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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Once again, PJTV goes to the scene of the crime to let us know what’s goin on and the successes of big government…thanks Steven

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By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Did that headline offend you? How about starting a column with a question? Or three? Are you sure?

I’m very glad to hear it. But what about grammar? Syntax? Are you right now intently scanning this paragraph for the slightest typo or eror or miztake, ready in an instant to drop me a terse note and tell me all about it, right along with how much you cannot stand people who write long, overwrought sentences that flout punctuation laws and are full of delightful but somehow also infuriating adjectival clauses and/or split infinitives that leave you breathless and gasping for meaning and totally annoyed because, Jesus Christ, who the hell told me it was OK to write like this or that anyone in the miserable godforsaken Obamafied world would, for that matter, want to read it?

I would not be surprised if you were. Offended, that is. To be so is, apparently, the latest craze. It is what we do best. It is who we have become. In fact, for millions, to not be offended by every little interpersonal glitch, intellectual speed bump or global policy shift now appears to be the exception to the way we routinely navigate the hellbound world.

After all, there are so many things to be offended by, are there not? Have you seen the news? The culture? Your Comcast bill? Your neighbor’s yard? Can you even count all the personal affronts? The endless cavalcade of insulting wrongdoing? It really never ends.

In the case of this column, of course, offenses happen like apocalyptic candy cane rain. Occasionally I know, or can guess, what might do it, but usually what someone has found hugely offensive catches me delightfully off guard, and I can only respond in the same way writers and columnists have responded since the first cave hieroglyph of a dead cat being swung around by its tail: smile, shake my head and shrug it off.

Let me give you a charming example. Let us examine my recent “Tiger Woods must die!” column, which was, I humbly submit, a smashing success, with more than 150,000 page views and in which most every reader took great, flattering delight, laughing and nodding and understanding the central point of it all because, well, it wasn’t exactly Wittgenstein in there, but as a reasonably sly analysis of celeb culture and blind hero worship, it was pretty dead-on accurate. Or so I thought.

But oh, not for everyone. Not by a long shot. For some unknowable reason, this particular column also struck a tidy motherlode of unexpected, haphazard offensibility in a far higher ratio than I normally achieve — which is saying something indeed.

Let’s start at the top. A few readers were immediately upset by that “shocking” headline, entirely unable to drill down even a single intellectual layer to understand the simple analogy at play. It was all surface reactionary rage. How dare I suggest he must die! What a horrible thing to say! What if some bimbo or psycho takes my words seriously and goes and offs Tiger! What then? Have I no scruples? No moral compass whatsoever? Mmm, knee-jerk literalism. It’s the American way.

The next batch to be offended was a group who, I must say, I happily offend on a regular basis, merely by existing in my current incarnation. This horde was incensed that I used Tiger as a springboard to “bash the greatest nation this planet has ever seen or ever will see,” all by suggesting our egomaniacal capitalist celebrity culture might be slightly warped and out of scale. “Hey, if you don’t like it, move to Europe, you liberal no-good pansy! Try writing your hippie garbage in Cuba or China! See how long you survive! God bless America and Tiger Woods, and death to America-hating liberalz!” And so on.

Another reader followed what I’ve found, over the years, to be an alarmingly common, yet still entirely unpredictable pattern: initially loved the piece, was cruising along all delighted and happy like a kid down a verbal water slide, right until he got to the snappy reference to, of all things, Glenn Beck watching gay porn with Tiger. What? Slanderous! Unnecessary! Why was Beck even referenced? What was the point? Ruined the entire article. Just like that.

I must say, this happens all the time. Everything is great, everything funny and smart and beautifully written until that one word, that one joke, that one reference, my pet peeve, my button, my edge. How dare you touch it! How dare you infringe upon my personal therapy-drenched nightmare and not apologize or retract it when I email you and tell you of my trauma and that thing that happened to me in the asylum with the garden gnomes and the nuns! I’m writing a letter to the editor! And the publisher! Very good.

On it went. As you might expect, a gaggle of grumpy plaid sweater-wearers were quite predictably peeved that I dared demean “one of the greatest sports the world has ever known” by calling golf both insanely boring and nonathletic, adding that its greatest player appears to have the personality and spiritual fire of a hunk of putting sod.

To be expected, that response. Hey, I baited them. But a few went beyond that, incensed that I dared to criticize “a real gentleman,” a guy who has clearly been wronged by the media, by his army of blond fembots, by liberals, the universe, you name it. I am abusing a good gentleman. What? You mean the guy who smashed his blinged-out Escalade into a tree after his fabulously spoiled Swedish wife found out about the 147th skanky Vegas waitress he’d been gleefully poking for years like a silicone-jacked piñata? That gentleman? Oh.

Oh yes, the word “skank.” Offensive? You bet. One unexpectedly barbed reply came in the form of a Twitter tweet from a lovely Bay Area courtesan, who kindly informed me in 140 characters or fewer that she liked the column, but “F–k you for using ‘skank’ to refer to the women,” which I took to mean she wished to reclaim that unlikable term from the skeezy clutches of Tiger’s brainless pneumatic Botoxed Barbie doll flatiron slutbunnies. She did not, alas, suggest an alternative.

By the way, individual words are always a surefire offender. Which ones? Who can say? One reader was hugely affronted by my use of the word “lunatic” in the initial version of the column, calling it nothing short of hate speech on par with “the N word,” because he personally is a survivor of “coercive psychotherapy” and he personally felt hated whenever anyone used it, and therefore and I should be ashamed and fired and perhaps beaten with a 9-iron.

What can I do about any of it? Nothing much, really. I am not, and never have been, a very safe writer. I do not aim for the lowest common denominator of humor and referent, the lukewarmiest punchline, the Jay Leno of tepid MOR verbosity. In fact, in a column like mine, if I don’t upset the hypersensitive and the uptight on a regular basis, I’m probably doing something very wrong indeed.

What’s more, I find such selective reactions to be akin to the sad phenomenon of the “issue voter,” that ever-angry subset who will ruthlessly dismiss a given candidate’s overall credentials and intelligence, simply because she disagrees with (or has yet to solve) said voter’s pet issue. Cat declawing, say. Prayer in schools. Creationism. Penis implants. Palestine. DOMA. Hemp. Deforestation. You name it. There is simply no way to win, because there’s no way to anticipate everyone’s errant peeve.

For me, it is, of course, all in how you approach and move through the world. Look hard enough, and everything can be an insult to your wary, delicate sensibilities, a crime against nature, God, the genitals, the language, your daughter, your country, how it’s all supposed to be. But look a little bit harder — or rather, open a bit wider — and you’ll see that, in truth, nothing is.

Are you offended by that idea? Really? I am very glad to hear it.

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Thomas Sowell’s Column:

Science is one of the great achievements of the human mind and the biggest reason why we live not only longer but more vigorously in our old age, in addition to all the ways in which it provides us with things that make life easier and more enjoyable.

Like anything valuable, science has been seized upon by politicians and ideologues, and used to forward their own agendas. This started long ago, as far back as the 18th century, when the Marquis de Condorcet coined the term “social science” to describe various theories he favored. In the 19th century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels distinguished their own brand of socialism as “scientific socialism.” By the 20th century, all sorts of notions wrapped themselves in the mantle of “science.”

“Global warming” hysteria is only the latest in this long line of notions, whose main argument is that there is no argument, because it is “science.” The recently revealed destruction of raw data at the bottom of the global warming hysteria, as well as revelations of attempts to prevent critics of this hysteria from being published in leading journals, suggests that the disinterested search for truth — the hallmark of real science — has taken a back seat to a political crusade.

An intercepted e-mail from a professor at the Climate Research Unit in England to a professor at the University of Pennsylvania warned the latter: “Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act” and urged the American professor to delete any e-mails he may have sent a colleague regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

When a business accused of fraud begins shredding its memos and deleting its e-mails, the media are quick to proclaim these actions as signs of guilt. But, after the global warming advocates began a systematic destruction of evidence, the big television networks went for days without even reporting these facts, much less commenting on them.

As for politicians, Senator Barbara Boxer has urged prosecution of the hackers who uncovered and revealed the e-mails! People who have in the past applauded whistleblowers in business, in the military, or in Republican administrations, and who lionized the New York Times for publishing the classified Pentagon papers, are now shocked and outraged that someone dared to expose massive evidence of manipulations, concealment and destruction of data — and deliberate cover-ups of all this — in the global warming establishment.

Factual data are crucial in real science. Einstein himself urged that his own theory of relativity not be accepted until it could be empirically verified. This verification came when scientists around the world observed an eclipse of the sun and discovered that light behaved as Einstein’s theory said it would behave, however implausible that might have seemed beforehand.

Today, politicized “science” has too big a stake in the global warming hysteria to let the facts speak for themselves and let the chips fall where they may. Too many people — in politics and in the media, as well as among those climate scientists who are promoting global warming hysteria — let the raw data on which their calculations have been based fall into the “wrong hands.”

People who talk about the corrupting influence of money seem to automatically assume that it is only private money that is corrupting. But, when governments have billions of dollars invested in the global warming crusade, massive programs underway and whole political careers at risk if that crusade gets undermined, do not expect the disinterested search for truth.

Among the intelligentsia, there have always been many who are ready to jump on virtually any bandwagon that will take them to the promised land, where the wise and noble few — like themselves — can take the rest of us poor dummies in hand and tell us how we had better change the way we live our lives.

No doubt some climate scientists honestly believe that global warming poses a threat. But other climate scientists honestly believe the opposite. That is why the raw data have had to be destroyed before the latter get their hands on it.

This is tragically the case as regards many other issues, besides global warming, where data are made available only to the true believers and kept out of the hands of those who think otherwise.

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“You have to see this to believe it. Look up close and admire the detail while you despair at how long science has been going off the rails. To better appreciate the past and what was exposed by the CRU emails, the time-line chart consolidates and chronologically organizes the information uncovered and published about the CRU emails by many researchers along with some related contextual events. That the chart exists at all is yet another example of how skilled experts are flocking in to the skeptics position and dedicating hours of time pro bono because they are passionately motivated to fight against those who try to deceive us.”

ClimateGate Timeline

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