Friday, July 18, 2008

A Well-Deserved Spanking

If you're into a little S&M - that's Satire & Music, by they way (wink, wink) - maybe The Asylum Street Spankers will tickle your fancy. C'mon now, whose fancy wouldn't benefit from a little tickling? Drop your pants, ease into the stirrups, and stay a while.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The drugs I need

♫ Big Pharma loves me, this I know,
    For the TV tells me so. ♫

Don't forget: You're doing your patriotic duty when you help Big Pharma! Your treatable conditions are good for the economy!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Perspective: Sandscape

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Change You Deserve

Okay, so these are cheap shots. But c'mon, they left themselves wide open for it, and you've gotta admit, it is pretty funny.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A paucity of views, a glut of opinions.

The following question was asked at the Bill Moyers Journal blog:

How important is it to you that the people with whom you surround yourself share your political beliefs?

  • Very Important
  • Somewhat important
  • You are indifferent
  • Not very important
  • Not important at all

  • I could not answer the question because it does not come very close to circumscribing the philosophical ground I occupy. My house is bigger than the question allows for.

    I prefer to surround myself with people who have a diversity of political views. While sharing common ground is valuable, it's also important to challenge oneself and others through exposure to and honest consideration of differing views. However, the word "view" implies a perception of reality based on observation, not to be confused with "opinion", which one can simply conjure up or inherit from another source and assume to be true without any thought or rational basis whatsoever.

    We too often conflate views with opinions. Anybody can have an opinion, but that doesn't mean they are all equally valid. In public discourse, opinions that are demonstrably false should be vigorously corrected, and those that are otherwise incoherent should be sidelined in favor of ones for which a sound basis can be established through observation and historical example.

    While it is very important to be respectful of people, I contend that it is an act of disrespect to appease people whose opinions are mistaken or incoherent, as well as those whose actions are in direct conflict with their stated views, by permitting them to co-opt the advancement of the dialogue.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Paul Clement Resigns as Solicitor General. Is that blood I smell?

    Soon, this dog will be free of his master.

    When I originally posted this article, I referred to Clement as a lapdog. However, upon reflection I don't believe he deserves this derogatory term. In fact, based on my knowledge of his actions (which, I freely admit, is quite limited) it does appear that he has fulfilled his legal duties to the administration. He's been obedient, faithful, and loyal, and I have great respect for that. So I have edited this article accordingly.

    Nevertheless, if and when the time comes I'll be eager to see if he heeds voice commands from other authorities.

    "Roll over!"

    If he does so on the basis that protecting the nation from its internal enemies trumps any attorney-client privilege, he will become my personal hero.

    Not that I'm holding my breath.

    Friday, May 9, 2008

    Two men, three professions

    A pastor, a politician, and a prostitute were leading a somnambulant nation down a paved road one day....

    You can write the rest of the joke yourself. You can even make me the butt of it.

    Just don't write it off. It gets less funny the longer it remains unfinished.

    The full article containing the video is here.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Who's Kidding Who?

    It's good to see there's at least one other equal-opportunity skeptic amongst the voices out there.

    Bill Moyers tells it like it is on Democracy Now!

    Two of the most authentic voices in US media, the inimitable Amy Goodman and indefatigable Bill Moyers, met face to face for today's episode of Democracy Now. Topics of discussion include the significance of the outcome of last night's Indiana and North Carolina Democratic Primaries, and, more pressingly, the critical issues that none of the presidential candidates are addressing directly in this campaign season.

    Click the graphic to view the entire May 7 show at the Democracy Now! website. The Bill Moyers segment begins about 16 minutes in. Or click here for the transcript and audio & video links to just the Bill Moyers segment.


    Bill Moyers: [W]e are facing—you know, democracy is always a story of narrow escapes, and we may be running out of luck, because we’ve always thought the present was better than the—generally thought the present was better than the past and the future will be better than the present. All bets are off now, because we are not—our politics can create problems our policies can then not solve. Start a war, can’t finish it. Spend $2 trillion on healthcare, but can’t fix it. Infrastructure crumbling, highways full of potholes, can’t do anything about it.

    These fundamental structural issues of American democracy are not being addressed by this campaign, even in the best of times, when it’s not just a horse race, when they’re on the Sunday morning talk shows, when they’re making speeches. They are so appealing to the particular interest of people, of groups, that they cannot take on—they’re not taking on the large issue. Obama talks about change. Hillary Clinton talks about, you know, a populist message. But neither one of them seem to me—and nor does John McCain—none of these three seem to me to be grasping what’s fundamentally at stake in this country, which is a system that is now dysfunctional. And so many powerful interests have a stake in maintaining the dysfunction that it’s almost impossible to change it.

    That is the moment—this is the moment in which if we don’t solve that structural issue of our politics, we are in real trouble. And I don’t like to say that, because I have five grandchildren, and the future is theirs, not mine. But this is what we’re not hearing. This is what the system is not going to deal with in November. And it’s a very troubling reality.

    Andrea Gibson - For Eli

    Full text here. Andrea's webpage is here.

    You can read the testimonial of Jeff Lucey's mother here. (Audio and video links also available. Her testimonial begins about 19 minutes in.)

    No matter how anybody feels about the war and the circumstances that led to it, repercussions such as what Andrea Gibson describes are some of the non-quantifiable costs of the war. And you'd better believe that such costs are astronomically higher on the Iraqi end than they are on our end.

    I am talking about the gross spiritual devastation wreaked upon civilian families, people who were swept up in the events that were directly caused by the choices of a handful of powerful men & women.

    What are we to make of this? Is it just history as usual? Should we just get over it? If not, what, realistically, can we do?

    I have some thoughts. But I'd like to hear yours.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    Do the math.

    Just so we all know what we're up against....

    The following is a potent reminder that you never have to leave the (dis)comfort of your own noggin to find imperfection room for improvement.

    Suggested practice: consume the articles these links lead to like one-a-day vitamins. Where no article exists, get informed and write one.


    Decision-making and behavioral biases
    Bandwagon effect (Related to groupthink and herd behaviour);Base rate fallacy; Bias blind spot; Choice-supportive bias; Confirmation bias; Congruence bias; Contrast effect; Déformation professionnelle; Distinction bias; Endowment effect; Extreme aversion; Focusing effect; Framing; Hyperbolic discounting; Illusion of control; Impact bias; Information bias; Irrational escalation; Loss aversion (see also sunk cost effects and Endowment effect); Mere exposure effect; Moral credential effect; Need for closure; Neglect of probability; Omission bias; Outcome bias; Planning fallacy; Post-purchase rationalization; Pseudocertainty effect; Reactance; Selective perception; Status quo bias (see also Loss aversion and Endowment effect); Unit bias; Von Restorff effect; Zero-risk bias

    Biases in probability and belief
    Ambiguity effect; Anchoring; Attentional bias; Availability heuristic; Availability cascade; Clustering illusion; Capability bias; Conjunction fallacy; Gambler's fallacy; Hawthorne effect; Hindsight bias; Illusory correlation; Ludic fallacy; Neglect of prior base rates effect; Observer-expectancy effect (see also subject-expectancy effect); Optimism bias; Overconfidence effect; Positive outcome bias (see also wishful thinking, optimism bias and valence effect); Primacy effect; Recency effect (see also peak-end rule); Regression toward the mean disregarded; Reminiscence bump; Rosy retrospection; Selection bias; Stereotyping; Subadditivity effect; Subjective validation; Telescoping effect; Texas sharpshooter fallacy

    Social biases
    Most of these biases are labeled as attributional biases.

    Actor-observer bias (see also fundamental attribution error); Dunning-Kruger effect (see also Lake Wobegon effect, and overconfidence effect); Egocentric bias; Forer effect (aka Barnum Effect); False consensus effect; Fundamental attribution error (see also actor-observer bias, group attribution error, positivity effect, and negativity effect); Halo effect (see also physical attractiveness stereotype); Herd instinct; Illusion of asymmetric insight; Illusion of transparency; Ingroup bias; Just-world phenomenon; Lake Wobegon effect (see also worse-than-average effect, and overconfidence effect); Notational bias; Outgroup homogeneity bias; Projection bias; Self-serving bias (see also group-serving bias); Self-fulfilling prophecy; System justification; Trait ascription bias

    Memory errors
    Further information: Memory bias

    Beneffectance (See Self-serving bias); Consistency bias; Cryptomnesia; Egocentric bias; False memory; Hindsight bias (also known as the 'I-knew-it-all-along effect'); Suggestibility

    Monday, May 5, 2008

    Open Channel/Ambient Sounds

    The speakers are hooked up to the mike, the power is on, the floor is open, and we are live.

    If you have anything to say, feel free to say it here.