January 31, 2008

"Lon Ponschock: Althouse should be willing to debate."

The Capital Times publishes an inane letter. So everyone who says the 9/11 conspiracy theory is nutty ought to show up for a debate about it? May I suggest that you get Bill Clinton then?

UPDATE: More from Bill Clinton: "You look like idiots."

79 comments:

Bissage said...

Must . . . not . . . Google . . . Lon Ponschock.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Simon said...

Yawn. More loons out of the woodwork and into the vortex.

Original Mike said...

He wants you to debate 9/11 or academic freedom?

David said...

I wonder what Mr. Ponschock thinks "presumptive" means?

Simon said...

Lookit, just because someone has a right to believe something unbelievably uneducated that flies in the face of physical laws doesn't mean that they deserve the dignity of being treated like their loony idea is worth taking seriously enough to debate. That's something these 9/11 "truth" folks - as, with unbearable arrogance, they term themselves - need to realize. They're like flat earthers demanding that intelligent people meet them on the field of debate - or the High School football team from nowhere, KS, who demand that the New England Patriots are clearly an inferior football team since they won't come out to Kansas to prove that they're better.

Original Mike said...

Can you send a champion? I nominate Tibore.

Sheriff Cobb said...

I thought Long Poonstruck was the noted anthropologist who first discovered the practice of enlarging pudenda’s among the Ubangi tribe. As I recall, he went up to the shaman and slapped in the face and said “Snap out of it.”

Bissage said...

I say Tibore together with Sipp in a tag team cage match against Mssrs. Looncock and Barrel.

THERMITE!!!!

Henry said...

Unintentionally funny line from Mr. Ponschock's letter:

Numerous times I have sought local speakers to engage in this debate and have come up wanting...

You don't say.

former law student said...

Further, Ms. Althouse, can you prove that the earth is not the center of the universe? Hmmmn? I thought not. Unless you put your money where your mouth is, none of your assertions are credible. I'll meet you anywhere, any time.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann great idea - if everyone who thought the Truthers were nuts actually showed up, you'd have to hold the debate in the Grand Canyon.

jeff said...

"or the High School football team from nowhere, KS, who demand that the New England Patriots are clearly an inferior football team since they won't come out to Kansas to prove that they're better."

HEY! Why else won't the patriots come out here? HMMM? What are they hiding? Not to mention if you stand here and turn in a big circle you can clearly see the edge of the earth in all directions.

rcocean said...

Althouse - Hold out for a Rosie debate.

Althouse vs. Rosie. Topic: Does steel burn? Now that would be interesting:

b. j. edwards said...

Other letters to the Editor on that page are just as hilarious, to wit:

James Buels: Has academia become the new Inquisition?
"Professor Ann Althouse's remarks about Kevin Barrett are not only cruel and uncalled for, they are unethical!"
...
"Althouse should either agree to debate Barrett in a public forum about the attacks of 9/11, or she should resign!"


----------------

Jeannon Kralj: Barrett is the "best thing" for UW
"Kevin Barrett is the best thing that has ever happened to the University of Wisconsin."

-----------------
One can never underestimate the intelligence of the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Beth said...

Numerous times I have sought local speakers to engage in this debate and have come up wanting...

Why are I reminded of the Black Knight, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

MadisonMan said...

All those writers from non-Wisconsin locations. Curse this internet!

It's sad that people have so little faith in their own system of government that they think it's out to get them. I think the other word for it is paranoia.

Pogo said...

Numerous times I have sought local speakers to engage in this debate and have come up wanting...

I'll bet when Lon Ponschockt uses that technique on prospective dates he gets the same response.
Numerous times I have sought local women to engage in a relationship and have come up wanting.

I picture Dwight K. Schrute with a worse haircut.
Debate these guys?
Best not to antagonize the local loons.
Avoid eye contact.
Cross to the other side of the street.
Hold your keys in your fist, pointy edges out.
Walk quickly away.

stoqboy said...

I'm curious why the Capital Times is spending so much space on this. Is this a reputable paper?

Lawgiver said...

None shall pass.

It's your fault Beth.

Telecomedian said...

@bissage - I googled him as well, and the guy seems a bit on the techie side, given his Usenet usage and postings. You'd think he'd use that tech knowledge to use and do a quick look on impact stress on structures.

But then again, it's easier to be smart than wise.

joe said...

I agree with Simon. They are trolling for respectability. Screw 'em.

Danny said...

I'm pretty sure that the Badger Herald surpassed the Cap Times in circulation sometime last year.

Lawgiver said...

Truthers make me feel this way.
Bring me a bucket from my second favorite Python clip.

nansealinks said...

paranorma is misspelled often as paranoia.

You don't want me to reproduce my aesthetics from msn, do you?

Go out to the to rim of the universe and look in, you earthcentric beings.You can always go back to your comfort zone when you will. Or visit your local looney bin. It's closer. Asking if there is a doctor in the house? Someone told me I needed one. I guess I am not unique on that order.

Lawgiver said...

And for anyone who ever had difficulty with conjugation. The dative case always gave me problems.

Original Mike said...

Is [The Capital Times] a reputable paper?

Not so much.

Tibore said...

They want to "debate", because their info doesn't stand on up to scrutiny, and therefore pummeling the messenger is the only way they can gain any traction.

Besides, how exactly does debate favor truth? Seriously? I'm not asking rhetorically here. The fantasy prone can say "no plane" yadda yadda, and make their point in 2 seconds. A realist would have to produce the witness testimony, photos of the debris, etc., and need 15, 20 minutes just to skim it. Verbal debate is simply a lousy forum for this sort of topic (which is probably why folks like the letter's author pushes for it so hard).

If they want the truth, they can go to the sites I always post in response. Otherwise, truthers are simply trying to make publicity.

Pogo said...

Besides, how exactly does debate favor truth?

Great point.

Mark Twain touched on this when he said that A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

Truth is time consuming and often dull.
That's why we prefer television, populistic politics, and Starbucks.

Anthony said...

Besides, how exactly does debate favor truth?

This has been a question in the evolution/Creationism "debate" for quite a while. It's often very damaging for evolutionists to formally debate Creationists because many of the Creationists (e.g., Phillip Johnson) are professional debaters and know how to argue for non-specialist audiences which the usually teaching-oriented evolutionists are not very good at. It's far easier to "raise questions" than it is to answer them in detail.

Middle Class Guy said...

...the subject in terms of academic freedom for Kevin Barrett based on the documented evidence.


Mr. Ponschock proves my rule of arguments and debates;

Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience everytime.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience everytime.

True. Pig wrestling rarely pays dividends.

Maxine Weiss said...

I'm gonna 5150 all of you !!!!

SGT Ted said...

Whats to debate? The amount of meds needed by 9/11 troofers to work thru their delusions, projection and enial?

JohnAnnArbor said...

The Troofers are like the moon-landing-conspiracy dorks. No amount of data will convince them. They have their conclusion, and they like it!

hdhouse said...

Randy...

the problem with pig raslin' as I see it, is the abandonment of wanting to stay clean.

Once you get past that, as is the case with the 9/11 crowd, there is also a problem with language. Pigs don't understand too many words, if any, and they sure don't comprehend when they are beaten.

matthew said...

The real truth is that the 9-11 for truth movement would have taken off and been accepted by the masses if not for you, Ann Althouse. And you're stupid dog too...

rhhardin said...

A former boss of mine was a parapsychology booster. Keep your mind open and your office filled with bent cafeteria spoons, is my advice.

Don't get involved in theoretical discussions involving open minds and window screens.

Beth said...

Sorry not to link but it's in the top of CNN's stories -- Bill's confronting a "troofer" again at a campaign stop. Doesn't say if it was today or yesterday -- he gives an excellent rundown of the facts, and adds (my paraphrase) that "we look like idiots denying who murdered the people in the towers, and who continues to murder people around the world today."

I'm inclined to think he's a liability to Hillary's campaign, but I think he should keep up this particular theme. He's a good voice against the idiocy of the "troofers.

rhhardin said...

Lon Ponshock sounds like a Thai country music star.

Pumpuang Duangchan

Simon said...

Beth said...
"I'm inclined to think [Bill]'s a liability to Hillary's campaign...."

A few years ago, Barry Goldwater said that "[t]he best thing [Bill] Clinton could do ... is to shut up.... He has no discipline ... [and i]f he'd let his wife run business, I think he'd be better off." How times have changed!

Drew W said...

He's no Thai country music star.

"Lon Ponschock" is really noted conspiracy theorist "Chop" Clonkson.

Oh, how he loves to throw government agents off the trail with his clever anagrams!

(Both names sound like characters in a Pynchon novel.)

Tibore said...

"Further, Ms. Althouse, can you prove that the earth is not the center of the universe? Hmmmn? I thought not. Unless you put your money where your mouth is, none of your assertions are credible. I'll meet you anywhere, any time."

Well you see Ptolemy, ummm... ptold me... this...

:)

Middle Class Guy said...

rhhardin said...
Lon Ponshock sounds like a Thai country music star.


Actually, according to Wikigoolia, he is the illegitimate son of Muy Poon Tang and Whadda Whadda Bing Bang.

James said...

Not related at all to the post, I just figured some of the conservatives here would like this little quote:

Jesse Jackson, responding to Major League Baseball sending investigators to southern umps hometowns and asking neighbors, among other things, if the umps belong to the KKK"

"Major League Baseball has done a disservice to its progressive social history by equating southern whites with white supremacists," Jackson said in a statement. "I am surprised the professional league which helped change social attitudes in all sports leagues about segregation, by championing Jackie Robinson, would make such a destructive move."

Come on, can we get some love for Jesse Jackson on this one??

Tell Sackett said...

Jesse just said that because he got steroids from Roger Clemins connection.

ZPS said...

I'm always surprised at how angry and defensive people get around conspiracy theorists. If they're so loony, why is everyone so worried? I don't believe all of what they say, but I appreciate that they're out there. They've made me seriously question the "official" version of events that day from our government.

ShawnL said...

"Truthers make me feel this way.
Bring me a bucket from my second favorite Python clip."

Furthermore, once you remove insinuations, and rely on facts, their argument is "wafer thin".

Pogo said...

how angry and defensive people get around conspiracy theorists
Because some of these people are actually dangerous, and cause bad things to happen.

Conspiracy theorists hijacked the fight against communism in the 1950s, resulting in prosecution of innocent people in the United States.

Similarly, such conspiracy theorists were behind the Salem witch trials (cf historian Paul Johnson).

It's not a benign condition.

rhhardin said...

Jean Shepherd covers the End of the World crowd, click the Comet Kohutek audio.

Pacifica radio WBAI covers the trufers in a fund-raising pitch

Sheriff Cobb said...

Conspiracy theorists were also aghast at the Patriots undefeated season. They are cheaters, so they must be doing something illegal. Plus they never cover the spread. By the ghost of Arnold Rothstein there is something going on around here!

Sheriff Cobb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JohnAnnArbor said...

Conspiracy theorists hijacked the fight against communism in the 1950s, resulting in prosecution of innocent people in the United States.

And, not incidentally, discrediting the search for enemy agents in general, so we ended up not finding some real ones until far too late.

Susan said...

Bill
Clinton on CNN

Tibore said...

"They've made me seriously question the "official" version of events that day from our government."

I love how so much of the fantasy depends on people thinking that the "official story" emanted from the government to begin with. Those weren't government news cameras showing us the collisions on 9/11, nor are those government shills writing papers in Architecture Week, iCivilEngineer, the Journal of Engineering Mechanics, or Engineering News-Record. Not all the eyewitnesses to the planes striking were government employees.

Disingenuous.

ZPS said...

Yeah but...

the Salem Witch Trials were my favorite part of history class in elementary school. All those fun movies! That bad acting! And The Crucible!

It's not as if the 9/11 truthers are going after helpless innocents here. I don't think we have anything to worry about with this particular group. Who are they gonna try to hang? The editors of Popular Mechanics and the Bush Administration? Not likely to happen.

Michael_H said...

Geez....Maybe I'll show up.

I'd wear an aluminum foil pointy hat and postulate that if the gummint would only set off the opposite of an explosion, then the buildings would magically rise up out of the ground.

Sure...if an explosion brought down thet towers, then the OPPOSITE of an explosion will cause them to rise up.

We know the gummint has the right, anti-explosion stuff to bring the buildings back, but Bush and Cheney are hiding it so Halliburton can get the contract to build new buildings.

Just like they could end global warming buy turning down the global thermostat (kept locked in Cheney's special undisclosed-location lair) a couple of degrees.

Hmmm....didn't Halli Burton date JFK just before the CIA shot...??

It's all related.

JohnAnnArbor said...

ZPS, no one's arguing to silence them. We're just ignoring their idiot requests to debate idiotic issues.

Original Mike said...

They claim they're being silenced, but they equate derision with censorship. This current tempest is apparently related to Barrett not getting the teaching gig he wants. That's not censorship.

Ann Althouse said...

Speaking of Google, poor Lon must now live in a world where searches for his name hit this post mocking him #1. I'm sure he enjoyed attacking me in the (piddling) local paper, so let him enjoy his new Google results.

Tell Sackett said...

So mean.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

HD HOUSE:
the problem with pig raslin' as I see it, is the abandonment of wanting to stay clean.

So I've rediscovered, much to my chagrin. I think I'll paste your reminder to the top of my monitor. ;-)

KT said...

Technically, he said "we look like idiots..."

KT said...

It was, of course, an innocuous mistake, but I hear that's how Drudge got his start. :P

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.

Madam,

As the Ghost of a Person who has seen many a Lunatick in Bedlam, and who has offer'd up Observations from Time to Time on the Madmen who have frequent'd this, your Theatre of Topicks (as I call it), I believe I may be entitled, with your Permission, to ascend to the Style of the Althouse Inspector of Lunaticks.

You will understand my Forbearance, Madam, of making any Remarks concerning the Army of Cranks and Madmen who inhabit this Age, but who have not attempt'd Entry to your Establishment, or made themselves known to You or your Audience.  That Mr. Ponschock hath done so, causes me no little Consternation, for he has not made the usual EntrĂ©e amidst Rantings & Ravings, which can offer the analytick Observer no small Matter to treat upon & to make Sport of.

No, Mr. Ponschock's Letter is pithy and point'd: He would have a Debate.  That the Subject of the Debate be foolish Humbug to any rational Person, and has been prov'n against Him beyond all Doubt, is of no Importance to Mr Ponschock.

Mr. Ponschock's distemper'd Brain is unquestionably subject to Vain Imaginations: foolish Thoughts, not based upon Anything real.  This Condition has the usual Cause of a rise of Melancholick Humors.  If I may make bold to prescribe a Cure, this Distemper may be remedied by that noble and famous Confection, Alkermes, made by the Arabians, containing the Grains of Scarlet Oak.  I would have Mr. Ponschock make an immediate Journey to Baghdad for the Purpose of procuring this Physick.

As you may see, Madam, I shall spare no Effort in your Service as Inspector of Lunaticks.

Expecting no Compensation, save the kind Words with which You have already graciously favour'd Me,

I remain, Madam,

Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

EnigmatiCore said...

"More from Bill Clinton: "You look like idiots.""

Looks can be deceiving. But, in this case, they aren't. President Clinton is right.

Synova said...

I think that conspiracy nut-ism is a mental disease like paranoia. Sometimes someone *is* out to get you and caution and a bit of suspicion is a positive survival trait.

Conspiracy sorts see patterns... well, patterns are fundamental to everything from interpreting what our eyes see as pictures to procuring an acceptable cave-person meal, learning agriculture or anything at all. So we like puzzles and we like finding patterns, and we get language for it and all sorts of goodies.

We also get nut cases who are essentially self-pleasuring that corner of their brain.

ZPS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ZPS said...

Woops:

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/in_the_know_is_the_government

Tibore said...

True, Synova. Problem is, those folks don't realize that false pattern recognition also exists. That doggie in the sky isn't really a doggie, it's a funny shaped cloud.

Titan said...

As Anthony pointed out, this is a standard creationist tactic as well. It's funny to see how identical conspiracy theories are.

Evolution is a vast conspiracy made up by atheist scientists! Face facts!

From Inwood said...

Prof A

Ah, but what do the 9/11 Truthers think of the Empire State Building zap area you disclosed to us?

There's something going on under the surface there, in caverns measureless to man. I was there once trying to deliver liquor....

BTW, I would name this area the Wossomata Circle/Polygon/Ellipse (apologies to Bullwinkle).

This just in: Rosie says that steel can't be penetrated by waves from a building's, um, masthead.

Elliott A said...

Modern technology makes it much harder to ignore lunatics than it used to be. The AGW crowd is a sad example that now the loons can be really dangerous and injure all of us. We will be paying out the wazoo for a more believable but no less crazy myth.

MadisonMan said...

Elliot, AGW is a plausible theory. Not perhaps likely, but plausible. 9/11 "Truth"ers are pushing a theory that is laughably false.

former law student said...

Tibore said...

"They've made me seriously question the "official" version of events that day from our government."

I love how so much of the fantasy depends on people thinking that the "official story" emanated from the government to begin with. Those weren't government news cameras showing us the collisions on 9/11, nor are those government shills writing papers in Architecture Week, iCivilEngineer, the Journal of Engineering Mechanics, or Engineering News-Record. Not all the eyewitnesses to the planes striking were government employees.


[shakes head slowly] Oh, Tibore. You are so naive. Don't you think any self-respecting coverup conspiracy would enlist people with no obvious connection to the government? God only knows what they used on those people -- could be anything from an appeal to patriotism to the threat of waterboarding. Remember: the government knows where you live -- they send an agent to your house every day -- and the government knows where your children goes to school (PS 128).

Theo Boehm said...

Well, if Sir Archy wants to be the official Althouse Inspector of Lunaticks—and he'll obviously have plenty of scope around here—I nominate Tibore as the Althouse Inspector of Truthers.

Tibore has presented in a number of comments a very elegant, well-researched, and scientifically sound engineering case against Trutherdom.  His comments on the subject are absolutely the best we've seen here, and if anyone deserves
a title and the thanks of readers, it's Tibore.

On the other hand, physical reality and logical analysis are so hard and sooooo boring!  Knowing, just knowing, what really happened confirms that you're the special person you always knew you were.

Freder Frederson said...

The AGW crowd is a sad example that now the loons can be really dangerous and injure all of us.

Seriously, I was thinking the exact opposite. Those of you who deny AGW in spite of all the evidence are just like the 9/11 truthers. Yet, here you are accusing the people who have the preponderance of the evidence on their side of being the loons. Not to mention that the global warming deniers have cooked up a conspiracy where the whole theory was concocted by socialists who want to destroy the U.S. by imposing unbearable burdens on it.

Tibore said...

"Remember: the government knows where you live -- they send an agent to your house every day -- and the government knows where your children goes to school (PS 128)."

Hehe... you know, Law Student, the funny thing is, last night there was indeed a police car parked in front of my condo, with an officer real close to my door. Turns out he was investigating a neighbor's complaint about something (noise, bumping a car, I don't know), but I had one heckuva fright when I pulled around the corner and saw that! "Why's a cop parked in my spot? Why's an officer right outside my door??!!"

And dammit, it's about time I found out where those munchkins I fathered go. The ex one-night-stand won't even speak to me...

;)

Tibore said...

Hey, thanks Theo! I know it seemed overbearing at times, but I just wanted it on record that there were indeed answers to each and every lunacy brought up, and that those answers have actually existed for some time. Which is why I find truthers dishonest; just about everthing I've seen were answered by others before I even knew what a "truther" was.

----

I kinda like Archy's prescriptions. "Alkermes, with Grains of Scarlet Oak". I myself was thinking Haldol with a dose of Valium, or barring that, a clunk on the head plus a wrap-around jacket, but Archy's ideas have that sense of old elegance to them, a real old-time "pharmaceutickal" quality. That's sooooo missing in the treatment of mental illnesses nowadays. :)

b. j. edwards said...

"Pacifica radio WBAI covers the trufers in a fund-raising pitch."

Then there was this assault by two crazed Truthers on David Frum.