Toucan Sam Turns Evil and other short notes

I had to read three articles before I was sure this story wasn’t somebody’s diabolical hoax. But no: Kellogg has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Maya Archeology Initiative because their toucan logo looks too much like Froot Loops’ mascot Toucan Sam. (The comparison below is from the Lowering the Bar blog, which specializes in strange-but-true legal stories.)

The MAI is a Guatemalan non-profit that promotes local archeology for children and adults. It uses the toucan on its logo, because Guatemala has real toucans.

It also has real Mayan ruins, which Kellogg also objects to MAI using in its logo, because Toucan Sam is sometimes shown in fake Mayan settings.

Says MAI president Dr. Francisco Estrada-Belli, “This is a bit like the Washington Redskins claiming trademark infringement against the National Congress of American Indians.”


I avoided the 9-11 anniversary coverage. The genuine human tragedy of that day has gotten so abused and debased over the last ten years by bad wars, fear-mongering, hate speech, and authoritarianism that my instinctive response now, when I see images of the smoking towers, is that somebody is probably trying to trick me into doing something bad. I think it will take years for that reaction to fade away.


President Obama made a good speech, and (by most nonpartisan accounts) proposed a good program. But I think this is yet another example of the bad political tactics I talked about two weeks ago.

Obama’s proposal is already bipartisan — full of ideas from both parties. So once again the center has become the leftmost extreme of the possible. Now Congress will push the bill further and further to the right, until we can’t be sure whether it improves the lives of working Americans at all. And then, having made such a strong case that something needs to be done, how can Obama veto it?


If everyone is supposed to be so worried about the deficit, why has the interest rate on 10-year government bonds dropped under 2%?


This sign is apparently genuine, from February, 2010.

Or at least the kind of homeschoolers who can’t spell are for Perry.


This sign fooled me, but a commenter points out it is fake. Still, it’s a good laugh:


Just something to enjoy: Marco Tempest combines the moves of card-magic with some iPod programming to make a very beautiful TED talk.


One of the biggest applause lines of Wednesday’s Republican debate:

[Moderator BRIAN] WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you…

(APPLAUSE)

Williams went on to ask if Perry ever lost sleep worrying that “any one of those might have been innocent.” Perry replied: “No, sir, I’ve never struggled with that at all.”

In at least one case, maybe he should.


Exxon is getting its money’s worth from its climate-denial propaganda campaign: According to Yale’s Project on Climate Change Communication, even Democrats are woefully uninformed about the scientific consensus on climate change. When asked to estimate the percentage of climate scientists who believe climate change is happening, only 18% of Democrats and Independents give the correct answer: 81-100%. Another 20% say 61-80%.

See Kevin Drum for elaboration.

Correct answer: The National Academy of Sciences published a survey of 1372 climate scientists in 2009, and found that 97-98% believed in anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change.


You’d never know it from the media, but there is left-wing libertarianism also. Kevin Carson of the Center for a Stateless Society writes:

Although right-wingers like to present the issue as one of preventing the state from redistributing wealth downward, the real issue is one of stopping the state from redistributing wealth upward.

More technically described as “market anarchists“, I’m not sure why they identify with libertarians at all. But that’s up to them. It’s a free country.


David Atkins explains why conservatives don’t have to win elections to push the country to the right. Rick Perry calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” might cost him the presidency. But now the media treats the Ponzi-scheme rhetoric as if it were a credible point of view. Future “centrist” compromises will allow for the possibility that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.


Mike Tomasky does the numbers to show that bipartisanship is a one-way street. On key votes, Congressional Democrats gave President Bush seven times the support President Obama has received from Republicans.


Which GOP candidate is right for you? Use this flowchart.


Nobody seems to know where this motivational poster came from. I got it here.

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  • By Turn the Crank « The Weekly Sift on September 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    […] Toucan Sam Turns Evil and other short notes. Toucans can’t symbolize a Guatemalan educational non-profit, because they already symbolize Froot Loops. […]

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