There’s a WNYC radio show called RadioLab, it’s a This American Life knock-off, which seeks to apply lessons from Science to daily life.

There’s an episode entitled Emergence, about how ants are super-stupid, but the sum of their random stupid actions is much less stupid.

There’s another episode called Deception about how people lie to each other and to themselves, which makes us look like dumb ants.

The Deception episode is phenomenal, and the Emergence one is only Pretty Damn Good. But the Emergence one is the one that makes me feel like all the stupid militias and stupid militia-busters and everything-else… might turn out OK in the long run.

But that’s of little comfort to those high school boys who took off their shirts and did a silly dance at school (just like their ant brains told ’em to!)… and got arrested:

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“Rigid Ideology” vs “Realpolitik”

Does “standing on principle” lead to the betterment of mankind even when it’s obvious it will lead to no accomplishment whatsoever?

Or does doing what you can, while you can, with an eye on doing more in the future lead to the betterment of mankind?

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RW Religious Kooks

Alleged militia members indicted for plotting attack on police

Six Michigan residents, two Ohio residents and an Indiana resident have been indicted for attempted use of weapons of mass destruction in connection with their membership in a Lenawee County Christian militia group, according to investigators.

Members of the Hutaree — including a Michigan couple and their two sons — conspired to oppose by force the authority of the U.S. government, according to a release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit.

The indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court today claims that the Hutaree planned to kill an unidentified member of local law enforcement and then attack the law enforcement officers who gather in Michigan for the funeral. According to the plan, the Hutaree would attack law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession with improvised explosive devices rigged with projectiles, which constitute weapons of mass destruction, according to the announcement by U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.

I saw this yesterday, but the indictments were sealed until just now. It’s interesting that, yesterday, the FBI was saying this wasn’t “terror related”. Sheesh! Isn’t an attack on civilians at a funeral by religious kooks who are opposed to the US Government “terrorism”?

Anyhoo, these RW whackos apparently called another militia in Michigan looking for a place to hide, and that militia told them to stay the hell away from them. I’m not quite sure what to read into that, but the second militia went on to say “we’re here to help people in a crisis”, so the people arrested must be really off-the-charts crazy. The only other thing I know is that the Hutaree were listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

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A small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht

The Rage Is Not About Health Care

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is “now on the books.” Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s “reload” rhetoric.

Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too.

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Recess Appointments

You just gotta know this will make the wing nuts howl. Bush’s countless recess appointments never happened, as far as they’re concerned, and the GOP’s obstructionism is perfectly alright as long as they’re not in power.

President Obama Announces Recess Appointments to Key Administration Positions

* President Obama currently has a total of 217 nominees pending before the Senate. These nominees have been pending for an average of 101 days, including 34 nominees pending for more than 6 months.
* The 15 nominees President Obama intends to recess appoint have been pending for an average of 214 days or 7 months for a total of 3204 days or almost 9 years.
* President Bush had made 15 recess appointments by this point in his presidency, but he was not facing the same level of obstruction. At this time in 2002, President Bush had only 5 nominees pending on the floor. By contrast, President Obama has 77 nominees currently pending on the floor, 58 of whom have been waiting for over two weeks and 44 of those have been waiting more than a month.

The President announced his intention to recess appoint the following nominees:

* Jeffrey Goldstein: Nominee for Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, Department of the Treasury
* Michael F. Mundaca: Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Department of the Treasury
* Eric L. Hirschhorn: Nominee for Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration and head of the Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce
* Michael Punke: Nominee for Deputy Trade Representative – Geneva, Office of the United States Trade Representative
* Francisco “Frank” J. Sánchez: Nominee for Under Secretary for International Trade, Department of Commerce
* Islam A. Siddiqui: Nominee for Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
* Alan D. Bersin: Nominee for Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security
* Jill Long Thompson: Nominee for Member, Farm Credit Administration Board
* Rafael Borras: Nominee for Under Secretary for Management , Department of Homeland Security
* Craig Becker: Nominee for Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
* Mark Pearce: Nominee for Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
* Jacqueline A. Berrien, Nominee for Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
* Chai R. Feldblum: Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
* Victoria A. Lipnic: Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
* P. David Lopez: Nominee for General Counsel, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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“Conservative Woodstock”?

Here’s a pretty funny Kos diary about what Fox is calling “A Conservative Woodstock” and the author is calling “The Teabagger Clown Show in the Desert“.

Among the highlights: 1 Porta-potty for every 263 BPH-suffering angry old white guy, and Democrats passing out free coffee and doughnut holes. (Get it? ;-> )

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Earth Day in the Lao PDR

The online Phathet Lao newspaper (English translation) said something like this last week: “The electricity will be switched off all over Lao PDR, from 19:00 to 20:00 on March 27, as the Lao people cheerfully cooperate with World Earth Day. The only places electricity will not be switched off, is where its use is necessary. It has been calculated that taking this action will save the Lao people about $40,000 (I think it was, but can’t remember the amount for sure, maybe it was $4,000 or $400,000. I missed the day they taught powers of ten in 5th grade).

Anyway, believe me, I’ve been grinding my teeth about this all week, not being fvcking cheerful, at all. I dug my candle and lighter out, went out to the can once more, put everything away so I wouldn’t trip on anything if I had to run anywhere, shut down the computer properly, and planned to go to sleep for an hour and pout.

Well, I see now, they didn’t actually mean “will” anywhere it was used in the above passage; it’s obvious that they meant “should” and “would”. Nobody has turned the power off anywhere that I can see, and I’m up on one of the highest hills in Thakhek.

I’m laughing my ass off out loud right now — at myself, for ever having thought there would be any fvcking WAY the government could ever get power company employees to turn out to do something like that, for an hour, and then go home, on a Saturday night, in the Lao PDR.

“Lao PDR” = Lao People Don’t Rush

I did go out and turn my back yard/bathroom light off, though, and I’ll leave it turned off until I go to bed, unless I have to go out there. That’s ’cause I’m a nice guy.

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