The Snarky Files - Euripides' Views on the Week (September 4)

The folks at IBM have accomplished the amazing. Using an Atomic Force Microscope, a research team at IBM has succeeded in imaging a single molecule.

From Euripides

The Snarky Files. Snarky means several things. I prefer the definition of "sharply critical." Here's my take on some news stories this past week. No real news here, just snark.

The Coolest Thing
This falls into my "Wow!" category. A research team at IBM succeeded in using an Atomic Force Microscope to image a single molecule. (Daily Mail) The above photo shows a single molecule of pentacene, which is commonly used in solar cells.

What strikes me is how closely the molecule looks like the models we made in school using styrofoam balls and wooden dowels. You can clearly see the five carbon rings and the force lines tracing out to each hydrogen atom.

Imaging a single molecule is just too cool for words.

Heated Language
The same sex marriage debate certainly produces a lot of angry and negative language from its supporters. Look at this news headline, from the ongoing debate in Iowa:
Group that opposes gay marriage now targeting Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa — A group that helped to outlaw gay marriage in California is turning its focus to Iowa.... (AP)
Take a look at the language that the press uses here. The use of pejorative terms is not new, nor unique to the press. Everyone, however, should be aware of how media writers manipulate words. In the quoted story, note the phrases "opposes gay marriage" and "helped to outlaw gay marriage in California." These hold a negative connotation, invoked in order to lead readers of the article to conclude that the pro-marriage group is bigoted, villainous, or even doing something illegal.
Also note the media's almost universal expression of "gay marriage" as opposed to same sex marriage. This particular phrase connects the same sex marriage advocates with gay activists who are attempting to hijack the civil rights movement to create protected class status for homosexuals. What this connection between gays and marriage does is subtly to draw a line from homosexual practice to creating same sex marriage as a civil right. Without having established the civil right of homosexuality, gay activists now try to create a new civil right out of thin air.

Here's another example of disingenuous speech from the media:

An out-of-state anti-gay marriage group will likely need to form its own Political Action Committee and disclose its donors if it continues its Iowa activities, a state official warned today. (Des Moines Register)

Again we see the same kind of pejorative language identifying a pro-marriage group: "out-of-state" and "anti-gay marriage." Also implied is the threat of "outing" the donors to this group. Many pro-marriage donors who contributed to California's Proposition 8 campaign were publicly outed and then attacked by angry gay activists after the election last year. Now in Iowa, an unnamed state official attempts to derail Iowa's pro-marriage campaign by alluding to the intimidation tactics used in California.
As informed citizens, Americans need to recognize and contest this negative press and heavy-handed government intimidation. Despite all the bad press, pro-marriage supporters now stand strongly against the continued attacks on the fundamental institution of marriage.

Scary Politics
I spent quite a number of years outside the United States, in many countries and under many different governments. One time, when I lived in Egypt, members of the army turned out a small group of us at gunpoint while we gathered together at a friend's house. We had drawn attention from the local neighbors, as a group of foreigners. (There is no right to assemble in Egypt.) On another occasion, this time in Bolivia, members of the Bolivian military took an acquaintance of mine away one night and he was never seen again. (There is no right to habeus corpus in Bolivia and in true authoritarian fashion, his body was never found.)

Of course, these experiences give me an appreciation for the civil protections we enjoy in the United States. Yet every day, I see more stories that point to more government control and fewer liberties. These types of stories don't give me much confidence in the current administration or its ability to handle problems without resorting to draconian threats to personal liberty. Here are two examples:
Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.... CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page [revised] draft of S.773, which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency. (CNET)
In effect, this bill would allow the president of the United States to suspend the fourth amendment to the US Constitution and control the private sector in case of an emergency. No one is certain what constitutes an emergency in this case, but the powers seem quite broad in scope under the guise of public safety.
Speaking of public safety, how about this example?
A "pandemic response bill" currently making its way through the Massachusetts state legislature would allow authorities to forcefully quarantine citizens in the event of a health emergency, compel health providers to vaccinate citizens, authorize forceful entry into private dwellings and destruction of citizen property and impose fines on citizens for noncompliance. (WND)
While I'm all for the idea of containing the flu formerly known as swine, we must still ask ourselves the question: At what point do we give up our freedom, guaranteed by the US Constitution, in order to obtain a little security?
Remember my examples of experiences outside the US? There is only a sliver of difference between what happened there and what could happen here. As long as government keeps chipping away at the foundations of our Constitution, we won't be free or safe.

The Edward M. Kennedy Memorial Healthcare Bill
Democrats sank to new lows this past week to try and get their floundering nationalized healthcare bill passed. The first example made national news because of its sheer silliness:
"You've heard of 'win one for the Gipper'? There is going to be an atmosphere of 'win one for Teddy,'" Ralph G. Neas, the CEO of the liberal National Coalition on Health Care, told ABC News. (ABC)
I suppose attributing and naming the bill after the now dead liberal darling of the Democratic party makes a lot of sense. In the advertising industry, we call it repackaging. Some have used the term KennedyCare. I prefer the term TeddyCare. The latter sounds so much more cuddly and cute, don't you think?
The other example shows the depths to which Nancy Pelosi will sink in order to pass the healthcare bill that the majority of Americans don't really want:
"Republican opponents of reform are coming out with one outrageous smear after the next, all aimed at derailing our progress. We must be able to counter their special interest-funded attacks and set the record straight," Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democratic supporters. "That's why I have set a goal of raising $100,000 in grassroots donations before the August FEC deadline," says Pelosi. (Politico)
Apparently, having a Democrat for a president and a Democrat majority in the House and in the Senate aren't enough to push the horrendous healthcare bill through. Pelosi has to turn to smear tactics and fund raising? I envision thousands of ACORN "volunteers" out on the streets selling lemonade and cupcakes to raise the money for the poor Democrats to be able to finally inflict nationalized healthcare on the US.
Here's the real question. If Obama and Pelosi have the power to push the healthcare bill through, just what are they afraid of? Why don't they just do it? Could it be that they "misunderestimated" the American people?

Smearing America
If there's one thing we've learned from the debate over the healthcare bill, it's that the Democrats will say anything to try to suppress those who voice concerns over the bill. If we can count on one thing from the Left, we can count on having screeching reactions against debate and public opinion far out of proportion to the discussion. A case in point is this summer's mantra that Americans who oppose healthcare are: 1) either fear mongers or afraid; 2) driven like sheep by powerful Republican interests; 3) funded and supported by some vast special interest groups; and 4) driven to a frenzy by Fox News.

Despite the absurdity of these ideas, those foisting nationalized healthcare on Americans continue to spew these points again and again. Here's Bill Clinton's view:
Clinton said the anger that arose this summer against health care was fueled by fear generated by opponents of reform, which he said is hard to win because health care is complicated, personal and the interests that benefit financially from the current system don’t want to give it up. (Commercial Appeal)
Amazingly, he garnered three of the liberal lies about Americans into one statement.
Here's another example of the Left's language. This appeared on the website for a short while, removed when the obvious and spiteful fallacies were discovered:
President Obama’s campaign organization “Organizing for America” sent out a notice to its “grassroots” supporters. It asked them to wage a coordinated phone campaign for health care by calling their U.S. Senators on September 11 – also known as Patriot Day in honor of the thousands of Americans killed by Al Qaeda terrorists eight years ago. It goes on: “All 50 States are coordinating in this – as we fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders.” (The Heritage Foundation)
That's always good political policy - attack those who don't agree with the current healthcare bill by calling them "domestic terrorists." Way to go Obama! That's one better than naming Americans the angry mob!
Of course, average Americans are angry because of these relentless attacks by the administration and the media and have succeeded, at least in part, to force the Obama administration to change its strategy on the healthcare bill.

Obama will address a joint session of Congress on health care reform in prime time on Wednesday, Sept. 9...and the president plans to give lawmakers a more specific prescription for health care legislation than he has in the past, aides said. (Politico)

Don't be misled by the strategic change. Obama will not give up on healthcare created after his own statist image. The battle against government control is far from over.

The Cash for Clunkers program has created one giant mess for the federal government, for car dealers, and for the consumers. Adding insult to injury, consumers were surprised to find that, along with the massive paperwork to receive money, "the government's rebate of up to $4500 dollars for every clunker is taxable." (Keloland News)

Let's see if I got this right. The federal government gave away borrowed tax money to stimulate the economy, then taxed the money it gave away for "free?" This brings up the logical question, will the federal government then tax the tax money that we've paid in taxes?

It's no wonder we cannot trust the government.

They'll Do It My Way
President Obama plans to interrupt schools all across the US by transmitting a 15 to 20 minute speech on September 8. This has, of course, caused quite a stir among the conservatives in the US. It is indeed a shame when we cannot trust the President of the United States with an unsupervised speech to our children. I'm afraid, however, that the opportunity for propaganda will prove too much a temptation for Obama.

My children will indeed be present in school to listen to the president. This is too good of an opportunity to pass up for me to educate them about the dangers of public power, socialism, and government propaganda. All of us have a fine opportunity to shape the future generation and teach our children the importance of taking back government power for ourselves. Maybe some good will come of the president's speech after all.

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