Politics: 18 August 2010

I just finished reading The Man Who Would Not Shut Up, a biography of Bill O’Reilly. It is a very sympathetic depiction of him. It turns out that he is carbon-based. Of course, all the way through it, I kept wondering, “Why am I reading this?” And I’m half-way through a biography of Glenn Beck—I can’t wait to see if he turns out to be carbon-based too.

  1. I’m right about hamburger! American Meat Institute President J. Patrick Boyle was on the “Colbert Report,” last night and he said that hamburger should not be eaten rare. The USDA recommends cooking all hamburger up to at least 160°F (that’s 344 K, if you’re cooking in the lab). It all comes down to surface—just searing the surface of a steak will kill the bacteria, but hamburg is almost all surface. (Did you hear the story about the genetics students who made e. coli that smelled like banana? It’s true. Clever kids.)
  2. As relief aid begins to trickle into Pakistan, there is much speculation about why the world is being so ungenerous about this catastrophe. Twenty million people have been displaced, hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed, and almost two million acres of farmland flooded or washed away. In addition, 1500 people have died. I had to ask myself why I gave money to Haiti but not to Pakistan. There is no good reason, so I gave my usual pittance. Now you have two reasons to give: decency and guilt. (I’m providing the guilt, in case you didn’t notice.)
  3. You know things have gotten bad when Pat Buchanan is the voice of reason. On Monday Newt Gingrich attacked the Islamic community center, saying, “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington.” Bachanan later said that he, “went too far with that comment.” But Buchanan is not the only person making sense in this ridiculous debate. On Monday’s Rachel Maddow Show, guest host Chris Hayes (“Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?” Wrong Hayes.) made the argument that in four years, we will all look back on this with the same embarrassment that “freedom fries” now engenders.
  4. I’m sure you’ve heard that Faux News’ parent company gave a one million dollar donation to the Republican Governors Association. In response, Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Nathan Daschle has written a letter to Roger Ailes asking that Fox News (a) put a disclaimer on all coverage of governors and gubernatorial races, and (b) cover this story itself—which Faux has been strangely silent on.
  5. Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s “nigger, nigger, nigger” rant has resulted in her not renewing here contract which is up at the end of the year. On Larry King Live she said that, “my First Amendment rights have been usurped by angry, hateful groups.” I don’t think that’s right. No one is saying she doesn’t have a right to her rant; we’re just saying she’s an asshole.
  6. The last American combat brigade in Iraq has left the country today, but here’s the strange thing: the Pentagon has not confirmed that the move marks an early end to combat operations. And, of course, there are still roughly 50,000 non-combat troops remaining. More when I know what the hell is going on.
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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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