Cutting Edge 3/9/14

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Wayne’s world

Phillip Bump at The Wire writes that “NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre gave a master class in choir-preaching at the annual [Conservative Political Action Conference] in Maryland on Thursday.” Among his techniques:

• Prove you belong in the room: “In short order, LaPierre ticked off nearly the entire ‘Things Conservatives Are Mad About/​Hate’ checklist. Political elites and the media … Passing bills without reading them! Reckless health care policies! … Attempts to ‘regulate our religion’ and ‘collect our cell phones and email data’! Then, firing as rapidly as a modified AR-15: ‘They give us Solyndra, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, massive unemployment, a debt that will choke our grandchildren and one executive order after another right on top of each other.’ Wham wham wham wham, targets destroyed.”

• Scare the crap out of everyone. An excerpt: “In this uncertain world, surrounded by lies and corruption everywhere you look, there is no greater freedom than the right to survive and protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns, and handguns we want. (Applause.) We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and there are home invaders, drug cartels, carjackers, knockout-gamers and rapers and haters and campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse our society that sustains us all.”

Putin’s biggest supporter

From The Borowitz Report: “MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin received ‘strong, unqualified words of support’ last night in a 90-minute conversation with himself, Mr. Putin confirmed today. The invasion of Crimea was the main topic of the conversation, which Mr. Putin described as ‘extremely collegial and enthusiastic.’

“ ‘We discussed a wide range of issues, including how everyone in Ukraine had invited us to come to Ukraine, and also how the soldiers reported to be in Crimea were not actually Russian soldiers but, in fact, local volunteers who looked a lot like Russian soldiers,’ he said. ‘There was strong agreement on all of these matters.’ ”

Say what?

From Pittsburgh’s Spork in a Drawer blog under the headline “Told You So”: “Yesterday I suggested that Paul Ryan’s story of a schoolboy who prefers starvation to liberals trying to feed him (or something) might possibly be a work of fiction.

“Ryan’s story is from a novel [Here the Spork provided a link to story about how this happened].

“It’s remarkable that conservatives don’t think that their stories can actually be checked out. Or maybe it’s that they know [that] so as long as a story reinforces already-held beliefs it doesn’t matter, and any attempt to debunk is more proof of bias against conservatives. Either way, Ye gods.”

Too cutting?

John M. Mier of Mier Energy Engineering in Leetsdale thought last week’s Cutting Edge was too glib in picking up an L.A. Times piece on bizarrely named grad courses. One was “daylighting.”

Mr. Mier worries about “something in the American psyche that wants to put academicians and scientists in their place,” referencing the Golden Fleece Awards handed out by the late Sen. William Proxmire for what the senator thought were silly federally funded research projects — but which often turned out to be well worth funding. Of “daylighting,” Mr. Mier writes:

“Daylighting is the engineering study of how to use sunlight more efficiently in commercial and public buildings so as to reduce one of the largest components of a building’s energy budget, namely the amount of energy spent on lighting. Strategies used in daylighting include how the spaces are architecturally configured, the use of skylights and light tubes and the use of window-mounted reflectors. …

“The point is to optimize usable light while minimizing heating and cooling loads all the while providing a visual atmosphere that people can function well in. It gets pretty tricky to do it well, but if thinking a little bit can painlessly eliminate part of our carbon footprint … maybe not such a stupid study, huh?”

Point taken, Mr. Mier.


Compiled by Greg Victor (gvictor@post-gazette.com).

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