Tuesday, February 11, 2014

News. Or Why We're Beyond Hope



The above are screen shots from yesterday's "Crooks and Liars." You'll need to go there to read the stories. But why bother? The point is simple: everywhere you look, our country has gone beyond the point of no return; led, nearly exclusively, by hateful and/or insane right winggery. Is there a rational basis for thinking otherwise?

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Great White Hope



This is the guy lots of conservatives I know point to as the next great hope of the teabagging Republican Party. Because, you know, they don't see color: 
WASHINGTON -- Ben Carson, the retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon and Fox News commentator, recently warned supporters of Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby that progressives are turning the country into the next Nazi Germany.
...
Carson said one of the main goals of progressives was to "fundamentally change who we are," and part of that entailed "keeping a blanket of silence over the majority." ...
... Carson then likened the status quo to Germany under Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, teeing up what he later implied was the choice facing voters in the 2014 midterm elections.
"There comes a time when people with values simply have to stand up. Think about Nazi Germany," he said. "Most of those people did not believe in what Hitler was doing. But did they speak up? Did they stand up for what they believe in? They did not, and you saw what happened."

"People with values." What a dick. This is what passes for intelligence among those anti-intellectual bedrock Amurricuns. He's a doctor! A brain surgeon!! So when he says the usual hate-mongering stuff, when he makes the anti-liberal argument ad Hiterium, and when he does it while being black!!, well, by golly, they have themselves a damn trifecta of triumphant trash. They can gobble it up and feel damn good about themselves.

Which they do.

Why is it that so many Republican doctors in public life are such blatant deniers of reality? How did they make it through med school without their heads exploding from the disconnect between their beliefs and the science on which their field is based?

I guess it's not that they're doctors; it's that they freely associate with today's Republican party, membership in which seems to require a previously unknown level of compartmentalization between the world in which they actually live and the one in which they imagine themselves. That he says this outrageous stuff, and that there are those who eat it up like Skittles, says everything one needs to know about why I've become so pessimistic about that party ever becoming useful again.

[Image source]

Must Be Running Out Of Hurricanes



Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Shits Just Keep A'Coming



When you're devoid of ideas (it helps also to be devoid of morals - WWJD) aimed at helping anyone but your wealthy string-pullers, you cheat, lie, and steal to raise money and get votes.

If you support Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s bid for reelection, stay away from annkirkpatrick.com. The site might greet visitors with a welcoming photo of the Arizona congresswoman and a screaming “Kirkpatrick for Congress” logo, but that design belies its true agenda. 
Funded and created by the Republican Party’s congressional campaign wing, the site’s true aim is in the fine print: to defeat Kirkpatrick, described as “a huge embarrassment to Arizona.” 
The National Republican Congressional Committee bought up hundreds of URLs ahead of the 2014 election cycle and has created nearly 20 websites appearing to support Democratic candidates in all but the small print, a spokesman for the campaign confirmed Thursday. 
The websites include donation forms that accept credit cards and encourage viewers to contribute up to $500, but instead of money going to the Democratic candidates, it goes to the NRCC... 
And it's not some peripheral outliers: it's the RNC! Once again one must ask: how much will it take for decent, thoughtful, non-hate-filled, open-minded conservatives to abandon today's Republican Party and/or demand much much better of them? Much more than this, evidently.

Much more than this, too.

What awful people.

[Image source]

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Hyps Just Keep A'Coming



More hypocrisy from teabaggRs:

Republicans and conservative wonks have long supported de-linking health insurance from employment in order to give workers more economic freedom. But now they're attacking Obamacare for ... doing just that. 
Republicans seized on a Congressional Budget Office report Tuesday to attack Obamacare for "destroying" or "costing" jobs. The reality wasn't so simple; in fact, CBO didn't project any pink slips; it said some 2 million workers would voluntarily exit the full-time labor force (over a decade) because Obamacare will make them less dependent on their employer for health insurance. ...
It has been an important conservative goal -- before and after the Obamacare debate poisoned intra-GOP politics -- to give workers more flexibility and freedom to retain health insurance if they switch jobs or quit. Indeed, existing health care alternatives by conservatives would have similar effects on workers...
  
... Obamacare seeks to fix this problem by providing financial assistance to get coverage and prohibits insurance companies from shutting out sick people. The Heritage Foundation and various prominent Republicans supported this approach during the 1990s and 2000s, but abandoned it once Democrats took it up. And so conservatives set about proposing new ways of disentangling health insurance and employment, such as unwinding the tax exclusion for job-based coverage, offering individuals a tax credit to buy insurance and expanding Health Savings Accounts. 
The most recent of these proposals was put forward recently by Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch (UT), Tom Coburn (OK) and Richard Burr (NC). ... The goal is similar to that of Obamacare, and portends similar behavioral consequences.
When will the Foxolimbeckified ever wake up? When, oh when?

[Image source]

Spin, Span, Spun




It's hard to imagine a time when honesty and intelligence will return as values to people on the right, so completely have they been expunged. The thoroughness of their extinction is breathtaking, and the shock of it is matched only by the ease with which it's been accomplished by the non-stop propagandists at Fox "news" and right-wing radio, as they've played steadily to the worst of human weaknesses.

WRT the issue at hand, here's a little more of the truth of it. As if.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Who We Are, Like It Or Not



Me? I like it.

It Just Doesn't Matter

So the big debate between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken "were you there?" Ham happened.

I didn't watch it live, but did check in on PZ Myers' live-blogging, and one might think, based on that, that Nye didn't do as badly as I'd feared. Not because Nye is incapable; but because no one can win a debate with a creationist. Ham, it seems, did his usual when confronted with contradictions: the Bible is true because it's in the Bible.

The debate occurred at Ham's creation "museum." The audience was mostly made of his supporters. Were minds changed? Did Nye's arguments make anyone think twice? After it was over, a person who was there asked audience members to write down questions for Bill Nye and hold them for pictures. Here's a sampling. The rest are here, if you want to torture yourself.





Oh god oh god oh god oh god.

One Set Of Eyes, Opened



On the subject of the "debate" between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, here's a reassuring -- if all too rare -- statement by a former young-earth creationist who unshackled his mind. Reading the whole thing provides context, as well as happiness:

... I'm writing all this because I don't know many people who were as far into the creation science movement as I was and came out of it. After graduating high school, I went on to college and got my bachelor's degree in physics; I now work in energy policy. Despite four years of physics, it still took me a long time before I actually came to understand evolution, geology and cosmology.
...
...  I'm amazed by the amount of evidence I systematically ignored or explained away, just because it didn't match creation science.
Creationism isn't just one belief; it's a system of beliefs and theories that all support each other. We believed that unless we could maintain confidence in special creation, a young planet, a global flood, and the Tower of Babel, we'd be left without any basis for maintaining our faith.
... As long as people think the foundation of their religious faith depends on denial of science, it takes incredible energy to make them question the simple explanations given by the creationist movement. 
...
I had never known creationism was only invented a scant 50 years ago (six-day-young-earth creationism was never a fundamentalist dogma until the 1960s).
I had never known that most Christians accepted the Bible's creation account as deliberate allegory many centuries before scientists even knew the Earth revolved around the sun.
...
I want people to be free to learn, free to understand, free to explore the fantastic mysteries of the universe without being tied down to phony dogma. I want children to learn how to trust the scientific method and, more importantly, how to use the scientific method so their creativity and imagination won't be wasted trying to defend pseudoscience...
Amen, brother. (By the time you read this, the "debate" will have happened.)

[Image source]

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Don't Jerk Off At BYU



Or, if you do, lock the door.


Piercing The Bubble



Wanna know why drastic income inequality is a problem for a capitalist democracy? Read this.

I don't mean to be unkind, but isn't this story rather like sending out a reporter to discover that you cannot buy things with pelts and trinkets any more? That actual money, fiat or otherwise, is usually involved, and that your local Forever 21 doesn't take chickens for payment? 
"...Regardless, affluent shoppers like Mitchell Goldberg, an independent investment manager in Dix Hills, N.Y., say the rising stock market has encouraged people to open their wallets and purses more. "Opulence isn't back, but we're spending a little more comfortably," Mr. Goldberg said. He recently replaced his old Nike golf clubs with Callaway drivers and Adams irons, bought a Samsung tablet for work and traded in his minivan for a sport utility vehicle..." 
Fk off. Die in a sand trap.
I wish I could write like CPP. He's funny, and deadly serious. To argue that it's a matter of survival to address this problem is not, as the Foxolimbeckians would have us believe (and of which they've clearly convinced their teabagging mindless audience), socialism. Nor, as the aggrieved and put-upon plutocrats would have us believe (and of which they've clearly convinced their teabagging mindless audience), a matter of envy. Or of demanding handouts. It's a plea for recognition of reality, for the future of us all.

Aye, there's the rub.

[Image source]

Monday, February 3, 2014

Disconnect



Demonstrating their empathy for and love of women, Republicans showed off a plucky little gal from around here to give the official (among four) response to the State of The Union show. It was a good choice, in that she perfectly personifies the Republican disconnect from actual humans, and their assumption that no one will notice. Or that if they do, they won't care.

... On Tuesday night, McMorris Rodgers talked about how she worked at McDonald’s as a teen. But don’t expect any help from her on raising the minimum wage for the people holding the job she left behind. 
Her state, with the highest minimum wage in the country at $9.32 an hour and job growth above the national average, has shown the fallacy of her party’s argument that raising wages for low-end workers is a net job killer. Lucky for the people in Eastern Washington they live in a state that has extended Medicaid to working poor and consistently raised its minimum wage. This would not happen if Republicans governed as they preach. 
So, McMorris Rodgers clearly votes against the welfare of her constituents — no surprise there... 

One despairs for one's country.

[Image source]

Tyrant



You knew, didn't you, even before he gave the speech, that Rs and their screamers would be yelling about the dastardly power grab by President Barack Hussein Obama when he announced a couple of intended executive orders. "Imperial presidency." "Ignoring the Constitution." "Abuse of power." "Nazi Muslim Kenyan Marxist Terrorist Anti-Christ." "Bad, bad lawless president." This, they say with faces straight as Larry Craig, after making it clear from day zero that their only legislative goal was to obstruct the president at every opportunity, prevent him from accomplishing anything. No matter the toll taken on the country for the love of which they claim sole proprietorship.

The above chart is a useful contextualizer. Its major shortcoming, of course, is the factuality of it. Data, and stuff. Meaning it will, in no way, nohow, before Hell chills, ever, till cows fly home or bears shit wood, cause a moment's reflection in (oxymoron alert) teabagger minds.

Boy oh boy, it's hard to be generous to these people.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Can't Wait



Super Bowl next Sunday. Should be a nail-biter.


Insignificance



Even though this amazing film provides some sense of scale, it's still impossible to get one's mind around what a tiny atom in a single grain of sand in an immeasurably huge desert we are.

It does, however, explain a little of why so many humans, rather than accepting the mystery and finding pleasure in it, feel the need to ascribe meaning and answers where there are none; and how self-indulgent and delusional most answers really are.

[Thanks, Dougie, for the link]

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Creative Writing



Continuing to try my hand at non-argumentative writing, I've posted a few things on a writers' website called ReadWave. Most are "regular" submissions; some are for their weekly writing challenges. The most recent subject is "It happened in a minute. Here's my offering. (If you "like" it, I could win... nothing.)

And here's another, for their previous challenge, on "The first time." (The picture above is, as you'll see, particularly relevant.)

It's fun for me, if mostly inconsequential; but no doubt healthier than the shit I post here most of the time.

[Image source]

Like It Is


Andrew Sullivan: conservative, former Republican, proud Catholic, gay, married.


Budget Goodness

My upcoming newspaper column: Reading their budget and health care solutions has changed my mind about Donald Trump and the people in c...