Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Speaking of Faux News . . .

Holy crap, this has got to be the stupidest goddamn thing I have ever read in my life. From Tucker Carlson. whose bow tie is evidently choking off the oxygen supply to his tiny brain:

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Almost every nation on Earth has fallen under the yoke of tyranny -- the metric system. From Beijing to Buenos Aires, from Lusaka to London, the people of the world have been forced to measure their environment in millimeters and kilograms. The United States is the only major country that has resisted, but we have no reason to be ashamed for using feet and pounds.
JAMES PANERO: I am joining you tonight as an anti-metrite. I'm taking a stand against the metric system -- the original system of global revolution and new world orders.
CARLSON: God bless you, and that's exactly what it is. Esperanto died, but the metric system continues, this weird, utopian, inelegant creepy system that we alone have resisted.
I fear that even to comment on this is degrading. Satire is obviously obsolete, because this would be great satire but it's real. These clowns think they are serious.

The metric system was  first created in France after the revolution of 1789, which was not global and did not have any relationship to a new world order. But it did not gain formal international status until an international conference in 1875, which involved 17 nations, none of them revolutionary, including the United States. As a matter of fact the units of the British Imperial System, which is commonly used in the U.S., are defined in terms of the metric system. It is now formally called the International System of Units.

Americans who haven't already done so should familiarize themselves with the metric system, as it is the international standard of commerce and science. The system we use is indeed weird and inelegant, but the whole point of the metric system is that it is not. As the Wikipedia article says,

The metric system was designed to have properties that make it easy to use and widely applicable, including units based on the natural world, decimal ratios, prefixes for multiples and sub-multiples, and a structure of base and derived units. It is also a coherent system, which means that its units do not introduce conversion factors not already present in equations relating quantities. It has a property called rationalisation that eliminates certain constants of proportionality in equations of physics.
It makes calculations and conversions easy. One cubic centimeter of water weighs one gram. A thousand grams are a kilogram and that's also 10 X 10 X 10 centimeters of water. A thousand kilograms is a metric ton which is one cubic meter of water. Since all the relationships are multiples of ten, conversions and calculations are easy! Twelve inches in a foot, three feet in a yard, 5,280 feet in mile, 16 ounces in a pound, these are all a pain in the ass when it comes to computation. So go metric! 


Don Quixote said...

"Surreal" doesn't begin to describe the looking glass experience of being in the USA during the time that Shitler and his henchmen and -women are stinking up the White House, which will need to be scrubbed with bleach by toothbrush and then smudged.

But what else should come from enabling a mere carnival barker to be elected president?

More 100 purity bullshit (I actually received the entire "poll" online and my jaw dropped):

Bob Owen said...

Tucker Carlson also praises and endorses Elizabeth Warren's "economic patriotism" policies on FOX.

Cervantes said...

Yeah, I saw that. White nationalist movements in Europe are often economically fairly liberal, actually. Trump ran promising to defend Medicare and Medicaid, replace the ACA with something even better, cut middle class taxes, clean out corruption and the influence of Wall Street in Washington, and all that jive. Of course it was bullshit and he did the complete opposite once he took office. But it is a concept.

Mark P said...

OK, I have to admit that I didn't believe this at first. Then I did a search and found multiple reports on it. I still can't believe it. Oh, I believe it happened, I just can't believe anyone can be that stupid. In this case, I use the term "stupid" literally. (This is just an aside ... he called SI "inelegant." It's the very definition of elegant. Of course this is the least of the problems with what he said.) In the past I might have considered someone like Carlson to be a shill for what passes for Republican values, someone whose opinions I find odious, but now I have to look at him like someone you might see stumbling around on the street dressed in filthy clothes and stinking of garbage, mumbling incoherently.

John Bachtell said...

It's my understanding that under Trump's proposed budget, spending for both Medicare and Medicaid will still increase every year. The proposed "cuts" are a reduction of the rapid increase under current law.

There's an good argument on both sides as to what the right amount of increase should be.

Just blindly screaming more!...More!...MORE! is not a defensible position.

Cervantes said...

I certainly agree with that. We do need to constrain costs, as I say all the time. But there are right ways and wrong ways to do it. We'll have more to say about that.

The big problems with Republican proposals are with Medicaid, rather than Medicare, although they haven't gotten them through and won't now that the Dems control the House. But this is all very complicated.

john Bachtell said...'s one way NOT to constrain costs.

California was poised Monday to become the first state to provide health care coverage to young, low-income adults living in the country illegally after legislative leaders provided a thumbs-up to Gov. Gavin Newsom's $98 million plan targeting almost 100,000 low-income adults.
But to pay for part of it, the state will begin taxing people who don’t have health insurance. The plan is similar to a part of President Barack Obama’s health care law that Republicans in Congress eliminated as part of the 2017 overhaul to the tax code.

Republicans on the legislative committee negotiating the budget voted against the proposal, arguing it was not fair to give health benefits to people who are in the country illegally while taxing people who are here legally for not purchasing health insurance.

Cervantes said...

I can certainly see this proposal as eliciting divided reactions. The actual dollar amount in this case is not much in the context of California, since young adults are relatively inexpensive to insure. But people will react to this differently based on values. You could make an argument that it might actually save some money by controlling communicable diseases -- they get flu shots and get their MRSA treated -- and preventing untreated problems from turning into an ED visit. But I don't know how to do the math on that. And of course people can avoid the tax by getting health insurance. If enough of them do that, the program won't be funded.

Bob Owen said...

"Yeah, I saw that. White nationalist movements in Europe are often economically fairly liberal, actually."

Mr. Carleson called it "common sense" proposals and they are very close to Trump's. Credit where credit is due.

If a candidate of either party proposed these initiatives without the radical social stuff, they would mop up the field. I think people are hungry for the common sense stuff both economically and socially.

Cervantes said...

Trump talked that way when he was campaigning but it was 100% bullshit. He has governed as a right wing extremist. I don't know what you mean by the "radical social stuff"? Does that mean justice and equality? What exactly are you against?

Bob Owen said...

It means "radical", huge changes from the norm.

I'd list the attempt to mainstream more and more sexual deviations that for hundreds of years have been understood to be mental or emotional problems as a big one. No matter how you feel about it, it's a hard sell to middle America.

Another would be the desire to rewrite history as Howard Zinn has tried to do. If you're a left coast liberal, that might be OK, but Mr. and Ms. Smith in Kansas City ain't buying it.

And let's not leave out abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy. This is a no-win for any politician who promotes it. America has gotten more and more Pro-Life as technology has increased the viability of the fetus at earlier and earlier stages.

Oh, and race as a social construct. That one is really hard to explain to voters,especially the minorities.

This is the stuff that will tank the next election for those who embrace it.

Cervantes said...

Actually I think there has been a huge cultural shift regarding homosexuality. Most Americans now support same sex marriage, although it is indeed true that there are lots of people who still choke on it. However, it's no longer a wedge issue.

I don't know why you bring up Howard, who was a friend of mine BTW, who has been dead for 9 1/2 years and as far as I know has not been an issue in any political campaign of late. He didn't rewrite history, he told it from an often neglected perspective. It is true that lots of people have a mythic view of American history but I'm not aware this is a campaign issue.

The majority of Americans support legalized abortion, although they are all over the place on specific limitations. I don't know how this will play out in the 2020 election

It is true that the concepts of race and ethnicity are complex and create difficulties for political communication. It's very important for people to understand that the concept of biological race is invalid because it constitutes the main basis for discrimination. However I haven't noticed that this is an issue that politicians talk about, they just talk about justice. Arguments between Andrew Sullivan and Scott Lemieux are not the political discourse that most people are aware of.

We are certainly going through major debates about these matters but I don't agree that Democrats can win by abandoning some of their most important constituencies. On the contrary, I see a lot of positive political energy around social issues. Fear of mobilizing racists and the religious right should not inform Democratic strategy. Those people aren't going to vote for Democrats anyway.