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    • The First Great Environmental Crisis Will Be
      Water. As I’ve said for many years. The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40 percent by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit. I’ll use the US as an example, though this going to effect almost all countries, some much worse than others, and it wi […]
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You don’t have to be stupid to be ignorant.

minervaSteven, a friend who is ex-military, and a heavy equipment mechanic, said to me this morning at breakfast,

“You don’t have to be stupid to be ignorant.”

Booman’s slight of dakinkat is a case in point.

Booman is not stupid. myiq notes that Booman can be sharp, but Booman is about as sharp as a bag of oranges on this issue.

If he was only embarassing himself with his naive assertion about the incorruptibility of ACORN and each and every one of its staffers, then I wouldn’t feel any need to comment, especially because I don’t doubt that the vast majority of ACORN personnel are well-intentioned people doing good works. He chose to use his ignorance as a tool to drag others in the mud, however, so he must be called to account.

Once again, it is a simple matter to demonstrate the intellectual and moral inadequacy of a Booman commentator by simply weighing his case against dakinikat. He makes the salacious claims, so the burden of proof falls on him. Please read dakinikat’s post and read his response to her post, especially the comments section.

Unraveling the Greed

Wells Fargo and Acorn

dakinikat ties the facts of the Wells Fargo case to the local history in her home district in New Orleans. Jacobson, in the NYT article, says that Wells Fargo targetted black churches to use their influence as a means of getting their parishoners to take out subprime loans with Wells Fargo. dakinikat relates this data with the meetings with subprime lenders that took place in churches by her home, seminars that tended to be sponsored by ACORN. That they sponsored the seminars does not mean that they knowingly worked against the best interests of the community. dakinikat also notes that ACORN is a bag organization in New Orleans (hardly a surprise, such things are common for both parties). She further notes that convictions of public officials on non-profits (not ACORN representatives) are a matter of public record.

Booman states that dakinikat is not telling the truth on the basis that her data does not conform with his experiences in Philadephia. Further, he rejects the claims of the ACORN 8 as right wing talking points.

The status of the claims of the ACORN 8 are open. Booman appears certain that they have no merit. He might be right. ACORN employees have been convicted and indicted, however, which suggests that complaints against ACORN can be more than right wing talking points, despite Booman’s idealizations. Perhaps they faced Republican judges.

It is worth noting that the head of ACORN is right when he notes that the number of cases against ACORN, and the number of convictions that have stemmed therefrom, are relatively small when one considers at the size of the organization. It is also important, as noted earlier, to not judge the many by the conduct of the few.

Booman appears comfortable with judging the conduct of the many by the conduct of the few. In doing so, he is employing the logical fallacy of generalizing from the particular. Then, on the basis of this fallacy, he proceeds to insult someone who is using her training to fight for the very same lending practises that he lauds ACORN for promoting.

For Booman to be right, we have to accept his assertion that ACORN and its employees are incorruptible, that their behavior is lock-step across each and every community that they operate in, that the ACORN sponsored church events with home loan lenders in dakinikat’s home district were not of the type propagated by Wells Fargo, and that the finance student who is working to fight against lending practises that exploit the poor is a liar and an agent for the Republican agenda.

ACORN employees have proven to be corruptible. dakinikat’s conference presentations are peer-reviewed, so they pass the truth test. In these publications she’s argued for regulation of said industries, which means she is arguing against the Republican agenda. It’s not unreasonable to assume that at least one of the home lending meetings involved a subprime mortgage lender. The only point that remains in Booman’s favor is the question of the role of ACORN in these loan meetings. It can be quickly dismissed, if we accept that ACORN would have worked with the lenders that offered the best deals for their constituents, even if these were necessarily subprime. They are, after all, only human.

Booman’s case fails on the balance of probabilities. His assertions about ACORN’s purity are empirically false, practically naive, and only have their force via a logical fallacy. His accusation about the talking points is non-sensical, given her academic presentations. That these claims found his assertion that she is not to be trusted, indicate that his judgment about her truthfulness and intellectual adequacy is not trustworthy. His wrongness about her truthfulness does not make him a liar, but that he dirties her name based on such a pathetic claim means he is a scoundrel.


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A Glimpse into a World Where Females and Non-Alpha Males are the Socially Dominant Genders?

Note: the following is a repost of Part 5 of my prior essay on Social Dominance Theory.  I find Dr. Sapolsky’s research fascinating and worth a second look showcased on its own for those who may have missed it.

Robert Sapolsky and an olive baboon share a quiet moment on the Talek River, July 2007 (Credit: John Heminway) - click for link to original picture

Standford University neurobiologist Dr. Robert Sapolsky has published some very interesting observations about his studies of baboons in Kenya [1]. His research was showcased in the PBS special and National Geographic video entitled “Stress.” (I highly recommend this video for many reasons, only some of which will be addressed herein). While his initial objective was to observe and document the commonalities of hierarchal structures and the effect of stress within those structures between humans and primates, he was presented with an unexpected outcome when cataclysmic disease transformed the baboon troop he was studying from one dominated by alpha males, to one dominated by females. His studies began over 30 years ago where he sought out to observe what similarities might exist between baboons and humans regarding hierarchical structures and the physical effects of stress related to social standing. He did so by visual observation and biological studies of the two stress hormones, adrenaline and glucocorticoids.

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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

  • D-Day+65
  • World leaders pay tribute to D-Day veterans at 65th anniversary

    World leaders gathered in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer in northern France on Saturday to commemorate the 65th anniversary of D-Day landing that broke Nazi Germany’s grip on France and changed the course of history.

    Obama honors D-day heroes on 65th anniversary of invasion

    Standing on the shores of the historic Omaha Beach landing, President Obama paid tribute Saturday to the thousands of servicemen who gave their lives in the D-day invasion 65 years ago and cast it as inspiration for the struggles of today.

  • Economy Watch
  • Making the Case for Another Fiscal Stimulus

    Although President Obama’s $787 billion fiscal stimulus is still working its way through the pipeiline, Berkeley economist — and former Clinton Treasury official — Brad DeLong makes the case for another round.

    Unemployment Rates, by Metro Area

    Slower Job Losses Lift Hopes

    The slowing pace of U.S. job losses last month added to hopes that the recession is drawing to a close. But in a sign that the downturn continues to inflict damage, the jobless rate reached its highest level in 26 years.

    For Heaven’s Sake!
    Bank Accused of Pushing Subprime Deals on Blacks

    As she describes it, Beth Jacobson and her fellow loan officers at Wells Fargo Bank “rode the stagecoach from hell” for a decade, systematically singling out blacks in Baltimore and suburban Maryland for high-interest subprime mortgages.

    New England economy could see gay-marriage boost

    The expansion of legal gay marriage across New England could deliver an economic windfall by attracting a youthful “creative class” of workers to a region with an aging population.

    Protests against Putin sweep Russia as factories go broke

    From Vladivostok to St Petersburg, Russians are taking to the streets in anger over job losses, unpaid wages and controls on imported cars

  • Heath Care Battle
  • Washington state health panel could be model for U.S.

    When it’s judging the value of medical treatments it pays for, Washington state imposes a tough standard, the kind that might save tens of billions of dollars a year if it were applied nationally.

    Private insurance companies push for ‘individual mandate’

    Some may find it hard to believe that the U.S. health insurance industry supports making major changes to the nation’s healthcare system.

    The industry, after all, scuttled President Clinton’s healthcare overhaul bid with ads featuring “Harry and Louise” fretting about change.

    Obama to Forge a Greater Role on Health Care

    After months of insisting he would leave the details to Congress, President Obama has concluded that he must exert greater control over the health care debate and is preparing an intense push for legislation that will include speeches, town-hall-style meetings and much deeper engagement with lawmakers, senior White House officials say.

    Paying for Universal Health Coverage

    For Congress and the administration to keep the promise of comprehensive health care reform, they will have to find the political will to pay for universal coverage and other investments that are needed right away but will not produce quick savings.

  • End Of The Road
  • All but over for Coleman, experts say

    Seven months after Minnesota’s Senate election, the state’s highest court hasn’t reached a decision but election law experts agree: Norm Coleman doesn’t have a prayer.

  • ME Headaches
  • Netanyahu wants “maximum understanding” with U.S.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he would strive for “maximum understanding” with Washington on peace issues but gave no sign he intends to bow to its demand to halt settlement expansion.

    Tel Aviv rally calls for end to occupation

    Hundreds of people rallied Saturday in Tel Aviv to call for an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

    After Cairo, It’s Clinton Time

    The follow-up to the president’s speech will have to be led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her first big test: Iraq.

    Official: Al-Qaeda like a fast food franchise ‘ for terrorism’

    Deep in the Sahara Desert, along the remote southern borders of Algeria, lies an immense no man’s land where militants roam.

    It is here that terrorists linked with al-Qaeda traffic everything from weapons and drugs to illegal migrants. They have planted at least a half-dozen cells in Europe, according to French, Italian and Belgian intelligence. Last week, they announced on the Internet that they had killed a British hostage in Mali, and are still holding a Swiss hostage.

    Intolerable Rise in Soldier Suicides

  • Spygate
  • American grandees ‘were thrilled to spy for Castro’

    Fidel Castro calls U.S. spy case ridiculous

  • B’NAACP (Stolen From Jon Stewart)
  • Introducing America’s First Black, Female Rabbi

  • Case For A-holes?
  • Why Nice Guys Should Finish First — but Don’t

  • Ducking Responsibility?
  • When a ‘Chosen’ Tibetan Lama Says No Thanks

    Late last month, two Spanish media outlets confirmed that 24-year-old Tenzin Osel Rinpoche, one of the most renowned Buddhist “golden children” — toddlers determined through dreams, oracular riddles and their own “memories” to be tulkus, or reincarnations of high Tibetan Buddhist lamas — has abandoned his foretold identity. Instead of a Lama, he wants to be a filmmaker, and has reverted to his original Spanish name, Osel Hita Torres.

  • Form The World of Science
  • How does my DNA work?

    Haven’t you ever asked yourself how you got your nose, eyes, ears, fingers, toes, and everything else? How did your DNA bring all this about?

  • Colbert, Guest Editor at “Newsweak”
  • A Reader’s Guide to the Colbert Issue

    Why I Took This Crummy Job

  • How Did I Miss This?
  • Debate on Whether Female Judges Decide Differently Arises Anew

    Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, is often quoted as saying that a wise female judge will come to the same conclusion as a wise male judge.

    But the opposing argument was bolstered forcefully in April by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, currently the court’s only woman, in a case involving Savana Redding, a 13-year-old girl who had been strip-searched at school by the authorities on suspicion of hiding some ibuprofen pills that may be bought over-the-counter.

    Digby took a closer look: “[W]hat’s interesting here is the notion that the way men see things is “normal” and that the way women see things is biased.”

  • Madame Secretary on “This is Weak”
  • Tough talk from Clinton on Iran, North Korea

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