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  1. almost 9 years ago on Tom Toles

    The idea that legislation is forced down anybody’s throat when it wins the support of a elected majority of both houses and the president is frankly absurd. Remember what the GOP’s dear old Grover Norquist called bipartisanship? “Another name for date rape.”Of course, not being a Republican, I don’t agree with Grover, and think bipartisan legislation, when possible, is a good idea.But tell me, how much Republican support would Obama receive if he signed the Keystone bill? Would that improve the GOP’s opinion of him? Would it make them more willing to co-operate or compromise on other matters? He gets damned for vetoing it; If he signed it, the GOP would still damn him for having taken so long and for a stack of other things. Meanwhile few in his own party would be happy if made yet another concession to the disloyal opposition. So delaying this project until the full environmental impact is known, and we are more sure of where the price of oil is going, both make sense.From what I’ve read the Keystone is about as risky as Solyndra was. If oil prices remain this low, the Canadian oil will be too expensive to go after. And while the pipline may be perfectly safe, it will only take one major spill to make the project look like a terrible mistake. The number of jobs that the pipeline would produce would be small by every account.And by the way, I am not against the pipeline any more than I am in favor it. I don’t have a strong opinion either way. If it is risky, well, a lot of things are risky. That doesn’t mean they aren’t sometime worth the risk. Sometimes they don’t end well. You have to live with that. If it pipeline is a good and necessary thing, I’m sure it will be built in time. Delay is just delay.

    There is a saying in historical preservation: “All victories are temporary, all defeats are permanent.” You can save something for another day, year, or century, but once it goes, it goes forever. This generally applies to conservation of all sorts. The conservation of institutions, customs, systems, values, etc., as much as of natural habitats, and material objects. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. This is the battle that conservationists and (true) conservatives are always fighting. This why conservationists and conservatives can get so passionate. The problem is, there probably isn’t anything in nature not worth preserving. There may be many thing in society, ancient, venerable things, that aren’t worth preserving; even things that we would be better off without.

  2. almost 9 years ago on Tom Toles

    The DC thing is very amusing. The party that talks endlessly about the evils of centralized power, of “elites” making decisions for people that they ought to make themselves; the virtues of local control, of personal rights and personal responsibility, find themselves having to oppose the clearly expressed wish of the majority of voters in the DC to end the century-old illegalization of marijuana.Interesting piece in the Times. A new study shows that only 20% of self-identified Republicans also classify themselves as white evangelical Protestants. Yet from that relatively small faction of the party comes nearly all the anti-choice, anti-equality, anti-immigrant fervor. Asked whether abortion should be legal in most cases, Americans as a whole say YES, YES, and STRENGTHEN. Non-evangelical Republicans either agree with the majority, or are about evenly split on the question. But white evangelicals disagree by large margins, and are about the only ones who do. And they, of course, have a large effect on the Republican Party as a whole, which could be quite different without them.http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/25/opinion/frank-bruni-republicans-evangelicals-gays-and-abortion.html?smid=fb-share

  3. almost 9 years ago on Tom Toles

    http://aattp.org/politifact-study-fox-news-lies-more-than-any-other-news-network/Talked to someone who toured O’Reilly’s studio. Noted that it was arranged so that O’Reilly, who is a big, tall guy, sits on a platform while his victim, sorry, I mean, “guest” sits beneath him, at a lower level. What is it in the make-up of some people that leads them to like and admire a puffed-up, self-righteousness-exuding bully like O’Reilly or Limbaugh? Such people are obnoxious and offensive even when you AGREE with them. And I’ve met people like that who I did agree with; … but then I can’t imagine a left-leaning bully-boy becoming a media superstar the way O’Reilly, Limbaugh, etc., have.

  4. almost 9 years ago on [Deleted]

    Don’t correct him. Conserve Gov and his shtick serve a very good purpose here. They remind us every dad how mean-spirited, nasty, and mind-less a lot of so-called conservatives are. He makes the modern pseudo-conservative look bad, and for that we can be grateful to him.I call him and his kind pseudo-conservatives because there is nothing they are interested in conserving. They are only interested in attacking and tearing down. They are unhappy, want to blame someone else for their unhappiness, and so they lash out in all directions. I know people at work like that.

  5. almost 9 years ago on Tom Toles

    Extortion, pure and simple. Do as we say or national security suffers. And if more illegals get across the border because of what we’ve done, or anything else bad happens as a result, we can blame you for that too!It reminds me of the way they made sure the IRS can’t enforce the law so that even less money comes in, so their PACs could break the law with impunity, and they could blame the Democrats for deficits and shortfalls.To quote the supposed remark of Cornelius Vanderbilt: “The public be damned! I work for my stockholders!” And we all know who the stockholders of the GOP are. P.S. Vanderbilt probably did not say it, at least not in that way. But he did suggest that his only consideration in running his railroads was to make money. “Railroads are not run for the public benefit, but to pay. Incidentally, we may benefit humanity, but the aim is to earn a dividend,” he said in another place. And this is as it should be. Corporations exist to earn money for stockholders. Anything they do that, at least in the long run, is not intended to make money for the stockholders, is embezzlement. If you give a lift to someone in your car, it is not your car that is being charitable. If a corporation gives away money, it is either stealing money from its stockholders, or has judged the giving to be an investment of some kind. Only human beings can be generous. But I ramble …

  6. almost 9 years ago on [Deleted]

    Thanks for the recommendation. Every read a little book by Garrett Hardin, from 1985, called Filters Against Folly? Not about brain function, but certainly about some of the common errors people fall into in their thinking.

  7. almost 9 years ago on Tom Toles

    I’m afraid Alexander left off the sarcasm symbol. He was making fun of Texas, not marriage equality.

  8. almost 9 years ago on Tom Toles

    The amazing thing is that politicians have a much higher status in the US, in spite of all our complaints about them, than they do in Europe. Most Europeans regard their politicians less like celebrities and more like bureaucrats. Those few who still have monarchs tend not to be as impressed by them as Americans are. There are, of course, reasons. One being that in a globalized economy, the citizens and politicians of most countries know and understand that the fate of their country will be largely determined outside their own borders, and there is only so much that their government can do about it. We remain egotistical and narcissistic enough to credit ourselves and our politicians with all the “good” things that happen in the world, and blame our politicians (though never ourselves) for all the “bad” things that happen in the world. The economic and military power of the USA gives us an excuse for doing this, as we do influence events more than, say, Denmark does. Still, the pathology is there. I’m not completely happy with the words “egotistical” and “narcissistic” in this context. Are there better terms for self-obsession when it is applied to the group you belong to rather than narrowly to oneself? People who don’t think that they personally are the center of the universe, but thing their nation, race, religion, ideology, team, profession, clan, or something is? “I boast nothing for myself, I am a humble man, but I am also an X, and being an X means that you belong to the greatest (fill in the blank) on earth.” Or … “embrace the truest ideology on earth. And I WILL boast for my (nation, religion, race, profession, team, ideology, clan)!” Of course, I’m not just talking about self-congratulatory boasting or praise, but that assumption that the world revolves around us, that everything that happens is about us. But maybe there are no better terms than narcissistic and egotistical for this phenomenon.

  9. almost 9 years ago on Tom Toles

    “… theories are revised to suit the most trendy scientist …”

    No, theories are revised to reflect newer and better data. It’s called learning. It’s what science is all about. Show me someone who hasn’t changed his mind in twenty years, and I’ll show you someone who stopped learning long ago.

  10. almost 9 years ago on Tom Toles

    I was wrong. It’s not getting below 8 degrees, only 5 lower than the 1979 record. It will be back over 50 degrees by Sunday. But as has been said, weather is always, and has always, been extremely variable. This is why measuring shifts in climate is so difficult. I work in a place that depends on the tourist trade. Visitations varies from day to day, and month to month. There are busy days in the worst years, and slow days in the best years. Visitation levels that keep us in the black don’t look very different from the ground than levels that will bankrupt us. If things get really bad, the staff will notice, but you have to ask the accountants to actually know.