Sunday, February 28, 2010

Science Sunday: The Coming Bear Wars

While it may not be the Crips and the Hoods, the looming street fight between polar and grizzly bears is shaping up to be bloody -- and one-sided.
A study published in Canadian Field Naturalist says that grizzlys have entered polar bear territory, setting the stage for deadly bear versus bear encounters.
"This is worrying for the polar bears because grizzly bears would likely hibernate in polar bear maternity denning habitat," explained Linda Gormezano, a co-author of the study. "They would come out of hibernation at the same time and can kill polar cubs."

Gormezano and her colleagues documented sightings of the bears in Canada's Wapusk National Park. The bears are moving into the Canadian province of Manitoba in regions traditionally thought of as polar bear habitat.

"Grizzly bears are a new guy on the scene, competition and a potential predator for the polar bears that live in this area," said Robert Rockwell, who also worked on the study. He is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and a professor of biology at the City College of the City University of New York.

He recalled that "the first time we saw a grizzly we were flying over the middle of Wapusk, counting fox dens" when Gormezano "shouted, 'Over there, over there -- a grizzly bear.' And it wasn't a dirty polar bear or a moose -- we saw the hump."

Before 1996, there was no evidence that grizzly bears encroached on polar bear territory. From that year on, however, there have been at least 12 sightings, negating the prior theory that the barren landscape north of the Hudson Bay was impassable, in terms of resources, for migrating grizzly bears. But the flexible bears, which can eat everything from meat to berries, have crossed the gap and likely won't look back much, since the polar bear region is known for its abundant caribou, moose, fish and berries.

"Although we don't yet know if they are wandering or staying—the proof will come from an observed den or cubs—these animals will eventually be residents of this national park," said Rockwell. "The Cree elders we talked to feel that now that grizzly bears have found this food source they will be staying."

The big question is how to deal with the newcomers since both grizzly and polar bears are listed as species of special concern.

Hat tip to DiscoveryNews

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Three Cheers For Olympic Ice Hockey

I've done my share of pissing and moaning about the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, mostly because of NBC's amazingly sucky coverage. But one aspect of the quadrennial event is once again thrilling -- ice hockey -- and the reason could not be more simple. Ice hockey is a thing of beauty when the players can actually play it, while what passes for hockey in the National Hockey League in the U.S. is tag-team wrestling between goon squads with blades.

Olympic men's teams are chockablock with NHLers, but Olympic rules prohibit fighting, and without fighting there is no need for beefy enforcers, checking lines and endless substitutions that . . . slow . . . down . . . the . . . pace . . . of a game that is supposed to be played at breakneck speed.

And I love this fact all the more because true-blue pro hockey fans hate it.

Meanwhile, women's hockey as an Olympic event is on thin ice because Canada and the U.S., the gold and silvery medal winners respectively, are in a class of their own.

Cartoon du Jour

Ben Sargent/Universal Press Syndicate

Carly Simon's Guessing Game Is Ovah

"You're So Vain" was a mega hit for Carly Simon in 1972, but the subject of her scorching put down has remained a secret until now.

C.R. Johnson (1984-2010)

MORE HERE.
Photograph by Adam Turner/The Associated Press

Beautiful Photograph du Jour

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
By Guillaume Vogoureux

Friday, February 26, 2010

Da Summit: Partisan Politix At Its Worst

The sweet smell of bipartisanship (think of a Cinnabon bun) was in the air at the outset of President Obama's health-care reform summit yesterday. The table had been changed from U-shaped to O-shaped so that Republicans would have more TV face time in explaining why they have been nakedly obstructionist on the most important legislative initiative of my lifetime.

They did not disappoint.

Republicans, of course, had been deriding the extraordinary event as "political theater," but they were the biggest actors -- and petulant ones at that -- over the four-hour gabathon, and the
sweet smell quickly turned to swamp gas as Senator Lamar Alexander, physician of Tennessee, kicked things off with a litany of reasons why Republicans would not support any form of reform remotely resembling what Obama says Americans need and the House and Senate have more or less legislated.

Alexander's remarks translated crudely into "it's quite all right with us that there are
45 million uninsured Americans and millions more underinsured because they're too dumb to vote or vote Democratic if they do. Oh, and if you have a pre-existing condition, screw you."

From there things went downhill faster than Lindsey Vonn.

The gold medal winner was Senator Tom Coburn, veterinarian of Oklahoma, who blamed food stamps for diabetes
and obesity, which doesn't have bupkis to do with reform and is dead wrong anyway.

The silver medal went to the Republicans, too numerous to mention, who believe the health-care reform is unconstitutional, and the bronze to those who want to abolish Medicare and replace it with vouchers but claim they're opposing reform to save Medicare.

A majority of Americans support reform even if they don't like the inner workings of the congressional sausage factory. Me neither. But they will get at least a watered down version of reform, and come election time in November there will be Republican who will rue their obstructionism when voters put on the latex gloves and tell them to bend over and cough.

Cartoon du Jour

Michael Ramirez/Investors Business Daily

Oh What A Lovely War!

Iraq is the gift that just keeps on giving and now one of the biggest critics of the greatest foreign policy blunder in American history is arguing that at least 30,000 troops should remain there for the indefinite future and not just until the end of 2011.

Hercules Was Not An Ordinary Man

As President George Washington's chief cook, he was one of the first great chefs of Philadelphia, a city with a long and rich culinary history. He went by only a single name -- Hercules.

He seemed to be everywhere at once as he supervised preparation of elaborate banquets in the presidential mansion at 6th and Market streets, but Hercules was not an ordinary man. Click here to learn why.

Rich Lady In A Journalistic Ghetto

The execrable Sally Quinn finally gets what's coming to her.

Beautiful Photograph du Jour

SO WINDY
By Thierry Draus

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Toyota's Epic Recall Fail: When Saying You're Sorry Falls On Deaf American Ears

There is a cultural chasm between Japanese and American society that bubbles beneath the surface largely unnoticed until something like trying to end a world war or the massive recall of 8.8 million Toyotas happens.

That recall has revealed the Toyota corporate culture to be hypocritical in the extreme, witness a memo in which executives chortle that they have saved the world's largest automaker $100 million by recalling several thousand floor mats rather than address an epidemic of stuck accelerator pedals that may have caused as many as 35 deaths. And so the repeated apologies by company President Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota's founder, are falling on largely deaf American ears.

Among them my own.

I lived in Tokyo and traveled from one end of the country to another, so I am well aware of the "I'm sorry" dynamic of Japanese society. And while respectful of societal mores that can seem so strange to the average Westerner and occasionally remained so for me despite my deep affection for the country and its people, I came to understand that an apology -- whether from a cab driver or the prime minister -- can be as empty as an American's "Excuse me" after bumping into someone stepping off of an elevator, which makes Toyoda's statement that he took "full responsibility" in testifying before a congressional committee yesterday the equivalent of empty calories.

As if that were not bad enough, there is another cultural difference that has undermined Toyota: The Japanese obsession with consensus building amidst a crisis where consumers and the media wanted quick answers.

Perhaps the army of ad men and damage-control consultants trying to put Toyota's image back together again will finally get through to those insular and, it seems, xenophobic corporate executives back in Japan. But that was not apparent listening to Toyoda's tortured testimony, which was reluctantly given after days of vacillating about whether he would take up an offer to drop by Congress for a chat before he would be compelled to do so.

As it is, the 53-year-old Toyoda's ham-handed management of the crisis is even more difficult to understand because he received an MBA at an American college and then lived in New York City for several years and should know that he can't bow his way out of this mess.

So it perhaps was inevitable that Toyoda-san wouldn't come off as slick as James Lentz III, the oleaginous president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, who grudgingly admitted in congressional testimony on Tuesday that the recalls may not have entirely solved the unintended acceleration problem.

Lentz had to be reminded that Toyota still has not launched an in-depth investigation into the onboard electronic management system that some experts believe may ultimately be at fault but it keeps denying have anything to do with a crisis that has seen its sales and share price tank. Nor did Lentz note that weeks after the recall, some owners of the affected Toyota and Lexus models still have not received notifications.

Let's be clear that when it comes to hypocrisy the U.S. is the world leader, and some of the very men and women questioning Lentz and Toyoda positively reek of the stuff, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration helped grease the skids for Toyota's epic recall fail by not doing its job. That clearly was the back story in the defensive testimony of NHTS head Ray LaHood, who was on the hot seat before Toyoda. Let's also be clear that some of the unintended acceleration incidents might have been driver error.

Toyota made its nut in the U.S. by manufacturing vehicles that are dull compared to the competition but more reliable than the competition. Now that the reliability imprinteur has been shattered, it's left with dull cars and a sucky reputation that will take years to overcome.

But then Toyota's inability to come to terms with the cultural differences of its largest market in dealing with a largely self-created disaster is . . . uh, so Japanese.

Cartoon du Jour

Pat Oliphant/Universal Press Syndicate

End Of The Road For The Hummer

It is richly ironic that Toyota beat out General Motors as the world's leading automaker because it supposedly put quality and reliability before profits and the Japanese automaker now finds itself caught in the slings of adversity because it too put profits before quality and reliability.

An upshot of GM's profligacy is that the American public is now a majority shareholder in the once mighty company, which has been shedding brands like a molting dog as a condition for getting billions of dollars in federal loans.

But GM is still stuck with a bummer called Hummer and announced yesterday that the gas-guzzling brand will be put out of its misery now that a deal with a Chinese company has fallen through.

Photograph by Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News

Is You Or Is You Ain't An Island?

Are the Okinotoris islands or reefs? The Australian government wants to know because it is "excising" distant islands to prevent illegal immigrants from reaching what would otherwise be recognized as Australian soil.
Hat tip to bldblog/Photograph by Tim Maly

Prehab Is The New Rehab

Just ask that Charlie Sheen.

Beautiful Photograph du Jour

Johan Remen Evensen of Norway takes flight during the team ski-jumping finals at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Photograph by Doug Mills/The New York Times

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jerome 'Jerry' Garcia: An Appreciation

(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN AUGUST 2007)
Jerry Garcia did not seek out fame. A gentle soul who just wanted to play music, fame found him. And despite a long career as an extraordinary guitarist that brought him adulation, gold records and eventually wealth, happiness remained elusive and fame finally killed him.

Don't get me wrong. Garcia was of course the master of his own destiny. But in addition to being hard wired for musical virtuosity, he slid easily into drug addiction – notably cocaine and later heroin – a refuge from the intense pressures that came with being "Captain Trips," the de facto leader and spokesman for an improbable success story called the Grateful Dead. He was on and off of the hard stuff for much of his career and mostly on during the years before his weakened heart and diabetes-riddled body packed in at a drug rehab center a few days short of his 54th birthday in 1995.

It may seem off putting that I remember the man Rolling Stone magazine named the 13th all-time greatest rock guitarist for his demons, but I have often reflected on the lives that great musicians live away from the spotlight as what is left of my hair has turned to gray. This helps explain the ambivalence that I and some – if not many – other people with deep musical connections feel for Garcia and for the Dead. To riff on Goldilocks, this is because when they were good they were very, very good. And when they were bad they were horrid.

I say this from some experience: I saw Garcia play over 100 times with the Dead and various side bands. And while I did not know him, we did speak a few times and I know enough people who knew him well that I believe I have his measure.
* * * * *
Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia was born in San Francisco on August 1, 1942. Named for composer Jerome Kern, he grew up in a musical household. His father Jose was a professional musician and his mother Ruth, a nurse, played the piano.

Garcia may have been ranked 13th on the Rolling Stone list, but with apologies to Django Reinhardt, he was without peer when it came to being the best nine-fingered guitarist, a result of losing two-thirds of his right middle finger at age 4 while steadying a piece of firewood for his ax-wielding older brother, Tiff.

His father drowned while fly fishing with him the following year and he was raised by his mother, who began sending him to piano lessons at age 8 and gave him an accordion for his 15th birthday. Garcia had wanted an electric guitar, and mom swapped the squeeze box for a cheap Danelectro, the first of the dozen or so models of Gibsons, Gibson Les Pauls, Fender Stratocasters and various Doug Irwin Customs that he would play before millions of people in North America, Europe and Africa over the next four decades.

Garcia’s later teens were dominated by guitar playing, the kindling of a lifelong interest in the visual arts, and marijuana. He dropped out of high school in his junior year and did a brief stint in the Army, receiving a general discharge after two courts martial and eight AWOLs.

In the early 1960s, he was drawn to a house at 710 Asbury Street in San Francisco’s Haight-Asbury district, the crucible for the Summer of Love, all things hippie and psychedelic music. There he met Robert Hunter, who was living in a car behind 710 and would go on to become the Dead’s lyricist, and Phil Lesh, a classically trained trombone player who would become the Dead’s bassist. Lesh wrote in his autobiography that in 1962 Garcia resembled

"[C]omposer Claude Debussy: dark, curly hair, goatee, Impressionist eyes."
Lesh approached Garcia at a party at 710 and suggested that they record some songs in order to get radio play. They recorded "Matty Groves" and "The Long Black Veil," among other folk standards, and Garcia soon began playing and teaching acoustic guitar and banjo. Among his students was Bob Matthews, who introduced Garcia to Bob Weir, who would become the Dead’s rhythm guitarist.

Garcia played in several bluegrass and folk bands in the run-up to the formation of the Dead, including Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, which included Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, who would become the Dead's sometime lead signer, harmonica and keyboard player. He also began taking LSD, recalling in a book-length 1972 interview with Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner and author Charles Reich that:

"Well, it changed everything . . . the effect was that it freed me because I suddenly realized that my little attempt at having a straight life and doing that was really a fiction and just wasn't going to work out. Luckily I wasn't far enough into it for it to be shattering or anything; it was like a realization that just made me feel immensely relieved."
In 1965, Mother McCree's morphed into the Warlocks with the addition of Lesh on bass guitar and Bill Kreutzmann on percussion (who was joined later by percussionist Mickey Hart), but there was another band gigging around the Bay Area of the same name.

There are various versions of how the Dead came up with their name, but my favorite and possibly apocryphal version is that Garcia, sitting in the front room at 710 Asbury, randomly opened an Oxford English Dictionary and put his finger on the entry Grateful Dead, "a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial."

The rest, as they say, is history.

That being touring endlessly with the Dead from 1965 to 1995 – an extraordinary total of 2,314 shows – when Garcia didn't have health or drug problems, as well as creating a rich catalog of songs, most of which he collaborated with lyricist Hunter on, and of course his guitar playing.

Garcia matured quickly as a guitarist and, in my view, peaked creatively in the late 1970s. He was facile in several musical genres – country, bluegrass, folk, rock, R&B, soul, gospel, reggae and jazz – but in the end always was his own master when it came to music, if not life, and his sound was distinctively his own.

Like Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman, to cite the No. 1 and 2 greatest guitarists on the Rolling Stones list, experienced listeners know that they are hearing Garcia from practically the first note. Insofar as live performances are concerned, I usually can zero in to within a year or two of when a recording was made, sometimes the very night on which it was made, if it is pre-1980, or about the time I concluded that the Dead had lost much of their punch and creative energy along with and perhaps primarily because of Garcia.

Garcia was best known, and deservedly so, for his extended guitar improvisations, and while it is not true that he and the Dead never played a song the same way twice, they came awfully close.

In a Guitar magazine interview in 1985, he said that

"It keeps on changing. I still basically revolve around the melody and the way it’s broken up into phrases as I perceive them. With most solos, I tend to play something that phrases the way the melody does; my phrases may be more dense or have different value, but they'll occur in the same places in the song."
If Garcia had a musical signature, it was his use of rhythmic triplets in which three beats are played in the space of two, but it was his masterful interplay with the Dead’s other members – at least on the best nights – that I will cherish as being among the most memorable musical experiences in a lifetime full of them.

* * * * *
There was no Garcia or Grateful Dead "philosophy" per se, and unlike the Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service, the other sides of the original San Francisco psychedelic music triad, he and the Dead were doggedly apolitical while generous to a fault with their earnings. They never hesitated to embrace charitable causes, did many fundraising shows and founded the Rex Foundation, which gives grant money to grassroots organizations the world over.

But as longtime Dead publicist Dennis McNally wrote in A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead, if they did have a philosophy, it would be psychiatrist Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity.

McNally quotes Garcia as saying that

"We know from out own experience that enough things happen that aren't the result of signals or planning or communication that we’re aware of, but that are miraculous manifestations, that keep proving it out, that there's no way to deny it. We're just involved in something that has a very high incidence of synchronicity. You know, the Jungian idea of synchronicity? Well, shit, that's day-to-day reality for us.

"There's a large element of what we do that we have no control over. We have to beg off from what's happening – it isn't us that’s doing it, we’re only like the tools through which it’s happening. And it's okay. We have faith . . . Our music is never counting. For us the One is always Now. In time – whether it's 7/4 time, 4/4 time, or whatever – we're always coming back to the One."

Jerry Garcia's candid remark that his "little attempt at having a straight life" as a young man was a fiction is revealing, as well as somewhat sad, because in the end bad habits that begat those epic battles with his demons sapped his creative vitality and took him from us much too soon. I say somewhat sad because truth be known, it is difficult to imagine a man whose life was one long strange trip being a bank president by day and taking me on such fantastic musical odysseys by night.

In the end, Garcia was the ultimate tour guide: He took me to extraordinary places but he always brought me back and set me down gently.

The Grateful Dead As A Business Model

It is richly ironic that without intending to -- in fact, intending to do just the opposite -- the Grateful Dead embraced a business model that has subsequently been adopted by much of corporate America

That strategic improvisation, including focusing on their most loyal fans and getting way out ahead of the competition in embracing the Internet.

Early on, the Dead established a telephone hotline to alert fans to its touring schedule before public announcements, reserved for them the best seats at each venue, and capped the price of tickets and distributed them through its own mail-order house, which is exactly how I got tickets to the Furthur show reviewed above.

More here.

Image for The Atlantic by Zachariah O'Hora

'When There Were No Strings To Play'

ATTICS OF MY LIFE
By Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia
In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear
You sang to me

I have spent my life
Seeking all that's still unsung
Bent my ear to hear the tune
And closed my eyes
When there were no strings to play
You played to me

In the book of love's own dream
Where all the print is blood
Where all the pages are my days
And all my lights grow old
When I had no wings to fly

You flew to me

You
flew
to me

In the secret space of dreams
Where I dreaming lay amazed
When the secrets all are told
And the petals all unfold
When there was no dream of mine
You dreamed of me
Photograph by Kimberley Keyes

Beautiful Photograph du Jour

GRATEFUL DEAD WALL OF SOUND SYSTEM
(ca. 1974)
The Dead were well ahead of the rock 'n' roll curve when it came to their sound, but none of the systems they employed could top the Wall of Sound, which to my ears produced the best live concert sound evah both indoors and out.

The Wall of Sound actually was eleven separate systems. Vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and piano each had their own channel and set of speakers. Phil Lesh's bass sent signals from each of the four strings to a separate channel and set of speakers for each string. Another channel amplified the bass drum, and two more channels carried the snares, tom-toms and cymbals. Because each speaker carried just one instrument or vocalist, the sound was exceptionally clear and free of distortion.

The Wall of Sound consisted of 89 300-watt solid-state and three 350-watt vacuum McIntosh tube amplifiers generating a total of 26,400 watts of audio power through 586 JBL loudspeakers. The system projected high quality playback at 600 feet with an acceptable sound projected for a quarter mile, at which point wind interference degraded it. Four semi-trailers and 21 crew members were required to haul and set up the two 75-ton systems, one of which would go ahead to the next city on a tour while the other one was being used. The other would then "leapfrog" to the next show.

The first Wall of Sound shows were in February 1973 and the last in October 1974 during the legendary closing week at Winterland memorialized in The Grateful Dead Movie.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Torture Report: This Era's 'Hiroshima'

Given my general state of disgust (see post below), I have little inclination to wade into the report by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility that basically absolves Bush Torture Regime legal architects John Yoo and Jay Bybee. Besides which, we've known for a couple of weeks that the report would state that the men merely used "poor judgment" in crafting memos justifying the use of torture, which is a far cry to the professional-misconduct allegations in the original report.

But letting the release of the report and commentaries about it go unremarked on would be poor judgment on my part, so I'll call attention to perhaps the best reason about why, its softened conclusions notwithstanding, the OPR report must be taken seriously -- James Fallows' view that it should be to this era what John Hersey's Hiroshima was to the post-World War II era.

Hiroshima, of course, was a definitive (if fictive) account of the atomic bombing of the Japanese port city and a must-read for people on both sides of the never ending debate over whether using this ultimate killing machine was morally appropriate.

As with Hiroshima, Fallows states, the Justice report should force us to confront what was done in the name of the citizens of the United States of America.

While there can be no absolutes in debates about the morality of nations harming others, let alone their own, my own mind is made up. As I argue here, use of the atom bomb was justified. As I have argued over and over in dozens of posts over the past two years, the use of torture was not.


Ahem, Dick Cheney and his mouthpiece daughter of course could not disagree more. As Fallows deconstructs the Cheneys' argument, since Hiroshima was necessary, the atom bomb should be our first resort in any international conflict.

It' All Seems To Be Crap With A Capital C

There is far too much whining in the blogosphere and I'd like to think that I'm an exception. But not today.

While it hasn't snowed hereabouts for over a week, we've recently seen more sun than clouds and the DF&C and I had a marvelous weekend topped off by a delicious home-cooked dinner on Sunday evening, everything seems to be Crap with a capital C.

Sitting through hours of Winter Olympics "coverage" on NBC is like a high-definition root canal. An hour blown on an homage on Team USA and its 1980 upset of the Commies at Lake Placid, gauzy profiles of athletes who overcame adversity, endless yammering by commentators in front of butt ugly artificial fires flickering in hideous fireplaces, and . . . oh, once in a while some actual event coverage, like ice dancers doing racially insulting routines.

Then there is what's going on in Washington and out on the hustings: The beyond painful slouch toward watered-down health care reform as usurious insurers jack up premiums to criminal levels, the Democrats trying to out-stupid the Republicans, a godawful jobs picture and the institutional and societal reluctance to come to terms with torture.

At least things are going well in Afghanistan if you don't consider that the Afghan Army consists of a bunch of bums in badly fitting uniforms and the number of civilian deaths from U.S. air strikes is waaay out of control.


And then I read this.

Cartoon du Jour

Tom Toles/Universal Press Syndicate

Beautiful Photograph du Jour

LONG-TAILED DUCK
By Oscar

Monday, February 22, 2010

You Know That Society Is Doomed . . .

When Osama bin Laden is allowed to rewrite the U.S. Constitution.

When a man fatally stabs a woman and then torments her family by using her cellphone to send text messages that she was still alive.

When the true answer is not the right answer.

When the CEO of Hooters is shocked that people believe that his woman employees are exploited.

When an apartment manager beats a tenant to death for locking himself out.

When a call for bipartisanship is seen as a demand for surrender.

When a football stadium has had as many names as Elizabeth Taylor had husbands.

When a whites-only basketball league is organized.

When White House officials refuse to give a straight answer when asked what motivates terrorists.

When 12 year olds are threatened with prison time for acting like 12 year olds.

When a philandering pol makes his wife agree to remove the "promise to be faithful" part of their wedding vows.

When credit card debt is decreasing.

When meetings of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board are closed to the press.

When the owner of a bowling alley burns down his competition.

When the head of a state anti-gambling task force wins a jackpot in a neighboring state that allows gambling.

When Air America declares bankruptcy and stops broadcasting.

When a state senator proposes eliminating the senior year of high school in order to close a budget gap.

When a city's post-Super Bowl celebration is tame.

When flashcards are considered to be a terrorist threat.

When a disabled four-year-old is ordered to remove his leg braces and walk through an airport metal detector.

When people oppose same-sex marriage because men can't breast feed.

When the White House reaches out to Cuba.

When a ho-hum British movie about Charles Darwin fails to find a U.S. distributor because it's considered too controversial for religious America.

When a pack of vicious wild beagles attacks the residents of an affluent Long Island community.

When Republicans break with the judgments of the military establishment.

When a college basketball coach compares a four-point loss to the earthquake in Haiti.

When a restaurant encourages patrons to do the wild thing in their bathrooms.

When people oppose a plan to attack childhood obesity because it makes fat kids feel bad about themselves.

Click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here for previous installments of You Know Society Is Doomed.