And people wonder why I’m suspicious of animals of the feline persuasion:

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Ok, so maybe this is a little cheeky but I have to say that robots creep me out in a major way. Maybe its because I’ve read a billion sci-fi novels in which robots inevitably enslave the human race…

As Matt Yglesias deftly observes:

Elliot Spitzer’s vision for improving education:

Provide funding for robotics teams at every school. If you ever want to see intellectual competition in the arena that matters today—technological wizardry—visit the robotics competitions that now exist in some schools. Make these competitions as universal as football. Make it cool to design the next cutting-edge video game or iPod.

Dana Goldstein is skeptical. I’m terrified…

After the human race is enslaved by robots, there are going to be small rebel groups hiding out somewhere and Elliot Spitzer’s going to be writing op-eds about how “no one could have predicted” that the robots would rebel and overthrow their masters. And it’ll be left to DFH bloggers to observe that this is in fact one of the most widely predicted scenarios in all of science fiction. From the proto-SF of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein through to Karel Capek’s R.U.R. and The War Against the Newts all the way up through Terminator and The Matrix. Yes, yes, yes eventually the Butlerian Jihad will allow us to re-overthrow the Thinking Machines and establish human rule but do we really want to fall into that trap?

Just say no to robots. And certainly say no to robots in our schools.

Stop the madness — no to robots! Yes to humanity!

Side Note: To protect your family against robot attack, sign up for Old Glory insurance:

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Time for a little myth busting. You know how you’ve heard over the last few months media talking heads and various frightened Republican congressional candidates repeatedly bringing up the old saw about how Americans give Congress (as a whole) such a low approval rating (generally as a way to shield Bush or other Republicans from well-deserved opprobrium)?

Well, as it turns out, Americans have a much higher opinion of Democrats in Congress than Republicans:
Funny how facts have a way of getting in the way of false narratives.

In other polling news, a majority of Americans — me among them — think Roland Burris should be blocked from being seated in the Senate:

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Matt Yglesias takes up the running argument over which Star Trek series was the worst:

Yesterday afternoon while awaiting the beginning of the Texas-OSU game, I opined on my public Twitter feed that “truly ‘Voyager’ is the worst of the Star Treks.” This provoked some dispute from my Twitter followers. The most popular contrary view was that “Enterprise” is worse… As for “Enterprise,” I dunno. The Temporal Cold War is stupid. But I think the explorations of the origins of the Federation and the Prime Directive are interesting. Not interesting to normal people, of course, but interesting to fans of the franchise.

I wholeheartedly disagree. Although I agree with Matt that Voyager was a treacly, poorly acted mess, it actually had a few watchable episodes.

Not so for Enterprise.

Enterprise was quite possibly one of the worst sci-fi shows I’ve ever forced myself to watch (and I used to watch the Sci Fi Channel on a regular basis!). Scott Bakula was, hands down, the worst starship captain ever to play a lead role in the franchise. Worst of all, the show had what was quite possibly the worst theme music of a TV program in at least 50 years (watch/listen if you dare). The concept of a prequel is of course a laudable one but it lacked anything approaching competent execution. Thank God UPN cancelled it after only four seasons (which was exactly four seasons too long).

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Supreme Lord Douchebiscuit Terry McAuliffe is running for some important office in Virginia. I don’t even care what it is — I just hate that I’m going to have to be exposed to him in the national media. His performance as a lying, hacktackular, dead-ender sycophant in Hillary Clinton’s campaign made me want to retch on several occassions.

Apparently, even the animal kingdom senses the mendacious, self-serving evil that is Terry McAuliffe:

Your video of Terry McAuliffe just popped up in my Google Reader. My dog is laying behind my chair. As soon as I started the video, Charlie (a hound mutt from the shelter) started growling at my computer. I’ve never seen him do that before. I’ve always been kinda blasé about Terry, but I think my dog just judged him better than I ever could have. As soon as I turned off the video, he stopped growling.

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Overwhelmingly Catholic Spain is starting to get the secular message. Although I’m unsure of the practical implications, it’s a step in the right direction:

In an unprecedented decision here, a judge ruled in November that the public school must remove the crucifixes from classroom walls, saying they violated the “nonconfessional” nature of the Spanish state.

Although the Roman Catholic Church was not named in the suit, it criticized the ruling as an “unjust” attack on a historical and cultural symbol — and a sign of the Spanish state’s increasingly militant secularism.

If the judge’s ruling was the latest blow to the Catholic Church’s once mighty grip on Spain, the church’s response showed Spain to be a crucible for the future of church-state relations in Europe.

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You can view my assessment of Roland Burris’ acceptance of Illinois Governor Hairdo’s appointment to the Senate here: What About Roland Burris? (also see Burris Sympathizer Compares Reid to Segregationists).

You can sign the petition to block Burris’ appointment to the Senate here: Block US Senate Nominee Roland Burris

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The Obama team made what I consider to be a political masterstroke yesterday by announcing their selection of respected former Congressman Leon Panetta to head the CIA.

Although somewhat mixed, the reactions from the intelligence community have included a lot of praise for the Panetta pick. Even some neoconservatives are on board.

Former intelligence analyst Greg Treverton, now with the Rand Corporation, said Panetta’s experience as a former White House chief of staff might give him a unique understanding of the presidency and its needs for intelligence. “One of my experiences with people like Panetta who have been chief of staff is that they have a clear sense of what is helpful to the president that most senior officials don’t,” Treverton told me. “They get it. What he could do and couldn’t do. And that’s an interesting advantage Panetta brings. Knowledge of what the presidential stakes are like, how issues arise, and what they need to be protected from, for better or worse.”

Retired CIA deputy director for the East Europe division Milt Bearden said Panetta is a “brilliant” choice. “It is not problematic that Panetta lacks experience in intelligence,” Bearden e-mailed. “Intel experience is overrated. Good judgment, common sense, and an understanding of Washington is a far better mix to take to Langley than the presumption of experience in intelligence matters. Having a civilian in the intelligence community mix is, likewise, a useful balance. Why not DNI?”

Well, what could be the problem, considering that many successful past CIA directors have lacked direct intelligence experience (e.g. George H.W. Bush)?

3… 2… 1… Cue a tone-deaf, self-immolating Democrat shooting the Party in the foot:

“I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA director,” incoming chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was cited by the Los Angeles Times. “My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”

Yep, that’s right. As the Republican obstruction machine opposition in Congress gears up to turn some of Obama’s appointments into partisan political theater, the incoming Democratic chairperson of a key intelligence committee decides to publicly cast doubts on one of Obama’s key appointments.

Can’t we Democrats even wait until Obama is inaugurated before we start shooting ourselves in the extremities? Do these people even KNOW how politics is supposed to work?

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