Rubio (and Obama), Kill, Spielberg, birds, Thanksgiving and the Balrog

Marco Rubio, one of the favorites for 2016 Republican nomination, doesn’t trust or doesn’t understand science when it comes to the age of the earth. Apparently he thinks the Bible and science are equally plausible “theories” on the topic and he doesn’t have the necessary background to judge the difference. “I’m not a scientist, man,” he said.
I don’t know what’s worse: If he really thinks that, or if he’s just saying it to appease his base.
Either way, it’s a shame that in this scientific age, with a great many scientific challenges facing us, we’re still appeasing and electing people who are just plain ignorant of basic scientific facts and have no more understanding of the earth than the cave men (persons) did.
In the interest of fairness, it turns out Obama said something similar in 2008. Here’s the comparison of the two:
Campbell Brown: If one of your daughters asked you — and maybe they already have — “Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?
Barack Obama: I’m trying to remember if we’ve had this conversation. What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it — it may not be 24-hour days. And that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and that I think is a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. You know, my belief is that the story the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live, that that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible? That, you know, I don’t presume to know.
Compare that with Rubio’s answer in GQ:
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
My opinion stands, regardless of who panders to the creationists. 
Barker vs. Kill
I read the letter AJ Barker wrote to U of M football coach Jerry Kill about quitting his team, and the newspaper reports on Kill’s news conference.
I found it interesting and it gets at some of the anachronistic behaviors and attitudes present in football locker rooms. Just watching Kill’s explosions on the sidelines makes me think he’s a Neanderthal, and reading Barker’s long missive is further confirmation (and also confirmation that Barker’s a bit dramatic and full of himself, like the footnotes at the end on manipulative personalities, probably lifted from his Psych 101 textbook).
Barker also claims that one of the assistant coaches called him a “faggot.” Kill denies it ever happened, but wasn’t there.
I know, I know, it’s football, but I think there are better ways to get the most out of players than sideline and practice field tirades and histrionics. These gorillas gotta join the 21st century.
Went to “Lincoln” yesterday with wife and son. It was really good. Daniel Day-Lewis was very fun to watch — and thankfully more understated in the role than in his scene-chewing performances in Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood.
Tommy Lee Jones was great, but I can think of about 45 actresses I’d rather see as Mary Lincoln than Sally Field.
So I really liked it, but…
It’s Spielberg, and the ham-handed emotional manipulation caused more than a few eye rolls in the dark of the theater.
“Now I will make you laugh with James Spader cursing, while happy music plays.”
“Now I will make you cry with a zoom in on the tears in the eyes of the black servant.”
“Now I will gross you out when the man dumps severed legs into a garbage pit! Remember when the head popped out of the sunken boat in Jaws? I think I’ll try that again.”
Definitely worth seeing, but in my opinion, Spielberg treats audiences like children (which apparently we are, given his success).
Bird news
We’ve received reports that evening grosbeaks and pine grosbeaks are visiting feeders in the area.
A brief Internet query turned up lots of speculation that this will be an “irruption” year for boreal songbirds, including grosbeaks, crossbills, redpolls, siskins and red-breasted nuthatches.
Irruptions usually occur due to food shortages in the north, like small crops of berries and conifer seeds.
A reader was also mystified by the appearance of a sandhill crane. According to the DNR, migration of sandhills can take place through mid-November, so it’s not really out of the ordinary. The warm weather probably has them taking their time.
Here’s an old column from Thanksgiving 2010. An attitude of gratitude that even skeptics and secularists should be able to relate to.
I’ve been dealing with a chronic sinus infection since May. I’ll spare you the details of the symptoms, but I’ve been working on an extended metaphor involving the sinuses as the Mines of Moria from Lord of the Rings, with the Fellowship as the various treatments (antibiotics, neti pot, sinus rinse, essential oils, apple cider vinegar, fasting, steam, heat packs, etc.) and the infection as the goblins, cave trolls, and ultimately, the Balrog, that live in the mines. I am hoping for Gandalf to come and finally destroy the Balrog, but so far it hasn’t happened. Appointment with specialist next week.
Speaking of which, it’s amazing the number and variety of homeopathic remedies, medical opinions, gullible sufferers, crackpot quacks, and all manner of health-related hogwash one can find on the Internet. It must drive the doctors crazy when people come in with their various New Age theories and Olde Tyme remedies.
I just want a pill to kill the Balrog.
Mille Lacs County’s recycling services will go to J. Vanderpoel, whose proposal will save the county $9,000 over three years. Not sure how I feel about that. Is it worth 30 extra cents per citizen to go with a tried-and-true provider versus an unknown quantity?
The weather today is spectacular. I was in Chicago over the weekend enjoying unseasonably warm weather. The fog lately has been odd, and it makes me wonder if it’s yet another example of the “new normal” of the greenhouse era.
Which is the main reason why it’s important to have people who believe in science in positions of power.


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