Gone for the Weekend
Hugh Hewitt interviewed Victor Davis Hanson today, if anyone is interested in checking that out.
Looks like my only sources for news will be MSM, while I'm away.
Illuminating the untempered soul and the blunt mind by hammering out sparks of Clarity and Truth on the Anvil of Debate.
"Sometimes, you go to war with the media you have, not the media you wish you had"
Labels: Dubai Ports Deal
Political bias affects brain activity, study finds
Democrats and Republicans both adept at ignoring facts, brain scans showDemocrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.
And they get quite a rush from ignoring information that's contrary to their point of view.
Researchers asked staunch party members from both sides to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 Presidential election. The subjects' brains were monitored while they pondered.
The results were announced today.
"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," said Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts."
Bias on both sides
The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.
Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.
The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.
"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," Westen said. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones."
Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning.
The tests involved pairs of statements by the candidates, President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, that clearly contradicted each other. The test subjects were asked to consider and rate the discrepancy. Then they were presented with another statement that might explain away the contradiction. The scenario was repeated several times for each candidate.
A brain-scan technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, revealed a consistent pattern. Both Republicans and Democrats consistently denied obvious contradictions for their own candidate but detected contradictions in the opposing candidate.
"The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data," Westen said.
Other relatively neutral candidates were introduced into the mix, such as the actor Tom Hanks. Importantly, both the Democrats and Republicans reacted to the contradictions of these characters in the same manner.
The findings could prove useful beyond the campaign trail.
"Everyone from executives and judges to scientists and politicians may reason to emotionally biased judgments when they have a vested interest in how to interpret 'the facts,'" Westen said.
Labels: Helen Thomas
It was the breakup that shocked legions of fans. She was the image of perfection dressed in Pepto-Bismol pink, with a dozen movie credits under her Size 2 belt, several best-selling advice books and a line of accessories that bore her name.
He was her dashing playmate in short shorts, with a washboard stomach, a killer smile and a pampered life of tennis, surfing and roller skating.
Now, after a heart-wrenching, two-year separation — for the record, it was her idea — Ken and Barbie are headed for a romantic reunion, according to their handlers. Ken's new attraction? A makeover, set to be unveiled today at a news conference in Manhattan, that finds him sporting a more rugged jaw line, wearing cargo pants and listening to Norah Jones.
Mattel's fourth-quarter results January showed an 18 percent decline in Barbie's U.S. sales.
"Ken has revamped his life -- mind, body and soul," Hollywood stylist and Mattel consultant Phillip Bloch said in a statement.
A facial resculpting, as Mattel calls it — Ken's first in more than a decade — will give him a more defined nose and a softer mouth.
"It's Matthew McConaughey meets Orlando Bloom," Mr. Bloch said in an interview.
Ken, who appears to have spent time in the gym and at the stylist,
At a press conference unveiling Ken, Bloch said the company was going for a "worldly, European thing," and "definitely wanted to be looking hot."
The Cheney shooting story isn't about to die down. I predict that the press is going to run with this story for days, if not weeks--and it has very little to do with the possibility of Cheney's being drunk, or with the 18 hour delay, or anything else. And this story is going to be much bigger than what we've seen so far in the White House Press Briefings.
It's because this story is a perfect metaphor for this administration's foreign and domestic policy. It says everything you need to know about Dick Cheney personally, and the way this entire administration operates.
And the press does this all the time: they run with little things that display flaws in character: Al Gore's "Internet" quote to highlight his weakness for exaggeration; Kerry's "Voted for it before I voted against it" to highlight his weakness for equivocation.
In this case, we have Cheney and the entire Bush Administration foreign and domestic policy in a nutshell. Especially in Iraq and Katrina.
In this case, Cheney and friends were killing innocent creatures who were trapped in a pen with no hope of escape.
Overeager, Cheney hunted with a shoot first, ask questions later mentality, and managed to strike his own partner, and send his friend to intensive care.
It later appears that Bush and his situation room (or so they said) had no idea what was going on on the ground there. They waited an entire day to even report the story,
Trashing our history: Lincoln
August 11, 2005
Since Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, you might think that there would be no need for a new book about it today.
Unfortunately, there is very much a need for a new book on the subject, not only because of the gross neglect of history in our schools and colleges, but also because of the completely unrealistic view of the world — past and present — that prevails, not only among the ignorant but among the intelligentsia as well.
Since the 1960s, it has been fashionable in some quarters to take cheap shots at Lincoln, asking such questions as "Why didn't he free all the slaves?" "Why did he wait so long?" "How come the Emancipation Proclamation didn't just come right out and say that slavery was wrong?"
People who indulge themselves in this kind of self-righteous carping act as if Lincoln was someone who could do whatever he damn well pleased, without regard to the law, the Congress, or the Supreme Court. They might as well criticize him for not discovering a cure for cancer.
Fortunately, there is an excellent new book, titled "Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation" by Professor Allen C. Guelzo of Gettysburg College, that sets Lincoln in the context of the world in which he lived. Once you understand the constraints of that world, and how little room for maneuver Lincoln had, you realize what courage and brilliance it took for him to free the slaves.
Just one fact should give pause to Lincoln's critics today: When Lincoln sat down to write the Emancipation Proclamation, the Supreme Court was still headed by Chief Justice Roger Taney, who had issued the infamous Dred Scott decision, saying a black man had no rights which a white man needed to respect.
This was a Supreme Court that would not have hesitated to declare the freeing of slaves unconstitutional — and Lincoln knew it. The Dred Scott decision was not yet a decade old at the time.
There would have been no point in issuing an Emancipation Proclamation that didn't actually emancipate anybody. Ringing rhetoric about the wrongness of slavery would not have gotten the Emancipation Proclamation past Taney and his Supreme Court.
Since Lincoln's purpose was to free millions of human beings, not leave some rhetoric to be preserved in the anthologies, he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation in dry legalistic terms that disappointed thoughtless critics in his time and ours, but got it past the Supreme Court.
Nothing in the Constitution gave a President the authority to free slaves. The only thing Lincoln could use to make his actions legal was his authority as commander-in-chief in wartime. But that meant that he could only free the slaves in territory controlled by enemy forces.
It took not only legal shrewdness but much courage to do what Lincoln did. There was no big political support in the North for freeing slaves. In fact there was much opposition to the idea by Northerners who feared that such an action would stiffen Southern resistance and prolong a war that cost more lives than any other war in American history. More than ten times as many American died in the Civil War as in Vietnam.
Lincoln was out on a limb, both politically and legally. He could have been impeached. At a minimum, he expected to lose the next election and was surprised when he didn't. But today we see the spectacle of pygmies sniping at this giant.
As for the other slaves not covered by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln worked behind the scenes to try to get slave-holding border states to emancipate them by state actions that would be beyond the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Failing that, he prodded a reluctant Congress to end slavery by amending the Constitution. He did a lot of political maneuvering on a lot of fronts to accomplish his goal.
Professor Guelzo's book does more than give us some sense of realism about a major event in American history. Perhaps if we come to understand the complexities and constraints of Lincoln's turbulent times, we might not be so quick to seize opportunities to reduce other times — including our own — to cartoon-like simplicities that allow us to indulge in cheap self-righteousness when judging those who carry heavy responsibilities.
Time to start a new category guys:
The Difference between Republicans and Democrats!
How many relativists have you heard suggest there is no difference? Of course it’s a subtle way of implying that you might as well vote for their guy.
Perhaps George Bush who also gave her ceremony can sign the Voting Rights Act and extend them with enforcement powers?
President Bush on yesterday gave homage to Rosa Parks and then put forth to the nation an extreme rightwing judge, antithetical to everything Rosa Parks ever stood for. He put forth an anti-Rosa Parks judge, not unlike last year he put a wreath on Dr. King's graveyard, and the next day, allowed the Supreme Court to kill affirmative action. Whenever he sticks out his hands, there's always something up his sleeves.
Perhaps a White House conference on civil rights, why not 50 years later? Watching bodies float down the rivers of New Orleans, no plan for rescue, no plan for relocation, no plan for reconstruction that's fair. 50 million Americans with no health insurance. The surplus culture for the few and a deficit culture for the masses. Just maybe we need a White House conference on civil rights. Mr. Mayor, why not right now on the river in Detroit, the Rosa Parks Park where we can entomb her body and have the generations unborn know this woman whose sacrifice made America better? Why not now some action to turn our mourning into some living memorial?
Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.
Contrast these liberal speakers with the speech President George W. Bush gave at Coretta King's funeral. Who is the unifier and who is the divider of this nation? Who carried himself with class and graciousness, making the funeral about honoring her; and which keynote speakers behaved with self-righteous political pontificating, making it all about themselves? Who, in the end, scored political points? The one who went there, devoid of political partisanship in his speech; or the ones who went there, engaged in political demagoguery?Mattie J.T. Stepanek, a 13-year-old Rockville, Md., boy who "wrote books of inspirational poems that climbed the bestseller charts," died last week of muscular dystrophy. Among those attending his funeral, the Washington Post reports, was Jimmy Carter:
Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, spoke of . . . Mattie's devotion to peace. "He was deeply aware of global affairs," Carter said, recalling that Mattie was in Children's Hospital's intensive care unit when the war in Iraq began last year.
"Mattie burst into uncontrollable sobs and grief," Carter said, and soon after, the former president received a letter from his then-12-year-old friend: "I feel like President Bush made a decision long ago about the war," Mattie wrote. "Imagine if he had spent as much time and energy . . . planning peace."
The letter continued, "Even though I want to talk to Osama bin Laden about peace in the future, I wouldn't want to be alone with him in his cave." The congregation dissolved into laughter.
"In the same letter," Carter added, "he asked if I would join him."
There is a longstanding tradition that ex-presidents do not publicly criticize their successors, a tradition for which Carter has shown such contempt that when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize in 2002, its members made clear they meant it as a poke in the eye of President Bush and America.
But using a child's funeral as a forum for this kind of attack is a new low. Just when you thought Bill Clinton was the tackiest ex-president, along comes Jimmy Carter to outcrass even him.
With deepest respect to Mattie, his message, however pure and well-intentioned, was a naive and deadly one. Stepanek was, however, a young boy suffering under the burden of a terrible illness.
What is appeaser Jimmy Carter's excuse?
...the leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, which recently swept
parliamentary elections there, told Italian daily Il Giornale on Saturday that
the cartoons should be punished by death.
"We should have killed all those
who offend the Prophet and instead here we are, protesting peacefully," said a
top group leader, Mahmoud Zahar.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Rage against caricatures of Islam's
revered prophet poured out across the Muslim world Saturday, with aggrieved
believers calling for executions, storming European buildings and setting
European flags afire.
Hundreds of Syrian demonstrators have stormed the
Danish Embassy in Damascus, and they've set fire to the building.
building that's been set on fire in the Syrian capital also houses the embassies
of Chile and Sweden.
Protesters have been staging sit-ins outside the embassy
almost daily since the uproar over the drawings broke out last week...
"We will redeem our prophet, Muhammad, with our blood!" they chanted.
It's just ink.
Imagine. A man stands before you in a boardroom, holding an inkwell.
"With this little jar of black liquid, I can make images that can get me fired, write words that will get me arrested. I can incite hate, and I can make pictures that would cause me to be executed in some countries. I can create international incidents.
"I can also leave a lasting legacy. I can inspire my children and others to attempt new things and change the world. I can make testimonies and promises to the world I will no doubt leave behind one day.
"With ink like this, Bibles, Torahs, Baghavad Gitas and Korans are printed. Millions file past old parchment in the national archives just to glimpse the ink put down two centuries ago outlining our freedoms.
"Don't let it go to waste. But never let it become more important than another liquid: never let it become more important than blood."
Right now, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, and other Muslim nations are demanding that the Danish government punish a private newspaper for printing 12 drawings of Mohammed (the prophet of Islam). Furthermore they are demanding Danish laws and UN resolutions that would forbid such "offenses" from occuring again. Ambassadors have been recalled. Flags are being burned. Threats of death are being made. This is an international incident.
It's just ink.
U.S. Army Spc. Sam Rogers, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 48th Brigade Combat Team, receives a hug from a young Iraqi girl who is overjoyed with her new shoes. Rogers helped deliver donated shoes to the Abu Tubar School near An Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Britt Smith
School children cannot attend school unless they are dressed properly and that means shoes on their feet.
Shoes represent the difference between a child in a classroom, learning and a child outside watching as other children study their daily lessons. In a country where a little bit of money goes a long way, some parents simply do not have a spare dinar to put shoes on their children’s feet, opting instead to feed them. An education comes in second or third on the priority list of parents who must have their children work the fields and tend the herds of sheep that is often their sole source of income.
U.S. Army Col. Vic Grace, assigned to the Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan's Defense Reform Directorate, hands out pens to children at the Bagrami Village refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2005. Personnel from Camp Eggers in Kabul visited the camp to provide toys, snacks, clothing and other supplies to needy Afghans there. Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. David B. Huxsoll U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Greenwood passes out candy to children at the Bagrami Village refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2005. Greenwood, a counternarcotics future operations planner with Combined Forces Command — Afghanistan, visited the camp with other personnel from Camp Eggers in Kabul to provide toys, snacks, clothing and other supplies to needy Afghans there. Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. David B. Huxsoll U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Greenwood takes a donkey cart ride with some children at the Bagrami Village refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2005. Greenwood, a counternarcotics future operations planner with Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, visited the camp with other personnel from Camp Eggers in Kabul to provide toys, snacks, clothing and other supplies to needy Afghans there. Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. David B. Huxsoll
Jim Norman, a Defense Department contractor, and U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jim Thomson provide first aid to an Afghan girl at the Bagrami Village refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2005. Personnel from Camp Eggers in Kabul visited the camp to provide toys, snacks, clothing and other supplies to needy Afghans there. Norman serves with the Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan as the personnel program's mentor to the Afghan Ministry of Defense and General Staff. Thomson serves as Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan first sergeant. Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. David B. Huxsoll
"I was watching CNN tonight and they ran a story and the cartoon that the Joint Chiefs of Staff objected too because is showed a quadruple amputee and Rumsfeld stating that he was listing the man as a battle hardened case. During the same program CNN showed one of the cartoons of Muhammad (peace be upon him) BUT they blurred Muhammad’s face. After a friend sent me a link to the original cartoons in question my opinion is that CNN et al are acting like a bunch of scared B****** (and yes I understand that the B word will offend some and I yes I illustrated the B word in the politically correct method to make a not so subtle point)."
Notice that here in a free society, when we see something questionable in taste and which is offensive to us (*cough*WashingtonPostcartoon*cough*), what happens? We send a letter expressing our displeasure; and the source in question of the offense has the good sense to post it for all to see, and debate a response back. No threat of violence. No homicide bombers. No one kidnapped and beheaded...no cartoonist dismembered. No calls for Jihad.What is also disappointing, is rather than just boycotting the newspapers in question, they condemn the whole entire country (ies) for accountability.
The sooner radical Islam vacates the 12th century and joins the rest of the civilized world right here in the 21st century, the sooner there will be world peace and tolerance.