…that the large, stadium-style classrooms in DeBartolo Hall are designated “Tornado Safe Areas”?
The things you learn while searching for alternative study locations, away from the law school. :)
Stephen Colbert’s Bush-bashing comedy routine was a bit too much for some attendees — including, possibly, President Bush — at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner last night. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This was anti-Bush,Ã¢â‚¬? said one member of the press corps. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Usually they go back and forth between us and him.Ã¢â‚¬? Well, in fairness, Colbert did make fun of the press — but only from a liberal perspective (basically saying they don’t question Bush enough, bashing Fox News, etc.). Excerpt:
Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, Ã¢â‚¬Å“and reality has a well-known liberal bias.Ã¢â‚¬?
He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This administration is soaring, not sinking,Ã¢â‚¬? he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If anything, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.Ã¢â‚¬? …
Turning to the war, he declared, “I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.” …
Observing that Bush sticks to his principles, he said, “When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday.”
Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he was Ã¢â‚¬Å“surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides of the story Ã¢â‚¬â€ the presidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s side and the vice presidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s side.” He also reflected on the alleged good old days, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story.
Addressing the reporters, he said, “Let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works. The president makes decisions, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know–fiction.”
Heh. Very partisan, but funny. Not the sort of routine you’d expect to go over well with that crowd; clearly, Colbert was not expecting to be invited back.
The late Carl Sagan has a special place in Brendan’s heart, I know. A dedicated scientist and featured narrator in middle school science classes, he’s most famous to us for the lilting way he says, “There are more stars in the universe… than there are… grains of sand… on all the beaches… of all the world.” He also wrote a book called The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. As the title suggests, it was an attack on all superstition, pseudoscience, and religion (especially cults). He honestly didn’t understand why people turned to such things, when the natural world had plenty of wonder and mystery to spare. How could you look at a nebula, for example, and still need the supernatural to feel a sense of awe? More to the point, at the end of the book, he hopes that future entertainment will stop sending the message that believing the irrational is a virtue. Perhaps instead of the X-Files, for example, there might be a show about a man who debunks UFO sightings and crop circles and conspiracy theories and the like.
I think Sagan’s dream might very well be slowly but surely coming true. Sure there are still shows on Sci-Fi that try to convince us that science fiction is real, but there’s a growing number of shows dedicated to reason. There’s the non-fiction first. Discovery Channel has MythBusters, wherein special effects experts put urban legends to the test - and usually have some form of explosion in the process. Moreover, when somebody brings up a rational counterargument, they revisit the myth! Showtime has Penn and Teller: Bullsh*t! (as spelled in the actual title). Magicians Penn and Teller follow the example of their hero Houdini and expose quacks. They spend half the time on politics and half thrashing pseudoscience.
And now it’s spread to fiction. It makes sense for a fanciful show like Lost or Battlestar Galactica to operate outside reality, though even Lost might be interpreted with some rational explanations, but it’s refreshing for more “realistic” shows to actually have some realism. Take Fox’s House or CBS’s Numb3rs. Numb3rs uses math to solve crimes. In the words of Charlie’s voiceover: “It’s logic. It’s rationality.” The psychics have nothing to offer the investigation, and in one episode Charlie proves a psychic a fraud. Better yet is House. Though I doubt that many atheists in one place follows the laws of probability, House isn’t afraid to outright tell people that their faith has no basis in reality whatsoever, he’ll stick to medicine, thanks. The faith healers accomplish nothing (unless they’re carrying a herpes virus that attacks cancer cells which they spread to a cancer patient, anyway). House does.
Anyhow, I thought it was worth note. Me, I like my completely implausible scenarios with good characters (that everybody knows are fiction) right beside my realistic fiction with a penchant for ridiculing the ridiculous side by side.
The two miners trapped underground in a Tasmanian mine since last Tuesday have been found alive and well. The men are still trapped underground but a camera has gotten through to them and they are still alive and seem to be okay. The two miners have been able to have a conversation with the rescue team. Rescuers have called in all the miners to start work getting them out. It is expected they will have them out early tomorrow.
The incident killed their workmate, 44-year-old Larry Knight, whose body was retrieved on Thursday.
Update: Both men are inside a metal cage on a cherry picker they were working in when the rockfall happened. A rock has fallen on top of the cage, shutting them inside, and the pair are forced to sit in the cramped structure which is just 1.2m by 1.2m. The rescuers priority is to get fresh water and food to the men, along with better communication equipment by pushing it through a long tube before they attempt to extract them from the mine. Having been sitting for so long, neither of the men will be able to walk. The pair have survived on drips of heavily mineralised and rancid water running through the mine.
Update 2: Rescuers have drilled a narrow hole through 12m of rock through which a 100mm PVC pipe was inserted and water, biscuits, tablets and protein drinks passed to the two miners. It may take more than two more days to free them.
Okay, say what you will about the Reggie Bush kerfuffle, but this is ridiculous. What, is Matt Leinart’s dad an agent or a booster now? He’s not allowed to help his son and his son’s roommate pay the rent on their apartment? Give me a freakin’ break. (Hat tip: Andrew, who calls this story “more stomach-churning nonsense that illustrates how whacked the NCAA is.”)
[PLEASE NOTE: It has been suggested in comments that the sign is actually being held by the man under the letter “E,” not the woman under the letter “L.” Upon further review, I think that’s correct. I apologize for misidentifying the protester’s hand. I’ve gone through and changed all the feminine references in this post to masculine references.]
When this guy is on your side of the political debate, you’re going to have problems:
I highly suggest that he take a look at these videos and reconsider his position.
(Then again, I suppose those videos probably wouldn’t have much effect on him, since he probably buys into the moonbat conspiracy theories that say 9/11 was an inside job. Speaking of which, pretty much all the “evidence” underlying those theories is spectacularly debunked here.)
Disclaimers, and further commentary, after the jump.
I’m not sure how I missed this, but apparently, there’s a possible major Congressional sex/corruption/lobbyist scandal brewing… and it may have involved (Republican) member(s) of Congress having sex with prostitutes — provided by lobbyists — in the Watergate Hotel. This has led, inevitably, to Wonkette labelling the scandal “WatergateGate.” Heh. Also: “Best. Scandal. Ever.” And, in an earlier post: “Boring OlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Congressional Corruption Case NOW WITH HOOKERS.” Daily Kos has more — and before you dismiss this whole thing on the basis of the fact that I just linked to Daily Kos, consider that the Kos post in question actually links to an article from that Thursday’s edition of that commie pinko left-wing rag, the Wall Street Journal. Excerpt from the WSJ:
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham [(R-California)] supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites, pursuing evidence that could broaden their long-running inquiry.
Besides scrutinizing the prostitution scheme for evidence that might implicate contractor Brent Wilkes, investigators are focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services, though it isn’t clear whether investigators have turned up anything to implicate others.
In recent weeks, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have fanned out across Washington, interviewing women from escort services, potential witnesses and others who may have been involved in the arrangement.
As yet, it’s hard to tell if there’s really any there there, aside from the picadillos of the already-disgraced Mr. Cunningham. But if this scandal has legs (er, so to speak) and spreads (ahem) beyond Cunningham, it obviously has the potential to capture the public’s imagination in a way that mere bribery and corruption cannot. There’s nothing the public loves to pretend they hate more than good old-fashioned sex scandal… except, perhaps, a good old-fashioned sex scandal involving Republicans. (If only it were a gay sex scandal involving Republicans… alas.*) Add in the illicit nature of the sex (prostitution is illegal, after all), and better yet, the honest-to-goodness importance of the lobbyist/corruption issue, and suddenly — voila! hallelujah! — there’s a legitimate reason for the media and blogosphere to talk endlessly about all the tawdry and embarrassing details that are sure to come out if this thing progresses (kinda like how Clinton’s perjury and obstruction of justice gave us all an excuse to read Ken Starr’s glorified porno… c’mon, admit it, you scrolled past everything until “Sexual Encounter #1″). Bottom line, if this thing blows up — and if it stays confined to Republican members of Congress (not necessarily a sure bet) — it’ll damage the GOP way more than any mere lobbying scandal. And it’ll also be way more fun.
*Actually, come to think of it, if it were a gay sex scandal, the general public would probably not want to hear the gory details so much. Unless of course it involved gay women — preferably NFL cheerleaders. Conservative Republican congressmen having threesomes with the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders, provided by lobbyists, in the Watergate hotel… now that would be a sex scandal. :)
The Bookstore Basketball championship game tomorrow at 2:00 PM, featuring Brady Quinn, isn’t the only significanct intramural event happening at Notre Dame in the next couple of days. There’s also a soccer semifinal involving law students! It takes place at 11:30pm Monday. I’m just going to reprint Meg’s e-mail verbatim (indeed, I ripped off its title, too), because it includes pretty much everything you need to know:
The growing international crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme could trigger a catastrophic oil price spike, sending crude prices over $100 a barrel, senior Wall Street analysts are warning.
Paging Jimmy Carter…
P.S. For the record, $100 per barrel would be worse, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than the 1979-80 oil crisis. The peak back then was just over $90 in 2006 dollars, according to Wikipedia. (Nifty chart here.)