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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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Osama Bin Laden and Zombies
What do they have in common? They're both similar to gay-rights protesters.

"Osama Bin Laden's threat against the West is milder compared to the movements of [Soulforce founder] Mel White and others who are eating away at the vitals of a traditional society like zombies threatening to destroy traditional families," David wrote. "This is a guerilla war against traditional human marriages."

Well, let me see if I can get this right. Osama bin Laden is less of a threat than about 30 gay guys on a bus staging sit-ins at college campuses?

Does that mean we can come down from Orange Alert now?


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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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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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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Next quiz, Coulter or Dobson?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Right really does want to destroy America
If we are to believe Count Novakula anyway. He's been looking at the problem of the Right's dissatisfaction with their top three candidates, and who seems to be the solution that's being pushed? You're not going to believe it.

New York-based political consultant Kieran Mahoney's survey of probable Republican participants in the 2008 Iowa presidential caucuses showed this support for the "big three" candidates: John McCain, 20.5 percent; Rudy Giuliani, 16.3 percent; Mitt Romney, 3.5 percent. Astonishingly, they all trailed James Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia, who had 31 percent.

How could that be? Because it was not a legitimate survey but a "push poll," normally a clandestine effort to rig the results by telling respondents negative things about some of the candidates. But Mahoney makes no secret that the voters he sampled were told of liberal deviations by McCain, Giuliani and Romney, as well as true-blue conservatism by Gilmore, who is Mahoney's client.

Mahoney is trying to prove a point widely accepted in Republican ranks. None of the three front-line candidates is a natural fit for the nation's right-of-center party. Without question, there is a void. The question is whether Gilmore or anyone else can fill it.

Now, this push pull was done on Gilmore's behalf, but it's still scary. Gilmore was the most incompetent Virginia governor in my memory (which goes back to Wilder at least), and he managed to wreck the finances of the state during the largest economic expansion in history. He was like a preview of George Bush's financial strategery, that is, cut taxes now, let my successor deal with the shortfalls. Thankfully Mark Warner turned the state around.

That Gilmore thinks he's a serious contender, when even the Bush administration found him too incompetent for their taste, is a bad sign. That a push poll can put him over McCain and Giuliani is a really bad sign. After all, it will be the wingers that must be appeased to win the primary, and a total screw-up like Gilmore might be able to rally the base against the so-called moderates.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

The Holocaust

The Holocaust was the massacring of the Jewish race during World War II. The Germans are not to blame for this but the Nazi are. Besides 6 million Jews dying, 3 million Christians were killed also along with many priests and nuns. This is a very touchy subject for the Jews and is not often discussed amongst them.

Seriously people, you gotta check this shit out. The site is just too funny. Join me! Point and laugh! It's the Give Up way.

Also, think of this as a public service. More than one blogger has pointed out that a lot of this stuff is hijacked from homeschooling textbooks on evolution and history. This is what the modern Christian fascist movement is teaching their children. But it also represents a lot people just having a blast at their expense (and their apparent inability to detect irony is itself hilarious). For instance, this is the current entry on Richard Nixon:

Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the Christian United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. He was the 36th Christian Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, in the administration of Christian Dwight D. Eisenhower. Nixon is the only person elected twice to the offices of vice president and president, and the only president to have resigned from the office of president. He also is the only President to have spent hours speaking to the presidential portraits in the White House.

Nixon's Christian foreign policy as president was marked by detente with the atheistic Soviet Union and the opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. His centrist domestic policies combined conservative Christian rhetoric and liberal action in civil rights, environmental and economic initiatives. As a result of the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned the presidency in the face of likely impeachment by the United States House of Representatives. His successor, Gerald Ford, issued a controversial pardon that cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Nixon was a Christian; however, like many Christians after he died he went straight to Hell.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Everyone over at the scienceblogs (Orac, MarkCC, PZ, Tim Lambert, Thoughts from Kansas, Mike the Mad Biologist, Stranger Fruit etc.), has been having a field day with the Conservapedia. Created by conservatives to oppose the liberally biased Wikipedia (reality has a liberal bias), it consists of "conservative" viewpoints on everything from evolution, to abortion, to George Washington (did you know "Washington is perhaps the person other than Jesus who declined enormous worldly power"?, I bet he really did cut down that apple tree too.)

I suggest you join them. I'll take nominations for most absurd article, and evolution is just too easy.

The best part is, this fits with the Give Up philosophy better than anything I could have ever done. Andrew Schlaffy (Crazy Phyllis' boy) is seeking to single-handedely undermine modern religious fundamentalism/conservatism simply by exposing the crazy, unscientific, and plain outlandish things they believe to the light of day. Not to mention their approach to truth. Basically, if you don't like the truth, just change it to whatever you want it to be.

Anyway, undermine the modern right wing movement by exposing to the world the crazy shit these people actually believe!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Peta Ad Campaign
Shelley at Retrospectacle points us to PETA's new ad campaign, including this mostly confusing image.

Now, Amanda Marcotte I think really nailed PETA on the head when she compared them to Operation Rescue. Think about how many of her criteria for how PETA was the same kind of organization fit this stupid ad (which also claims that chickens are as smart as dogs and young humans).

1.They think grossing you out is an argument.
2. They think women are just bodies to be manipulated for their ends instead of full human beings. (see their State of the Union ad)
3.Both exploit tender young women as cheap labor for their cause.
4.Both prefer to advocate for "victims" that are silent and therefore can be projected onto. (I mean chickens? c'mon)
5.Both have a strong, irrational loathing for science.(chickens are as smart as kids e.g., as well as every argument I've ever seen the ARAs make on science blogs in which they explain to scientists how our jobs can be done with computers rather than animals and animal products)
6.Neither seems to care that much about the real life well-being of the objects of their advocacy as they claim to care. (Peta kills about 60% of the animals they capture and have done some hysterically poorly planned rescue operations in which they "free" animals only to have them all die of exposure)

Beyond these things, can anyone explain to me how this campaign even just makes logical sense? What about making you think of your parents having sex is even relevant to the discussion?

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Virgil Goode, still embarrassing us
Via Think Progress.

Here' the transcript of his comments during yesterday's debate:

We are in the middle of a four-day marathon here. While I cannot say that I agree with all of the actions of the president in dealing with Iraq, I will not be supporting H.Con.Res. 63. The eyes of the world are upon this House and there will be commentary from the Middle East to the streets of small town America about what we do here over this four-day period even though this resolution does not carry the weight of law.

When the commentary begins in the Middle East, in no way do I want to comfort and encourage the radical Muslims who want to destroy our country and who want to wipe the so-called infidels like myself and many of you from the face of the Earth. In no way do I want to aid and assist the Islamic jihadists who want the crescent and star to wave over the Capitol of the United States and over the White House of this country. I fear that radical Muslims who want to control the Middle East and ultimately the world would love to see "In God We Trust" stricken from our money and replaced with "In Muhammad We Trust."

They have the video too, he's such an idiot redneck it's embarrassing. And really, telling this president he can't continue this idiotic war (and extend it into Iran) will lead to the crescent and star waving over the Capitol building? What a drama queen.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Screw Edwards
The more I think about it, the more I agree with PZ Myers on the whole firing Amanda debacle.

Screw Edwards. You know, we need Democrats who won't bend over for the likes of Bill Donohue, a known bigot, and his right wing fundamentalist organization the Catholic League. So a bunch of right-wing smear merchants go after one of Edwards' employees, distort her statements beyond all reason, and not only does he not stick up for her, he distances her, and then accepts her resignation like she did something wrong.

The only ones who did something wrong were Donohue and Edwards. Donohue for making mountains out of molehills and swift-boating poor Amanda (here is the "offensive" post), and Edwards for not standing up to the people he needs to oppose to if he wants to lead this country away from the advocates of a new dark age.

I'm with PZ. No more cowardly Democrats. No more appeasers. No more Chamberlains. We need a Democrat who isn't scared to death of offending the bigots on the right.

Edwards is a coward.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Historic incompetence
Anyone been reading about these idiots who dropped 12 billion dollars in cash into a war zone? Most of it is now unaccounted for.

And the accounting controls? The biggest joke I've ever heard.

According to Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, the $8.8bn funds to Iraqi ministries were disbursed "without assurance the monies were properly used or accounted for". But, according to the memorandum, "he now believes that the lack of accountability and transparency extended to the entire $20bn expended by the CPA".

To oversee the expenditure the CPA was supposed to appoint an independent certified public accounting firm. "Instead the CPA hired an obscure consulting firm called North Star Consultants Inc. The firm was so small that it reportedly operates out of a private home in San Diego." Mr Bowen found that the company "did not perform a review of internal controls as required by the contract".

That's about half the budget of the NIH, just wasted away on who-knows-what, and overseen by some guy in California who probably works in his underwear.

Considering we're getting grants cut to maintain paylines, this is pretty damn depressing.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ok, who wrote, "Mohammed rules, #1, on the hood of my frickin car?"

What kills me is that they put these little light-brite thingies in a bunch of cities and only Boston freaked out. Is Boston not keeping up with Adult Swim? Do they hate the Aqua Teen? Are they just fundamentally less cool?

All the other cities are just like, hey, mooninites. Not Boston, they're like, only terrorists flip the bird with little LED lights.


Monday, January 08, 2007

The Sunk Cost Fallacy
The sunk cost fallacy, or alternately the Gambler's fallacy is the only possible explanation for the thought process behind the Bush/McCain/Lieberman escalation plan.

The sunk cost fallacy is the idea that to justify costs that have been lost in the course of an investment one should continue to invest more to prevent a total loss (even though the losses are already irrevocable). It's based on the idea that the value of something is what you invested in it, not what it is actually worth.

The gambler's fallacy is the idea that something can become due, it's the idea that a losing investment can't go bad forever (or that a winning one can't stay good forever) and therefore given enough time betting on a loser eventually your luck will change.

Whether you're talking about David Brook's Making the Surge work, Joe Lieberman's Why We Need More Troops in Iraq, McCain's Send More Troops or any idiotic justification coming out of Bush or Cheney's or any other neocon's mouth, it pretty much boils down to one or both of these fallacies.

This does not change that the cost of the war in terms of civilian casualties has tripled (for a total of about 23k Iraqi civilians confirmed dead in 2006), the 3000 troops we've lost, or the unimaginable waste of money, goodwill and potential for real progress against extremism in the wake of 9/11. These things are lost. They are gone. They can not be replaced. They can not be recovered. They are sunk costs. The investment of blood and money does not make Iraq worth any additional investment unless there is clear potential for gain.

Further, there is no evidence that anything in Iraq will improve with more troops, quite the opposite. More troops are just more targets, without any realistic chance of creating the secure environment necessary for Democracy. There is no good reason to think that a continued investment in Iraq will pay off because eventually good news has to come out of that place. Everything, all the evidence, points towards a civil war that is spiralling uncontrollably into total chaos.

Now, an idiot president who has fallen victim to the sunk cost fallacy or the gambler's fallacy may feel the need to justify the investment in Iraq we've made so far by putting our troops in the middle of a crossfire. This is idiotic. Things are not going to get better. No amount of investment will improve the situation, and the investment we've made so far is lost.

So, Neocons, Give UP, it's lost. You're polishing the brass on the Titanic, time to get off the ship. There is only one good thing to come of these idiotic justifications for extending this war, it could end the political careers of Bush, Cheney, Lieberman, McCain, and any other asshole that's supporting this stupid war at the cost of American lives and resources.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Newt Gingrich, traitor
Newt Gingrich is planning to create a 527 dedicated to treason.

No really, it's in the NYT.

The committee will also promote Mr. Gingrich’s latest manifesto, a 10-point Contract With America for the 21st century, which includes Social Security privatization, electoral reform, radical streamlining of government, and "patriotic education" for schoolchildren and immigrants. The document also includes a call to "recenter America on the creator from whom all our liberties come" and to appoint judges who understand "the centrality of God in American history."

He's trying to destroy the constitution that he swore to uphold. Isn't that treason?

Hmmm. I guess it's not technically giving "aid and comfort to our enemies", and the enemies in this case might be the British 230 years ago. But still, isn't this just a little bit sick? Isn't this guy supposedly all about smaller government? Wouldn't this be the ultimate intrusion of government into our private lives? TJ would be pissed, that's for sure.

Also, isn't this whole idea kind of stupid that god is "central" in our history? Unless you're Mormon or something, very little of American history is about revelations, prophecy, or things in which I would put god in the "center". Manifest Destiny maybe, in that case "god" allowed us the moral superiority to drive out everyone living West of the Mississippi so we could expand all the way to the west coast. A bunch of believer flew some planes into our buildings a few years ago, and even Falwell and Robertson said that was god punishing us, so I guess that's another example.

What are some more examples of god being central in American history? And you can't just go and say god does everything, that's a cop out.

P.S., one of my proudest moments was meeting Newt Gingrich, getting his autograph, and then saying it's a damn shame people like him prevent us from treating people like his sister like human beings.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

More of the usual
Not surprisingly, Dobson's BS anti-gay piece for time has been attacked by the scientists he quoted. Apparently Dobson, like all creationists/bigots/fundamentalists doesn't understand you can't just cherry-pick the science so that it says what you want.

But Gilligan claimed that Dobson distorted her findings, and says that she disagrees with his theory that same-sex couples are unsuitable parents. In a pointed letter to Dobson and released to the press, Gilligan demanded that he apologize and "cease and desist" from quoting her work in the future.

"I was mortified," Gilligan wrote, "to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine."

"My work in no way suggests same-gender families are harmful to children or can't raise these children to be as healthy and well adjusted as those brought up in traditional households," Gilligan asserts.

"I trust," her letter concluded, "that this will be the last time my work is cited by Focus on the Family."

Dr. Kyle Pruett of the Yale school of medicine was equally shocked to discover Dobson's use of his work in the column.

"You cherry-picked a phrase to shore up highly (in my view) discriminatory purposes," he wrote in a similar letter to Dobson. "This practice is condemned in real science, common though it may be in pseudo-science circles. There is nothing in my longitudinal research or any of my writings to support such conclusions."

In fact, Pruett's work suggests the opposite of Dobson's assertions. "On page 134 of the book you cite in your piece," he points out, "I wrote, 'What we do know is that there is no reason for concern about the development or psychological competence of children living with gay fathers. It is love that binds relationships, not sex.'"

Typical denialists tactics. You don't like that the science shows that gay parents can be just as competent as heterosexual parents, so what do you do? You use selectivity, false experts, red herrings, BS gay agenda conspiracies and other dishonest tactics to distract from the reality which you hate.

Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Dobson is an idiot and a liar
** Update ** He's apparently a plagiarist too.

Dobson writes a piece for time about Mary Cheney having a kid with her partner and they should be ashamed for publishing it. Not only is it just idiotic, and wrong, and stupid, but what could he possible want to be done about this? And where did they get the idea that two women raising a child is worse than one? Ignoring the fact that humans have reared children with multiple women in the household for generations, the science shows that as fewer women are raising children in American households, it's increasing stress on moms, and a worsening trend. If anything, the more women per household, the better. But onto the idiocy.

With all due respect to Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father. That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy--any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl.

So, unless you have the ideal family unit you shouldn't have children? This is an interesting viewpoint, not only does it ignore that you don't need to be directly related to a man or a woman for them to play the role model for you as a kid, but it also completely misstates the science. Not surprisingly, there has not been a single study that shows that lesbian or gay parents raise children that are any more or less maladjusted than those in a nuclear family. Seriously, show me one, and I'll believe this "Mom and Dad only can raise a family" crap. Certainly the science shows things are more difficult for single parents, but that by no means precludes them from raising healthy happy kids.

Then there's this idiocy:

According to educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, mothers tend to stress sympathy, grace and care to their children, while fathers accent justice, fairness and duty. Moms give a child a sense of hopefulness; dads provide a sense of right and wrong and its consequences. Other researchers have determined that boys are not born with an understanding of "maleness." They have to learn it, ideally from their fathers.

This sounds like total crap, and I bet if you talked to Carol Gilligan she'd be upset at Dobson using whatever it is she said out of context. I'd bet money that's the case. But besides that, this is just idiotic. Dads provide a sense of right and wrong and moms don't? Are you kidding me? Who buys into this kind of gender-pigeonholing anyway? This is idiotic and doesn't even deserve a serious response.

Finally, I'd just like to attack one more ridiculously stupid thing in this idiotic article. Dobson has made the mistake of bad-mouthing divorce.

This is a lesson we should have learned from no-fault divorce. Because adults wanted to dissolve difficult marriages with fewer strings attached, reformers made it easier in the late 1960s to dissolve nuclear families. Though there are exceptions, the legacy of no-fault divorce is countless shattered lives within three generations, adversely affecting children's behavior, academic performance and mental and physical health. No-fault divorce reflected our selfish determination to do what was convenient for adults, and it has been, on balance, a disaster.

First of all, let's see where we have divorce in this country:

And from my previous post on divorce.

This is a map of the states with divorce rates greater than 4 per thousand (excluding California, and Indiana and using 2002-2003 data for 2 other states that didn't report in 2004), the national average is somewhere between 3.7 and 4.1 depending on who you ask or whether you throw an estimate of California's rate in since they haven't reported a rate since 1990. The other key thing to remember is that divorce rates are falling in all states, by about 10% since the 90s. So, if California were included today based on its 1990 statistics it would probably now be well under 4, so don't let that worry you too much.

All the same, look at where divorce is actually a problem, in a nice band across the bible belt. The states with the lowest divorce rates? Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin have divorce rates that range from 1.8-3.0 per 1,000. The blue states included are in just barely at around 4.1-4.3 per 1,000. The highest two are Nevada at 6.3 and Arkansas at 6.1, over three times the rate of liberal Massachusetts. And even more interesting is the Barna survey done in 1999 showed that of all religious groups, Baptists and non-denominational Christians were the most likely to get divorced, surpassing all those evil heathen religions, Catholics and atheists. And where do the Baptists live? Well, largely in the areas highlighted in the above map.

Divorce in this country is at the lowest point it's been since before no fault divorce came of age. It was highest in the 1980s at a rate of about 40-43% and now has dropped to an overall rate of 30% of all marriages will end in divorce. The highest rates of divorce are in evangelicals and fundamentalist Christian sects. Now how about that? Maybe the real threat to the nuclear family are the stodgy and rigid concepts of manhood and womanhood inflicted by patriarchal assholes like Dobson.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Soy Bomb
It ain't nature, and it ain't nurture. It ain't your genes; it ain't the fact that your "liberated" Aunt Peggy gave you a set of PJ Rose Barbie dolls for Xmas in a whimsical attempt at subverting gender norms.

Nope. It's all that dang soy milk that's making you gay!

Hee! I can't get upset about this one -- it's just too funny. And I always knew there was something strange about tofu, anyway.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Hey, here's a little tip for your next New York trip. If you go to NYC and go to time square and take pictures of the ads like it's some kind of novelty, you need to immediately insert an icepick into the orbit of your eye, and push it back-and-forth in your frontal lobe until the lobotomy is complete. Seriously.

That, and if you go to NYC and eat nowhere but at the Olive Garden and McDonalds, seriously, just stay home. Order in your 2000 calorie meals and take pictures of the ads during the O.C. or American Idol or whatever the hell idiotic crap is on your TV sapping your intelligence. You'll save money and not be in the way of all the New Yorkers who are just in Times Square because that's where all the movie theaters are. They'll thank you, or at least stop mentally wishing for your death.

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