Archive for June, 2010
How is it that so many Republican men find Sarah Palin credible when she claims that we can drill our way out of the energy crisis? There simply isn’t that much oil in Alaska—anyone with a small bit of curiosity can do the math and find out that Alaska has only six months of oil to offer the rest of America. It gets much worse, of course. Republican men tend to love fact-less, self-contradictory female Republican politicians and commentators (including more than a few at FOX), especially those that push their sexuality hard based on the manner in which they dress and act. And consider the recent reactions of conservative pundits regarding the issue of whether Sarah Palin had breast implants.
This anomaly leads to my question: Do Republican men really and truly think that the current crop of female Republican politicians/commentators are offering ideas that work, or are they confusing sexual arousal for patriotic fervor or intellectual inspiration?
Consider that “misattribution of arousal” is well-established through numerous experiments. In 1962, psychologists Schacter and Singer told participants that the psychologists were studying the effect of vitamin injection on visual skills. This was prior to modern day ethics restrictions, and many of the students were secretly given injections of adrenaline or a placebo (to control for the effect of sticking a needle in one’s arm). Strong emotional reactions to subsequent stimuli (a “nosy” and “offensive” questionnaire) were strongest in participants who had been given the adrenaline but told that it was only vitamins and that it would have no effect on them. They misattributed their chemically-enhanced emotions to the questionnaire, whereas those who told that they were receiving the injection of a stimulant (and those receiving the placebo) did not misattribute their emotions. Here is a succinct description of the phenomenon of misattribution of arousal. (and see here).
What follows is an excerpt from Social Psychology and Human Nature, by Roy F. Baumeister and Brad Bushman (2007) (p. 187):
The intriguing thing about the Schachter-Singer theory is that it allows for arousals to be mislabeled or relabeled. That is, an arousal may arise for one reason but get another label, thereby producing a different reaction. For example, someone may not realize that what he or she is drinking has
caffeine (e.g., if you think that you have decaffeinated tea when in reality it has caffeine . . .) it may create an arousal state. If something frustrating happens, someone who has this extra, unexplained arousal may get much angrier than he or she would otherwise. This process is called excitation transfer . . . The arousal from the first event (drinking caffeinated tea) transfers to the second event (frustration).
Consider that large numbers of conservative/fundamentalist men are not comfortable acknowledging the sexual arousal they feel when they see images of Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter or Michelle Bachman. Therefore (as my hunch goes), when they experience intense sexual arousal that they are not comfortable acknowledging (when they “dissociate” these toxic thoughts of “inappropriate” sexual attractiveness), they are left without any obvious explanation for their increased arousal. They are thus ripe for misattribution. They are easily self-fooled that they are feeling passionate about their country or fearful about Middle Eastern “terrorists.” Whatever it is that these vapid/deceitful Republican babes are uttering, it must be true too. “Why else would my blood flow thusly whenever I hear Sarah Palin give a talk?”
We couldn’t have done a better job had we TRIED to cause the majestic bluefin tuna to become extinct. These are huge (up to ten-foot in length) warm-blooded fish that can travel 40 mph in a blink of an eye. The is an excellent yet depressing article by the NYT. Worldwide political apathy and unrestrained appetites are sealing the deal.
BP has been given substantial access to BP operations and meetings to a Louisiana shrimper’s wife named Kindra Arnesen. What she is now saying won’t make BP happy. BP is putting on lots of dog and pony shows in the Gulf, and Arnesen is voicing safety concerns too.
I collect quotes and share them at this site. If you’d like to see quote a few more, search under the category called “Quotes” (this function is located in the left column).
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
– Winston Churchill
We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us.
– George Eliot (1819 – 1880)
It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.
– Alfred Adler
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
– Robert A. Humphrey
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
– Albert Camus
It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
– Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Crack-Up” (1936)
The electric meat — that’s us! I don’t mind that at all. If anything, it’s even more awe-inspiring to think that out of physics and chemistry we’re able to get consciousness and thought, and you and I can sit here and have a conversation about electric meat and chemistry. That itself is miraculous. Michael Shermer (2006)
Regarding the recently announced “financial reform,” Dylan Ratigan asks us to consider what has not been fixed.
- The Cops (regulators and ratings agencies) working for the crooks.
– Banks still Too Big To Fail.
– Banks gambling with your deposits.
– Banks allowed to “mark to myth” and use off-balance sheet accounting to bonus themselves into the atmosphere, with the taxpayer taking the fall.
– Banks getting trillions from the Fed, Fannie and Freddie — AKA you, the future and present taxpayer.
What does it mean for us?
It means that the same people who brought you these horrible changes — rising wealth discrepancy, massive unemployment and a crumbling infrastructure — have now further institutionalized the policies that will keep the causes of these problems firmly in place.
This is Orwellian, indeed, yet the Democrats are celebrating. What’s going on? Kevin Baker takes a crack at it in a Harper‘s article titled “The Vanishing Liberal: How the Left Learned to be Helpless.”
Coming to power when he did, with the political skills and the majorities he possesses, Barack Obama squandered an almost unprecedented opportunity But it is increasingly clear that he never intended to challenge the power structure he had so skillfully penetrated. With the recent Supreme Court ruling that corporations are, once more, people, American democracy has snapped shut again–the great, forced opening of the past 130 years has ended. There is no longer any meaningful reformist impulse left in or politics. The idea of modern American liberalism has vanished among our elite, and simply voting for one man or supporting one of the two major parties will not restore it. The work will have to be done from the ground up, and it will have to be done by us.
The war, supported by a steadily declining minority of Americans, has no chance of regaining public favor unless President Obama can explain why American blood and treasure should be at the mercy of this napping Afghan president. Karzai stole an election, can’t provide a government in or out of a box, and has in recent months threatened to defect to the Taliban and accused American forces of staging rocket attacks on his national peace conference. Until last week, Obama’s only real ally in making his case was public apathy. Next to unemployment and the oil spill, Karzai and Afghanistan were but ticks on our body politic, even as the casualty toll passed 1,000. As a senior McChrystal adviser presciently told Hastings, “If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular.”
Why are we in Afghanistan? I haven’t yet heard anything other than vague metaphors. According to the White House,
So make no mistake: We have a clear goal. We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum. We are going to build Afghan capacity. We are going to relentlessly apply pressure on al Qaeda and its leadership, strengthening the ability of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to do the same.
Apply pressure on al Qaeda? Give me a break. According to the CIA, there are fewer than 50 al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
As far as “breaking the momentum” of the Taliban, consider this retort by Jon Stewart, beginning at minute 4:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
Top officials in President Hamid Karzai’s government have repeatedly derailed corruption investigations of politically connected Afghans, according to U.S. officials who have provided Afghanistan’s authorities with wiretapping technology and other assistance in efforts to crack down on endemic graft.
The biggest dangers in the ocean are created by people. In fact, the world’s biggest landfill is in the Pacific Ocean.
It is now documented that are huge garbage patches in each of the oceans.