the most popular ones.

You can also check out the “Palin Appears To Be Wearing an Earpiece During The Debate” thread in the Abovetopsecret forum.

Myself, I cannot see evidence of anything in Palin’s right ear, during the debate.

But that is not as important as the answer to the following question: what evidence would I need to change my opinion? Well, I would need to spot that device clearly in at least one picture. So far, all I have been able to see is perfectly explainable with Palin’s hair, glasses and shape of the ear.

And so my question to Creighton and all the others is: what evidence would you need, to change your opinion?

==============

Creighton writes:

What was that running down into Sarah Palin’s right ear during the debate? […] This photo was never intended to stand alone as evidence, that is why I include the link to the CNN video itself… That is still below. From that video, and many others now, you can see something that looks like it is attached to the arm of her glasses on the right side. You can see it move with her head, and her glasses throughout the video. I have taken another shot of the straight on view of this object, but please, look at the photos, then watch the CNN video so you can see it isn’t just some fluke; it stays there and is attached to her glasses. […]

Even without zooming, you can clearly see something attached to her glasses and running into her right ear. At first I thought this might be a hearing aid of some sort, so I looked up other pictures of her to see if I could find one of her wearing a hearing aid. I couldn’t. […]

Let’s start with the consideration that the “hearing aid” claim sounds very disingenuous. If Palin really had been hard of hearing, we would have known that weeks ago for sure. Mr Creighton should have definitely tried to look more sincere, if only to help support his case for a “device in the right ear”.

Anyway…the only way to be sure is to check if the “device” can be seen in any picture.

Now, a paranoid mind will find lots of food for their thoughts, as there really aren’t too many photos of Sarah Palin clearly showing her right ear during the debate itself (there is the one with her youngest son, but it was taken after the end of the debate and the aforementioned paranoid mind will surely claim Palin’s removed the “device” just in time). Also, I am not going to argue with anybody believing that the “device” was invisible or very well hidden: that’s akin to claiming a giant white, invisible rabbit was jumping up and down in front of the camera for the whole debate (iow: it cannot be taken seriously).

In any case, the onus is on those claiming the “device” existed at all. So I have scoured around on YouTube, the Getty Images website and the web looking for any “right ear” shot. Results below.

Palin 01

Palin 01

Palin 02

Palin 02

Palin 03

Palin 03

Palin 04

Palin 04

Palin 05

Palin 05

Palin 06

Palin 06

Palin 07

Palin 07

Palin 08

Palin 08

Palin 09

Palin 09

Palin 10

Palin 10

Images are enlarged areas from sources described in each picture. Copyrights remain with the authors of course.

First of all, look at “Palin 05”: that one has been taken at the end of the debate, when Palin was holding her baby son, if I am not mistaken. I included it because it reveals Palin’s ear details in full, with all the “ridges” and “valleys”. Note in particular the rather peculiar “ridge” right underneath the “temple” (“sidepiece”) of her glasses.

Peculiarity in this case is not important. Every one of us has a “special” shape of the ear and I understand it’s the one thing people really have trouble with when disguising.

I believe that “ridge” is what people like Creighton are misinterpreting as a “device”.

UPDATE: a similar conclusion has been reported by “SkepticOverlord” in the Abovetopsecret forum.

UPDATE: an “enhanced image” showing no device can be seen at Plaidlemur. Just to avoid the usual conspiratorial comments, I actually chose not to enhance the pictures posted above.

In fact, I wonder if anybody could please tell me where in every other picture posted above, there is a “device” that is on top, or separate, or in any case definitely not the “ridge” mentioned above.

You may also want to note how in images Palin 08, 09 and 10, taken directly from the live TV pictures, Sarah Palin is showing her right ear to the cameras in ways that would be extremely dangerous were she wearing a “device” of any sort in her right ear.

==============

The above is more than enough to convince myself there was nothing at all in Palin’s right ear, during the debate. At this stage, the discussion can move forward only in two circumstances: either somebody comes out with a very clear picture of the “device”, or believers tell me what more evidence they need, to change their opinion.

UPDATE: blogger Ginandtacos reasons it would have been almost impossible for Palin to be able to talk the way she did, without breaking in apparently incoherent ways.

UPDATE: the claim appears to have moved to “Palin was reading her notes“. I don’t think that deserves any further analysis.

Snoopy, the Apollo Lunar Module Awaiting Collection

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There’s the curious story of “Snoopy”, the (upper half, ascent stage) Lunar Module from the Apollo 10 mission.

Launched in a solar orbit on May 23, 1969, “Snoopy”, aka “LM-4”, has not been officially tracked but a Diane Neisus has computed its most likely orbit, that apparently takes it as far from Earth as 300 million km:

Apollo 10’s Lunar Module, called “LM 4” or “Snoopy”, is quite remarkable but nearly always forgotten against the much more glamourous Apollo 11 “Eagle”. Despite of that, “Snoopy” is quite fascinating in its own way:
(1) it is the only one of the real flown Apollo LM’s which still is somewhere out in space. All other LM’s burned up in earth’s atmosphere (Apollo 6, 9, 13) or were crashed into the moon, whether intended (Apollo 12, 14-17) or not (Apollo 11).
(2) LM 4 “Snoopy” up to now is the only spacecraft ever launched from moon orbit towards a sun orbit.
(3) “Snoopy” up to now is farthest out in space of all (former) manned spacecraft. In its heliocentric orbit it is as far as 2 AU from earth (during earth opposition)
(4) Apollo 10 and Apollo 12 share the record of the biggest number of real flight hardware objects left over by any of the Apollo missions (three major objects). Apollo 10’s are LM “Snoopy”, CM “Charlie Brown” and S-IVB 505. (As with most of the LM’s, the S-IVB’s of Apollo 13-17 were crashed into the moon; the S-IVB’s of Apollo 8-12 are the only ones sent to solar orbit. BTW, Apollo 12’s S-IVB came back in 2002 as object “J002E3”).
So, Snoopy really is a quite lonesome record-holder.

It is really fascinating to think there is a piece of late-1960’s Apollo hardware flying around the solar system, awaiting for the day when we’ll finally go out and return it home.

Written by omnologos

2008/Oct/02 at 22:06:17

Posted in Astronautics, Moon, Space

Tagged with , , , , ,

In VP Debate, It’s Biden The One Risking The Most

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Is there any hope that one day the “liberal” American “people of culture” will wake up and realize that they live… in America?

How can it be that a long list of very fine intellectuals collectively and invariably fail to understand a simple fact: that it is precisely what they despise in Sarah Palin, that makes her popular among many of their fellow citizens.

Take for example the “news” that the Governor of Alaska has spent more nights at home than in the Palace in Juneau, after having been elected. Those who “leaked” this important (or not) piece of information may have tried to demonstrate that Palin cannot be a good VicePresident, since she does not accept the full responsibilities of public office.

But I am sure that many non-liberal Americans (and not only they) have interpreted the same “news” as evidence that the Palin is a “normal person” for whom family takes precedence, above everything else: and that’s what anybody would do, apart from those driven by mission or inordinate ambition.

It does not matter if Sarah Palin performs poorly once, or a hundred thousand times, in interviews that, incredibly, appear too convoluted in her presence. What non-liberals are going to convince themselves of, is that the Press, Academia, and Great Journalism are made up of Republican-hating strange people called “liberals”: whilst Palin is simply an “average person”, perfectly able to lose words and trains of thought in front of aggressive, controversy-seeking interviewers.

Has Palin got the characteristics that would make her a good Vice President and perhaps even a good President? Who knows?. The great satirical strip Doonesbury recently had an episode around the fact that every American is told that he or she may become President, one day. So what’s so strange if “Sarah Palin, average American” becomes Vice President?

And lest we forget: after four years of Dan “Potatoe” Quayle as VP for Bush father, I do not know who could perform worse. And Bush father did win the 1988 elections with Quayle in tow,

It is therefore absolutely foolish to go on with the mantra that Palin is “a bit slow, a bit ignorant, a bit young”: the more the Media will talk of that, the more votes she’s ensured to get.
Is that too hard a concept for contemporary liberal America? When will a leading “liberal mind” begin to think that if someone will vote for Sarah Palin, there may be good reasons for that, well beyond the usual “it’s the idiots that do it”?

——–
Spare a prayer for John Biden then. He’s the one going into Thursday’s VP debate in the worst conditions.
Since everybody expects him to win big time, all Biden may be able to do is meet expectations. That will hardly look impressive: whilst every point conceded to Palin will be seen as a disaster (and a defeat).

From Sarah Palin, on the other hand, nobody expects anything. She can declare herself the winner even if the only thing she manages to state correctly is the time of the day.
If Palin will be able to hold her own against Biden for most of the debate, it will be for her a triumph beyond all hope. That’s after all the same tactics, of appearing “slow witted”, successfully employed by George W Bush to become Governor of Texas, and the President of the United States, persuading opponents to feel infinitely superior to him.

The Democratic VP candidate has everything to lose, at Washington University in St. Louis on Thursday. The Republican VP candidate, she has everything to gain: another gift, perhaps, by the Great “liberal” Minds that I do not think understand their country at all.

Is it a coincidence that in the last 100 years, in the White House there have been 10 Republicans and only 7 Democrats? And during the last forty years, 5 Republicans and only 2 Democrats?

(more on the idiocies of “liberal” America at Mr Cheeseburger 9000’s blog)

Written by omnologos

2008/Oct/01 at 10:40:50

Iran-caused Hawkish Schizophrenia

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(Letter to the IHT)

Dear Editors

I am quite worried for the weeks to come.

A lame-duck US Presidency unable to convince Congress to pass its financial rescue package, and utterly unpopular around the country, may as well try to use an attack against Iran as a way to bolster its image, and to leave another lasting (and deadly) legacy. We could wake up one morning to hear very bad news indeed.

There is at this moment one question I would really like anti-Iranian hawks to answer.

The Iranian regime is building the Bomb because of perceived threats to its national security, That much will certainly be agreed by all: every country member of the “nuclear weapons club” has entered it because of security (and prestige) concerns.

Also, nuclear weapons are pretty much useless for an offensive strategy, as demonstrated by 63 years without a single atomic attack. Furthermore, even a single botched nuclear explosion, say, in Tel Aviv, would massively increase the risk for the regime, as most certainly followed by a massive atomic retaliation against Tehran.

And yet: commentator Gary Milhollin (“An arms race we’re sure to lose“, IHT, Sep 29) and reader James W. Litsey (“Stopping Iran“, Letters section, IHT, Sep 30) respectively recommend “a credible threat of international economic and diplomatic isolation” and making NATO “soon intervene by whatever means necessary“.

How on earth can they believe the above will make Iran change its mind? To the contrary: by piling up threats, Iran will surely be convinced to accelerate its nuclear program even further.

Shouldn’t we remove threats instead, and go back to old-fashioned diplomacy, thereby destroying the case for a nuclear Iran?

Didn’t that work with Lybia, and perhaps even with North Korea?

Written by omnologos

2008/Sep/30 at 12:41:04

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

The Financial Sky Is Not Falling (Yet)

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A great post (in English) from mixed English/Italian blog noisefromAmerika with David K. Levine e Michele Boldrin explaining why it does not look like the world financial system is going to collapse tomorrow.

Unless the Bernanke&Paulson couple is not telling the whole truth…

That would also explain the otherwise absurd sight of politicians declaring an upcoming Armageddon with one hand, and squabbling for petty gains on the other.

As usual, the only thing to fear is fear itself (and a rushed-up solution). At this rate, the best thing that can happen is that nothing substantive is agreed until after the Presidential Elections. It’s only a month to go. If President Bush is really worried about it all, he can always impose a one-month bank-holiday period😉

Most academic economists – the economists who do not work for companies likely to benefit from the bailout, nor for the President – are opposed to this plan […]

the total value of outstanding mortgages is $11 trillion […] while the value of insurance contracts written on them is about five times as large. Clearly, Mortgage Backed Securities (MBSs), CDOs and so on, were used as collateral for lots of additional borrowing […] That explains why, as the value of those houses is dropping the whole castle of cards threatens to crumble. […]

The problem in banking is the possibility of cascading failures, that the failure of bad banks may drag down the good banks […]

What is the solution? One is for the government to step in and buy securities, as proposed in the bailout plan before Congress.

[If those securities are not properly valued, the government] will only get securities worth less than that with the taxholder responsible for the difference. Notice that the ones who reap the rewards are the holders of bad securities […] In effect in order to keep the bad banks from driving out the good we rescue the bad banks.

There are many alternative schemes to the one proposed by Treasury:

  • Require banks to raise more capital. [In that case] the losses are borne by the good banks rather than the taxpayer
  • Forgive debt in exchange for equity. [It is well known that] debt forgiveness schemes have worked for resolving financial crises in the past.
  • Buy foreclosed houses for the value of the mortgage
  • Force an orderly winding down of the housing based derivative market […]

Yes: there can be cascading bank failures and that is a bad thing. But it does not happen instantly, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month […]

The bottom line, in the immediate future, is this. The Federal Reserve Bank and its sister agencies […] already have strong tools against a cascading failure of the banking system. […] We have not seen good banks fail, nor have we seen cascading failures. We have been given no reason to think anything of the sort is imminent. […]

To debunk the obvious: Washington Mutual failed Thursday night. Washington Mutual ATM cards continue to function as usual. […] The fact that banks are reluctant to lend to each other does not have much impact on their ability to make short term loans to customers. […]

If the Federal Reserve Bank and Treasury in fact have information that things are worse than Bernanke reported they should tell us what it is. Otherwise they should stand up and make it clear that doomsday is not around the corner.

Written by omnologos

2008/Sep/29 at 22:37:01

On Abortion, A Perfectly Reasonable Christian Stance

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Personally I find the following statements bordering on the obvious. For some reason, many people think otherwise, in one sense or another…and unbelievably, abortion is still somehow an issue in US politics.

From the Methodist Church’s “Abortion and Contraception” web page:

  • abortion is always an evil
  • there will be circumstances where the termination of pregnancy may be the lesser of evils

And in particular:

  • the mother should be told clearly of the alternatives to termination
  • abortion should be avoided if at all possible by offering care to single mothers during pregnancy, and the adoption of their children if, at full term, the mother cannot offer a home
  • the result of the coming together of human sperm and ovum is obviously human
  • the right of the embryo to full respect […] increases throughout a pregnancy
  • it would be strongly preferable that, through advances in medical science and social welfare, all abortions should become unnecessary
  • late abortions should be very rare exceptions
  • if abortion were made a criminal offence again, there would be increased risks of ill-health and death as a result of botched ‘back-street’ abortions
  • to refuse to countenance abortion in any circumstances is to condemn some women and their babies to gross suffering and a cruel death in the name of an absolutism which nature itself does not observe

Written by omnologos

2008/Sep/28 at 22:11:21

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