Boondock Stooges

James O’Keefe & Co. have reached the nadir of their fifteen minutes, and from here it is downhill. You can read about his arrest, etc here, here, here, and in this video:

Many are characterizing him as a self-styled James Bond or “Junior G-Man” however I don’t see it that way. James O’Keefe’s long conservative activism for pro life causes coupled with his overuse of the Latin “Veritas” suggest to me that he sees himself instead as a real life Holy warrior cut of the same cloth as the brothers in the fictional “Boondocks Saints”. I would wager he’s seen the movie more than once, and wonder if he has a tattoo like the brothers in the ultra violent movie: “Veritas” “Aequitas” – or “Truth” and “Justice”. If you think my speculation is a stretch, page through O’Keefe’s Tweet feed — go back to October before the Acorn sting where you can see a few asides, and a link to an article adoring Franciscan monks.

High Desert Road in Winter

Here’s a spot on the highway between Searchlight and Las Vegas last Friday, most of the clouds were over the mountains and we even hit a few gaps and sunny sections on the way to catch my plane. The flight back was a bit of a mess, a take off alarm kept us from flying in the original plane and we had to move to a new plane — the good news was that the airlines held the flight connecting back to Kansas City and I only got in an hour or so late.

What’s New in Growing Organs

There are some amazing developments in growing internal organs that promise a brighter future for many. As these technologies become standardized they are bound to extend life in the latter two thirds of this century. What if they could “print” a new heart, lung, or kidney for you made from your own cells?

Obama’s Hyberbole

President Obama decried the new Supreme Court ruling on corporate money in politics stating:

The Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special-interest money in our politics … It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health-insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. — President Barack Obama

I disagree with the word “New.” Special interests learned to get their message out while accommodating the restrictions of McCain-Feingold and other limits in a manner that makes the “who” behind the money much harder to find. I like the Supreme Court ruling because I would rather know who is paying whom for what.

Instead of Corporations paying for message directly and the public knowing who is behind the latest meme, everything is indirect and several places removed. So you have a Union or Corporation paying a foundation, and that foundation paying a faux political action group, a Faux think tank, (aka “Stink tank” – Discovery Institute, Heartland Institute, ACORN, Worldwatch, etc.)

These in turn spin off chaff for highly conservative and highly liberal “news” outlets (e.g. Frontpage, Pacifica Radio, AFR, etc. etc.,) which in turn back candidates and causes. Their chaff in turn is re amplified by crowd sourcing the bloggers within the political spectrum, and I suspect there’s a bit of “paid promotional amplification” going on as well. (see this very interesting Berkman Center lecture, then think about comment Spam and it’s origination after.)

It’s very time consuming if you you want to track that buzz or meme or outrage of the day to true source, but more oft than not it can be followed back to a special interest group who is highly anonymous to the general public.

I prefer a political environment where anyone may freely speak or pay, but where every penny is associated back to true source and recorded online as part of public record within 48 hours. Americans are some of the smartest media consumers in the world and it’s counterproductive to create restrictions that demand subterfuge for communication because with each step removed from the original source of the sometimes valid argument additional hysteria, hyperbole, and sometimes outright lies get baked into the message. It’s very hard to have an adult conversation about true issues in that media environment. We don’t need to limit money or speech, but we do need to see who is signing the checks. In my opinion it’s well past time to update our restrictions on political speech to match the new media.

Update: more background on this law, other campaign laws, and conflicting claims at Politifact.

Pat Robertson and Haiti

Pat Robertson’s statement on Haiti has very deservedly and roundly been thrashed and slagged by everyone; however I want to look beyond the outrageous statement at what was really going on. He’s using human tragedy to raise money for his ministry. I wonder if even a nickle out of every dollar donated will make it to Haiti. Pat, this video is for you.

Also please see this: Freedom Gold

A Moral Imperative

This fits with not getting carried away by venting too much, and not acting as if you have a hundred years to live. Most of us do not.

On June 13, 2009, Robert Sapolsky, world renowned professor of neurology, neurological sciences, neurosurgery and biological sciences gave the class day lecture in association with commencement weekend 2009. Having been selected to talk by the Stanford University graduating class, Sapolsky spoke about the uniqueness of humans in relation to the rest of the animal world. A few of the topics he spoke on include aggression, theory of mind, the golden rule and pleasure.

What Happens Where Tyrants Rule

This is what happens where tyrants rule. Not imaginary tyrants like those dreamed up by paranoid tea partiers, but instead real tyrants like those ruling the United Arab Emirates. Warning: Graphic Violence, but not the spattering blood type.

More on this bizarre miscarriage of justice at LGF