Thursday, February 25, 2010

That Day Has Arrived...

So, I went over to MSNBC to see if I could catch up on the HCR summit being televised today, but I was diverted by the group of stories I saw over next to the picture of Obama...

"Woman's Mauling By Chimp Haunts Police Officer" Hell, it haunted me for a bit...
"Video: Orca shook trainer violently witnesses say" $50 someone uses the words "rag doll."
"Orcas have history of killing humans" I know. I saw the movie. He sure killed the hell out of Richard Harris...
"Shark-filled aquarium springs leak" All part of the plan...

The best part of the whole thing is at the end of the video in the third link, the reporter informs Matt Lauer that video footage from Sea World cameras or a tourist "could be critical for investigators to determine what went wrong here and insure it never happens again."

Let me guess what that video will show: Tilikum, the killer whale, grabbing his trainer dragging her underwater and swimming around with her until she drowned. The only determination of "why it happened" will come from a Spock mind-meld with the whale. And as far as making sure "it never happens again?" Exactly how? Aside from not creating entertainment based on intimate interaction with 15,000 pound apex predators in an environment that starts out potentially fatal to humans, what exactly will this investigation propose?

Maybe the investigators can get together and enjoy a showing of "Grizzly Man" while they await footage from Sea World.

Mrs F thought I was perhaps a bit too cynical with this post...Yeah. I guess so. I do feel that it sucks that the trainer was killed. In all likelihood she was a marine biologist-type who had dedicated her life to the study of the animal that took her life. That's awful.

My issue is with the situation that created the event and the absolutely preposterous coverage of this event as if it was some cross between a premeditated homicide and a preventable job hazard.

That whale was doing what it was evolved and born to do—grab prey and drag it to it's death.

There is no question that marine mammals are anthropomorphised more than any other wild animal due to their intelligence. Would anyone do this show with a great white shark? Or a crocodile? Or even a lion with a history of killing trainers? Of course not. "But these animals are so intelligent!" Yes. But the fact remains that they are wild animals—and in this case, not just a carnivore, but one at the absolute top of the food chain. In fact, is there a predator on earth with a higher spot than an orca?

This is a whale that already killed a trainer, and was sold by it's original owner (captor) in British Columbia to Sea World with the understanding that it would NOT be a performing animal. That's a fucking problem. I'm sure these new trainers honestly believed they could train and control him, so eventually he found his way into the arena.

This event isn't a tragedy. It's a matter of time. It's a matter of luck running out.

These are wild animals used to patrolling a range that probably covers hundreds of square mile stuck in a pool. It's an intensely social animal that lives it's whole life in a pod. Instead he is forced to interact with another species that has him do unnatural things. He wasn't a rescued animal or bred, he was captured in the ocean and placed in captivity. Tilikum survived in captivity for at least eight years (that's time between the killings), and that's DOUBLE the average captive lifespan of four years. In the wild, they live over 35 years.

He was in that show because humans, in their infinite arrogance, thought they could master him. And in a display of man's infinite greed, Sea World knew they could make a bundle off him.

So, yeah, it really sucks about that trainer. But if he's as intelligent as given credit for, it sucks more for the whale.

Cage Match

This is pretty good...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


John Cole breaks down the Tea Party Movement pretty perfectly:
Personally, I see a number of elements to the tea party:

1.) Republican operatives bankrolled by the usual suspects, with the sole intent of using the tea party to advance the GOP and corporate agendas and to regain political power (FreedomWorks, DeMint, Palin, etc.)

2.) Cynical operators like media operations, talk show hosts and glibertarians and snake oil salesman who see a way to raise their profile and raise a buck (Fox news, PJTV, Breitbart, Glenn Beck, Reason, all the little for profit hucksters starting their own tea party funds). To a lesser extent, I would throw in the hundreds of cynical “new media consultants” the GOP seems to burp up on a daily basis.

3.) Straight up Birchers, birthers, flat-earthers, racists, militiamen, Patriot movement members, and that motley crew of scumbags and lunatics.

4.) A very small group of folks who honestly are very upset about government spending, but manage to never care when the GOP is the one doing it. They probably make up the smallest chunk, but you can pick them out quite easily- they are the somewhat sane looking people that the folks from the three previous groups try to hide behind every time the cameras are on.

At any rate, the fact that the Tea Parties have gotten this far with their incoherent and often times hypocritical message (to say nothing of the lunatics and racists and militia types) is a sign to me there is no amount of bullshit our media won’t swallow. The fact that it is allegedly a “populist” movement that was inspired by a tantrum from millionaire tv financial personality and a Brooks Brothers mafia on the Chicago trading floor, upset over meager plans to help troubled mortgage holders in the wake of a near trillion dollar bailout of the the wealthy elite who pay Rick Santelli’s salary, just ups the humor value in this theatre of the absurd. Nothing cracks me up like an angry peasant mob screaming for the repeal of the estate tax and ending the capital gains tax.

A sad state of affairs.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Drink Up: Harry Reid

Of all the times for Harry Reid to try and sack up it's for stupid shit like this?
At a town hall in New Hampshire this afternoon, President Obama tried to give a little friendly recession spending advice, telling people they shouldn't "blow a bunch of cash in Vegas" when comparing the federal budget to a family budget.

"This isn't how responsible families do their budgets. When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. And it's time your government did the same," he said.

He may not have expected just how quickly Nevada politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, would react.

Reid (D-NV) shot off a statement telling Obama to "lay off" Las Vegas.

"I just spoke to the White House and told them that while the President is correct that people saving for college need to be fiscally responsible, the President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money," Reid said.

Good. Fucking. Grief.

If you're going to get your ass handed to you in November anyway, can we move onto the next Majority Leader already?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Burned Out

I am coming off a deadline at work and heading right back into two more, so action will be sporadic at best 'round here.

But, I have to be honest...I'm pretty fucking despondent about politics right now, and have zero interest in documenting the daily dismantling of what's left of our democracy.

For the record, today it was Chris Dodd's strangling financial reform in the crib.

[h/t John Cole]