Friday, July 30, 2010

This Is Why Internet Polls Don't Work

Modern Library's 100 Best Novels in English. And a readers' v... on Twitpic

The photo, from Roger Ebert's Twitpic Feed, shows two sets of the Top 10 Best Novels in English, one determined by experts hired by Modern Library, the other determined by popular poll.

Four of the reader's poll entries are by Ayn Rand; three are by L. Ron Hubbard; and the rest are Tolkien, Harper Lee, and George Orwell.

The Modern Library's list includes Fitzgerald, Joyce, Nabokov, Huxley, Faulkner, Heller (oddly not specified), Koestler, Lawrence, and Steinbeck.

Reminder: Just because it's popular doesn't mean it's good for you.

Cost 'Em Some Money

So it turns out that there's a raft of really badly-placed ads on Scienceblogs right now -- for creationism, medical woo, and Hubbardology.

But the thing is, SB's ad policy is on a page-view basis, not on a click-through. When you load an SB page, the people who want ads on that page get billed a small micropayment.

So I'm going to go over there and refresh Pharyngula several hundred times this afternoon, and if I figure this right it's going to cost the Church of Hubbardology money.

Eh, it ain't Anonymous, but it helps.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Somewhere, Alan Moore Is Smiling

I'll bet they had one hell of a Meet Cute. (From my sf collec... on Twitpic

Infinity Magazine, first issue, November 1955.

Alan Moore was all of two when this was published, but perhaps it still had an influence at some later date, because in Watchmen, after Dr. Jon Osterman has a fatal encounter with an "intrinsic field subtractor," he has to pull himself together -- and in one panel, his circulatory system is giving people fits.

From Roger Ebert's twit pic feed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

She Has A Storefront Down On 34th & Vine

The Coasters, Love Potion No. 9, 1971.

That kind of makes The Clovers' version look pedestrian.

Watch at YouTube.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rick Barber's Tax Scheme

So there's this guy named Rick Barber who's running on the Republican ticket for the 2nd Congressional District in Alabama. He's already run one ad in which he practically rails at men dressed as the Founding Fathers -- in particular, Franklin and Washington -- about how bad things are today, that we have an IRS that's going to make us buy health insurance, and the gentlemen he's addressing started a war over a tea tax.

Setting aside the simplicity of the war over tea for another time, Mr. Barber was on cable television recently, trying to explain to Chris Matthews how he would structure the taxes:

BARBER: No, you wouldn’t be adding any tax.

The fair tax is a replacement for all the embedded tax that’s estimated to be in the products and goods and services that we have already because of our current income tax.
MATTHEWS: You would get rid of the sales tax in localities?

BARBER: You would get rid of Social Security, capital gains.

MATTHEWS: No, no, no.


BARBER: You would get rid of Medicare and Medicaid. You would get rid of the death tax.

All of those conservative bugbears.

BARBER: The estimated tax that’s already embedded in the goods is 23 percent. You would get rid of the embedded tax, replace it with the fair tax, and the states would then have to choose how they want to tax beyond that.
MATTHEWS: You’re talking about a George Washington character, talking about gathering an army against our own self-elected government, not the British government, not a foreign tyranny, but our own elected government.

BARBER: No, sir. No, sir.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Look --


BARBER: You’re putting those words in my ad. It says gather the army and the army we’re referring to --

MATTHEWS: Against whom?

BARBER: Gather our political army.

MATTHEWS: Oh, political army. You didn’t say that.


BARBER: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: He’s wearing a military uniform and says gather your armies and you’re saying that’s a metaphor.

BARBER: Chris, do you know who a metaphor is? Do you know what hyperbole is?

Maybe not, but I know what patronizing is.

They finally get to something I can parse about the "fair tax":

BARBER: Here’s an example. You’ve got a Coke -- Coke today costs a dollar. Today, you pay a dollar. In that dollar are already 23 percent of taxes that we don’t see. The difference is now that Coke is going to cost 77 cents, but you’re going to see 23 percent of tax on top of that 77 cents to still yield a $1 Coke and then you add your 8 percent sales tax locally on that. There’s your correct analogy.

Ah-ha. He believes that a portion of the sticker price of every product in the store -- he claims it's 23%, I'd like to see his evidence -- consists of taxes that we don't see. Now this might make some sense if he's talking about taxes on businesses and factories, which taxes are of course passed along to us because corporations are concerned with their bottom line and not our interests as consumers. But what does he want the sticker price to be? Does he want the sticker price on that can of Coke to be $0.77? Then it certainly looks like an extra 31 cents gets added on in taxes, and that's not 23% or even 31% -- for a 77-cent can of Coke 31 cents is darn near 50%!

Or does he want the sticker price to be $1, but the receipt to print out $0.77 and $0.31 in taxes? That seems designed to get people upset about sales tax, which he would probably see as a good thing, because then they would clamor to lower sales taxes and he would look down from on high and whisper, "no." explain that we can only do that by slashing Social Security and the common welfare.

What he probably wants is for the tax burden on that can of Coke to be shifted to the consumer. He probably thinks that consumer products would be cheaper if the corporations don't have to pay taxes and fees and things, whatever goes into that 23% figure he's bruiting about, but they really won't be if you add in that tax at the point of consumption.

Oy. I hope this guy doesn't win his race.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

JAQing Off

Shorter Bruce Walker, at The American Thinker:

"Barry" Obama is a real nice guy to have a beer with, and is therefore eminently unsuited to be PUSA.


As Robin of Berkeley observed in her truly scary article, Barack Hussein Obama may well be have been a traumatized victim in his youth, perhaps of sexual abuse. If he is, then Obama will have personality disorders which simply cannot be cured (read Robin's article for the details). If Robin is right, then at some point, the true, hopelessly sick Obama will show himself before a horrified nation. Average Americans will no longer like the president. They will, instead, be saddened and repelled -- and they will emphatically expel Obama and his supporters from power or influence in our lives. When folks stop liking Barry, the party is over. [Emphasis mine]

Gee, thanks for helping victims of child sexual abuse move past their trauma, there, you jerk.

And that link to Robin of Berkeley's horrible article will take you to another instance of JAQing off. She's just asking questions, guys. Of course, the questions are why is Barack Obama so strange? and did his drunkard father beat him about the head in Indonesia? and does he have Asperger's Syndrome or is he merely mentally ill? and did his mother leave him in the care of a self-admitted child-molesting Communist? so only go there if your blood pressure is crashing.

These articles, like Goldberg's opus Liberal Fascism, are just intended to get these smears into published form so that they can be referenced as authority on Obama by all kinds of smear artists. Now that Bruce Walker and Robin of Berkeley have produced these articles in which they wonder, in wide-eyed childlike innocence, if Obama is not, in fact, fucked in the head, people like Glenn Reynolds and Andy Schlafly can point to these articles as support for declaring that Obama is, indeed, fucked in the head and that this fucked-in-the-headness is the least of our worries. Don't you know he didn't tip Medvedev off to our intentions to arrest those Russian long-term spies?!?!

The Big Lie: you're soaking in it.

Thanks to Alicublog.