The Jury Talks Back

12/4/2008

God, I love tabloid TV…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 11:26 pm

The Steve Wilkos show…

“He Didn’t Mean to Beat me.”

I don’t even need to watch it.  The show title alone is priceless beyond words.

Thank god for people like this.  Without them, the democrats would have no voting base, and how boring life would be without people like Biden…

“Paulson is a jackass and George W Bush can kiss my lily white butt”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 10:13 pm

This is from a friend of mine, who posts as “deepdiver” over at Michelle Malkin’s site.  I have his express permission to post this, and I’m happy to do so.  I think it adds a different perspective to what’s going on.

The subject line?  It’s was the same one he used for the e-mail that went over the list we’re on.  I think it’s perfect.

And now, without further BS from me, deepdiver:

I don’t think I have ever been so angry with our federal government.  I own a real estate related business.  For the first time in my life I finally understand the anger, frustration and despair that caused men in 1775 and 1861 to say enough. About 2 weeks ago the mortgage rates dropped about a point overnight and the lenders and realtors were swamped.  My friends in casualty insurance were buried with requests for new home owner’s policies and copies of current ones for lenders.  My associates in banking and mortgage brokers were working 12 hour days up until Thanksgiving.  The entire industry was excited and getting back on track.  And then here comes Paulson.

I talked to bankers and mortgage brokers today who were swamped a week ago and some of them had fully half of their new loans put on hold today by customers after this announcement of perhaps lower rates.  There were loan officers who told me that they did not have a single customer all day and the only calls they got were to put things on hold.  Title insurance companies seeing the light at the end of the tunnel realized that they have to capitalize losses for at least another 2 months instead of one. I have an insurance agent friend who was doing upwards of 40 home owner’s policies or verifications a day since the rate drop and today did one.

The real estate market was surging.  Just one smallish mortgage lender I am very familiar with was locking in over $1 Billion a DAY in new loans before Thanksgiving and today they were just as busy as the last few weeks with phone calls putting numerous of those locks on hold.  They killed the market that was just coming back. *bangs head on wall*

It is one thing when the gov’t isn’t helping you or is even a surmountable irritation, but it is another when the gov’t is acting against the best interests of small business, the people and the nation.  I think I have finally lost all faith in our government.

Secularism Doesn’t Have to Be Stupid

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 1:46 pm

Secularism doesn’t have to be stupid, but the latest crop of new atheists seem to be intent on performing a similar function that snake handlers play for the religious, i.e., fodder for reasonably justified prejudice.

Edward Feser, for all the bad-faith gibbering about the courtier’s reply fallacy*, lets Heather MacDonald have it with both barrels.  His point is that it’s almost impossible to have a reasoned discussion with such folks because they tend to hide behind purposeful ignorance.  At his blog, Feser writes,

Now, a little thought experiment. Suppose you were a professional physicist. Suppose further that that you came across the writings of someone whose knowledge of quantum mechanics derived entirely from discussions with high school science students. She had picked up from them some of the jargon – “collapse of the wave function,” “Schrödinger’s cat,” “wave-particle duality,” and so forth – but because their explanations were amateurish at best – always oversimplified, usually at least partially mistaken, and sometimes even grotesquely off-base – they failed to convey to her anything close to an accurate picture of the subject. Bizarrely, though, she used the bad information she’d picked up from them as the basis for an attack on the intellectual respectability of quantum mechanics, presenting it as clear evidence of the irrationality of contemporary physicists. “These physics oddballs claim they have a cat in a lab somewhere that is both alive and dead at the same time! And they also believe in little magic particles floating on foamy cosmic waves, or some such thing. Oogedy-boogedy, as my friend Kathleen would say. Maybe we conservatives ought to stay away from them. Maybe start a blog too. ‘Cause otherwise, you know, we might look as foolish and clueless as they do!”
.
Suppose also that, equally bizarrely, she seemed to be getting some respectful attention for these laughably ill-informed opinions. Annoyed, you pointed out to her that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, that she really ought to read some serious physics books before commenting further, and that in any case she ought to leave the hapless high school students out of it. Irate, she replies that the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that quantum mechanics is really worth taking seriously, and that doing so requires you to give her some “scientific evidence” that what the high school students have to say is true. She also refuses to consider the views of any actual physicists, apparently on the theory that if their complex arguments cannot be summarized for her in the comments box of one of her blog posts, then they must not be very compelling. Then she riffs a little more on some of her pet irrelevancies. “Where, pray tell, is your scientific evidence for this cat who’s alive and dead at the same time, Mr. Physicist? Show it to us, if it’s real! And what about those little ball thingies that float on the waves? Where’s your scientific test for them? Huh? HUH?!” Finally, with a flourish, she compares quantum mechanics to belief in the efficacy of Kinoki Detox Foot Pads. “So there!”

Replace “quantum mechanics” with “religion,” “physics” with “philosophy and theology,” and “high school students” with “unsophisticated religious believers,” and this is, I submit, pretty much where I find myself with respect to MacDonald. Really, what’s the point?

*: Hey, I took two 6 hour qualification exams for the explicity reason that I could prove that I had some conversance with the field that I claimed to be an expert in.  This, of course, does not prove that I actually am an expert, no more than not taking the exams would disprove claims to expertise.  It’s just that when every idiot has an opinion, do you have the decency to at least pretend that yours are informed about the basics?

What is Happening to Our Museums?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amphipolis @ 9:17 am

My family loves museums. When we lived in Philadelphia, we always had memberships in one or two of them. Our children knew how to behave in museums because they were in them almost from birth. They loved to learn and see new things.

We were back to visit the Franklin Institute in October. It had apparently been taken over by Pirates of the Caribbean paraphernalia. It seemed as though 2/3 of the great old exhibits were gone. There was an interesting and informative new Pirate section (for an additional fee), but that is not why we wanted to go to the museum. Now they are all Narnia. I love Narnia, but did it have to displace most of the museum? Where is the Mathematics Hall with all of its cool stuff?

Then we were going to go visit the University Museum at Penn a few weeks ago (the only place in the city where you can see a sphinx), but it seemed as though the entire museum was taken over by Harry Potter stuff. Nothing against Harry, but we wanted to show our children the exhibits we love. We stayed home.

And today I stumbled upon this. Expertise, the one thing I thought they had, is being sacrificed for attendance. They want it to be more like a business, which to me means that they are trying to compete with popular culture. But we go there to escape popular culture!

I understand that they want, and need, to draw more people in, but must they mimic best sellers to become relevant to this generation? Is this a cop-out? Does anyone have the patience to learn any more?

Winning and Losing Up North

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amphipolis @ 7:45 am

You may have missed it, but Canada had a Federal Election on October 14. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party did well, increasing their plurality in Parliament. You could say that he won.

But this is a parliamentary government. The three other parties together (Liberals, NDP, and the Bloc Quebecois), with their narrow majority, could theoretically form a fragile coalition government and topple him. This has never happened before in Canada. Yet this is precisely what they intend to do, presumably with a confidence vote curiously to be taken just after an election. The Governor-General, Michaelle Jean, would then likely ask for Harper’s resignation and request that the coalition form a new government. The new Prime Minister would be Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion. Jean is cutting short a foreign trip to deal with what is fast becoming a constitutional crisis.

Harper will addressed Canada last tonight. Some had speculated that he would ask the Queen to replace the Governor General with someone who will prevent the Canadian government from being handed over to a weak coalition that includes the secessionist Bloc.

No matter what happens, Canada’s government is far from stable at the moment even after an election in which the ruling party added to their seats in Parliament.

Update – Oops, Harper’s address was last night. BBC is reporting that Harper is seeking to delay next week’s scheduled confidence vote. Read to the end of the article, it is not pretty. Canada’s system of government will not come through this unscathed.


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