atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#405: Shouting at the wind (again)

Evaluate news stories with just a shred of common sense and you end up frustrated.

Being born and raised in a conservative household, it's impossible for me just to accept news stories at face value. News reportage is not unbiased, regardless of who is doing the reporting, but when I was growing up the "main stream media" (MSM) was just the media, because that's all there was. If you wanted to watch TV, you had CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS--and that was it, "end of fucking list" as Denis Leary would say.

Read Ann Coulter's Treason and you'll understand how far back the problem goes. Read Bernard Goldberg's Bias for a thorough insider's view of how and why political bias happens in the MSM. The MSM has always had a leftward bias.

People have tried to tell me that bias is impossible, that the MSM would alienate half the country if that were true. They've cited the activist group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) which frequently cites examples of MSM reportage being right-biased. They've insisted that tried to tell me that the MSM is, if anything, centrist-to-right leaning.

Unfortunately, that's all crap.

If the MSM is the only game in town, what else can "half the country" do? Not watch TV, read newspapers, listen to the radio?

FAIR would be more aptly named "FAIL"--"Foolish And Inaccurate Liberalism"--because the examples of "right bias" they cite would only appear right-wing to Communists.

It's why the MSM refuses to acknowledge Internet sources as legitimate. Bloggers are crazies and internet journalists are worthless; only the big alphabet-soup names of the traditional media are important: CBS NBC ABC NYT CNN.

It's why Fox News is derided. It's the only major news network which does not have a liberal bias...and so Fox News is the "Republican News Channel". People cite Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity as examples of Fox's bias. The problem is, they are commentators, not journalists. "The O'Reilly Factor" and "Hannity and Colmes" are opinion shows, not news shows. If you watch the actual news programs on Fox you will see moderate centrist coverage.

"Oh, you only think the media is biased to the left because you're a conservative. You think Fox is 'centrist' because they agree with you." No; I think Fox is centrist because their reportage is much farther to the right than the other MSM outlets. They do not "agree" with me; I still think they're too far to the left. Certainly I wish they would actually live up to their critics' assertions that they're just shills for the Bush Administration.

People on the left don't like not having all the broadcast news on their side. Fox (and conservative talk radio, too) must be destroyed because of this. And what galls them the most is that Fox is so successful, because the people on my side of the aisle prefer "fair and balanced" to the CBS NBC ABC PBS NYT CNN riff.

For a couple of weeks, Randy Milholland's Something Positive had a window title, "Fox News is a delightful oxymoron." It annoyed me, but for two things, one little and one big: First, the little one was that the button in the taskbar read "Fox News is a delight..." when my browser was displaying his page.

Second, the big one: liberals feel very threatened by 1/7 of the major news outlets available to Americans. Their position is so weak they cannot tolerate dissent. That's awesome.

But anyway, since I was raised in a conservative household, at a time when there was no "alternative media", I learned--somehow--to take all the news on the TV and in the newspaper with a grain of salt: they were not telling the entire story, or else they were slating the coverage somehow--and usually a bit of common sense was all that I needed to figure out what they were not talking about, what they were slanting to make the story read the way they wanted it to.

So today I'm going to do some one-two punches, link to some headlines and add a few wisecracks.

Open data and climate change. The entire "climate change" aspect of the article is in the last paragraph of the article.

Ars Technica (the above-linked site) has a definite pro-"global warming=man made=apocalypse" bias. It's a good site for technology stories, but I can't recommend its science "journalism" when it is so completely uncritical of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). It is a "consensus" site; it treats AGW as "proven" and AGW critics as neanderthals.

I might take this open-data thing more seriously if it can actually prove that AGW is taking place--and I mean proof, not just "well, we all agree that it's taking place even though the data doesn't really support it unless we remove all the data points that disprove AGW."

Illegal immigrants
sue illegal employer for unpaid overtime.

People who don't even have a legal right to be in the US--and who certainly don't have a legal right to work in the US--are suing because their employer, who is employing them illegally, is breaking the overtime law?

This takes "gall" to a new level. "Hey, thanks for breaking one law and hiring me...but I'm going to sue you because you broke the overtime law, which kept me from getting all the money I deserve."

I hope the judge hearing this lawsuit does two things: 1) throws it out after giving the plaintiffs a good long stern lecture; and 2) has all the plaintiffs deported.

The article refers to the criminal aliens as "workers" and complains that they were "cheated" of hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime. You know what? I want to sue, too. I was cheated out of tax dollars that went into paying for various social services for people who have no right to be here.

One of the issues which is never raised by people in the debate over criminal immigration is that it drives down wages. Maybe one reason for stagnant wage growth in the US is that we've been letting 12 million people work for less than minimum wage, and our government turns a blind eye to it 90% of the time.

Ice melts in Antarctica.

The article says that snow melted over an area the size of California. It makes no attempt to explain what volume of ice melted; only that a NASA satellite detected that melting and refreezing had occurred.

When? Between July of 1999 and July of 2005. Sometime during that six-year period, temperatures got as high as 41°F for about a week. They say "in 2005" but not when in 2005. The summer solstice for Antarctica is December 20, and during that time of year Anatarctica is "the land of the midnight sun".

It's not evidence of global warming; it's weather, you assholes.

NASA claims proof of dark matter. I claim "BS". I've dealt with the issue of dark matter before; if you factor General Relativity into your calculations for galactic rotation you find that you don't need "dark matter" to keep galaxies from flying apart.

Get over my hotness, says Jessica Alba.

Okay, done. Not a problem.

Women who get their start based on their looks seem to end up complaining that people can't get past their looks when they want to become "serious" actresses. You know what? The pretty women who have become "serious actresses" do it by being good actresses.

I'm trying to think of a single movie I've seen with her in it, and I've come to realize that I have not wanted to see any of her movies. I never watched the TV series Dark Angel, either.


ABC proves Sturgeon's Law again. The Geico cavemen are going to get their own series. It's going to be an "...offbeat commentary on ethnic prejudice".

Personally I think it's going to be an "...unremediated pile of turds". But that describes 99.997% of all television; Sturgeon was an optimist.

The guy in charge of ABC's entertainment division says, "The good thing about comedies is that they've been broken for a few years so people are willing to take chances."

"A few years"? If by that you mean "basically since 1959" then yeah, it's been "a few years".

There are three shows on TV right now that I don't care to miss, and all three are serial dramas: Smallville; Battlestar Galactica--in reruns until January of 2008--and House, MD, of which I've seen about 16% of the extant episodes. And House is very low on "re-watch" because all the stories rely on surprise to lend suspense. If you already know the kid has hemochromatosis, you aren't going to sit through 45 minutes of show solely for the sake of Greg House's wisecracks, as good as they are--so other than catching a rerun here and there, I am unlikely to improve that percentage much.

And, thinking about it now, I realize that House and his methods aren't all that great. They killed one patient after misdiagnosing a staph infection. The kid with hemochromatosis was dying before House decided to re-consider hemochromatosis as a possible cause for his ailments. These doctors spend tens of thousands of dollars on tests, trying to diagnose simple ailments, because the ailments don't present all the symptoms the right way at the right time. I wonder how often things like that actually happen?

Demand for gas high despite high prices. Adjusted for inflation, gas prices aren't all that bad in most of the United States. The only places that it's really bad are places where environmental regulations and the NIMBY faction have forced additional costs on the suppliers of the stuff (Hello, San Francisco, where gas is over $4 per gallon!).

Let's do a thought experiment for a moment. Let's say that--for whatever reason--people in the US suddenly decide they need to double their fuel economy.

Now, there would be plenty of people like me who could not do it economically--my car already gets 36 MPG--but let's say that anyone who gets less than, say, half of that decides he must double his fuel economy.

Two things would happen: the used car lots would fill up with used SUVs, and the price of gasoline would drop like a rock.

"...Jennifer Hoover, 32, a graphic designer who lives in the San Francisco area. She said she was startled by her bill—$58.69 to fill up her silver Audi sedan with $4.09 a gallon premium gasoline on Tuesday—but was late for an appointment and had no other choice." I'm betting that her Audi doesn't actually need premium; most cars don't. Heh.
Consumers may suspect that oil refiners are colluding in the recent price spike, but analysts say the real culprit is an unprecedented number of refinery accidents and maintenance outages this spring—combined with drivers' rising demand for fuel. Most prominent of the outages was a February fire that shut down Valero Energy Corp.'s 170,000 barrel-per-day McKee refinery in Sunray, Texas, for months.

"If you just count incidents, there are more this year than there have been in previous years," said Mike Conner, a specialist on refinery operations at the EIA.

As a result, gasoline inventories fell by more than half to 93.5 million barrels in the week ended May 4 from 205.1 million barrels in the same week in 2006 and 214.7 million barrels in 2005, according to government figures.

Charles Drevna, executive vice president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners' Association, said many refineries shut down for maintenance for the first time since their operations were kicked into overdrive by Hurricane Katrina. When the 2005 storm knocked out gas and oil facilities along the Gulf Coast, refineries in other parts of the country had to step in and pick up the slack, Drevna said. In many cases, that meant putting off regular maintenance for years.

"There's still a lasting effect from that," Drevna said.

Also, he said, the process of turning crude oil into gasoline has become more complicated over the years, particularly as different governmental entities have mandated changes to the chemical makeup of gasoline for environmental reasons. It takes more equipment, more complicated processes and more oil to make gasoline now than it used to, Drevna said.

Drevna said refiners have been steadily expanding their existing facilities, adding the equivalent of one new refinery a year, on average, every year for more than a decade. That's a cheaper and faster way to expand refinery capacity than going through the multiyeaer process of trying to win a permit to build new plants, he said.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Democrats say that they are committed to morality and religious diversity. It's a lie.

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