Friday, September 12, 2008

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Special Lipstick Edition

1) As JoeBuddha points out in comments, the Republicans finally found someone dumber than Bush!

2) I mean, you have to dig deep to find someone you can call "Bush Lite"...less filling AND tastes worse!

3) American geisha? Yes, apparently!

4) Hm. Perhaps this is how Sarah Palin proposes to get us to vote for McCain...hadn't pondered that. It's like the old joke about "my sister, she's been a virgin twelve times".

5) We can only pray that Hurricane Ike isn't as vicious as another Ike.

6) By the way, give Gibson credit for not buying into the charm machine. It's sad to think that in this day and age, we have to acknowledge that ofg a newscaster, but after all, this is only the second woman to run for VP.

7) Bet you hadn't heard this one about Hugo Chavez. I wonder what this means?

8) What is that growing on the Mars lander? "Hey, sailor, come here often?"

9) Perhaps John McCain is right, that the "middle class" is anyone earning under $5 million a year, but if you make $100,000 or more and live paycheck to paycheck, you need a check up from the neckup.

10) The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, Rudy. Nice family values, 9/11! 9/11! 9/11!

Nuttin' but love for The Memeorandum!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Putting Lipstick On A Pig

It's September 11 once again, now seven years out from the attacks that paralyzed my city and horrified the nation and the world.
As John Lennon once sang, "And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun."
It has gotten so far from the hopes and dreams of a nation of September 12, 2001 that we have dumbed down the attacks. Unable to capture and bring to justice the real criminal behind the tragedy, despite an admitted new effort to land him in the desperate eleventh hour hopes of salvaging a legacy, we've decided to try and change the story: Osama bin Laden was never the man behind the attacks, Khalid Sheik Muhammed was!
And we have always been at war with Eastasia.
Under Bill Clinton, while internally we were divided thanks to a small handful of uberpartisan numbnuts who believed in party ahead of God and country, we presented to the world a beacon of hope, of good will, of what was right with this nation and could be right for the world. On September 11, indeed, the world stood side by side with us and declared "we are all Americans" from France to Palestine and beyond.
That's all gone now, along with our "inheritance" of freedom, democracy, and abundance. We slide slowly into the abyss of has-been, clinging to whatever outcropping of rock extends pitifully past the margins, but inexorably, we lose our grip little by little, and slip to the next handhold: we elected a man who pushed us over the precipice by lying us into an invasion we had no business attending to, watching him fumble even that distraction as the world looked on in horror (except Russia, who licked her lips and pounced on her satellite states), and then not having recognized our mistake in electing George Bush in 2000, a man who was clearly unfit for the job, then slapping the world in the face with a cold towel by RE-electing this moron.
Our freedoms slipped off our backs, and now we walk the streets in terror, not of some hooded bearded man with a bomb strapped to his chest, but of the cop with the M-16 searching our backpacks and briefcases, of the long line waiting to board a plane barefoot, of applying for a bank account.
We sat and watched our livelihoods ported to Mumbai or Djarkarta, and as our houses lost value so extensively that many of us could not even recoup and repay our mortgages if we somehow managed to find some moron dumb enough to buy our house at the going rate.
Teen suicides have been up each year since 2005 in this country, at an alarming rate caused in large part by suicides among those occupying Iraq. Meanwhile, teen pregnancy rates have reversed field, after declining in the decades since Roe v. Wade, meaning we are creating a permanent underclass of single moms-- the shotgun at Levi Johnston's back notwithstanding. Meanwhile, life expectancy has begun to drift downward.
Five million more people do not have health care since 2000. Millions more are underinsured, preferring the extra few bucks to pay the rent,  gambling with their lives. Ten million more struggle today in the depths of poverty without even the safety net of a welfare check to protect them from catastrophe.
All this, but today, on this sacred day, at this sacred moment, you only read about "lipstick on a pig" jokes.
We went from "morning in America" to "morons in America", in less than four years, now eight. On a day, at a time, that we should be re-dedicating ourselves to our American brothers and sisters, re-consecrating the memory of those we've lost, we're distracted by the clown in glasses and high heels and her sidekick, Rusty the Wonder P.O.W.
I can't imagine why. But it has to stop. We're being attacked, this time by an enemy we actually can see, and fight.

All hail Memeorandum!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When Worlds Collide

The attempt to either unravel the mystery of life, the universe and everything, or the final nail in humanity's coffin, is underway in Switzerland:
September 9, 2008 (Computerworld) With the world's biggest physics experiment ready to fire up tomorrow, scientists from around the world are hoping to find answers to a question that has haunted mankind for centuries: How was the universe created?

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which has been under construction for 20 years, will shoot its first beam of protons around a 17-mile, vacuum-sealed loop at a facility that sits astride the Franco-Swiss border. The test run of what is the largest, most powerful particle accelerator in the world, is a forebear to the coming time when scientists will accelerate two particle beams toward each other at 99.9% of the speed of light.

Smashing the beams together will create showers of new particles that should re-create conditions in the universe just moments after its conception.
First off, just let that soak in for a moment: attaining speeds of 99.9% of the speed of light. That's a pretty astounding achievement, considering the relativistic properties of high speeds: mass increases in direct proportion to the percentage of light speed an object attains. Theoretically, a particle should become infinitely massive at the speed of light. That means, based on simple physics, it needs an irresistible force to move it.

Just imagine, then, when the particles collide, the amount of energy they will shed. What scientists are hoping will happen is the release of what is commonly referred to as dark matter and dark energy, which we have not been able to observe as yet, but which fill in some serious holes (no pun intended) in our theoretical constructs of the universe.

Dark matter and dark energy would be enough to offset the continued expansion of the universe until distances become so great that, in effect, the universe dies of extreme cold. With dark matter and energy factored in, the universe's expansion reverses gravitationally and collapses back into a new singul-- OK, this is getting too technical even for me.

Suffice it to say that it would be possible for a new universe to rise out of the ashes of this one if it collapses, and it might be possible to send information to the new universe that would allow us to pick up where we left off, so to speak. With a inifinitely expanding universe, there would likely not be continuing life after a time.

Too, the experiment hopes to prove the existence of the Higgs boson, the so-called God Particle, which is an elementary particle predicted by...well, let's just say that it disappeared just after the Big Bang, and may be responsible for things like gravity and electromagnetism, to keep it simple.

Naturally, an experiment of this scale does not come without criticism and guess what? Some of it is insane!
As the time for tomorrow's experiment has neared, rumors have increasingly circulated around the Internet that the experiments might destroy the universe by accidentally creating a black hole that would suck everything and everyone into it.

CERN released a report late last week saying that safety fears about the LHC are "unfounded." CERN Director General Robert Aymar was quoted as saying that any suggestion that there's a risk is "pure fiction."
I asked Professor Lawrence Lerner of UC-Long Beach about what the size of a hypothetical black hole created in a hadron collider might be and how long it would take to eat the Earth.

Dr. Lerner ran some quick calculations and assumed a black hole equal to the mass of the colliding beams of protons, and deduced that it would take upwards of a billion years for a black hole of that mass to eat enough of the planet to have a noticeable effect.

A billion years.

Surprisingly, the people who are most vested in this experiment, apart from physicists, have been strangely silent: evangelicals and other religious types.

As a Christian and a fan of science, I am all for expanding our knowledge of science, and solving the mysteries before us. I believe that God charged us with this when he said to take dominion over the land and seas and animals around us, not to conquer and subdue (altho Genesis uses terms similar) but to understand them, to appreciate them and to find His hand in them.

Ultimately, I believe that science and religion can reconcile themselves. Ultimately, there will come a point when the fundamental laws that govern the universe break down and the resulting chaos is indistinguishable from random chance, except it becomes clear that there is indeed no random chance involved, but some form of structure and organization.

It is there we will find God, finally. I think he'll be quite happy to see us!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Is This Sarah Palin?

Sources whom I rely on assure me this is.

Fear Not, For I Bring You Tidings Of Great Joy

OK, it's time to cowboy up for the Obama campaign. Fortunately, I think they can do this fairly easily:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain has gained huge support and now leads Democrat Barack Obama among white women voters since naming Sarah Palin as his running mate, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll found that much of McCain's surge in the polls since the Republican National Convention is attributable to the shift in support among white women.
First, we have to take into consideration that Sarah Palin, the supposed factor here, is a blank slate. She makes Barack Obama look like a seasoned, vetted professional politician.

Once women peer a little more closely into her positions, and especially, hear her speak about issues like abortion, like health care, like raising kids, this number will whittle down quickly.

Right now, she's a woman and that's got women all across the nation paying attention. It's also partly why Palin has been secluded and incommunicado.

Palin will likely keep a percentage of women voters, to be sure. She's not the soccer mom McCain was hoping for, but there's an element of citizenry that thinks she'd make a good vice president because of her stance on the issues, who had never heard of her. They will stick.

And of course, there's no accounting for the lunatic fringe of PUMAs who will support anybody but Barack.

Too, Palin hasn't helped McCain where it counts: electoral votes. She may even have hampered him.

The Palin bounce (or as Skippy likes to call it, the Dead Caribou Bounce), as I indicated yesterday, was less than stellar and actually falls well within the average bounce a candidate can expect to receive after a convention, McCain receiving an 8 point boost. Even Fox had to be depressed!

I anticipate that, once September 11 is past and electioneering begins in earnest, Obama will slowly begin to build momentum, and pick back up some of these women. For now, he's kept Hillary Clinton on the sidelines, again, I suspect because of the 9/11 commemoration. He's giving a "window of purity" as Don Imus used to call the minutes leading up to having a religious leader appear on his program.

And then watch her preach!

(Mo' Memeo!)

Monday, September 08, 2008

The MacGuffin

In order to flesh out a thriller he was making, Alfred Hitchcock employed what he called a "macguffin". A pointless, useless piece that advanced the narrative but in the end had little to nothing to do with the actual movie.

The classic example? The maltese falcon from the eponymous movie, where the real mystery is a) who killed Sam Spade's partner and b) will Spade and Brigid fall in love and what will Spade do to keep her out of jail? The bird is a distraction.

Come the MacGuffin for the 2008 election: Sarah Palin.

Undoubtedly, it was Palin's selection, along with her speech at the RNC, that catapulted McCain from also-ran into a temporary front runner status.

Said status will likely be crowed about by right wingers until, well, McCain crashed back to earth, which will likely happen a bit after this week's commemoration of Bush's greatest failure.

It will be interesting to see how Barack Obama ties Bush into 9/11. Clearly, he can't do it ON 9/11, but he can remind people about the August 6th PDB and the failure of "imagination" taht Condi Rice spoke of.

Now, back to the MacGuffin: Palin's boomlet is nothing more than that. A skyrocket that has burst and dazzled, but ultimately will fizzle out into burnt embers and the stale smell of gunpowder. Like Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland, California, there is no "there" there.

The pitfalls of trotting out your one trick pony is, indeed, the one trick becomes wearing and fast. You can't accuse Palin of fresh ideas, since she trots out the same tired bromides that Republicans have foisted for thirty years and failed with for the past eight.

So if it seems that it's no longer "McCain/Palin '08," it's because the Republicans are in a position where they have to milk her for all she's worth right now, in the hopes they can extend a lead going into October, when the surprises start to come down. After all, she's wholly responsible for this bounce, particularly amongst men.

It won't work. Palin doesn't have the gravitas to carry the election on her own, she can't bear her boobs on TV, and McCain's own appeal has drawn a blank among the electorate. All it will truly take to bury Palin in this election cycle is the revelation that she is nothing but "politics as usual" despite her reformer act.

Obama needs to focus on Bush, to draw the extension that McCain will just be a third term, and hammer away at that theme. This same poll indicated that fully 66% of voters are concerned that the Republican ticket will merely extend the Bush agenda another four years. That's an easy swing of 10% back to Obama as the fall unfolds, as we can assume that all 46% of his support in the polls feel this way.

Yea, he's four points behind, but that was to be expected after the RNC and in fact, I'm surprised the bounce was not higher.

In 2000, for example, heading into the DNC, Bush held an overwhelming 55-39 lead over Gore. After the DNC, Gore pulled even, 47-47. McCain swapped just five and a half points.

So while it's not great news for Obama at this early stage, it's not bad news. Fret not, liberals. We will win this thing yet.

UPDATE: The stoopid! It burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrns!

(I'm feeling the love from Memeorandum. Go show them some more.)