Fighting Terrorist With Terrorism

The really sad part is that you probably have friends that think this was a good idea.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+ A seventh-grade Ohio boy is accused of threatening to shoot and kill a sixth-grade Muslim classmate, calling him a “terrorist” and “son of ISIS,”…
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Totally not corrupt Florida Governor moves to purge voter rolls of illegal aliens, veterans, and Democrats

Report: Florida purges war-hero voter – Tim Mak – POLITICO.com

A 91-year-old who received a Bronze Star for fighting in the Battle of the Bulge was reportedly told he may not be an American citizen, in an apparent mix-up due to Florida’s attempts to purge noncitizens from its voter rolls. Bill Internicola received a letter this month stating that he had to prove he was a citizen or lose his right to vote, reports the Miami Herald.

For those that don’t recall/blocked it out, Florida also purged many legal voters both before and after the 2000 election, leading to the first ‘CEO’ President (who left the position in disgrace and the country near collapse). In 2012 we’ve seen the largest number of voting restriction laws passed since Reconstruction, as the GOP realizes the only way they can win on a “We are the 1%” platform is by eliminating millions of voters right to say “No, I’d rather be governed by someone who puts people ahead of profit.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76906.html

CEOs tell Arizona; “Your constant derp is hurting business”

Dozens of major Arizona employers are urging state lawmakers to not pass additional legislation targeting illegal immigration, saying it would damage the economy and tourism industry.

document The CEOs’ letter to Russell Pearce

A letter signed by CEOs of major employers and several business and civic groups says Arizona should be pushing for federal action on immigration and border issues.

via CEOs urge Arizona to forgo immigration measures.

This is pretty much exactly what I predicted would happen. When you have a bunch of old white people (the Tea Party) pushing for harsher and harsher legislation against young brown people, folks who actually run the numbers realize something….old people don’t contribute much to the economy (although they do take quite a bit) …

Federal spending on the average person 65 or older will rise from nearly $17,700 in 2000 to more than $21,100 in 2010 (in constant dollars, which exclude the effects of inflation).

Federal spending per child will increase from about $2,100 in 2000 to about $2,500 in 2010 (or $2,500 and $3,000, respectively, if spending on parents that is solely attributable to having children is included).

[s0urce pdf]

The sad thing about this (for those who thought it was nice to see more pushback against the idiocy) is that the Chamber of Commerce is only asking Arizona to step back because the race-based wing of the Republican party is already stepping up to the plate and, literally, re-defining what makes a human an American.

We agree with you that our borders must be protected first, and now. We also believe that market-driven immigration policies can and should be developed by the federal government that will sustain America’s status as a magnet for the world’s most talented and hard-working people and preserve our ability to compete in the global economy.

If the Legislature believes it is worthwhile to debate the question of citizenship, we believe that debate is best held in the U.S. Congress. Already, Senators David Vitter of Louisiana and Rand Paul of Kentucky have introduced legislation aimed at amending the 14th Amendment to deny “birthright citizenship” to those born to individuals living in the U.S. illegally. Iowa Rep. Steve King has introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House.

[full letter from the CEOs]

Ultimately though, young brown people are cute, cuddly, the future, and people don’t like to see them tread upon (especially old rich brown people).  I see this ending pretty much one way, it’s just a matter of how much kicking and screaming goes along with it.

The Short History of False Rumors and Those Who Believe Them

This little lie has been fun to watch worm it’s way around the world.  I’ve seen this happen before, and since I’m sure it will happen again, I’d like to point out exactly how this stuff happens, and what exactly it results in (well, we saw that last Tuesday, but I digress a wee bit early).

First up, the seed, in this case coming from an anonymous Indian government beauracrat

An Indian government source told the NDTV channel: ‘The huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit.’

 That’s it.  That’s all it takes for one of these things to take off.   This is then reported as “news reports” in other stories…

President Obama’s trip to India will cost the U.S. $200m-a-day, it was reported today.

The visit – part of a 10-trip to Asia – will take place amid unprecedented levels of security in the city of Mumbai, where terrorists killed at least 173 people two years ago.

Then the story goes to Drudge, and the torrent is on.  Fox, of course, gets in on the action early.  They do this with the same “other people are saying” b.s. they use to introduce a lot of disinformation.

The details on the trip, extensively reported in the Indian media but strongly disputed by U.S. officials, read like lyrics for a hawkish version of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” 

The president will be accompanied by 40 aircraft, 3,000 people, a fleet of cars and 34 warships, according to a string of blow-by-blow news updates. The Press Trust of India quoted an official in the state of Maharashtra pegging the cost at $200 million a day. 

Read the full Fox story here.

The lie also gets play on their other TV networks.   At this point, it has now been reported as outrageous fact all over AM radio, News Corpse various networks, etc.  *AND* more importantly, the Secret Super-Patriot Warning System, also known as your crazy uncle/aunt/cousin forwarding emails fill with wild rumors and baseless rants by the thousands very night.  This is actually one of the biggest factors in spreading this kind of disinfo.

We know this story is making the email rounds because A) it is taylor-made for this kind of conspiracy nutjobbery and B) someone who gets a lot of her information from email forwards mentioned it publicly.

“Republican Paul Ryan has suggested sharp cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Are you willing to make cuts there?” Cooper asked. But [Michelle] Bachmann [R-MN] wasn’t initially interested in discussing Medicare and Social Security. Instead, she responded to Cooper by arguing about a much more pressing matter: the cost of President Obama’s upcoming trip to India.

“Well I think we know that just within a day or so the President of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day,” Bachmann said. “He’s taking two thousand people with him. He’ll be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are 5-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending, it’s a very small example, Anderson.”

But wait: $200 million a day? Snopes.com says that the $200 million figure, which has been picked up by right-wing blogs, is “probably false.” Snopes traced the rumor back to an anonymous Indian government official, quoted in a Press Trust of India article published on Tuesday. Factcheck.org calls the claim “highly doubtful,” and points out that the entire war in Afghanistan currently costs about $190 million a day (h/t AJC).

So now the lie has made it halfway around the world before the truth can put its boots on.

Not only that, and I’ll get another post of this, but when asked what the cut from the budget, it’s crap like this the Republicans brings up.  They want to cut myths from the budget.  That’s the plan to balance it, make up crap and then cut it.

At this point the lie has become the “truth” and anyone who questions it is on the conspiracy.  In this part of the play, we have dupes like CNN coming in and “de-bunking.”

(CNN) — It’s a story that originated from a single, unnamed sourced in India — but it quickly gained momentum, spreading like wildfire among critics of the Obama administration in the United States and eventually, the airwaves.

The claim: The United States will be “spending a whopping $200 million per day” on President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia.

That’s roughly the amount the federal government spends each day on the war in Afghanistan. The figure has been dismissed by the White House as “wildly inflated.”

What’s more, the claim doesn’t appear to hold water.

There’s a couple standard response to this de-bunking.  First up is “Oh, it’s CNN they’ll say anything.” or, in this particular case, “They didn’t debunk it because they didn’t give the real number (which is assumed to be astronomical)”.    In this case that is difficult because spending on security is not something that is normally publicly divulged (quick sidenote:  Obama’s is the first administration *ever* to voluntarily release comprehensive spending figures on intelligence, they were quickly attacked for it.)

So on the one hand you have a wildly inflated figure (probably a mis-translation of rupees to dollars, $200M rupees is about $4.5M dollars, which sounds close to what similar trips have cost) and on the other hand you have the (Big Bad Evil) Government saying they can’t tell you the real number.

So the rumor keeps alive and, in fact, grows.    Note all those right-wing blogs and the echo chamber.  Less than 1% will ever post a retraction or clarification.  Those blogs get archived.  And then, two years later, we’ll hear this spending come up as a whisper campaign issue, like Obama being a Muslim, and being a Socialist and Obamacare raising the deficit, all rumors, all false, and all believed by the same group of people.

Luckily, after a pattern shows up, and keeps showing up, it can be studied.  Here it turns out that the results are not surprising, but it is good to know, precisely, how much bullshit your average Fox Viewer believes…

Those who rely on Fox News are more inclined to believe rumours, a study looking at the behavioral patterns of viewers of reports pertaining to the Ground Zero mosque in has concluded.
According to the study, a typical viewer who reported a low reliance on Fox News believed 0.9 rumors on average, while a similar respondent with a high reliance on Fox believed 1.5 rumors – an increase of 66 percent. On the contrary, people who relied heavily on CNN or NPR believed fewer false rumors. High reliance on CNN reduced the number of rumors believed by 23 percent, while heavy use of NPR reduced belief by 25 percent.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/298969#ixzz14iFLSgHg

You can also see, from the study, *why* it is that Fox viewers are so prone to believing in, and voting according to, rumors and lie.   It is not only their faith in a bad actor (Fox) but their hatred of less biased news sources like CNN and NPR, both of which have showed consistently and over time, to do a better job informing their viewers/readers of the real world  (which is why they are evil to the Fox afficianado, they are just like the older neighborhood kid who told you Santa Claus wasn’t real.  Fox News would never do that.)

So you can add one more lie/rumor to the big list of them.   This is how it happens.  I’m sure you’ll see it on comment boards and chain mails, rants and raves, and other racist rationalizations.  It’ll keep coming up.  

It’s a lie, a big one, and as last Tuesday proved, the Big Lie works.  You just have to keep saying it, over and over again.

Taking on the Myths of the RWEC and the Derp of its Citizens

So we’re going to bust a few RWEC* myths real quick-like.

Consider, in particular, one fact that might surprise you: The total number of government workers in America has been falling, not rising, under Mr. Obama. A small increase in federal employment was swamped by sharp declines at the state and local level — most notably, by layoffs of schoolteachers. Total government payrolls have fallen by more than 350,000 since January 2009.
 
So, Myth #1 : Obama, the socialist/communist, has vastly expanded the size of BIG GOVERNMENT….gone.
 
Krugman also gets at Myth #2: The stimulus was a total waste of money, what we needed was tax cuts.

So as I said, the big government expansion everyone talks about never happened. This fact, however, raises two questions. First, we know that Congress enacted a stimulus bill in early 2009; why didn’t that translate into a big rise in government spending? Second, if the expansion never happened, why does everyone think it did?

Part of the answer to the first question is that the stimulus wasn’t actually all that big compared with the size of the economy. Furthermore, it wasn’t mainly focused on increasing government spending. Of the roughly $600 billion cost of the Recovery Act in 2009 and 2010, more than 40 percent came from tax cuts, while another large chunk consisted of aid to state and local governments. Only the remainder involved direct federal spending.

This is one of those weird facts that tends to get lost in the OMGSOCIALIZM!! rhetoric of the right.   After being pared down enough to get past the unprecedented number of filibusters in the Senate, the “Stimulus” became more of a “Stop-Gap”, and indeed, that’s what it did, stopped the hemmoraging job losses that Bush scurried away from and left as a testament to his governing prowess.
 
Myth #3: TARP was a huge waste of money that we’ll never recover from.
 
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – The total final cost to taxpayers of the much-maligned $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program will be around $50 billion, the Treasury Department estimated on Tuesday. The two-year TARP program, which officially expired on Sunday, initially used government money to make capital injections into large and small financial institutions to stabilize the financial system. Eventually it expanded into other programs including a spending endeavor seeking to help lenders and borrowers modify mortgages and avoid foreclosures. According to a recent Treasury transactions report, earlier this week, roughly $255 billion is still outstanding.
Turns out that investing in our own country was actually a pretty good idea.  $50,000,000,000 to keep our entire financial system from imploding and unemployment from jumping to 25%?**  That’s a deal pretty much anyone would take, and it’s less than a month’s worth of the Pentagon’s yearly budget.
 
Myth #4: Obama has left the border wide open and refuses to enforce U.S. immigration law.
 

WASHINGTON — The United States deported a record 392,000 illegal immigrants over the past year, nearly half of them people with criminal convictions, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.

The number deported during the 2010 fiscal year ending September 30 surpassed the record of 389,000 deportations set the previous year.

More than 195,000 of those deported were convicted criminals, according to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“This administration has focused on enforcing our immigration laws in a smart, effective manner that prioritizes public safety and national security and holds employers accountable who knowingly and repeatedly break the law,” Napolitano said.

Immigration agents have audited 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal immigrants, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and levied 50 million dollars in penalties — more than during the entire Bush administration, ICE said.

Deportations of convicted criminals were up 70 percent in 2010 compared to 2008, the final year of the Bush administration, the agency said. 

And there’s an even better aspect to this, they aren’t going after the low-hanging fruit.  This isn’t some b.s. enforcement deal where they are instructing people to go to grade schools to pick up ESL kids and heading to Home Depot parking lots to pick up day laborers, this is actually kicking criminals out of the country. 
 
Not people who want to work for a better life for them and their kids, or those who were brought to this country as children and know no other home, but those who violate our criminal laws through violent acts and theft.  They are going after the demand for ultra-cheap labor by enforcing laws on the high end (employers).   This, to me, is the right way to deal with problem (this and comprehensive Immigration Reform, which I seriously doubt a split Congress will be able to pass, but at least we’ve made progress.)
 
The thing about this is whole excercise of pointing out how these persistent myths are just that is that it’s a waste of time for the most part (on my part).  This is why I mentioned that DERP IS ON THE RISE.
 
“Derp” is, to put it bluntly, the response I generally get from those who can’t accept that Obama is an American, enforcing our laws, making pragmatic decisions about the future of our country, and doing so effectively.   In response to these facts I’ll get something about him not being an American, being a Muslim, being a devoted Socialist or Communist, and the fact that we have a pragamtic, educated, eloquent, progressive leader gets lost in the noise.  
 
The fact that it turns out he’s a rather centrist pragmatic is met with guffaws.   So stands the situation today.   Should be more interesting in a month or so… 
* Right Wing Echo Chamber, wherein Fox/WSJ/News Corp picks up a story from Drudge/blogs, which is recycled across various AM radio/TV shows/columns and across the blogs, then Fox reports how no one else is covering it, how it has become a “controversy“.  Rinse-recycle-repeat.  With “repeat” being the operative word.  All four misconceptions dealt with above have one core similarity; in the echo-chamber to even question their veracity is grounds for dismissal from the body politic.
 
** For those that don’t recall, after the first failed vote on TARP, this happened.  Had it not passed later, the resulting crash would have redefined “epic fail”.

Taibbi Nails the Baggers

This is as solid a summation as I’ve seen.

The individuals in the Tea Party may come from very different walks of life, but most of them have a few things in common. After nearly a year of talking with Tea Party members from Nevada to New Jersey, I can count on one hand the key elements I expect to hear in nearly every interview. One: Every single one of them was that exceptional Republican who did protest the spending in the Bush years, and not one of them is the hypocrite who only took to the streets when a black Democratic president launched an emergency stimulus program. (“Not me — I was protesting!” is a common exclamation.) Two: Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock. (Here they have guidance from Armey, who explains that the problem with “people who do not cherish America the way we do” is that “they did not read the Federalist Papers.”) Three: They are all furious at the implication that race is a factor in their political views — despite the fact that they blame the financial crisis on poor black homeowners, spend months on end engrossed by reports about how the New Black Panthers want to kill “cracker babies,” support politicians who think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an overreach of government power, tried to enact South African-style immigration laws in Arizona and obsess over Charlie Rangel, ACORN and Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Four: In fact, some of their best friends are black! (Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called “White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo,” checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.) And five: Everyone who disagrees with them is a radical leftist who hates America.

It would be inaccurate to say the Tea Partiers are racists. What they are, in truth, are narcissists. They’re completely blind to how offensive the very nature of their rhetoric is to the rest of the country. I’m an ordinary middle-aged guy who pays taxes and lives in the suburbs with his wife and dog — and I’m a radical communist? I don’t love my country? I’m a redcoat? Fuck you! These are the kinds of thoughts that go through your head as you listen to Tea Partiers expound at awesome length upon their cultural victimhood, surrounded as they are by America-haters like you and me or, in the case of foreign-born president Barack Obama, people who are literally not Americans in the way they are.

It’s not like the Tea Partiers hate black people. It’s just that they’re shockingly willing to believe the appalling horseshit fantasy about how white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority. That may not be racism, but it is incredibly, earth-shatteringly stupid.

He didn’t really get too far into the Tea Party Truism that Taxes = Deficits (“All we need to do to fix the deficit is cut taxes! herp derp!”), but he nails them on quite a few other fronts.   Fun reading, if a bit heavy on the fucking expletives.

Republicans officially Anti-American, Anti-Constitution

This is sick, sad, and disgusting.  Everything that this country stands and has stood for, is now under attack for short term political gain.  This is the Republican *leadership*, working every day to change what it means to be an American (which you can only be if they approve of your heritage).    This is officially disgusting.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is the latest high-profile Republican to say Congress should reconsider the guarantee of birthright citizenship provided by the 14th Amendment, in light of the current debate over immigration reform.

“I think we ought to take a look at it — hold hearings, listen to the experts on it,” McConnell said to the Hill on Monday. “I haven’t made a final decision about it, but that’s something that we clearly need to look at. Regardless of how you feel about the various aspects of immigration reform, I don’t think anybody thinks that’s something they’re comfortable with.”

McConnell’s remarks echo those of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he would like to see congressional hearings on the issue.

“The 14th Amendment [has been] interpreted to provide that if you are born in the United States, you are a citizen no matter what,” Kyl said. “So the question is, if both parents are here illegally, should there be a reward for their illegal behavior?”

So what does the future of Republican America look like?  I’m not sure, but I do see a lot of jackboots kicking down doors and kids screaming in pain.   Do these fools have any idea what their hairbrained schemes actually entail?   Do they really think we want to turn our backs on the very notions that this country was founded on?  On the very ideals that made it great?

It seems more and more obvious they do.  Jeez, I can’t wait for the boomers to die off.  I just hope the country can survive until then.

UPDATE:  Looks like one of my idiot Senators (and Republican leader) is going along with this nonsense.

WASHINGTON – Texas Sen. John Cornyn is the latest senior Republican to call for a review of “birthright citizenship,” amid complaints that illegal immigrants have abused that post-Civil War constitutional provision.

“We need to have hearings. We need to consult constitutional scholars and study what the implications are,” Cornyn said Wednesday, noting that about 540,000 people were caught illegally entering the United States last year through Mexico.

[full story]

Interesting stat to use there, John.  Wouldn’t it be more accurate, in this instance, to quote how many Americans of Hispanic descent were born here last year?    That’s the number you want to bring down.

Sacred Strip Clubs? Yes! Sacred Buildings? No!

Nice piece on this subject, covers most of the arguments I’ve made about the thing.


There are actually a couple of adult entertainment venues that show up on Google ( GOOGnews people ) Maps if you search around the former site of the World Trade Center. Internet reviewers seem to like New York Dolls best, due to its sexy, disproportionately Russian staff, mirrored stage and purportedly high-quality lap dances.

As yet, I haven’t heard anyone wonder why our political class is silent as the sex industry operates on sacred ground. It would be a bizarre complaint: It’s Manhattan, where you can find anything mere blocks from a given location. The closest strip club to Ground Zero happens to be two blocks away, a fact that has nothing to do with our reverence for the place where so many Americans were killed by terrorists. As you’ve probably noticed, it doesn’t even make sense to call it The Ground Zero Strip Club.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/22/ground-zero-mosque-religion-terrorism-opinions-columnists-conor-friedersdorf.html

UPDATE: Best quote from the piece…

Moreover, the writer Jeffrey Goldberg, as staunch an opponent of radical Islamists as you’ll find, posted recently on the controversy over this cultural center, having interacted with the folks who are attempting to build it, and reported that they are peace-loving people intent on marginalizing extremists inside their religion. “One of the ways to prevent future Ground Zeroes is to encourage moderation within Islam, and to treat Muslim moderates differently than we treat Muslim extremists,” he writes. “The campaign against this mosque treats all Muslims as perpetrators. This is a terrible mistake, for moral and strategic reasons.”

Opponents of this project are judging people they’ve never met on the basis of their religion, treating all Muslims as enemies of America, and allowing emotional prejudice to dictate their opinion when prudent reflection would serve everyone better. Forbidding houses of worship from being built is something done in foreign autocracies, not a country founded by people fleeing religious prejudice.

I can’t stand most of Goldberg’s stuff, but even he can see how the Palin’s [1] (and Gingrich’s [2]) of the world are dead wrong on this one.

—-

As to [1], the quitter wrote, “”to build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks.”  This is insane.  So insane, in fact, it got enough people to flag it as offensive it got deleted by Facebook.  This “blame *them* all” attitude of Palin’s is just wrong.  And then, of course, she doubled down on the crazy, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”    Hey, jackass, the peaceful muslims ARE THE ONES BUILDING THE MOSQUE.  Not only that, but the “heartland” wasn’t even attacked by Muslims.  Ever.  New York was.  You know that place, right?  Why not leave the decisions on how to heal to them, rather than an unemployed politician from 4,000 miles away.  The only thing that makes her looks slightly rational is when compared to [2]. 

[2] “But Gingrich was not content to have the Mama Grizzly conducting the conservative Crazy Train. He wants to forbid the location of a mosque at Ground Zero until there are churches and temples allowed in Saudi Arabia.” [full article]   I mean, really?  Gingrich wants to take religious tolerance cues from Saudi Arabia?  And here I was thinking the U.S. was slightly better than that.  It’s very similar to a number of conservatives who defended Arizona’s crazy laws by pointing out Mexico’s even worse laws.   And these are the same people who constantly bray about the U.S. being the best thing since Jesus.  And yet…they want to take cues on how to govern from some of the worst offenders in the world.  The mind, sometimes it boggles.

The Latest Bit of Evidence To Be Dismissed by 40% of the American populace….

….

Scientists from the Beijing Genomics Institute last month discovered another striking instance of human genetic change. Among Tibetans, they found, a set of genes evolved to cope with low oxygen levels as recently as 3,000 years ago. This, if confirmed, would be the most recent known instance of human evolution.

[full story]

The difficulty of identifying these shifts is also covered in the article (and the reason this is dismissed by so many…it’s hard).

One of the signatures of natural selection is that it disturbs the undergrowth of mutations that are always accumulating along the genome. As a favored version of a gene becomes more common in a population, genomes will look increasingly alike in and around the gene. Because variation is brushed away, the favored gene’s rise in popularity is called a sweep. Geneticists have developed several statistical methods for detecting sweeps, and hence of natural selection in action.

About 21 genome-wide scans for natural selection had been completed by last year, providing evidence that 4,243 genes — 23 percent of the human total — were under natural selection. This is a surprisingly high proportion, since the scans often miss various genes that are known for other reasons to be under selection. Also, the scans can see only recent episodes of selection — probably just those that occurred within the last 5,000 to 25,000 years or so. The reason is that after a favored version of a gene has swept through the population, mutations start building up in its DNA, eroding the uniformity that is evidence of a sweep.

So as soon as an “upgrade” is available in the gene pool, it changes the color of the pool, so to speak, and immediately new dyes start seeping in, searching for that next true hue. 

The theory also makes predictions that have also been observed, such as….

The fewest signals of selection were seen among people who live in the humid tropics, the ecoregion where the ancestral human population evolved. “One could argue that we are adapted to that and that most signals are seen when people adapt to new environments,” Dr. Di Rienzo said in an interview.

 To continue the pool analogy, those born in the the deep blue of the tropics and stayed, were good with that color.  But you start getting to more extreme environment (cold, altitude) that same color doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

The second page is a basic discussion on skin color and how there is enough adaptability in the human genome for light skin to have evolved in at least two ways.

The difficulty in comprehending the theory (much less applying it) also lies in the complexity of the systems themselves.

Most variation in the human genome is neutral, meaning that it arose not by natural selection but by processes like harmless mutations and the random shuffling of the genome between generations. The amount of this genetic diversity is highest in African populations. Diversity decreases steadily the further a population has migrated from the African homeland, since each group that moved onward carried away only some of the diversity of its parent population. This steady decline in diversity shows no discontinuity between one population and the next, and has offered no clear explanation as to why one population should differ much from another. But selected genes show a different pattern: Evidence from the new genome-wide tests for selection show that most selective pressures are focused on specific populations.

However, within that complexity, one can expose new insights (again, in keeping with the theory).

One aspect of this pattern is that there seem to be more genes under recent selection in East Asians and Europeans than in Africans, possibly because the people who left Africa were then forced to adapt to different environments. “It’s a reasonable inference that non-Africans were becoming exposed to a wide variety of novel climates,” says Dr. Stoneking of the Max Planck Institute.

The final bit is about the “soft sweet” which continues to occur regardless of outside pressure.  

But the new evidence that humans have adapted rapidly and extensively suggests that natural selection must have other options for changing a trait besides waiting for the right mutation to show up. In an article in Current Biology in February, Dr. Pritchard suggested that a lot of natural selection may take place through what he called soft sweeps.

Soft sweeps work on traits affected by many genes, like height. Suppose there are a hundred genes that affect height (about 50 are known already, and many more remain to be found). Each gene exists in a version that enhances height and a version that does not. The average person might inherit the height-enhancing version of 50 of these genes, say, and be of average height as a result.

The article uses a primitive example of this, but I could just link here…and then draw the pictures….taller = more money, more money = more health/breeding partners, = taller species.  Although this last  (the money/height connection) has only been going on for 20-30 generations and only a couple generations for all people of all genomic heritage (in my country).  It will be interesting to see how these studies move forward in the future, as genome databases grow and more cross-testing is available.

It would be quite a thing to get a six-month gene therapy treatment before that next stint on Everest/in the Arctic.  Or at least it would be if that kind of stuff isn’t outlawed by people who don’t believe in evolution [search : Gene Manufacturing]

.

Existing home sales soar 8% in April

http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/24/real_estate/existing_home_sales/?postversion=2010052412

“The upswing in April existing-home sales was expected because of the tax credit inducement, and no doubt there will be some temporary fallback in the months immediately after it expires, but other factors also are supporting the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “For people who were on the sidelines, there’s been a return of buyer confidence with stabilizing home prices, an improving economy and mortgage interest rates that remain historically low.”

Nobody buys a house when they are dropping in price, if they can help it. Now that prices have bottomed, you’ll see a lot more people buying, even without stimulus money.

UPDATE: It’s going to be a pretty touch and go housing market for a while.  There’s sooo much inventory out there, not only peope underwater, but foreclosures as well as regular turnover.  It’s almost like we’ll need an influx of 10,000,000 or so new legal citizens, now able to buy homes as they have recongized legal status, to help take up the slack. 

I wonder where we could find them….

It should also be noted that the NAR (National Association of Realtors) is *always* going to try and paint a cozy, cutest house on the block, picture of the market.

Cost of Illegal Immigrants

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/cost-of-illegal-immigrants/

Rather solid confirmation of the saying, “a lie can get halfway around the world, before the truth can get its shoes on.”.

In this case it would be updated, “the ignorant forward emails that agree with their inclinations, the learned do some research.”