Monday, June 6, 2011

If a politician says the earth is flat …

Haven’t done an absurdity roundup in a while so here goes.
The first one is a little complicated, so bear with me for a while, it does get absurd, I promise.

There is a population of beluga whales in Cook Inlet. They are the small white toothed whales. In the past few years the Inlet group has been discovered to be a genetically distinct population different enough from other belugas so as to be treated almost as a different species. In the ‘70s there were as many as 1,500 in the Inlet, but now they are down to fewer than 300 animals. Hunting was stopped in the ‘90s but the whales have shown no sign of recovery.

Because of the decline and lack of recovery and allowed by the distinct population discovery, the federal government has attempted to have portions of the Inlet designated as critical habitat. From what I understand that doesn’t remove the areas from commercial uses but it does add more steps to the process in order to try to help the whales.

At any rate the wonderful state government of Alaska and the congressional delegation decided on their own without the benefit of any scientific input that the Cook Inlet belugas were a) not threatened but indeed a healthy population saying the scientists had counted wrong and b) are not a distinct population but are just like belugas everywhere. This is now state policy, which is where the absurdity comes in.

Through the National Marine Fisheries Service a federal board was established to study the beluga situation and come up with a solution. Under that board was a scientific panel. That panel included two state of Alaska biologists. The past tense is correct in this instance because they are no longer on the panel.

It seems an executive order defining state policy says scientists doing work outside their state jobs as in participating in studies of beluga whales by the federal government have to adhere strictly to state policy and not to the scientific fact of a specific situation.

When the board discovered our biologists were required to represent state policy rather than the science of the matter, the two were removed. So, now it seems Alaska biologists take their research results from what politicians say is right, not something based in scientific integrity. And, Alaskans have removed themselves from the table and the table loses valuable insight from people who work with the whales. Driving home last night I couldn't help thinking about the belugas swimming around in the Inlet less than a mile to my left, oblivious to what humans are doing because of them.

It is also state policy that Arctic ice is not melting and therefore polar bears are not endangered either. Of course, this has nothing to do with the assault on the Arctic Ocean by oil companies, who can now operate because the ice is melting.

Now, if an Alaska politician says the earth is flat....? Don’t laugh there are tea baggers who probably think it is and some of them are in Congress.

Which brings up tea baggers. By now anyone who cares knows the Governor Interrupted made another Palinism the other day flubbing the facts around the famous ride of Paul Revere. Later she even argued on television she was correct despite tons of evidence to the contrary. That’s to be expected; how dare anyone tell Palinzilla she is wrong. However today comes a new absurdity. It seems her believers (yeah. lord) have attacked the Wikipedia entry about Paul Revere attempting to change it to the Sarah’s version of history. This takes revisionist history to exciting new levels. She actually said he rode to warn the British that Americans had guns and were going to defend Second Amendment rights. Among other things there was no Second amendment as the Constitution had not been written at the time, let alone amended. Wikipedia has never been something to trust totally in research but now with tea baggers rewriting American history it is even more suspect.

This last one is so bad, I kind of hesitate to put in a column of things I am making fun of, but something needs to be said.

A high school cheerleader in Texas was raped by a star on the school’s basketball team. Eventually he was convicted of a lesser assault charge, but it being Texas and it was basketball season he never went to prison for it.

Back at school the victim refused to participate in a cheer that specifically named her assailant. She was actually supposed to yell in support of “Rakheem” every time he went to shoot a foul shot. Given his history it can be expected he was fouled a lot. When she refused she was kicked off the cheerleading team. Not only that she was advised not to eat in the cafeteria, not participate in other school activities and to avoid the prom. This is the victim we are talking about.

Her parents sued the school district. They lost and now are obliged to pay the district $35,000 in court costs.

A reminder again that this is the victim of a rape. That goes beyond absurdity.

Could a fiction writer in his wildest imagination make any of this up? It all kind of makes me want to fly out of here and join the flash mob on Wall Street tonight.

Why do I feel like an endangered species with only a politician between me and extinction?

1 comment:

Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve