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Archive for February, 2007

Monday, February 26th 2007

Stupid Time Warner Cable

Get ESPNU on your line up! If I had it I would’ve seen Duke Lacrosse (finally) back in action with a little bit of a thumping of Dartmouth. It has been too long.

A season lost. Three players indicted on rape charges. Nearly a year of criticism for everyone associated with Duke lacrosse. On Saturday, for a few hours, it didn’t seem to matter as much. Playing their first game in 11 months, the Blue Devils beat Dartmouth 17-11 in front of a big crowd cheering their every move.

It is still too long for Evans (whose already graduated), Seligmann (who is being recruited to play for Brown, instead of returning to Duke), and Finnerty.

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Monday, February 26th 2007

People Resist Mandates

No surprise, but some families have filed suit against Governor Perry’s attempt to make the HPV vaccine mandatory for middle school girls.

The lawsuit challenges Perry’s authority to issue the order and seeks to block any state money from being spent on the vaccine until that question is resolved, said Kenneth Chaiken, the attorney representing the families.

“The school-age girls of Texas are not guinea pigs who may be subjected to medial procedures at the apparent whim of Texas’ governor,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Travis County.

While I understand opposition to the mandate the lawyer’s plea of “school-age girls” as “guinea pigs” is just ridiculous. An HPV vaccine has been tested in more than 11,000 women in studies like this three-year one by Villa, et al published in The Lancet Oncology (Summary/Abstract, Registration Required).

Burnt Orange Report is hosting a copy of the lawsuit. In any case this lawsuit is moot. The article linked to above briefly mentions the Texas House of Representatives efforts to overturn Perry’s order. That bill is going to succeed easily,

Wednesday’s Public Health Committee vote was 6-3, with all the Republican members and one Democrat voting to reverse Perry’s order. Three other Democrats voted against the bill, which now goes to the full House for consideration.

Passage is all but guaranteed since 90 of the 150 House members have signed on as co-sponsors, said the author of House Bill 1098, Rep. Dennis Bonnen.

“I’m very pleased that the majority of the committee saw the wisdom of not putting every 11-year-old girl into a mandated situation of a vaccination that we don’t know all the facts about,” said Bonnen, R-Angleton.

Monday, February 26th 2007

James Cameron The Showman

Well, James Cameron’s next “project” turns out not to be Avatar (and yes, I found my copy of scriptment, and yes I think it is actually real…and no, I haven’t finished reading all of it yet). No Cameron is a producer and regular P.T. Barnum for a documentary claiming that the tomb of Jesus Christ and his family has been found. (H/T The Middle East Blog)

The story starts in 1980 in Jerusalem’s Talpiyot neighborhood, with the discovery of a 2,000 year old cave containing ten coffins. Six of the ten coffins were carved with inscriptions reading the names: Jesua son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Matthew, Jofa (Joseph, identified as Jesus’ brother), Judah son of Jesua (Jesus’ son – the filmmakers claim).

The findings in the cave, including the decipherment of the inscriptions, were first revealed about ten years ago by internationally renowned Israeli archeologist Professor Amos Kloner.

Since their discovery, the caskets were kept in the Israeli Antiquities Authority archive in Beit Shemesh, but now two have been sent to New York for their first public exhibition.

I’m a practicing Christian, but even if I wasn’t call me skeptical. Get this bizarre claim,

According to the filmmakers, the film’s claim is based on close work with world-famous scientists, archeologists, statisticians, DNA specialists and antiquities experts.

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Saturday, February 24th 2007

Oscars

I am a film school grad, but I have seen so few movies this year that I’m not sure my Oscar predictions are worth anything more than anyone else who reads EW or the internet. I’ve seen just one of the best picture noms.

But I’ve clamored together what seems to be a consensus from those in the know. The best and supporting actors and actresses are all but certainties it appears, the best picture is a two film race, and the best director is practically locked up as well (note: don’t believe any of the last second Greengrass hype, this is Marty’s year).

Click ‘Read More’ for my predictions & see how many I got right.

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Saturday, February 24th 2007

How To Explain Libertarianism To The Bleeding Heart

The title is misleading. This is a specific critique of and response to ‘How To Explain Things To Libertarians‘ on Pandagon which was found through Reddit.

The author, Chris Clarke, starts us off by mocking the online recruitment efforts of organized libertarianism. Specifically the ‘World’s Smallest Political Quiz’. Yeah, that thing is stupid. Here’s a less humorous and more dedicated critique of that ridiculous little political affiliation quiz.

On to the critique of Pandagon’s post. Most Libertarians do indeed pragmatize as they get deeper, as the post claims; they try to adapt the political philosophy to the realities of the tyranny of the masses. Apparently Chris’ post isn’t for those who have become less of the “zealot” variety of Libertarian.

The trouble with Chris’ post is that it misses the critical issue. The post overrelies on a sort of utilitarian, end result look at the world.

[C]oncede that some taxes are necessary to pay firefighters, who recognize that their success as business people might just depend on public education to give them a pool of potentially competent employees, and so forth.

Well, the first argument is that the post is assuming it can predict an alternate reality. As if that public school educated successful business man would’ve turned out worse without those education appropriated tax dollars. I point this out, because I’m going to use the same technique later to criticize some of Chris’ points.


All This Photo Did Was Make Me Want That Outfit

The major argument, and where Libertarians should try to keep the debate is that the sentence above assumes that true “zealot” libertarians care about any of these end results. Even a “zealot” can concede that more government spending could make education ‘better.’ But weighing a strong right to property against some strange “right” to education isn’t a contest at all for a libertarian (note: it goes without saying that taxes deny someone the right to property; discussions of appropriations always weigh the right to property against whatever you’re going to spend that government revenue on).

I don’t think this is an example of the unpragmatic nature of Libertarianism, although that is one of its major criticisms. People from a range of personal political philosophies use this sort of reasoning all the time.

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Saturday, February 24th 2007

Hyping The Reggiegate Story

Word on the message boards is that the Woodward & Bernstein jokers who Yahoo! has sent after the ‘Reggiegate’ story have gotten ahold of actual copies of the tapes they previously reported on. There’s even talk that Reggie himself is on the tapes talking about gifts he received against NCAA rules.


Follow The Lines Geniuses

What we do know is that the journalists are making the talk show rounds. While I haven’t heard any of the radio interviews its reported that there was the typical claim that the next story, which is coming out very soon, ‘will be very bad for USC’ and specific editorializing that USC should get the death penalty. Not sure you can play investigative reporter and op/ed columnist at the same time jackasses, might call into question your bias.

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Friday, February 23rd 2007

Avian Flu Summary

A nice summary of avian flu, its threat, what we can do, the workings of the influenza virus, and the international going ons so far. A topic I haven’t posted on in a while.

Friday, February 23rd 2007

Cheney Makes A Good Interview & Cardinal Pell Makes A Point


Cheney’s Snarl, The Actual Cause of Global Warming

Just for the completely unbiased picture they used of Cheney, you should read ABC New’s exclusive interview with the Vice President on Global Warming.

JONATHAN KARL: But what’s your sense, where is the science on this? Is global warming a fact? And is it human activity that is causing global warming?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Those are the two key questions. I think there’s an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. You can look at the data on that, and I think clearly we’re in a period of warming. Where there does not appear to be a consensus, where it begins to break down, is the extent to which that’s part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it’s caused by man, greenhouse gases, et cetera.

[...]

JONATHAN KARL: So you think the jury is still out about whether or not this warming we’re seeing has been caused by human activity?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Some of it has, I think. But exactly where you draw the line? I don’t know.

You should also take a look at an article hosted by Senator Inhofe’s blog (a stunner!). It is written by the Archbishop of Sydney, and is largely a criticism of the near hysteria over Global Warming, which has been the major criticism voiced by this blog all along.

The Cardinal Pell article is from a link from Drudge.

Friday, February 23rd 2007

Les Fichus Américains Partent Avec N'importe quoi!


This Is Going To Hurt America’s Image In France

As if anti-Americanism in France needed a poke to wake it up, it looks like Floyd Landis will escape consequences for alleged doping during the Tour d’France based on a technicality (h/t Drudge).

Embattled Tour de France winner Floyd Landis received a boost in his fight against a positive doping test after French lab records showed a protocol violation.

The the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the French laboratory which found the positive results against Landis had two technicians involved in the original urinalysis and the confirming test, validating their own findings.

Such access to both samples violates anti-doping regulations and supports Landis’s contention that numerous errors in the chain of care regarding the tests and samples should invalidate the doping positive.

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Friday, February 23rd 2007

Misleading Title, Interesting Summary

We’ve known for a while that circumcision cuts your chances of HIV infection. Actually pretty dramatically. Well, turns out those figures may be even more impressive than previously thought.

[C]ircumcision reduces men’s chances of catching HIV by up to 60 percent — a finding experts are hailing as a major breakthrough in the fight against AIDS. The question now is how to put that fact to work to combat AIDS across Africa.

A modeling study last year projected that in the next decade, male circumcision could prevent 2 million AIDS infections and 300,000 deaths. Last year, 2.8 million people in sub-Saharan Africa became infected with HIV, and 2.1 million people died.

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