Thursday, May 29, 2008

Reaction to McClellan and groupthink

John Cole drawing the groupthink parallel. Ring any bells?:

In order to make groupthink testable, Irving Janis devised eight symptoms that are indicative of groupthink (1977).

1. Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
2. Rationalising warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.
3. Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
4. Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, disfigured, impotent, or stupid.
5. Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”.
6. Self censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
7. Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
8. Mindguards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.

Political correctness on the Right

Exhibit One: Right wing bloggers force Dunkin Donuts to pull ad because of Rachel Ray's scarf.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Poking in the shale...

The big news in PA the last year or two on the energy front is that companies are now able to drill for natural gas profitably from the Marcellus Shale.

Close or running under a large number of cities, this is good news, particularly those of us who use home heating oil as their primary source for winter heat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On the traction of political narrative

Kevin Drum with a good post on the difficulty (on non difficulty) of each side's political narrative.

It certainly is easier to point out how easy it is for the other side/how hard it is for your side than to confront their narrative directly.

Good news--we no longer have to outsource our torture to Syria

Heck, we're importing prisoners to import now.

Of course, given how poorly we're doing it, it should not be a surprise that we need more practice.

Meanwhile, SecDef Gates, after previously saying we need to close Gitmo, now says we are stuck right now, partly because if we return some of these people to their home countries they might be released outright,

Uh, Mr. Secretary? That's what we do to innocent people. Rather, that's what we used to do, before potential political embarrassment meant more than innocence or guilt.

"Busted is what you see!"

Gotta love the chutzpah of old city mayors.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The biggest puffer issue?

It is hard to tell whether Saddam's WMD or "rampant voter fraud" is the "biggest" non-issue foisted upon Americans by the Administration. But we see that, on the state level, things are becoming clear that much of the outcry over widespread voter fraud is a lot of nonsense.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Catholics being denied Communion for supporting Democrats?

Just came across this somewhat disturbing piece in Commonweal

The calcifying of the Catholic Church around the abortion side of their pro-life stance is not new. As is their relative silence, in the US, on the death penalty. But denying communion for Catholics who support Democratic candidates seems to be using communion as a political weapon. There is a real tax liability, at minimum, for the Church, if true.

The crime-fighting store clerk

A short tale of courage. For charcoal.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Church moving

Amazing. The song is a little cheesy, but what a great video. And what a beautiful day there. It's like a poster for the Midwest.

Husband tries to hide lottery win from wife


Monday, May 05, 2008

Hiroshima photos

Finally revealed.

I started to read a novel recently which used the historical fact of the finding of these images as a starting point. Turned out to be not my cup of tea (the novel, though you could probably include the tragedy in there as well).

How flipping a photo makes one look elitist

In these heightened political times, where the message means less than the way it is delivered, I present to you: An editorial gaffe.

While we were arguing about whether Rev Wright loves America more than Barack Obama...

4000 death, 3000 missing from cyclone disaster on Myanmar (Burma).

This is one of the most isolated countries on earth (isolated for many reasons, but human trafficking and opium production come to mind...). Still, a disaster of epic proportions. A chance to do good here might open up an otherwise repressive country.

As I recall, Myanmar lost thousands in the tsunami a couple of years ago, but wouldn't let aid workers into the country to help. So maybe this is just another lost opportunity in the making.

UPDATE: Now past 22,000 dead.