March 1, 2010

Biff Backside — Climate Change Denier

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , — RS Janes @ 4:34 pm


January 24, 2010

Breaking the Monty Python Argument addiction

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 5:12 pm

The famous philosopher Montague Python devised the most popular circular argument of all times when he posited the hypotheses that contradicting is a legitimate, scholarly method of argumentation and he subsequently spawned a cottage industry in academic circles for professors and PhD candidates to assert the converse theorem: “No; it isn’t!”

The Republicans have adapted the Python-esque attitude regarding the possibility that global warming will kill off all the polar bears (even the massive colony of expat white bears living in zoos around the world?) by disqualifying any scientific preditions designed to elicit sympathy for the gigantic brutes.

The Democrats have embraced the challenge in such a wholehearted and enthusiastic way that some observers are alarmed about the possibility that the Democrats are showing symptoms of addiction in their compulsive responses to the Republican invitations to put aside substantive topics and, instead, waste some campaign time by continually injecting new scientific information into the argument which, by the Republican ground rules, automatically disqualifies the material that is (in the Republicans’ august opinion) worthy of a room of its own in the Mad Scientists Hall of Fame.

Here is a hypothetical transcript of how to play the game:
Dem: A new scientific report says that all polar bears will drown because the polar ice cap is melting.
Rep: Where does it say that in the Bible?
Dem: But if you read the report, surely, you will admit that without a polar ice cap, the polar bears will soon disappear form this earth.
Rep: Don’t call me Shirley.
Dem: So you don’t care if all the polar bears drown?
Rep: Polar bears are known for their remarkable long distance swimming ability, polar bear skeletons have been found on Samoa. (Republicans are not confined to reality. For Democrats, truth is a self imposed restriction limiting their retorts.)
Dem: Don’t you care about Global Warming?
Rep: If you could prove it exists, I most certainly would, but for now, I think it’s like the “theory” that if I flap my arms fast enough, I’ll start to fly. Aren’t scientists the ones who say that, according to the laws of aerodynamics, bees can’t fly?
Dem: I’ll do anything I have to, to prove that Global Warming really exists.
Rep: Anything? . . . ?
Dem: Science has proved conclusively that global warming is occurring and that polar bears are in peril.
Rep: No! It doesn’t!

Here’s a suggestion for Democrats who want to argue logically and simultaneously break out of their addiction to the Monty Python game: issue this challenge: given the fact that you don’t believe in Global Warming because you don’t’ believe in science, how about this: The Democratic Party will build you a World Headquarters for the Science Skeptics (AKA the Republican elite SS Society) Association on the atomic proving ground’s “Ground Zero” conveniently located close to Las Vegas! Whatcha say? Free!

At that point the Republicans would face a philosophic crisis. They must accept the dare because if they decline the offer, the discussion will then put them on the defensive. If they want to decline the offer based on any scientific reasons, then they have been proven to be hypocrites; if they decline and attribute it to “common sense,” then they can be asked what common sense tells them about the photos that show a shrinking polar icecap. If they don’t believe in photos; ask them if you can buy all their family album photos, home movies, and negatives. Do they use family snapshots to remind themselves that grandpa and grandma really existed (and looked groovy in their youth?)? If they don’t believe in photographic evidence, then they don’t need family snapshots and should jump at the chance to sell them off. Isn’t offering a Republican a chance to make some easy money just like offering a drink to an alcoholic?

If they accept the offer, the Democrats should use reconciliation to get legal permission to build such a facility and then they should build it and turn it over to the Republican Society of Science Skeptics.

If the Democrats wanted to use methodology as mean and crooked as the Republicans utilize, they might want to run ads showing victims of disabilities acquired by fighting in territory where Agent Orange was used. The spokesmen could then say that only scientists disapproved of using Agent Orange and that there was absolutely nothing in the Bible that would indicate that there was any reason to avoid waging war with or living where it had been used for defoliation. Has the use Agent Orange been abandoned in the Bush Wars just because of scientific evidence? (Have you noticed that there are no trees or vegetables growing in the Tora Bora pass?)

What does the Bible say about accepting this generous offer (a free headquarters building on Ground Zero) from the Democrats? Did any polar bears offer to testify at the Scope’s Trial?

Question: If Bible thumping conservatives are diagnosed with cancer do they seek help by going to an African witch doctor or do they head for an American doctor who relies heavily on science? What does the Bible say about chemo-therapy? Shouldn’t Republican Christians turn down any and all recommendations for such cancer treatments?

The Global warming circular argument might, in the final inning, boil down to an old Republican election slogan’s advise: “If God meant for man to fly; He would have given him wings!” Amen, brother!

Now, the disk jockey will play the Foreigner’s song “Blinded by Science,” Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science,” and Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas.” Whew, we need to go take a reinvigorating look at some photos taken back when it was clever to ask a girl: “Wanna see my Walmetto?” Have a “Sock it to me!” type week.

January 7, 2010

Pitty those poor, poor (doomed) polar bears

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 8:06 pm

Today (Thursday, January 07, 2010), after Yoga class, while walking around near the BART station in downtown Berkeley, I was approached by a bubbly enthusiastic young lady who was raising funds for Greenpeace.

In an effort to play devil’s advocate, I challenged her to explain why those nasty brutal beasts deserved any sympathy, let alone should inspire a donation to their organization. She resorted to the old domino theory and said that if folks let polar bears die off, other more cuddly animal species, such as the Pandas, would follow. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let them have North Vietnam and the next thing ya know Saigon will become Ho Chi Minh City. Blah, blah, blah.

We continued to challenge her debating skills by asking if Ansel Adams, who was well known for his love of nature and his work on behalf of the Sierra Club, had ever taken any pictures of polar bears. She couldn’t give a knowledgeable answer to my question.

Let me be perfectly clear: in an effort to help her sharpen her arguments, we continued our efforts to be a devil’s advocate and indicated that her silence was tantamount to me saying “check” in a chess game.

If the existentialists in Paris think that global warming is worth worrying about, then that might be a point in her favor. Wouldn’t Camus and company say that life is absurd and that polar bears might not want to continuing to live in a cold uncaring universe? Cold, yes, but don’t most polar bears die saying: “Rosebud”?

If global warming is a real problem, why aren’t people trying to tell the world that global warming will also kill off the penguins? When it comes to environmental issues, the polar bears have taken over. (Could that be called a putsch?) She tried to sidetrack me with the information that Greenpeace was big in Australia. Does size matter?

She then shifted her approach and told me about a new peril facing the polar bears. It seems that with the thinning out of the polar bear herds, apparently some of the frustrated young and horny members of the species have taken to mating with grizzly bears (<Ursus arctos horribilis. The resulting hybrid is called Grolar bears, as in gr(izzle + po)ar bears. Do they have their own Latin name? Have to check that online.

I gave her the old “I didn’t know that” stalling tactic. She sensed an opening and pressed her attack. The white polar bears are in big danger of losing their species purity! Who knew? She sensed that she could manipulate me by using fear. Wouldn’t it be a shame if polar bears couldn’t maintain the purity of the white bear species? I hesitated and she pressed the point with renewed fervor: “Surely, Hitler would have believed in and opposed global warming.” Would the scientists at Peenemunda have endorsed or refuted the theory of global warming? That’s something to look up on the Internet.

If what she was saying about maintaining the supremacy of white bears was true, wouldn’t some Republicans be donating heavily to her cause? Maybe the young lady in Berkeley has a new talking point worth considering?

Isn’t seeing polar bears part of the Alaska tourist industry? So, if they were in danger of becoming extinct, wouldn’t every governor of that state want to promote fighting the global warming that has put the Ursis maritimus on death row? Should we use the “set grandma adrift on a the melting ice floe” analogy? Shouldn’t liberals turn the tables and instill fear by asking: “Are polar bears going to be the first death panel casualties?”

Is condoning the grolar bear trend the same as endorsing gay marriage? Note: that new species us a Google-able topic.

Where does the most famous polar bear in the world live? Isn’t Knute the star of the Berlin Zoo? Just a co-inky-dink?

We told the young Greenpeace fund raiser that due to the “low budge = no budget” Rupert Murdock style fiscal philosophy practiced by most of the liberal web site publishers, I couldn’t actually give her some dinero, but I could dash right back to my wickiup and pound out a sympathetic column on my new (used) laptop.

Didn’t Germany save their auto industry (many moons ago) by nationalizing it? When will the new President authorize more bailout funds for the American car makers?

Who says there’s no way that you can use conservative phraseology to make a liberal point? Who doesn’t love a leprechaun? Aren’t trolls just German leprechauns? Is there a sign in the Berlin Zoo that orders visitors to refrain from teasing the animals?

Would Republicans buy “White Bear Power” T-shirts to help fight global warming? They could add a bit of typographical humor by setting two words in big type and the middle one in very small type, eh? (and use the Schwaben alt. font?)

Which one doesn’t belong (and why?): Evita, Eva Braun, Sarrah Palin?

Poor girl, she must have arthritis because when she waved good-bye, her arm was kinda stiff and her hand didn’t move much.

[Did Jonathan Swift have to put a “snark” tag on his “A Modest Proposal” essay?]

Ansel Adams has said: “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”

We nixed the disk jockey’s suggestion that he play “Knights in White Satin” and, instead, insisted that he play “The Beer Barrel Polka.” (What? You were expecting “Quinn the Mighty Eskimo” or the Eagles “Take It to the Limit”?) It’s time for us to go disappear in Argentina. Have a “brown eyed handsome man” type week.

May 18, 2008

The Republican Base Gets Acquainted With Their Nominee…

Filed under: Toon — Tags: , , , , , , — Volt @ 8:03 am

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