Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Looney tunes and merry melodies

For those keeping track, my full-scale report on steroids is essentially done, but I am waiting for some requested peer-review "beta test" feedback before going fully public with it. Stay tuned. And now the news . . .

More loud objections to the Baseball Hall of Fame's omitting Marvin Miller while inducting Bowie Kuhn.

Here's a shocker: the U.S. economy is headed for big, big trouble soon.

George Bush wants to take control of military lawyers; I guess the military has gotten too pinko commie for him.

The nation is still sorely unprepared for major disasters, whether natural or man-made. Well, geez, give 'em some time.

A former NRA employee says it's not about gun rights, it's about enriching NRA executives. What, just because "The parking lot at the association's twin-glass-towered filled with shiny new BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes." Or is it the million-dollar incomes? (OK, OK, only $950,000.)

Both government and private-organization automobile crash tests get it pretty right as to cars, but very badly miss the boat on trucks: in the case of both NHTSA and IIHS, trucks that received the worst possible crash-test rating had on average lower driver fatality rates than trucks that received the best possible crash-test rating.

Yet another fox guarding a henhouse has had a snack: EU ministers are poised to agree a deal on aviation that would see aircraft emissions continue to rise and possibly hand a cash windfall to the airlines.

Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, American motorists are not prepared to "drive at any price"--there is developing evidence of a barrier at about the $3/gallon level. How this will play out against the energy industry's belief that anything would go, forever, remains to be seen.

Giuliania of the day: first, Bernie Kerik just won't go away as an issue; moreover, both the New York firefighters--who abominate his guts--and victims of a molesting priest high in Giuliani's confidence are preparing to batten down and go national in a big way. The campaign is starting to struggle, which is to say, falter. And his polls are dropping like a rock.

No cure for the cold yet, but scientists have finally figured out how those "causeless" traffic jams pop up.

More exciting by far, scientists now think they have for the first time spotted an active glacier on Mars. That is incrementally more evidence that life may exist there, even if only microbial.

This just in (sort of): the EPA has--ready for this?--decided that California and a number of other States cannot set their own automobile-emissions-level rules, and that EPA rules necessarily trump them. Mind, now, none of these states were seeking to bypass or undercut the extant EPA rules: they wanted to impose stricter levels above the EPA minima. The icing on the cake was E.P.A. administrator Stephen L. Johnson's statement that “The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution, not a confusing patchwork of state rules. I believe this is a better approach than if individual states were to act alone.” The act insulted our basic rights (aren't conservatives supposed to be big on "states' rights"? I guess only when the states want to weaken, not strengthen, citizen protections), but it needlessly insults our intelligence as well. Or maybe Johnson's so stupid himself that he doesn't even realize how stupid that was.

The Washington Post headline reads Key Setbacks Dim Luster of Democrats' Year. Read it and weep.

The "just say no to sex" crowd, who believe that teaching kids nothing but a single one-syllable word constitutes "sex education", have their knickers in a twist over the numerous studies that show that they are apparently looking at the wrong planet. Their claim, which I present here for its amusement value only, is that the rising pregnancy rates in groups taught abstinence only compared to the falling rates in those receiving actual information just shows that it's all the more important that we do it their way: if it's not working, we need to do more of it. "Any kind of assertion of blame is a disingenuous attempt to turn these statistics into a political agenda," insists Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association. Um, excuse me: what other kind of agenda is the allocation of public resources supposed to be? Hierophantic?

And last but not least, scientists have now determined that monkeys can the perform mental addition about as well as college students given the same test. Now if only we could get Bush and Cheney up to that level . . . .

That's all, folks!

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