We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, May 15. 2008
Politics is irrational because people are only partially rational, and even less so when it comes to politics and other peoples' money. We recently linked to a piece by Stumbling, who asked:
You can read his reasons here.
Case in point: The Polar Bear story. An entirely healthy bear population is put on the Endangered List for purely political reasons: Who wants a sound bite out there claiming "He or she refused to protect the cuddly Polar Bears."? It makes you sound heartless and evil, and nobody is going to listen to the statistics. It's about sentiment.
However, many of my central beliefs about life are about sentiment too. My belief in the freedom of the individual from the power of the state and of the collective, for example, represents my emotional attachment to our Constitution, its vision, and its cultural underpinnings. To me, a self-evident truth, but some would claim that Resistance is Futile to the power of the Borg.
Courage to tell the truth is rare in politicians, of course, because they have their sinecures to look after (which is rational, if cowardly). I give McCain credit for telling the truth about Ethanol, but it's going to hurt him in the corn states: they want to stay on that gravy train (which is rational on their part, if venal and ignoble). Thus people can be most rational when self-interest is directly involved, and sometimes most irrational when it is not.
Image: Polar Bear with a fresh seal dinner. Cute, cuddly-looking Polar Bears are believed to kill over 40% of the cute cuddly baby seals born each year in the Arctic regions in which they dwell. They do catch adult seals, too. Polar Bears eat the skin and the blubber, and leave the rest.
Editor's note: There is talk going around that the real reason the bears emerged as an issue was as a sentimental proxy issue for preventing drilling in the Arctic, comparable to the familiar "It's for the children..." The thought occurs to me - would this work as well if the bears were black? Is there a racial subtext here? Inquiring minds want to know.
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"Politics is irrational because people are only partially rational"
Quite so. The same applies to most blog traffic. Most people go to political blogs to have their biases reinforced, rather than to learn anything new. I'll give you an example:
PJ Media recently ran a piece on how blacks were leaving the Democratic Party in droves because of Hillary. Now, this was QUITE a scoop. Blacks have been a bedrock vote for the Dems for years, and the Clintons certainly enjoyed their support. Yet they were driving out black voters DESPITE the fact that their leading Presidential candidate (Obama of course) was black??
Well I certainly wanted to know how THAT happened. So I read the piece. And guess what - there was not a single shred of evidence that a single black person had pulled up stakes and left because of Hillary. And hey, maybe some had actually done so. But the piece offered no evidence of this. None, zero, zip nada.
But that isn't what was extraordinary about this piece. Was was surprising, and to me rather sad, were the comments.
They thought the post was the greatest thing since sliced bread. They raved. Wonderful insights. Surely the Pulitzer was in the mail!
Well, malcontent that I am, I left my little WTF comment. Not only was the Emperor naked, but he should maybe change his underwear once in a while.
Then I went away. Because that sort of comment does not generally go over well. If it's me against the mob, I already know who wins.
Roger Simon, however, immediately sent me an email. It's his site, he said, and his responsibility. He agreed that it was a bad post, and should have been vetted better. (I have Roger's email, and yes I can probably find that post again if I really have to.)
So that was that. I've seen that sort of mob-think on leftist sites, too. It's a tribute to the right, I suppose, that I could comment on a post like that, as I did, and actually get a mea culpa from the owner. On most leftist sites, they'd just self-righteously tear you up. 'FACTS!! Bend over and we'll GIVE you facts, you right wing fascist!!'
But mob, or 'irrational' behavior is not exclusive province of the left or right. It is, instead, the province of humans.
Well stated. I have a solution, although we've tried it before. It worked for a long time, even helped put this nation together.
Tobacco ..F. Geutrbruck ... just so there's no misunderstanding.
You miss the good ol' days of tar and feathering, don't you Habu?
oh... the... pain.... room.... spinning.... lights.... getting... dim....
That Dep't of the Interior decision (polar bear) yesterday turned the stock markets. Killed the rally, dropped the indexes straight down in the closing hour. So said Donald Luskin yesterday on the Kudlow show, and the timing certainly conforms.
Straws in the wind. Better start polishing up those bread-line social skills, if we let the Dismal Tide inundate all three branches of government.
You folks are just seeing the 'tip of the iceberg'.
In my area, we have the Giant Palouse Earthworm. I am not making this up. Take a google. Ol' Bob wouldn't lead you astray.
Or, we think we have the Giant Palouse Earthworm.
The four or five other farmers I have talked to have never seen one, nor is there any memory of the ancestors having seen one, and we all go back all the way.
Nor did any farmer answer my ad in the paper to speak up if you have ever had a sighting.
Yet, they seem to exist. As far away as Peshastin, Washington, too, in the Cascades.
Of course, the application was made to protect these critters, which was denied, so the appealing has begun.
This little bugger is reported to get three or four feet long, give off a kind of flower like smell, and will even spit at you! And lives deep, deep underground. Which is probably why no one has ever seen one.
We're killing ourselves with this shit.
We find terms such as 'abominable snowman' or 'bigfoot' to be highly prejudicial, misleading, degrading, and species-ist, BD. This gentle, noble creature should henceforth be referred to as 'The Yeti'. Please make a note of this progressive, life-affirming change.
"We're killing ourselves with this shit"
--that's the Lord's Truth, bob.
Reason left the building a long time ago.
Listening to Mabus talk about tax hikes and say the Laffer curve might be right, but it's not fair. Better to raise taxes and decrease the revenue to the feds in the name of fairness.
NOAA and NASA and other acronyminous agencies are declaring warming over, or paused, and yet- "climate change" lingo went over like a led zepplin and even McCain now is using the phrase Global Warming. Doublespeak rules apply and therefore a mile of ice crushing NYC will be called the warmest glacier ever.
There's more polar bears today than yesterday- and yet they are newly endangered.
This thinking leads to some strange conclusions in my head: like "Well, death will kill you eventually so we thought it best to take care of that for you. Into the shredder with you now."
"Polar Bears are believed to kill over 40% of the cute cuddly baby seals born each year in the Arctic regions in which they dwell... Polar Bears eat the skin and the blubber, and leave the rest."
I just hope the carbon footprint from the plane that flew Paul McCartney's new Lexus from Japan to England kills those seal-killin' polar bears. The nasty buggers.
Endangered energy acts
Terence Corcoran, Financial Post
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008
Fresh assaults on the future of energy supplies land daily. The U. S. government yesterday declared polar bears to be a "threatened species," a move that does nothing for polar bears but poses a major risk to future energy development in Alaska and the North.
Can read the rest here...
This report is from the National Post too. Another pipeline explosion.
Nigeria pipeline blast kills at least 100: Red Cross
George Esiri, Reuters
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008
IJEGUN -- At least 100 people were killed and scores injured when fuel from a pipeline ruptured by an earthmover caught fire and exploded in a Nigerian village near the biggest city of Lagos, the Red Cross said on Thursday.
Polar bears have been killing and eating baby [and adult] seals since before most of you were born. That's the basis of their diet, whether the people who think the bears are "cuddly" like it or not. But they are not [repeat NOT] endangered. They are thriving, and not drowning, any more than seals are drowning, unless they are injured or sick. Polar bear biologists, who monitor bear populations [really hard to do, since the polar bear is a solitary soul, not a "pack" animal]... anyway, the scientists say that 18 of the 20 populations monitored were gaining in members, not losing.
This stupid yielding to ignorant politicos is entirely wrong and will cause an amazing amount of difficulty if it is allowed to stand. Every enterprise which is projected to affect wildlife in the lower 48 states where polar bears are never seen except in zoos [oops, 57? as Barack implies] will have to be subjected to tests and queries by the environmentalists/greenies and delayed for months or years.
Good work, lawmakers. One more spanner in the works.
The US Congress and liberals starring in the new hit play
" Lets All Go Luddite"
Dep't of Interior, as an agency, is under the executive branch. Couldn't the president ask for someone to come over to the oval and explain why this polar bear thingie ignored all the data?
Then the pres could explain to the agency person about the immutable natural laws of credibility: If you want no drilling for oil, just say so, don't go destroying respect for a law which needs credibility so it can save actual endangered specieses.
don't go destroying respect for a law which needs credibility so it can save actual endangered specieses.
p;ease give me an example of a law I should be repecting at this point?
I fact I could use help on say , a half dozen, if you can name them.
--to read the Petition To List the Giant Palouse Earthworm
Petition To List was posted by me, I never post anony, forgot to stick my name in.
Well that's two of us. I never post anon either. Maybe a few other names,maybe, but anon, we'll err you see how it is...
"would this work as well if the bears were black? Is there a racial subtext here?"
I'd call it a "hero subtext". What color hat do the good guys wear? Doctor garb? Wedding dresses? To answer your question, I doubt it. Even if they were shown to be a different subspecies than the common black or brown bear, few would care. But dress it in a shiny white hat and the rules instantly change.
Leag -- Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that skin tone matched the fur above it. I raised pet rats for a few years and the skin color of the two-tone black & white ones matched the fur that later grew there; pink for white and dark gray for black.
Polar Bears have black skin, under the fur.
Their eyes, noses and tongues are black too.
What a bear.
And they know how to take breaks.
Extra space in there... fixed it. Cause I liked it.
Between the '.jpg' and the 'open' bracket.
That guy sure looks relaxed don't he?
do he ever -- not a care in the world. good to be a polar bear.
Leag ... you're right. [I know these things because my husband wrote several books on polar bears.] The hairs of their fur are hollow, and the skin underneath is black, to help collect the heat of the sun coming through the fur and keep the bears warm in the extreme cold. This enables them to stay warm when they leave the water and come out on the ice, and when they swim in the extremely cold water for long distances. They don't drown. They have been tagged and tracked by polar bear scientists for 500- mile swims at a time. Too bad the Goracle and his Greenies didn't bother to research this. Maybe we wouldn't be burdened with this hew and dreadful and ignorant law.l