Dunkin’ Donuts Independents

Obviously, I haven't been too into blogging lately, but this is worth a brief interlude. Nobody does political satire like the Onion.
Latest Poll Reveals 430 New Demographics That Will Decide Election

Websites and Gender

I came across this cool site last week, but as I was at the beach (oh so nice), I'm sharing it now.  Anyway, it is a site that examines your web browsing history to predict your gender. In keeping with other sites that aren't so sure about me (http://community.sparknotes.com/gender/) this says I am just as likely to be male as female.  What's particularly interesting is that it gives the gender ratios of the sites you visit.  Here's my results:

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 50%

Likelihood of you being MALE is 50%

Site Male-Female Ratio
google.com 0.98
youtube.com 1
cnn.com 1.35
nytimes.com 1.13
wunderground.com 1.22
washingtonpost.com 1.15
orbitz.com 0.83
snopes.com 0.74
snapfish.com 0.57
walgreens.com 0.64
linkedin.com 0.94
blockbuster.com 0.83
buy.com 1.44
slate.com 1.11
aa.com 0.83
cvs.com 0.64
zillow.com 1.13
salon.com 1.13
ncsu.edu 0.87
autopartswarehouse.com 1.74
pandora.com 0.9
papajohns.com 0.79
indiana.edu 0.83
logitech.com 1.41
advanceautoparts.com 1.94

Basically, looks like sites where you can buy things tend to skew heavily female– thus my on-line shopping pushes my results in that direction.  On the other hand, news sites definitely skew male.  Good thing I was looking up some auto parts recently, heavily male, or else I would have come out at greater than 50% likelihood female. 

Save the animals

I just came across this really nice Nick Kristof column from last week about California's Proposition 2 on the ballot to require not horribly inhumane conditions for factory farm animals.  I am certainly willing to pay more for my meat to have been treated right when it was an animal (which is why I'm increasingly trying to buy it from Whole Foods), but I would also like to know when I stop at Wendy's for a burger that the cow had a semi-decent life before it made it to my tray.  I don't know that this law would get to semi-decent, but it is a start. 

Breastfeeding kills

Apparently the Bush administration’s Department of Health and Human Services is drafting a regulation that would allow its employees to refuse to provide birth control based on a really broad definition of abortion.  Slate’s Will Saletan crafts a great tongue in cheek letter in response.  First, the actual details,

the language of the draft, which would define abortion as “any of the various procedures including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.” This definition protects the right of employees to withhold oral contraception, which could prevent implantation of an already-conceived embryo.

And the biting satire:

My concern, Mr. Secretary, is that the proposal does not go far enough.

As you know, the risk that oral contraception will prevent implantation of an embryo is purely theoretical. There is no documented case of such a tragedy, since we have no way to verify conception inside a woman’s body, prior to implantation, without causing the embryo’s death. Even theoretically, the risk is vanishingly small, since the primary effect of oral contraception is to prevent ovulation, and the secondary effect is to prevent fertilization. To classify oral contraception as abortifacient, one would have to posit a scenario in which the drug fails to block ovulation, then fails to block implantation, and yet somehow, having proved impotent at every other task, manages to prevent implantation.

It is a tribute to the president’s courage that despite this profound implausibility and total absence of documentation, he is protecting the right of employees to refuse to facilitate any such risk, no matter how small.

The kicker, is that, according to this new definition, breast feeding is an abortifacient:

Thousands of people working at hospitals, lactation centers, maternity-product retailers, drug stores, and supermarkets are presently required by their employers to participate in breastfeeding, either by teaching it or by providing products that facilitate it. Those who refuse can be terminated at will. They endure this discrimination despite clear scientific evidence that breastfeeding poses the same abortifacient risk as oral contraception.

Breastfeeding, like oral contraception, alters a woman’s hormonal balance, thereby suppressing ovulation, fertilization, and, theoretically, implantation. These results were documented in a 1992 research paper,
“Relative Contributions of Anovulation and Luteal Phase Defect to the Reduced Pregnancy Rate of Breastfeeding Women.” The authors concluded: “The abnormal endocrine profile of the first luteal phase offers effective protection to women who ovulate during lactational amenorrhea within the first 6 months after delivery.” In other words, breastfeeding prevents pregnancy despite ovulation.

Gotta love this White House.  Science be damned, even if it means deeming breastfeeding an abortifacient.  Serious details of the absurd policy here.

Republicans can be so stupid

As most people probably know, an need to be reminded, keeping your tires properly inflated is a great way to increase your fuel efficiency (I've lost my tire gauge– I'll buy another this week).  Obama, recently, quite correctly pointed out that keeping our tires inflated will be much more help than any gains from long-distant off-shore drilling.  Yet, somehow this is seen as some big gaffe by Republicans?!  Get real.  Steve Benen has details:

I?ve been trying to figure out the same thing for days. As the Obama
campaign kicks off ?energy week? with a new contrast ad and a policy
speech in Michigan, Time?s Mark Halperin reports,
?McCain supporters in Michigan will distribute tire gauges at Obama?s
energy speech in Lansing. The RNC will also deliver gauges reading
?Obama?s energy plan? to Washington newsrooms.?

As of this morning, it looks like far-right blogs have received their copies of the Republican script, too. RedState.org?s Erick Erickson
is on message: ?Inflating your tires and getting a regular tune-up
sounds more like Obama?s plan for ego maintenance than it does for
helping American families.? Ed Morrissey
added, ??Obama refers to ?big oil? and the need to reduce our use of
oil by 35% over the next twenty years. How do we get there? Keep
inflating those tires, folks.?

We are, quite obviously, in the midst of a very aggressive roll-out here. John McCain criticized the notion of well-inflated tires on Friday, and Newt Gingrich described Obama?s remarks as ?loony toons? during a Fox News interview. Yesterday morning on ABC, McCain said, ?It seems to me the only thing [Obama] wants us to do is inflate tires? to improve gas mileage.

And over the weekend, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, still auditioning for the role of VP, took to using a tire gauge as a prop

There?s something deeply wrong with these people.

Let?s review. The other day, Barack Obama mentioned to voters in
Missouri that there are things individuals can do to help conserve
energy, including bringing their cars in for regular tune ups, and
keeping their tires properly inflated. It seemed like a rather
unremarkable thing to say.

But at this point, Republicans can?t seem to stop commenting on just how remarkable they think this is.

To reiterate a point
from yesterday, someone sent me a transcript yesterday of Obama?s
specific remarks in Missouri, and he apparently said the amount of
energy to be saved by routine auto maintenance is comparable to the
savings we?d get from the GOP?s coastal drilling policy. I have no idea
if that?s true ? it may very well not be ? and I?ll be happy to let
energy policy experts weigh in on whether Obama exaggerated the
significance of scheduled car care. If he did, Obama should obviously
drop this line from his speeches.

But oddly enough, that?s not what McCain and his surrogates are
complaining about. They?re insisting, over and over again, that tire
pressure is the entire Obama energy policy. Who, exactly, is supposed
to believe such transparent nonsense? 

Consider a counter-example. McCain was talking about skin cancer the other day.

McCain emphasized that skin cancer is preventable, and implored
Americans to wear sunscreen, especially over the summer. What?s wrong
with this advice? Not a thing. It?s a smart, sensible thing to say.

But imagine if Obama and his surrogates said the entirety of
McCain?s healthcare policy is sunscreen application. McCain doesn?t
really care about cancer, they could argue, he just wants everyone to
run out at get some SPF 30. Those vying to be Obama?s running mate
started holding up bottles of Coppertone during their speeches, saying
things like, ?We want you to wear sunscreen, you know, it will very
mildly improve your chances of not getting sick. But wearing sunscreen
is not a healthcare policy for the United States of America.?

This, of course, would be insane. And yet, that?s pretty much what?s become of Republican campaign rhetoric of late.

It is also worth noting that, not surprisngly, the Department of Energy, and even NASCAR, advocates proper tire inflation.  I would challenge my Republican readers (all 3 of them), to come up with something remotely as ridiculous on the part of the Obama campaign.

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