Wednesday, January 1, 7000

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Myth #4: Conspiracy theorists believe in UFOs / Aliens / Apollo Moon / Holocaust denial

This is a straw man and an ad hominem fallacy. Not all conspiracy theorists believe in the same things, nor does believing in aliens invalidate their arguments on other theories. The only thing linking these things is that they are all perceived to be conspiracy theories. Each should be evaluated on its own merits.

However, if a theorist bases their beliefs on poor argumentation, then other conspiracy theorists may want to distance themselves from him/her or question that theorist's ability to support their own ideas. Many such people are accused of being deliberately planted to discredit other theories, a technique called the 'poisoned well'. The media then proceeds to discredit an entire investigative movement based on a few silly theories - a strawman attack.

When the media lumps anybody who doesn't trust the government version of 9-11 into the category of flat earthers and holocaust deniers, any real conspiracy there might have been is given the ultimate defense. Namely, a pre-emptive, universal ad hominem on anyone who would dare talk about it publicly, the archetypal 'tin foil hatter'.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Debunking MADD - MADD “Statistics” Again Debunked - A Reality Check on DUI Claims

Posted by Lawrence Taylor
duiblog.com

As I’ve posted repeatedly in the past, MADD’s prohibitionist zealots are fond of twisting statistics to justify their expansion of unfair laws, Draconian penalties and unconstitutional procedures.  See, for example, A Closer Look at DUI Fatality StatisticsMADDness and Lies, Damned Lies and MADD Statistics.
The truth is finally beginning to emerge:

A Reality Check on DUI Claims 
Groups purposely misstate fatalities
to further an anti-drinking agenda
The Tennessean, June 22 — Drunken-driving stories, like last week’s op-ed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving representative Alexanderia Honeycutt, make headlines every day.
Groups like MADD relentlessly remind Americans that the abuse of alcohol continues to be a huge problem on our roadways and, as a result, the most drastic measures are needed. Though truly "drunken" driving is a serious issue, much of the reported problem is little more than PR.
 Consider fatality statistics. The number of deaths that activist groups attribute to drunken driving is grossly exaggerated.
Last year, federal statisticians classified almost 18,000 deaths as "alcohol-related." However, alcohol-related does not mean alcohol-caused. In fact, that figure includes anyone killed in a crash in which at least one person (driver, pedestrian, cyclist, etc.) was estimated to have any alcohol. (If a sober driver recklessly crashes into and kills a family whose driver had enjoyed a glass of wine, statistics reflect all their deaths as "alcohol-related.")
In reality, the figure reflects a much broader spectrum of casualties: people under the legal limit, drunken pedestrians, impaired cyclists and others. After accounting for those people, actual innocent victims only make up 12 percent of the widely reported statistic — a considerably smaller amount than activists have led us to believe.
The anti-alcohol lobby has also invented fantastical talking points to bolster their bunk traffic stats. Honeycutt uses one of its favorites ("first offenders drive drunk on average 87 times before they are caught"), going so far as to accuse individuals of criminal acts with absolutely no proof to back up the claim.
The truth is that this widely publicized figure comes from rough estimates of self-reported data — commonly criticized as unreliable. Collected from a small sample almost 13 years ago, even the study’s own authors admit the estimates are "crude."

As I posted a couple of years ago, an independent study by the Los Angeles Times  found that despite federal figures claiming nearly 18,000 deaths caused by drunk driving in 2002, only about 5,000 of these actually involved a drunk driver causing the death of a sober driver, passenger or pedestrian.
MADD has used the same altered statistics to get all 50 states – with some federal coercion – to lower the legal limit to .08% and to expand the use of roadblocks:
In the 1990s, these groups used another "crude" statistic to convince the public that reducing the legal blood-alcohol content limit from 0.10 to 0.08 percent would save 600-800 lives annually. Today, research proves it didn’t work.
Their 0.08 push failed to have any measurable effects on traffic fatality rates. It only lowered the threshold for qualifying as a "drunken" driver, ignoring the fact that the majority of "drunks" wreaking havoc on our roads drive while more than double the 0.08 limit. One study in Contemporary Economic Policy concluded that 0.08 efforts would have been better spent encouraging effective measures against chronic drunken drivers.
Tennessee’s anti-alcohol groups aren’t heeding that warning. Instead, they’re demanding more funding, more legislation and more manpower for other misguided measures, like sobriety checkpoints.
These roadblocks are based on the idea that it’s more important to look "tough on drunken driving" than to actually go after the drunks. Checkpoints don’t catch many (if any) drunken drivers. In the largest program ever studied, Tennessee ran almost 900 checkpoints over the course of a year, stopping almost 150,000 of the state’s drivers. The result: a mere 773 DUI arrests — less than one arrest per checkpoint. Compare that to the impact of roving police patrols — a tactic that catches 10 times more drunken drivers than roadblocks.
But you won’t hear anti-alcohol activists like Honeycutt repeat that stat. Their groups no longer target "drunken" drivers, aiming instead to eliminate any drinking before driving.
Right now, the 176 million responsible Americans who drink in moderation can still safely (and legally) drive home after enjoying a drink. Furthermore, research shows that drivers who talk on cell phones, drive drowsy, or travel 7 mph above the speed limit pose a larger threat than those who enjoy a few drinks (and stay below 0.08) before driving home.
Disregarding the evidence, the anti-alcohol movement’s invented, inflated and distorted "facts" would have the public believe that there should be no legal limit except zero. This is the reason we all think one thing when the reality is another.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

JM Talboo Reviews Ghostbusters - Official Endorsers of Hillary Clinton for President 2016 - A Good Film Gone Bad by Aggressive Agenda-Driven Promotion


No major spoilers of any kind in this review itself beyond a few minor details and many of the links lead to spoilers. If you don't want to know anything, like even the mention of a ghostly character that appears on screen then best avoid.

The Bad News First:

I personally can say that I enjoyed this flick on the big screen a few nights ago with my wifey after receiving some free tickets. That being said, those responsible for this production, meaning everyone from the studio, to the director, to the actors, do not in any way deserve your hard earned money. Why? Because of the disingenuous and agenda-driven way that they have all promoted the film. The decision by the studio execs to get involved in the the culture war and surrounding politics was quite possibly not driven by genuine ideological motives so much as financial ones, but the aftermath is the same either way. And the director Paul Feig quite obviously is a man hating (male) Social Justice Warrior type. I recommend this positive review of the film that also attempts to psychoanalyze Feig, so as to, in the immortal words of Bill Murray, find out what makes him tick. As they state in the review video description, "paul feig is a lolcow. ghostbusters was cute. but is it worth giving money to someone who hates you (and himself)?"

I don't think the movie itself is anywhere nearly as tainted by an SJW agenda as Mundane Matt (below video) and others have made it out to be. Although some of those criticisms have merit, while other things are being  understandably overly scrutinized leading to conclusions of an agenda where they likely was none.

Another downside is that there are noteworthy amounts of really corny (not funny corny) parts and failed attempts at humor.

Next up, is the majorly overused CGI special effects, which is not in  keeping with the original films that by comparison took  a less is more type of approach, which makes the viewer appreciate the razzle dazzle moments much more. Furthermore, a substantial amount of said effects are cartoonish, very Disney's Haunted Mansion-esque and were an actual major cause for the early heavy criticisms of the film trailer, earning it the title of most disliked video in YouTube history. This innocent critical observation was among the things viciously and ignorantly spun into unfounded allegations of misogyny, see first link above. Case in point on the bad effects, is that Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man look better in the 1984 version. I recently rewatched the 1984 original and the special effects hold up quite well and are overall better than this film. The one exception in the original is the goofy looking claymation part where the demon dog is running around, when it's stationary  the animatronic version of the dog looks great. Now don't get me wrong, there are also some great modern effects that surpass anything in the older film as well,  some of which I'll get to in a sec. However, better visuals should be expected with the advancements in the tech available. This is why I say overall the effects are better in the old film, because they didn't use a lot vs this incarnation and what they did use always aimed and largely succeeded in coming off as realistic.

The Good News:

Overall I give it a solid 2 1/2 stars. It's at least as good if not better than Ghostbusters 2. The material that misses the mark in the laugh department is countered by a fair share of smile inducing and lol worthy material from some very funny ladies. I think they all did a great job and I particularly liked Kristin Wigg's performance, which includes a hip-hop dance performance that I found impressive and due to the situation it occurs in it got me chucking. I also thought Kate McKinnon's character was great, much wilder but reminiscent of the beloved Dr. Egon Spangler in her eccentricity and role as the brains of the brainy crew. Actor Harold Ramis, who is now decreased, gave life to Dr. Spangler and there is an Easter egg in the new film that pays him tribute. The cameos from the former Ghostbusters stars I also thought were great and did not seem out of place and forced as some have argued.  I also left the theater with the opinion that the criticism that Leslie Jones is playing a black woman stereotype is unwarranted. It was not the over-the-top cringe fest I was told so often to expect. She herself has rejected this notion saying that "if I'm stereotype, so be it." This was in reference to her character being an average Joe in comparison to the 3 other genius scientist Ghostbusters. I'd go one step further and say that from what I can tell she talks very much like her character in real life, so she's not playing a stereotype, but rather proof that stereotypes don't materialize out of thin air as do the ghosts in the movie.

One thing nobody has mentioned that I've come across, is that the 3D version of the movie makes the best use of that technology that I have seen and I'm a huge 3D fan. The film masterfully uses the trick of adding a letterbox to create the illusion of things literally coming out of the screen and the 3D is just really good in general. And contrary to appearances from the trailer, the film does respect the subject matter of the paranormal. They do a pretty good damn job with that aspect and made a pretty good damn film really.

I'm just one guy, but I bet I'm not alone in saying that if those involved in this film series can just keep the politics to a minimum, treat the fans with respect, and not turn a true misogynistic minority into a monolithic majority, that I'll pay to go see the planned sequel. I'll buy the Blu-Ray of this one when it comes out, but I think they deserved getting slimed at the box office.