The Great UN Conspiracy to (gasp) increase green space!

You heard me. There is a shocking conspiracy, directly from the nefarious leaders of the one world government at the UN and their pawn, Barack Obama to add more public transportation and green space to your neighborhood.

Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.

In Maine, the Tea Party-backed Republican governor canceled a project to ease congestion along the Route 1 corridor after protesters complained it was part of the United Nations plot. Similar opposition helped doom a high-speed train line in Florida. And more than a dozen cities, towns and counties, under new pressure, have cut off financing for a program that offers expertise on how to measure and cut carbon emissions.

Fox News has also helped spread the message. In June, after President Obama signed an executive order creating a White House Rural Council to “enhance federal engagement with rural communities,” Fox programs linked the order to Agenda 21. A Fox commentator, Eric Bolling, said the council sounded “eerily similar to a U.N. plan called Agenda 21, where a centralized planning agency would be responsible for oversight into all areas of our lives. A one world order.”

At a Board of Supervisors meeting in Roanoke in late January, Cher McCoy, a Tea Party member from nearby Lexington, Va., generated sustained applause when she warned: “They get you hooked, and then Agenda 21 takes over. Your rights are stripped one by one.”
Echoing other protesters, Ms. McCoy identified smart meters, devices being installed by utility companies to collect information on energy use, as part of the conspiracy. “The real job of smart meters is to spy on you and control you — when you can and cannot use electrical appliances,” she said.

It’s true, the blueprints were kept secret until now, but smart monitoring of energy use is designed to turn you into a godless slave of the great beast that is the UN. Using a combination of electromagnetic waves and psychotropic medications released from the devices, it’s victims will be turned into mindless, left-wing voting slaves of the beast.
I think the tea party has started electing paranoid schizophrenics to their leadership. You couldn’t make this stuff up. This stuff is so great I have to resurrect (drumroll) the Tin Foil Hat!
It would actually make a good counter protest to send this woman tin foil hats. Although she may fail to get the point and incorporate it into yet another paranoid delusion of persecution at the hands of those who promote public transportation, parks, and efficient use of energy. You might get emails in return IN ALL CAPS. The horror. The horror.

Eisen calls for Elsevier Boycott – but can we all go OA?

Eisen writes

Thus, people joining in the new boycott have no excuses not to follow through. There are plenty of viable OA options and it is simply unacceptable for any scientist who decries Elsevier’s actions and believes that the subscription based model is no longer serving science to send a single additional paper to journals that do not provide full OA to every paper they publish. So, come on people! If we do this now, paywalls will crumble, and we all be better off. So, come on! Let’s do it!

This sounds great. If you remember we were similarly disgusted since Eisen brought the Research Works Act to our attention several weeks ago.
I still have two issues though with all OA publishing. For one, in my field I tend to publish in AHA journals which are not open access but the predominant journals. There is still a relative shortage of OA journals. There are not enough compared to the thousands of subscription options to take on the literature. I think their success has if anything made them more inaccessible with higher impacts. After all, everyone likes the idea of everyone being able to see and read their paper. Either by the fame of the journal or by the advantage of rapid publication and universal access. I once tried to publish a paper in PLoS One but frankly, I don’t think it was really high enough impact, and while not triaged, we were tanked by a reviewer who basically insisted on about 3 more PhD projects worth of work in order to get it in. Finally, what about us poor peons still working for the man? What if the boss says, “I want this journal”? Because after all, it’s pretty difficult to convince the olds to change their ways.
In the end to survive you must publish. I’d say the goal should be that we should all give a right of first refusal to your OA option. If that fails, suck it up and send it to the private publishers. And if anyone has some good vascular/heart/circulation OA alternatives to recommend I’m all ears.

End the occupation

No one likes occupiers. They’re like fish and houseguests, they start to stink after a short period of time. And I worry that as time goes on the movement will only have a more and more destructive impact on progressive politics and political discourse. This isn’t to say they can’t be effective, or haven’t been effective at at least one goal, that is bringing the topic of economic inequality back into the spotlight. However, as time goes on their leaderless, agenda-less actions are becoming more random, and less likely to result in a good outcome in the coming political fight. In fact, several of the occupy actions are now likely to harm a progressive agenda, and seriously alienate would-be allies. For example this video from San Francisco CBS:

Really? Breaking into public buildings and burning the flag? What do actions like this accomplish? That’s like the A-bomb of protest moves, and you’re doing it why? Because you don’t have a job? Because you want rich people taxed more? The reaction seems disproportionate. If you’re going to be burning the flag it better be because the U.S. is tattooing swastikas on puppies and dropping them with C-4 harnesses onto hospitals. Not because your poetry MFA didn’t prepare you for the job market.
Other snippets from around the country include throwing condoms at Catholic School girls, breaking windows and spray painting anarchy symbols on cars, and generally being jackasses. Now, the condom thing is kind of funny to those that think the Catholics stand on contraception is absurd, every sperm is sacred and all that, but doesn’t that exemplify why it’s an error of tactics? You don’t want to alienate an entire religious organization which actually might side with you in terms of working for economic equality. Who runs more homeless shelters, the Catholics or Occupy? These are potential allies, and the lack of focus of Occupy will result in more harm to it and those that may be in place to enact their goals.
A survey by Survey USA now shows a majority of bay area residents opposing OWS with 26% saying they did support them before, but now oppose. This movement is becoming toxic. Where did it go wrong? And is there a better way to protest?

Continue reading “End the occupation”