Bit & Pieces, May 21, 2008

May 21st, 2008

If you’re in the mood for sleaze, check out a political ad run by a Republican candidate (and incumbent) for Congress. Basically, it attacks the Democratic candidate’s “San Francisco values,” demonstrating that by having three slutty-looking swingers partying it up, bumping and grinding. I’ve lived in San Francisco and grew up in the area, and this doesn’t come any closer to representing the values of the area than a seedy strip club in Missouri represents theirs. But apparently, this passes for kosher in conservative Missouri politics.

I reflected on how people would react if, say, a Massachusetts liberal were to put out an ad representing rural/heartland values by showing gun-toting redneck hicks drinking beer and picking their noses in front of a pickup truck with a Confederate flag on the side. Such a politician would instantly be excoriated, blasted out of the water as an “elitist.”

What it comes down to is the fact that not just ads showing such “San Francisco” values, but pretty much all criticisms of the same sort–attacking either urban/coastal or liberal values as “elitist”–this is in fact the true “elitism.” The same people who claim that liberals are prancing around thinking they are better than everyone else are themselves the ones with the superiority complex; they think that their values are better than those of others. The values I remember from the San Francisco area were pretty much respectful of a wide variety of views and beliefs; it is an accepting, big-tent culture, with “tolerance” being a major theme. I don’t see much tolerance or acceptance among the brand of people who complain about “San Francisco values.”

A new study:
In the “first nationally representative survey of teachers concerning the teaching of evolution,” the authors show that one in eight high school biology teachers present creationism as a scientifically valid alternative to Darwinian evolution. While this number does not reflect public demand–38% of Americans would prefer that creationism to be taught instead of evolution–it does represent a disconnect between legal rulings, scientific consensus, and classroom education.

Before you think that one in eight is not bad, or even, “what’s wrong with introducing creationism alongside evolution,” consider that this is similar to one in eight Medical School teachers telling their students to consider prayer as a scientifically valid alternative to antibiotics. And then consider whether or not you’d want to be treated at the hospital staffed by graduates of those classes.

Finally! Rumors of the iPhone coming out in Japan. The carrier: NTT DoCoMo, as I predicted. Apparently, all the attention crashed the Apple Insider web site, which I could not access as of this time. However, the rumors only say that Apple is “close to signing deals” with the Japanese and Korean carriers, and has no specifics about when the iPhone will be available–and Japan is rather infamous for getting stuff late.

Uh oh. Conservatives are starting to talk about “character” again. I guess, after eight years, they must miss being able to use the word in public when referring to their candidate for president.

From Virginia:
A federal appeals court panel in Richmond, Va., on Tuesday struck down a Virginia law that made it a crime for doctors to perform what the law called “partial birth infanticide.”

Good. “Partial birth abortion,” a political (not medical) term in this case escalated to “infanticide,” is nothing more than a manufactured straw man intended to stand in for abortion in general. The idea is to vilify the entire practice by choosing the least-commonly practiced (less than one-fifth of one percent of all abortions) but most-easily vilified form of abortion, and making a campaign of it, completely ignoring the medicine or the ethics involved in the process.

Ewww. An off-duty Japanese railway worker was arrested for forcibly kissing a woman on a train right here in Ikebukuro. Reportedly, he was so drunk that he doesn’t remember what happened, which only makes the image worse. Imagine that guy sticking his tongue down your throat–or your wife’s. From the article:
His employer was apologetic about the incident. “We’re sorry about the case. We’ll improve our guidance of employees,” said a spokesman for Seibu Railway.

Yeah. Be sure to give those employee seminars about not to get completely smashed and sexually assault women. That oughta do it. I mean, such “guidance” is stupid: any employee who doesn’t know better shouldn’t be working there in the first place.

No word in the article about whether or not the guy would be fired.

  1. May 21st, 2008 at 22:55 | #1

    ok. so now the huge question. Can i buy an iPhone here and use it with docomo but when i return to the states can i switch to a local provider? because i’d love a kanji-input device in the states!

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