Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Argumentative Deficiencies and the Zano Doctrine

All right, Zano, it’s time for me to present a quarterly assessment all your logical fallacies and argumentative deficiencies. This should give you another ideal opportunity to avoid, distract, and otherwise dance around the principled points and positions—namely mine—in the guise of something that remotely resembles humor. You’re funny, Zano, but not “Ha, Ha” funny.

Mysterious Martian Haze Identified

Mysterious Martian Haze Identified

Mars—At certain intervals the red planet is spewing plumes of smoke into the air that can be seen from space. Baffled by this occurrence, NASA has shifted resources to get to the bottom of these strange atmospheric anomalies. The scientific community grew suspicious, however, when a correlation became apparent.

NASA’s representative Dr. John Dean explains, “We started seeing a pattern between the mysterious plumes of smoke and the last known coordinates of the inactive rover, Spirit. In fact, the smoke was always directly above the droid. Then we thought, hey, maybe that’s why this thing stopped working in the first place. We also noted the time of these events, 4:20 PM each afternoon. That’s when I said ‘Houston we have a pothead.’”

NASA remains unsure if marijuana is plentiful and/or legal on Mars. They suspect the rover smuggled the substance onto the red planet in its alpha-particle manifold. The first communication in nearly a year from the rover, asking NASA to “send chips”, further supports their reefer-rover theory.

“Is there weed on Mars?” said Dr. Johnson. “We need to find this out. If Spirit did bring the stuff from Earth will some cyborg addiction counseling help? Maybe that could get this rover off the couch-shaped rock it stalled on and get it to do something with its life.”

When asked about the amounts of marijuana needed to create a plume of smoke that can be seen from space, Dr. Johnson said, “Such an event is not without precedent. We have been monitoring atmospheric conditions above Discord Tower for many years, suffice to say it takes a lot.”

Climate Stability and Conservative Thought: What Are Two Things Not Happening

Mick Zano

News on climate change is reaching a fevered pitch. We are currently being flooded with information that both confirms and confounds the whole climate debate, pardon the pun. But let’s give Pope Francis some credit. Earlier this week His Holiness the Lib admitted climate change is primarily “man’s fault” and he’s hoping for serious measures to protect the planet at this year’s Paris conference. What next, Pope and Trade?

Doesn’t the Pope get his praying orders from Fox News? Is the Vatican a rogue agency? Shouldn’t Ruperfer now cast Francis into the abyss? Aka, let the Pope-slinging commence!

Is the Pope Colluding with Al Gore?

Is the Vatican Covering up for Climate-gate?

Benghazi: Is God to Blame?

It seems like the conservative’s spiritual leader is starting to green around the gills. Kidding, he’s always been that way. He must have been influenced by some liberal Cardinal back in seminary school. Actually, he sounds like anyone else on Earth outside the reach of our toxic AM radio waves.

I can’t wait to hear Fox News’ reaction to this one. I’m starting to watch a little Fox again. It’s an effective appetite suppressant. Ask your doctor if throwing up on your family is right for you.

Sorry about using the words ‘fact’ and ‘Fox News’ in the same sentence. It’s been a long week. Meanwhile, The Times in India just broke this kernel:

“A study said on Wednesday that sea level rise in the past two decades has accelerated faster than previously thought in a sign of climate change threatening coasts from Florida to Bangladesh.”

—Quote courtesy of Juan Cole

On this side of the pond, the New York Times just broke a story on how this year is the hottest since records started.  Of course, the Foxlands immediately countered with a Daily Caller article on how, although NOAA and Japanese climate scientist are calling 2014 the warmest, satellite data insists it’s only the 6th warmest in history. So two sources say it’s the hottest on record and one suggest it’s the sixth hottest, so…uh…

“Touché, Monsieur pussy cat.”

—Jerry Mouse

This is the hill you’re going to die on?  Really? Oh, it’s not…I’m being told they’re moving to a hill further inland due to rising sea levels.

“Sea levels aren’t rising. Hasn’t anyone considered how a bigger government could make the land somewhat lower?”

—John Q. Republican

Do I really have to keep addressing this shit? Yes…yes I do. If you haven’t noticed these people are winning elections. Oh, you want me to switch gears to discuss what we should do about climate change? Try voting next time.  Sorry, this is all part of The GOP’s Every Issue Left Behind program.

Let’s play their sick and frivolous game for a moment. What are we to make of the few remaining scientist nay sayers?  There are instances in some regions as well as some data that contradicts this bigger trend. Is this a surprise? I took earth science in the 8th grade, so …no. Scientists will be the first to admit they don’t know the entire play-by-play of our global demise. Admittedly some regions do seem to be working against models. A percentage of our glaciers are growing, but if 7 of 10 glaciers are still retreating at an alarming rate, uh…here, have a slice of pie.

                                               

2009 Glacier Growth/Shrinkage Ratio

But in their defense, what does the World Glacier Monitoring Service know about glaciers?

“Pie has to do with math, not science, right? But I’m not an iceologist.”

—John Q. Republican

Conservatives will forever be able to report on that one glacier that’s still growing. Kidding, that will end soon too. Nothing that our conservative friends are focusing on contradicts the larger trends.

You mean, the one about how they’re becoming even less insightful?

No, no, that other trend, the whole we’re all going to die thing. And, as for those few scientists still going all Bob Seger, against the wind, on us:

“Despite such arguments from a handful of scientists, the vast majority of those who study the climate say the earth is in a long-term warming trend that is profoundly threatening and caused almost entirely by human activity.”

Justin Gillis, NYT, Pope collaborator and Al Gore sympathizer

Sadly, I review these articles that supposedly support the republican position, with the sole exception of Breitbart.com (that site makes Rush Limbaugh seem like Mr. Rogers). Yet, almost none of these articles linked from ‘The Drudge Report’ actually deny global warming—a fact that eludes our headline-reading-only friends over on Fox. These articles tend to focus on this one data point that science can’t yet explain, as if our demise is ever going to be an exact science. Give me a pause.

I love Bill Nye’s recent take down of Senator James Inhofe (R) and the rest of the bullshit brigade.

“As scientific skeptics, we are well aware of political efforts to undermine climate science by those who deny reality but do not engage in scientific research or consider evidence that their deeply held opinions are wrong. The most appropriate word to describe the behavior of those individuals is ‘denial.’”

—Bill Nye

This New York Times article Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says is way overdue. It confirms our ocean’s demise. Of course, most of us came to this same conclusion years ago. In response to this article John Q. Republican is saying, “Broad study? What do chicks have to do with our oceans?”

Are we amidst a cooling trend that is stunting the warmer one? How do solar phases impact temperatures? What about the impact of deep ocean waters? How the hell should I know? Whereas I defer to the scientific community, they defer to Breitbart.com. I thought something was happening but did not expect to see such drastic changes in my lifetime, nor was I sure—then and now—how much man was actually impacted by man’s activity. But an evolving position is only possible when someone is capable of reason. My position here on the Discord has shifted from:

1.) Who cares, let’s focus on pollution anyway (2008).

2.) Something’s happening but is man impacting this? (2011)

3.) Full-blogged climate alarmist (2015).

During this same time period the republican position has remained, Fuck science. It’s not happening. I really thought at some point they would be forced to switch to, well, it’s happening but what does my hummer and my daily hamburger have to do with anything? That will still happen, soon enough, but it’s taking longer than anticipated. These behaviors that link both to their stomachs and their pocketbooks are deeply engrained. By the time they figure this out, cockroaches will rule the earth. Hey, maybe that’s why they’re not worried?

GOP Glacier Irony

Is this a Zano retraction? Maybe, uh…I feel like such a moraine. Sorry, it’s an earth science joke.

Meanwhile, Republicans keep saying, “screw pollution, keep drilling for oil, there’s nothing to see here.” This is a sociopathic position. As I’ve said before, even if there were only a slight chance climate change would end mankind, it should be taken seriously. Ignoring this is a crazy enough position if the chances were slim, but with current consensus over 90%, we are going to have to come up with a new word as ‘sociopathic’ doesn’t quite cut it [Winslow: Moronopathic?].

Once again, trying to change the mind of a Foxeteer is a fool’s errand.  Global consensus on the dangers of pollution levels arrived many decades ago and the consensus on climate change has come and gone as well.  To give you an idea why a debate with a Foxeteer is meaningless, take the issue of torture. The world decided that torture was a bad idea at the time of the Magna Carta (1215 AD) and we don’t have another thousand years to explain this to them. Obama chose the right message on SOTU this week. Sure you can argue over the details for the medal round, but does that change the overall warming trend?

“No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. 2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.”

—Barack Obama, SOTU 2015

And now the Republican response:

“Satellite data suggests it’s only 13 of the hottest 15 on record. Liar!”

—Breitbart.com

Is Anyone Outside of Fox Surprised “The Pause” and “Climategate” Are Both Bullshit?

Mick Zano

Is anyone else getting a little sick of the actions of rightwing climate denialists? I haven’t seen a group so doggedly wrong about something since whatever the hell was on Fox News yesterday. Sure you’re always wrong, but this is the issue you will be damned for. Mark my words, history will eventually take all those single quotes Matt Drudge keeps putting around the words ‘climate change’ and stuff them up his fat [bleep].

Remember last year when Republicans were harping on this “pause” in climate change? We had the hottest fifteen years on record, but it held pace for a time which was immediately translated by our friends on the right as “not happening.” Well, surprise surprise the ocean temps have started tracking upward again, here. Whatever the Earth was doing to compensate for global warming has failed so this “pause” is officially over. My 2013 comment on this phenomenon:

“I’m afraid this warming trend is likely to resume soon, but the GOP’s inability to process data will likely go on until the bitter end.”

Mick Zano, wise ass and insufferable told-ya-so artist

See, I get to link back to my stuff, but it’s best to forget about what they said. They certainly have… Linking back to their thoughts—that way lies madness. Now the latest attacks from the right wing’s nonsense-machine are just as ridiculous. This next round of crapola is drifting toward us in the form of expanding sea ice.

“Ocean sea ice is growing when all models predicted a decrease!”

—John Q. Republican

This is actually true, which is a small victory in-and-of itself for conservatives. But sea ice ranges from a few inches to a few meters in thickness and can grow or disappear in a matter of days, weeks, or months. Glaciers, however, take thousands of years to either form or dissolve—that is, until the 21st century. So it’s just another false comparison, which is one of the bullshit-tools-of-choice for our conservative friends. We have an entire political party built on misinformation and this is just the latest example. Why can’t any of them get a handle on something over a mile thick?  …Yes, I’m talking about their skulls.

Compare Sea Ice to Glaciers

The below quote comes from a unique perspective. It’s courtesy of a climate scientist and evangelical Christian. No shit. When asked why people don’t want to believe in climate science, she said:

“It’s easier to deny the reality of the problem altogether than acknowledge that it is real but we don’t want to do anything about it because it’s against our politics. Not only that, but in the interests of presenting a fair balance, we are also being fed false information through the media. A recent study reviewing news coverage in 2013 showed that 30 percent of the climate change information on CNN contained misleading statements. That number increases to 72 percent on Fox News. So it’s hard for people to know what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Katherine Hayhoe

Dr. Hayhoe doesn’t cite the 72% Fox falsehood claim anywhere, to which I call bullshit. The percentage is probably much higher. As part of her solution, she urges the scientific community to take the time to reach out to churches and help them understand science.

What?!

Your first statement says it all: 72% of what Fox News says on this—or any other subject—is bullshit, and almost all republicans believe Fox News is a legitimate news organization. So you think a scant 177,000 lectures at each of the estimated churches across our country will somehow quell Fox Noise? Really? Good luck with that noble endeavor, Sisyphus.

Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to convince people that Fox News is full of shit? This is my strategy and, whereas it too is a waste of time, it does have the benefit of the occasional midget porn joke.  What we really need to do is simple—never elect another republican president. At least not until their party returns to reality …and even then, probably not.

And remember Climategate? I would like to take the time to add this to the republican loss column as well. I am being warned about rehashing the republican’s full list of blunders as it would tax our new server’s capacity. Climategate only showed us one thing:  Sean Hannity should really consider getting his GED.  Now extrapolate that sentiment to the majority of his viewers. Evening classes are available. On a side note, could you imaging having Hannity in your GED class?

“What? Everyone knows Paul Revere was warning the British! Heck, Sarah Palin said that right on my show…Is it an ice age or global warming? When will scientists make up their minds?”

—Sean Hannity, Village Idiot

According to Republicans, the source of Climategate was this email wherein a scientist discussed “fixing the data.” The email is referred to as ‘Mike’s Nature trick…to hide the decline.’ But, as it turns out, this decline mentioned in the email had nothing to do with global temperatures.  

“That’s just incorrect, as you would have known if you were part of the community of scientists doing the research. The ‘decline’ being referred to wasn’t even about global temperatures at all, but rather, a decline in the growth of certain trees whose rings were being used to infer past temperatures.”

—Harry Collins, Cardiff University

By the way, “fixing the data” refers to cleaning up the outliers and making the data presentable, but this  immediately became part of the Climategate mystique. Hey, how about a series of investigations? Benghazi! Better yet, how about someone on Fox News takes a statistics class.

“Climategate didn’t undermine the case for human-caused global warming at all. Rather, it demonstrated why it is so hard for ordinary citizens to understand what is going on inside the scientific community—much less to snipe and criticize it from the outside. They simply don’t grasp how researchers work on a day-to-day basis, or what kind of shared knowledge exists within the group.”

—Harry Collins, Cardiff University

In the same Mother Jones article, Dr. Collins maintains that when a given scientist presents any data that suggests a warming trend is occurring, they are immediately labeled an “elitist”.  I realize this political pressure occurs in both directions, but such shenanigans are probably less prominent on the left and when it does happen it’s primarily driven by a fear that “we’re all going to die.” I’m not excusing this behavior, in fact, it’s gone a long way to validating republican’s otherwise ridiculous opinion on this matter.

So let’s put the future of mankind in the hands of non-experts whose current track record makes Lindsay Lohan seem like Bruce Jenner. Breakfast of Chumpions? Whereas the scientific community is trying to get to the truth of the matter, the GOP is forever trying to hide the truth. Fox News remains the bane of our existence and they are only getting better at their obfuscations. Okay, not really, but they’ve just come to the conclusion that no one on their side of the aisle even cares about the truth anymore. Oh, you have actual data? ELITIST!

Ultimately they will have a hard time explaining their position to future generations. Of course, they won’t notice this worldwide condemnation because of the riveting 229th Climategate hearing.  What did they do with the outliers and when did Obama know about them?

Last year, the U.N.’s panel on climate science raised the probability that human activity is contributing to climate change from 90% to 95%, here. That’s not to say science always gets everything right, in fact, Greenland’s glaciers are melting faster than predicted, here. 

So at this point of the game I gotta ask, are republicans really this wrong about everything or is this more about how much loot they can bank before the shit hits the giant wind farm that they refused to fund? Which is it? For the one percenters it’s probably the latter, but for the other 99% of the Fox Nation well, you’ve sold out your planet for the hope of one day being as rich and as shortsighted as your sociopathic CEO friends—which is even worse.

When we see Glacier National Park renamed Valley-Created-by-Glaciers National Park, and when we see the fabled Northwest Passage drop the “fabled” part, and when we can no longer have expeditions to the North Pole without wetsuits, uh, what aren’t you people getting? Oh, that’s right, anything.

“Science doesn’t know everything, but republicans don’t know anything.”

—Mick Zano

And, as for those one percenters, I hope those champagne ice sculptures were worth it. Hey, but on a good note ice sculptures may slightly increase land ice. I can’t wait for the related Baier Report segment on this one, or, as I like to call it, The Bayer Report.

Where Climate Change Is Likely to Hit the Hardest
Where Climate Change is likely to Hit the Hardest, Even the GOP's frontal lobes are toast, people. It's that pervasive.
Even the GOP’s frontal lobes are toast, people. It’s that pervasive.

Negativity Bias, Interpersonal Circumplexes, and Other Political Psychobabble

Mick Zano

Today we cover more of the psychological dysfunction behind modern day republicanism. Granted, today’s liberals aren’t particularly healthy, but the bigger story remains the GOP’s mega cognitive dissonance (MCD). It’s so thick you can cut it with a knife, but I wouldn’t try that! Remember those stand-your-ground laws? The Discord’s chief psychologist, Dr. Kwela Juluka, will be weighing in so to borrow a line from Fareed, let’s get smarted.

Yes…I keep covering The GOP’s nosedive into a delusional personality disorder, because it’s a big deal. This is a condition with a very poor prognosis, both for those afflicted and their nursing home roommates. I have always felt President Clinton’s impeachment marked the moment when this extremist movement first reared its ugly talking head—a moment in time when one party turned on that fateful Batshit signal, a beacon of wrongness that has shone brightly ever since. The Issa’s of that time, not only doggedly pursued the Lewinsky scandal, but they even tried to implicate the Clintons in the death of Vince Foster. Remember that? Twenty years later and this is their norm. Coincidentally, this is also when Matt Drudge entered the scene:

“Since Matt Drudge launched his website (1997) thousands of news sites have appeared to challenge the official globalist dominated political orthodoxy, its censorship and omissions, and offer humanity a truly more balanced and less bias examination of the world.”

Infowars.com, 7/14

Yes, Infowars, who would put their actual name next to that pile of shit? My assessment of Matt is a tad different:

“Matt Drudge birthed and fomented a sociopathic alternate political reality, the likes of which this country has never seen, and the benefits of which remain as elusive as its contribution to our political discourse.”

—Mick (not my real name) Zano

Chris Mooney over on Slate reviewed a recent John Hibbing et al (University of Nebraska) study on the link between negative bias and conservatism. Essentially this study suggests republicans can hone in on any negative tidbit and incorporate it into their worldview faster than the Flash after a case of Jolt Cola.

So where was this ‘advanced super fear’ (ASF) during the administration that brought us to the brink of ruin? ….you know, when it might have been helpful.

“The conservative ideology, and especially one of its major facets—centered on a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns—would seem well tailored for an underlying, threat-oriented biology.”

Chris Mooney on Hibbing et al.

So even though everything collapsed under W, conservative types felt safer with the actions of that administration, however wrong or ill-conceived, because it was more in tune with their faulty wiring (see: Netanyahu’s actions 2014 Gaza). Hibbing’s study suggests republicans have a heightened awareness for only certain types of bad news. They have the ability to immediately hone in on that one tidbit of any given report, poll, trend, policy that supports their ideology, or can easily be twisted into such.  Rightwing media coverage also panders to their fear-based mentality and their need to lash out at anything deemed foreign.

Fox News (FP4F)
Fox News (FP4F) Fear Porn 4 Scared Fucks
Fear Porn 4 Scared Fucks

These traits worked wonderfully in the Pleistocene Era when republicans could deport saber-tooth tigers from their tribal regions with impunity (panther-way to amnesty?).  Sorry.

Make no mistake, 2014 is chock full of concerning shit, but none of the real problems are even covered on Fox News. I also believe liberal bloggers are at least capable of discussing an entire concept. They report a number of facts, pro and con, on any given topic. Sure they highlight the parts that put their views and beliefs in a good light, we all do, but good liberal blogs tend to be data heavy. Take Andrew Sullivan, Jonathon Chait, Paul Waldman, Juan Cole, Kevin Drum, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and dozens more. The republicans have nothing like them, nothing…well, they had Sullivan (why he moved left, here).

“Paris Hilton has more depth after huffing paint thinner than today’s republicans.”

—Mick Zano (today)

Their ability to shift everything into their worldview (see: Coulterian Flip) is an important part of their confirmation bias, luckily you can reuse such distortions or they would have broken them all by now.  There is some good news, with the GOP’s recent mastery of confirmation bias, normalcy bias, media bias and now negativity bias, they’re well on their way to earning a 10th cognitive distortion free!

This is a hell of a time to check out of the dialogue—or, worse yet, invent a parallel one—when so much is riding on the choices our country now faces. These windows wherein we can effect real change are closing. Who am I kidding? We’ve missed more fucking windows than Stevie Wonder in Amsterdam’s red light district.

On that note, I asked Dr. Kwela to weigh in:

Timothy Leary, long recognized as an LSD guru, was previous to that honor known for his work in Interpersonal Psychology (IP).  In IP, a relationship does not exist within either of any of the parties involved, but rather exists as a separate entity, in essence hovering in the space, or interpersonal circumplex, between the dyad or within the group.  In other words, it takes two to Tango, and if you change partners, you may find yourself shifting instantaneously and unconsciously from the Tango into doing the Rhumba, possibly Break-dancing, participating in a threesome, or even mud wrestling.  The circumplex is mapped on bipolar axes:  A) power, control, status; and 2) warmth, friendliness, solidarity.  If two people find themselves at the junction of the axes, the dance is likely to move to the bedroom (metaphorically speaking); however, if the positions of the parties move significantly away from one another, and especially toward the opposing far corners of the graph paper, bullets may fly (literally).

My take on this, when applied to politics – and particularly conservative politics – is that the right wing has carved out its niche at (or better yet, painted itself into) a corner of the circumplex that we might generously describe as faux dominant truculence.  A dog trainer with such a disposition would have no work and no dog.  A cashier, no cash.  A poll dancer, no grasp.  Those on the right have ignored Kant’s suggestion that we should act as if the principle of our action should be made universal law.  They have scorned Schopenhauer’s observation that compassion is the basis of morality.  They have forgotten (or never learned) the important concepts from the Enlightenment, from which the motivation to write the Declaration of Independence blossomed.  Rather, they have adopted the most primitive linguistic structure imaginable built on a bizarre collection of frothy arcane blips issued by Ronald Reagan, Ayn Rand, and the Taliban.

I must go belch now. 

Dr. Kwela juluka

I suffered from a bout of faux dominant truculence myself, but a gastroenterologist really helped. Actually, I think Sullivan refers to this as Chicken Hawk conservatism a phenomenon only deepening with the unchecked support of Israel’s actions in Gaza. And I immediately thought of the border crisis when you mentioned Schopenhauer’s compassion.  What are the deaths of children on our border if such deaths can be turned to political advantage? Republicans believe some Machiavellian return to power would be its own reward, but what are they basing this on? Certainly not recent history.

Oh, and I thought the term integral psychology was coined by Ken Wilber. Shows what I know. An overview of some other GOP thought distortions, here, and my diagnosing of the Grand Old Party here.

With so few successes, why is the Fox Nation still relevant?

Good question. There remains a strong, albeit misguided, tenacity on the right.  Republicans are united in their hatred for liberal causes, which gives them strength. However, their inability at course corrections is a huge detriment and is, at least in part, why I don’t think the GOP will win the senate in the midterms, even though the odds are currently greatly stacked in their favor. 

Cognitive dissonance used to be limited to their inability to accurately predict outcomes, but now there’s mounting dissonance within their own party.  How do they absorb all of this? The GOP’s candidates are all over the map, yet somehow they remain one Fox Nation. There’s a marked difference between establishment RINOs v. Tea Partiers on economic issues and a monster disparity between neocons v. isolationists on foreign policy, yet, even when republicans are more splintered than Pinocchio’s call-girl, they still manage to hold onto a stronger base than liberals.  See, you lazy hipsters! This is why we can’t have nice things! The only thing you Pabst drinking Portlandians can Occupy is, well, this said it best:

We are Discord!
We are Discord! We Occupy Space
We occupy space

The right’s successful use of cognitive distortions are clearly part of their ‘strategery’. I would back a Rand Paul over a neocon any day, but it’s a moot point; he won’t be their nominee. He doesn’t fit into either the wrong or wronger part of The GOP. He’s a bit of an anomaly.

“One part Rand, one part fiction, they’re a voting contradiction.”

—Aynrandonmous

If Paul somehow does win the nomination in 2016, the republicans will have made a seamless 180˚ transition from Hannibal to Neville Chamberlain, without missing a single victorious news cycle. It’s all part of my Zen Wrongness theory (post soon). But a Rand Paul nomination would signal a huge rebuke to the neocon wing of the party, but it would be a quiet coup, devoid of any recognition of past ills.  Fox is never having to say you’re Stossel. Sorry.

As I’ve mentioned before, you can run a story every day for a decade highlighting every person displeased with their Obamacare coverage, but it doesn’t change the fact twice as many people are happier with their coverage, here, and ten million more are covered, here, and it’s bringing down overall healthcare costs, here and here.  You know, the polar opposite of everything republican’s predicted. This can be broken down similarly for every issue. For instance, a judge just recently ruled that, outside of human error, there’s no widespread voter fraud in the U.S., here, but that won’t stop the GOP from covering each of our estimated .01 instances of voter fraud. It won’t change the final number, but it will dupe some dopes.

I will not deny Fox News is having a real impact on reality. Winning! The Sean Hannitys and the Matt Drudges of the world have successfully wrestled the microphones away from the Cronkites and—

[Megaphony joke omitted by the editor]

You can’t omit my last joke, Winslow!

Dear Mick Zano,

Yes, yes I can.

Pierce X. Winslow, CEO

P.S. And the word ‘joke’ is a bit of a stretch.

Immigrant Children Transformed Into Renewable Energy Source

Immigrant Children Transformed into Renewable Energy Source

Nuclear Power mogul, C. Montgomery Burns, is having an alternative energy change of heart, “After seeing Winslow’s innovative plans, my position on green energy is evolving.” Mr. Burns is already discussing options to one day expand this project to include flying monkeys.

Winslow told reporters, “Through the use of the most efficient solar energies, by the end of the decade these children could power the better part of their own adolescents. The end of the life cycle will eventually be harnessed as well and solar nurseries will one day dot the landscape. And why let old flatulent people in nursing homes of the hook? Poop is power too, you know, and what the hell else are they doing?”

The child immigration hamster wheel is reportedly “in its infancy”, but when that technology becomes available immigration shelters will become true power stations. “Good business is where you find it,” continued Winslow, “and sometimes you find it with kids attached to solar blankets. Children have lots of energy and we need energy. Isn’t it ironic that the key to getting us weaned off foreign oil is by harnessing foreign children?”

Harness sold separately.

The critical question remains this: can renewable immigrant children fill the energy gap? Discord field reporter, Cokie McGrath, is not as optimistic, “Kids run all over the place and don’t always stay plugged in. Perhaps if we situate them out in the desert with some video games…”

Toast, It’s What’s for Climate

Lady Liberty Global Warming
Mick Zano

Two factions are duking it out, warmers and climate deniers. Obviously I hope climate deniers will be proven right, but have you seen their record? They haven’t added anything relevant to the public discourse since their messiah was wrangling dinosaurs. Blessed are the plesiosaurs?

Models are now predicting a game ending 4˚C hike by 2100, which was just echoed by the U.N. Oh, the U.N. said it, so it’ wrong! Granted, the U.N. is an incredibly dysfunctional group of individuals, but they make the GOP look like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Meanwhile, a billion dollar network to deny climate change was recently uncovered, here, and I’m sure there’s equal money being spent by those cap-and-traders. The big difference? Those funding both sides believe in climate change, only one side believes in profits more.

“With all the worldwide mass extinctions occurring, dare we hope republicans are among them?”

—Mick Zano

If climate models don’t predict a 15-year pause in the warming, conservatives are right. But, if climate models do predict more extreme events, temps, and increased snow fall, conservatives are still right…er, because cold is the opposite of warm. Regardless of the data, regardless of the science, conservatives are always right—except for the whole always being wrong part.

A while back Matt Drudge linked to Obama to address climate change during coldest SOU in history. Yes, many climate models accurately predicted historic cold snaps and extremes, here, yet NASA just announced it’s been one of the hottest years on record, here. But, of course, republicans find the one former NASA scientist doubling as an evangelical kook. Have you heard this one? Roy Spencer’s claims have rifled around the net as he’s insisting all of our climate models are wrong. This guy ascribes to a universe wherein all of God’s work is “self-sustaining”. Of course the Super Novians would beg to differ, but they exploded. I guess republicans only read the NASA part of his resume. That’s still pretty good for them, small steps for Foxkind, small steps.

I recommend if an “expert” on any given issue agrees with any republican held position, before posting their drivel play spot-the-looney.

Spot the Looney

You can’t use what the model accurately predicts against it! Our rather frigid winter did not change the facts. England was recently hit by the worst flooding in 250 years, CA is amidst its worst drought in 500 years, and even my town, Flagstaff, had one of its warmest winters on record. I don’t know how many hundred year events have to happen as I finish this sentence before republicans cop a clue.

 

Answer: It was Mr. Green blocking the pipeline in the heartland.

No? How about:

Professor Dumb with the solar panel in the greenhouse gases?

Sorry.

The changing of our ocean currents and our jet stream (polar vortex) is actually further proof of warming. Chris Mooney over on Slate tried to counter Drudge’s spin with: No Surprise Matt Drudge Gets it Wrong Again. This approach misses the main point. Matt Drudge and the Koch Brothers are sociopaths. They know global warming is happening, but they are systematically muddying the waters to keep society from tackling one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Alternate street parking?

Okay, the other most important issue of our time.

They are fighting for short term profits over our future existence via the “kitchen sink” method. The GOP employs this method for everything from scandals, to the economy, to social issues. They are inundating us with anecdotal nonsense, which in the case of climate change is designed to keep the debate alive. Here’s the equation:

 

Debate = Inaction

Inaction = Profits

Profits = Treasure Bath!!!!!

 

treasure bath

Whether the world is getting cooler, warmer, becoming denser, or even going paisley, we need a War on Coal now. The GOP—or at least their “think tanks”—will continue to ignore the overwhelming consensus of science, not out of stupidity, but out of a massive spin campaign designed to keep fossil fuels alive and well.

“Wind farms killed another bird last week, so let’s go back to poisoning our water supply with coal. Are you going hunting this weekend? Hey, birds don’t drink water, right?”

—John Q. Republican

Give Charles Koch a lie detector test. Ask him if he believes in climate change. Ask him if he believes in trickle-down economics. Ask him if he believes Obama is the worst president ever. Hah! He doesn’t believe in anything except his own bank account.

The republican’s Climate Change playbook:

1. Deny as long as possible.

(See: the right wing media.)

2. Blame natural earthly cycles and downplay man’s influence

(Which is becoming increasingly unlikely, here.)

3. Say, “Well, India and China wouldn’t have changed anyway.”

(Is everything they think wrong? Apparently, here.)

4. Melt into a small pool of goo.

(Step 4 is sadly non-partisan)

Republicans are currently somewhere between number 1 and 2, the “climate taint” as it were, which is astounding when everyone else has reached DEFCON 5. Today, people are actually less likely to believe in global warming than even 6 months ago, to the tune of 7%, a trend directly due to the Fox fog machine, here. On a good note, Fox has increased their real warming coverage from 7% to 28%, per The Guardian here. Even Fox News realizes it’s time to start shifting to phase-2. When they finally admit it’s happening they will immediately absolve themselves of any wrong doing. Remember when Iraq was just some bad intelligence? …actually, it was a lack thereof. Modus GOPerandi?

Slate Magazine is covering our arctic ice death spiral here. That’s different from a death panel…in that it’s real. But the right has countered with their own important story:

“There’s still plenty of ice in my freezer, in fact, there is so much ice I am concerned I won’t be able to shut the freezer door soon.”

—John Q. Republican

The tiny sliver of climate denying studies, roughly 4 percent, is where Matt Drudge, The Heritage Foundation and Fox News mine for all of their meaningless nuggets of climate change wisdom. And they can repudiate every “9 of 10 climatologists believe” moment by finding one study misclassified.

“Oh, yeah, how about that one study from Scheister and Alarmist. The data is wrong so it’s really only 96.98% so the whole thing is a lie!”

—John Q. Republican

If a model predicts we will lose a Maryland sized glacier and we only lose a Delaware sized one, they call “gotcha”. Then they forever cherry pick quotes from that one quack on the dole. Bill Nye recently said on Maher’s Real Time, “They (The GOP) keep banking on that small percentage of uncertainty.”

Look, science doesn’t know exactly how warm it will get by 2030, it doesn’t know exactly what percentage is caused by man, it may even change its mind outright at some point based on new findings, but:

 

Dear GOP,

If you rarely get anything right, why are you so sure of yourselves on Climate Change?

Sincerely,

Earth

P.S. Science is only 100% certain of one thing, republicans are always wrong.

 

Whereas science is currently wrestling with global patterns, republicans are wrestling with parables and proverbs. Our climate scientists are looking to understand the big picture while republicans are still staring at that bent Polaroid they dug out of their VHS tape drawer. Sorry, but we already passed the tipping point, we’re toast…and yet half our country still can’t even identify the problem? Really? So essentially the GOP won. Their plan was to keep debating until it’s too late. Remember, kids, when a republican wins, we all lose. The whole thing is almost as astounding as their economic views…well, not quite.

Reality is a hoax

Religion Added to DSM-V

Alex Bone

Collapsing Shack, AZ—In an unexpected move, the authors of the new DSM-V, which provides an overview of the many different types of mental illnesses and soup recipes, have decided to add religious disorders to its Axis-II category.

Psychiatrist David Cardonis said, “Axis-II personality disorders such as anti-social tendencies, histrionics, and Fox Television Viewing (FTV) now have some new siblings. We psychiatrist types feel that fundamental religious thought fits in nicely with the other existing disorders from this category.”

The sub-diagnoses added include:

1. Pentacaustic Personality Disorder (PPD)

2. Rational-denial Syndrome (RDS)

3. Obsessive-Confessional Character Pathology (OCCP)

4. Repetitive Flagellation Psychosis (RFP)

5. Crucifixion Dependence (CD)

6. Borderline Evolutionary Functioning (BEF)

7. Post-catechistic Stress Disorder (PCSD)

8. Archangel-typal Personality Disorder (ATPD)

9. Paranormal Personality Disorder (PPD)

10. Major Repressive Disorder (MRD)

11. Genuflexia Nervosa (GN)

12. Orthodoxicosis permanentalis (OP)

13. Reality Deficit Hyper-rigidity Disorder or RDHD (primary Biblical subtype vs. primary Koranic subtype or the yet to be discovered combined variant)

Dr. Sterling Hogbein, of the Hogbein Institute and Dry Cleaning, added, “Some of the hard data on these diagnoses are pretty suspect, as the subjects included only a few nuns and a homeless person, but that shouldn’t stop the progress of labeling people for ease of billing,” said Dr. Hogbein.

The religious right was far less sedate. The Revered Mark “Man-Mountain” Conway spat these words in my face and I was later diagnosed with hepatitis. “This will not stand! We have nothing in common with inflexible individuals that repeat formulas that have failed thousands of times.”

He then repeated that sentence for about an hour before adding:

“We only avoid all evidence that points toward facts out of a primal fear of change. We have evolved beyond the need for facts and we have learned to ignore any data that contradicts our beliefs. Oh, wait, we don’t believe in evolving. Crap.”

Jack Primus was hiding from the cops in my basement and agreed to be interviewed as long as I didn’t dial that last 1.

“I worked as a tech in a psych ward back in the day,” said Primus, “before Vile Darken turned the clients into hopping giant slugs, so I suppose I can diagnose individuals as well as anyone. And although I’d love to break Dr. Cardonis over my knee after he dropped me into that pool filled with flesh eating otters, I have to agree with him on this one. The only humans more nuts than people cursed with Religiosity are those who believe Republicans are good at balancing budgets. Oh, wait, I’m being told they’re the same people…never mind.”

As a result of the recognition of these new disorders, psych wards across the country are expecting a huge influx of new consumers. The state of Arizona immediately responded to the increased need for services by cutting mental health provider’s budgets in half.

On the upside, if my in-laws get to uppity at our next holiday meal, I can probably have them committed. I think I’ll go with Rational-denial Syndrome.

Ant Invasion: Them! Them!!

The Crank

So there I was at my new desk, at my new job, planning someone’s beautiful new kitchen when I hear the opening guitar riff from AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock” (my new smartphone ringtone). I immediately flashback to all my wife’s other just-getting-home-from-work-frantic-gems.  “We’re being invaded!” she said. “Red ants everywhere, millions of ‘em, and they bite!!”

I take a deep breath, “Where are they?”

“Everywhere,” she said. “The cat food in the laundry, and the bananas in the kitchen seem to be their main obsession.”

“What do you wish for me to do from here?” I asked.

“I have used up all the organic natural bug spray we had. Pick up more.”

Now let me ’splain something. My wife gets skeeved out very easily by any sort of tiny livestock. The last time anything like this happened, this ‘organic natural’ bug spray had the most god-awful smell I have ever been subjected to. I smelled it for weeks. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t enjoy eating, nothing. I was ready to set fire to the f-ing house. It eventually went away and I put the can in the garage, hopefully where she couldn’t find it.

You see how well that worked. Oh, and to put this invasion into perspective, I believe that last incident involved one cricket.

So now I have these scenes flashing through my mind. Scenes of vomiting cats. Scenes of vomiting beige gorillas. Scenes of my wife, in full hazmat regalia, with a can of shit smelling bug spray au natural in one hand and the phone in the other. As I go into a local establishment for some non-lethal to gorillas, non-smelling bug spray, I ask a guy in the department what he would recommend for small red ants. He tells me he has lived in some really bad places, and this one has always worked.

The label reads: “Works Every Time, No Odor.”

Awesome. As I enter through the laundry room, gingerly, my eyes focus in on the floor. You know those scenes of battlefields you see in movies after the fight is over, and the winner strolls through hundreds of dead bodies as the sun sets in the distance, smoke rising from the ashes of the put out fires? Yeah, well that was nothing. The floor literally crunches with the remains of ants (mostly uncles really), millions and millions of them. All gone to that big anthill in the sky. Bowls of cat food, almost totally hidden by the bodies of the vanquished. The automatic cat waterer had dead uncles raining down the little waterfall into the bowl of other floating remains. They were swirling into the mechanism swimming their little swim of the macabre, over and over again. As I crunch down the hall, I see them, dead, stuck to the floor, stuck to the molding, stuck to the walls. As I round the hall into the kitchen, I see her. My wife standing there with a look of sheer exhaustion.

“I think I got them. I think I got them all.”

“It looks like you wiped-out the whole f-ing species.”

It was just about then that the whole ‘smell’ thing started to rear its ugly nose. Oh-My-God was all I said. “Where are the cats” was my second statement. Again, not asking how she was would soon enough come back to bite me.

“The cats are in our room, no ants there.”

I told her I would change and I would start the cleanup. We both got to it. We had the whole area mopped thrice, vacuumed and the mop head and bag from the vacuum thrown in the trash.  It was about 9:00 PM when we both settled down to watch some TV.

“Want anything? I’m going for a sandwich?” my wife asked, while heading to the kitchen.

“OH MY GOD!”

That was all I heard from her as she walked into the kitchen. As I rolled out of my Lazyboy and into the kitchen, I saw that our little red menace had regrouped for a last ditch effort to assume control of my home. Thousands of them now cover the stove and the countertops.

“Fuck you, you little red bastards!” I said as I get the bottle of Works Every Time, No Odor and go for it. My wife asks about its organicity, if that’s even a word. I laugh and say “Gee, I hope not” in my best Sly Stallone as I start to spray.

They all seem to die on contact, and no odor…at all. They start to try to escape, but I am just too fast. I start to make the sound of David Hedison in The Fly, when he calls out for help at the end just before that spider kills him. “Help me, heeelp, oh noooo”, in my best Hedison-like Helium voice.

Eventually I win and they all die. This should be released in installments, of course, like Lord of the Rings. I could be like in the last episode: Return of the King. If there were only one ant big enough that I could have kicked into the pool, while yelling, “This is Phoenix!”

Now, at near 10:00 PM, we get to clean up all over again. Rip apart the whole range and put all the parts in the dishwasher. Clean off the counters, disinfect, and clean again, re mop the floor… and then move out the fridge to see if any are hiding there.

All this death and no odor! What a concept!

At this point I realize that the cats have been locked in the bedroom, sans litter box, for some four hours now. I slowly open the door and they both run like hell for the litter. It was like I could almost hear them go “AAHHH…” as they relieved themselves. Cannoli looks up at me and gives me a look like, “You almost had another f-ing room to clean, beeoch.”

It is the next morning and there is no sign of the red menace. The cats look fine. We won. We defended our home. No lasting smell. As I leave for work, I look around for George W. Bush to tell me “Mission Accomplished,” or, at least “a heck of job, Cranky”.

Now, if I could just figure out why I glow in the dark…….

Don’t Crank Wit Me.

Or Especially Mrs. Crank.

Antpocalypse Now: Crazy Ants Drive out Fire Ants

Erisa Brahe

The South—Let’s face it, the American way of life isn’t what it used to be.  There are more corn byproducts than apples in our apple pies, tornados are targeting our square states, and J.J. Abrams is single handedly destroying all sci-fi franchises with the word “Star” in their name.  Worst still, chaos has crept slowly into our well-manicured backyards.

Remember the fire ant?  They were our frighteningly violent new neighbors. They would pop up in our yards where we least expect it, chew on our electrical equipment, and set fire to man and beast alike with their evil stings.  We loathed them.  We feared Them! And now, we’ll do anything to have them back.

Yes, something is driving out and eradicating whole colonies of our fine six-legged friends.  Enter the Raspberry Crazy Ant (Nylanderia fulva). And we’re not talking about your Aunt Babsy coming home for Thanksgiving with a fifth of vodka. It’s not that kind of aunt.  These ants initially seem harmless enough; they don’t sting and from a distance they travel in stumbling drunken patterns not unlike the Ghetto Shaman after last call.  It makes you wonder how they are even able to find your house at all.  But once they’ve found you—much like Aunt Babsy after that fifth of vodka—it’s impossible to get them to leave.

Sure fire ant stings cause a unique sort of pain that blazes like a million suns and, sure, once in a while someone would die of anaphylactic shock, but they were the psycho-killer insects we knew.  Much like knowing you’ll get mugged in that dark alley, fire ants were in the places we expected. They live in highly visible, politely cone-shaped mounds out in the yard—mounds you only stepped on if you wanted to die. 

Crazy ants, on the other pincher, move in and set up meth labs in the basement. They multiply in rapid numbers, eating everything from wood to insulation to the Discord pot supply (don’t laugh. That could really effect material).  They’re in our yards and our houses, decimating perfectly clean and happy suburban neighborhoods.  I’m back to the ants again; I know the Discord crew can do that too…it’s why I’m distancing myself from them.

What’s worse, the crazy ants are so hopped up on the chemicals that they consume right in our homes—the stuff even the most ruthless fire ant colonies fear—they now seem even angrier and crazier. I’m talking about the Discord staff this time. They need help.

Some reports even suggest these crazy ant MFs are using the insecticide as sustenance.  They’ve also been spotted carrying away small vertebrates…like lizards, mice, and newborn babies. 

A raspberry crazy ant took my baby! Hmm. It does have a nice ring to it.

I’m assuming their recent behavior is to study us and exploit our weaknesses. Did I mention they do have a lot in common with the Discord staff? Now if only they could carry away Aunt Babsy.  She’s passed out on the floor again… and she’s far from being a small vertebrate.

A dingo took my Babsy! Hmm. I can make this work…