Give Up Blog - for scientists like these!

You hid my archives, didn't you Steve!

Maps and Figures

"Hitler or Coulter?" Quiz
Map1 - Teen Pregnancy
Map2 - Incarceration
Map3 - Homicide Rates
Map4 - Drop-out Rates
Map5 - Bankruptcy Rates
Map6 - Driving Distances
Map7 - Energy Use
Map8 - Gonorrhea!
Map9 - Tax Burden
Map10 - State GDP
Map11 - DHS funding
Map12 - Adult Illiteracy.
Map13 - Abortion Bans:
Map14 - ER Quality
Map15 - Hospital Quality
Map16 - Coal Burners
Map 17 - Infant Mortality
Map 18 - Toxic Waste
Map 19 - Obesity
Map 20 - Poverty
Map 21 - Occupational safety
Map 22 - Traffic deaths
Map 23 - Divorce
Figure 1 - Wages vs Right to work
Figure 2 - Unemployment vs Right to work
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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ok, if this isn't obstruction of justice
How about firing an AG at the behest of Jack Abramoff? Will that do?

Before Attorneygate, there was Guam.

Back in the spring of 2002, when Guam's then-Governor, Carl Gutierrez, found himself in the cross-hairs of a federal corruption probe, he hired disgraced über-lobbyist Jack Abramoff to force out the US territory's longtime acting US Attorney, Frederick Black. "I don't care if they appoint bozo the clown, we need to get rid of Fred Black," Abramoff wrote to colleagues in March 2002.

Eventually Black, a well-regarded prosecutor who'd held the position since 1991, began investigating Abramoff for a $324,000 contract the lobbyist had received from Guam's highest court--and asked for Washington's assistance. The Justice Department forwarded the information to then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. Instead of receiving help, Black was pushed out of his job [see "Can Justice Be Trusted?" February 20, 2006].

Can we impeach Gonzales yet? Maybe put him in jail? Really, how big of a crime do these guys have to commit before they act?

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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Next Scandal
This one may be even more appealing than the prosecutor scandal because it seems to implicate Karl Rove in a violation of the Hatch act - the improper use of federal employees for political reasons. Leave it to the WaPo to dig this up for the world to see.

Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove's political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates.

With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 of polling data about the 2006 elections.

When Jennings concluded his presentation to the GSA political appointees, Doan allegedly asked them how they could "help 'our candidates' in the next elections," according to a March 6 letter to Doan from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Waxman said in the letter that one method suggested was using "targeted public events, such as the opening of federal facilities around the country."

That should be another one at least resigning, or maybe going to jail if they decide to lie about it to congress (which the idiots probably will).

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Friday, March 16, 2007

A Vote for DC
They should re-title this article "Republicans don't believe in Democracy".

It simply amazes me that they can oppose representation in congress of DC's citizens with a straight face while pretending to be all about spreading democracy abroad.

**Update** Everyone should read the NYT opinion on the prosecutor purge today. They state, and I agree, that it is further evidence that Republicans hate democracy, because the real subtext of the prosecutor scandal is these prosecutors were the ones who wouldn't back phony "voter fraud" prosecutions designed to intimidate Democratic voters.

In its fumbling attempts to explain the purge of United States attorneys, the Bush administration has argued that the fired prosecutors were not aggressive enough about addressing voter fraud. It is a phony argument; there is no evidence that any of them ignored real instances of voter fraud. But more than that, it is a window on what may be a major reason for some of the firings.

In partisan Republican circles, the pursuit of voter fraud is code for suppressing the votes of minorities and poor people. By resisting pressure to crack down on "fraud," the fired United States attorneys actually appear to have been standing up for the integrity of the election system.

John McKay, one of the fired attorneys, says he was pressured by Republicans to bring voter fraud charges after the 2004 Washington governor's race, which a Democrat, Christine Gregoire, won after two recounts. Republicans were trying to overturn an election result they did not like, but Mr. McKay refused to go along. "There was no evidence," he said, "and I am not going to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury."


There is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in this country. Rather, Republicans under Mr. Bush have used such allegations as an excuse to suppress the votes of Democratic-leaning groups. They have intimidated Native American voter registration campaigners in South Dakota with baseless charges of fraud. They have pushed through harsh voter ID bills in states like Georgia and Missouri, both blocked by the courts, that were designed to make it hard for people who lack drivers' licenses - who are disproportionately poor, elderly or members of minorities - to vote. Florida passed a law placing such onerous conditions on voter registration drives, which register many members of minorities and poor people, that the League of Women Voters of Florida suspended its registration work in the state.

The United States attorney purge appears to have been prompted by an array of improper political motives. Carol Lam, the San Diego attorney, seems to have been fired to stop her from continuing an investigation that put Republican officials and campaign contributors at risk. These charges, like the accusation that Mr. McKay and other United States attorneys were insufficiently aggressive about voter fraud, are a way of saying, without actually saying, that they would not use their offices to help Republicans win elections. It does not justify their firing; it makes their firing a graver offense.

This is the most impressive editorial I've seen from the Times in years.

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Uh oh
Rove talked to Gonzalez about the firings.

Remember, Gonzalez has testified, under oath, that the firings weren't political. Now we find he was talking to the White House political adviser about it? The connection between Harriet Miers and the scandal was bad enough. This is a smoking gun. Time for Gonzalez to be convicted of lying to congress.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Friendly advice
I love this prosecutor scandal. There are few things more clear cut than the kind of obstruction of justice going on here. You simply don't call up an AG or a US attorney and make suggestions, and then this firing is beyond belief.

I have trouble understanding what the administration was thinking. Is this some kind of ploy to make us ignore an even bigger scandal? Isn't one senior official being convicted guilty of felonies this year enough? But even better is the pathetic attempt to cover for the administration by Republicans in Congress, as well as all the statements of horror from the corrupt legislators in question - who are shocked, shocked! - that their statements have been misconstrued.

Six ousted United States attorneys told Congressional panels Tuesday new details about lawmakers' intrusions in sensitive investigations and possible efforts by the Justice Department to squelch their public protests over their firings.
H. E. Cummins III, who was removed last summer as a United States attorney in Arkansas, said that in late February, Michael Elston, chief of staff to the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, told him by telephone that any prosecutor who spoke to reporters could face retaliation.

In an e-mail message to several dismissed prosecutors that was disclosed at the hearing, Mr. Cummins wrote of senior Justice Department officials, "They feel like they are taking unnecessary flak to avoid trashing each of us specifically or further, but if they feel like any of us intend to continue to offer quotes to the press, or to organize behind the scenes Congressional pressure, then they would feel forced to somehow pull their gloves off."

In a letter on Tuesday addressed to Mr. Schumer, Mr. Elston responded that he was "shocked and baffled" by Mr. Cummins’s portrayal of their past discussions.

"I do not understand how anything that I said to him in our last conversation in mid-February could be construed as a threat of any kind," Mr. Elston wrote, "and I certainly had no intention of leaving with that impression."
Under questioning by Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, Mr. Cummins said it was possible Mr. Elston had not intended to threaten anyone and had been offering friendly advice.

Yeah, really friendly advice. The kind of friendly advice Tony Soprano gives you before you step over the line and two goons show up to your store and break things. Friendly indeed.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Which is dumber?
I think I made an error in the immigration story. I can't remember now, is Dana Rohrabacher or Jim Inhofe that is the stupidest man in congress? Evidence from this Conservative Political Action Conference (where Coulter went off the deep end as usual), is that it might be Inhofe:

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) got the crowd cheering early in the day. "I have been called -- my kids are all aware of this -- dumb, crazy man, science abuser, Holocaust denier, villain of the month, hate-filled, warmonger, Neanderthal, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun," he announced. "And I can just tell you that I wear some of those titles proudly."

Which of any of those titles would anyone in their right mind be proud of? Holocaust denier? Genghis Khan? He's saying he's happy about being the shittiest man on earth. What a moron.

I tell you, this CPAC conference is as good a confirmation of the Give Up hypothesis as I've ever seen. You don't need to argue with these assholes, you just have to quote them.

And in that vein, Mike Stark at Calling All Wingnuts is leading the way, visiting CPAC and recording some of this conservative inanity.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Chris Mooney on Restoring Science
Chris Mooney and Alan Sokol write an Op-ed for the LA times on restoring scientific integrity in government. Those of you who don't know Mooney, he's the guy who wrote the Republican War On Science.

I think this is a pretty sound essay on returning scientific integrity to the federal government, and interestingly, he starts out his essay describing how before the Republican majority took over in 1994, it appeared the post-modernist left was the true danger to science.

n the 1990s, conservatives such as Dinesh D'Souza, Gertrude Himmelfarb and Roger Kimball wrote best-selling jeremiads attacking postmodernist academics who, they insisted, were taking over American universities and subverting the standards of scholarship. Although much exaggerated, this contained a grain of truth. Some self-described leftist academics did seem determined to reduce the real world to mere "discourse." No worldview, they insisted, could be considered objectively more valid or factual than any other. Even the findings of science were described as reflecting societal conditions and struggles for power and dominance rather than something true about the nature of the world.

One of us — Sokal — was sufficiently disturbed by these trends to try an unorthodox experiment: write a parody of postmodern science criticism to see whether a trendy academic journal would accept it as a serious scholarly article. Asserting up front that "physical 'reality' [note the scare quotes]... is at bottom a social and linguistic construct," Sokal averred that the latest conceptions of quantum gravity support deconstructive literary theory, Lacanian psychoanalysis, "postmodernist epistemology" and, of course, progressive politics. The cultural-studies journal Social Text ate it up.

I remember encountering that crap in college, as a physics major, it was very tiresome in your humanities courses to encounter post-modernism and be told science wasn't real. How is post-modernism doing these days by the way?

Anyway, their solutions to our current problems seem reasonable, and they rightly hit on the necessary step to re-institutionalize science as a part of effective policy-making.

TO ADDRESS this new crisis over the relationship between science and politics, we propose a combination of political activism and institutional reform. Congress needs to establish safeguards to protect the integrity of scientific information in Washington — strong whistle-blower protections for scientists who work in government agencies would be a good start.

We also need a strengthening of the government scientific advisory apparatus, starting with the revival of the Office of Technology Assessment. And we need congressional committees to continue with their investigations of cases of science abuse within the Bush administration, in order to learn what other reforms are necessary.

At the same time, journalists and citizens must renounce a lazy "on the one hand, on the other hand" approach and start analyzing critically the quality of the evidence. For, in the end, all of us — conservative or liberal, believer or atheist — must share the same real world. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria do not spare deniers of evolution, and global climate change will not spare any of us. As physicist Richard Feynman wrote in connection with the space shuttle Challenger disaster, "nature cannot be fooled."

Truly, the recovery of the OTA would be a great first step. We can only hope that if the Republicans try to disband it again we won't let it go without a fight.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Where's Zap Brannigan when you need him?
"I hate these filthy neutrals Kif. With enemies you know where they stand but neutrals? Who knows?"

The Senate has decided on a nonbinding resolution that says they don't want Bush's surge, but they'll pay for it, won't criticize it, and in all ways continue to bendover in order to get the ol' Lieberman vote.

I'm wishing we had Zap Brannigan around to take care of these damn Neutrals.

He has a sexy learning disability too, what's it called Kif?

**sigh** Sexlexia.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

The Nuge!
So, apparently the Nuge went nuts at a GOP fundraiser for his buddy Gov Perry. It's just so hard being Republican. You're wrong all the time, no one likes it when your policies are actually implemented, and to top it all off, you're associated with with guys like the Nuge and crazy old bigots like la Boheme blogged about yesterday.

By the way, my take on Hargrove is more of a geriatric issue. You see, throughout your life you're building up all these mental process that aren't just active, but also inhibitory. Think of Tourette's as an example of what goes wrong when the ordinary inhibitory circuitry is malfunctioning.

Then the problem is, you get old, and those inhibitory circuits start to atrophy. Soon, you're no longer able to avoid saying stupid crap like blacks should get over slavery because Christians got over the Jews killing Jesus. I wonder what kind of crazy shit I'm repressing that I'll blather about when I get old. Makes me think...soylent green.

Also interesting, the Methodists reject Bush and his stupid libary, and yes, I meant to spell it like he says it.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Favorite Democratic Action of the Day
Sticking it to oil companies!

So this is what victory feels like...

A close second? A decrease in student loan rates. Increasing the ease of paying for college is a noble goal.

Now we can only hope that the Republicans don't scuttle these like they killed the ethics reform package. How stupid are these guys? Don't they know we're going to hang that vote around their necks in two years? There they go again though, doing the exact opposite of what the American people want.

**Update** Apparently they're not that stupid, lobbying reform is back in business.

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