Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Talkin' To The Man III

Dear Congressman West,

Just to recap, over the weekend you made the following statement:
This is a battlefield that we must stand upon. And we need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend, chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain't on the table...

Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, and take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.
Of course, when confronted by a reporter asking you to clarify your statement, instead of standing behind your openly moronic quote, you chose to deny having said it. Which kind of makes you a pussy, doesn’t it?

The other thing is that I did not refer to any person leaving. If you go back and read the transcript of the message that I gave, it was about equality of achievement, it was about economic dependence, it was about enslaving the American entrepreneur’s will and spirit. That message needs to leave this country.
That's crap, Allen. You don’t get to say idiotic things to pander to the paste-eating lunatics and inbred mouthbreathers hiding in the swamps of Florida, and then back away from it. You said it, and only a coward lies about his own past.

Of course, you have a lot to be ashamed of in your past, don't you? Strangely, you and I have a lot in common. Both of us entered and left the military in the same years: of course, having said that, only one of us wasn't forced to retire instead of going to jail for torturing Iraqi policemen.

I'm not going to say that makes me a better person than you: it would be the sum total of your life that proves that. And I'm not going to tell you to get out of my country, because unlike you, I have some concept of the ideals that this country was founded on, and I support them.

I will say that you are a shallow, deluded, lying gasbag who is not fit for public service; please resign in disgrace from a second government job. Get the hell out of my Congress.

With all due respect,*

Bill Minnich
Albuquerque, NM

* None

Snail-mailed this afternoon (without links or video) to:

Representative Allen West
3111 South Dixie Highway, Suite 308
West Palm Beach, Florida 33405

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Intelligent Disdain

In Missouri and Indiana this month, bills have been put forward in the legislature to return "intelligent design" to the classrooms. Because their children are apparently not stupid enough yet.

I occasionally hang out on a blog called Stone the Preacher (it's run out of Hope Chapel in Hermosa Beach, CA); I ended up there rebutting one of the standard canards of the fundamentalists (I think it was "atheists have no morals," but at this late date, I'm really not sure), and I kept going back, probably because I thrive on conflict. And run-on sentences. And recently, Pastor Steve, a young-earth creationist, made the mistake of mentioning "intelligent design."

I've always loved that phrase because of its inherent idiocy. "Intelligent design" is creationism wearing glasses and a clown nose, and the adjective is so clearly in conflict with the noun that people should be unable to avoid stuttering when they say it. Every attempt to sneak it into schools gets thoroughly destroyed in the courts, but that doesn't stop them from trying over and over again (for example, in Missouri and Indiana - and probably in some other state any day now).

Let's be honest: evolution explains why some of the ridiculous design flaws exist in the world. There is no "intelligence" in the "design" of the world, and examples are everywhere. Comedians have been pointing them out for years.
"God is a mechanical engineer! Look at this marvelous collection of joints and levers!"

"No, God is an electrical engineer! Look at the intricacy of these neurons and synapses!"

"No," said the city planner, "God is obviously a civil engineer. Sometimes, when nobody's looking, it's just easier to run a sewer pipe through a recreational area."
But fundies, being fundies, keep soldiering on, like particularly pious zombies on a quest for children's brains.

Let's consider the evidence. And remember, the people who believe this silliness also believe that God doesn't make mistakes.

1. As we develop in the womb, we form three sets of kidneys. The pronephroi ("forekidneys") appear in the fourth week; they degenerate pretty quickly, but the ducts are recycled to build the mesonephroi ("midkidneys"). And then those degenerate and the tubules are recycled in the metanephroi ("hindkidneys"), which are our permanent kidneys.

This almost seems like an elegant bit of engineering, but really, it's more like building an Eiffel Tower as scaffolding for another Eiffel Tower, which is used as scaffolding for a final, bigger Eiffel Tower, and you rip down each one as you go (I don't remember where I saw that metaphor, but it's perfect). It's an unnecessarily complex process, and it's just evidence that evolution had a number of false starts along the way, and had to go back and refigure what it was building.

(On the subject of kidneys, why is the gene for polycystic kidney disease dominant? Why make it 50% likely that you'll inherit a painful, life-threatening condition?)

2. The female quoll (an Australian marsupial) has only six teats, but gives birth to a litter of 18, meaning that the 12 slowest or weakest die of starvation. A 66% death rate makes sense to you? Was God weeding out the weak ones? Why didn't He just build them right to begin with?

3. While you’re in Australia, look up the mystery of a kangaroo’s teeth, for that matter. The grasses they eat are tough, and wear down the front teeth of the 'roo. So, to make up for this, they evolved were designed with an unusual ability: as the front teeth wear down, they fall out and the back teeth move forward to replace them.

Which sounds great, except that they don't have the ability to grow new teeth. So by the time they're 15 or 20, they run out, and starve to death. Apparently, God hates kangaroos, and wants to see them suffer.

4. Birds of the family Sulidae (boobies and gannets)...

...heh, heh... I said "boobies"...

4. Birds of the family Sulidae are diving birds, plunging into the water from the sky. One of their adaptations to this is that they don’t have external nostrils – the water would get shoved up their noses on impact. But even without external nostrils, they have everything else that makes up a nasal airway inside their beaks. It’s just that the nostrils are sealed off at the outside. Having nasal airways that can’t work is pretty pointless design. Although evolution tells us why they’re there, it makes you wonder why God would choose to install a completely pointless structure inside the bird's beak. Did He build it from spare parts from another bird?

If these things, and so many others, are designed, that’s some pretty shoddy craftsmanship.

Maybe God occasionally gets drunk on sacramental wine while He's working?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I gave that bitch some rights - bitches love rights

Well, two days ago, a random douchenozzle put a comment on a post I wrote six months ago, about the internet's reaction to Rebecca Watson admitting that she felt uncomfortable in an elevator, and explaining why.

What he wrote, in part, was a fairly standard male-privilege response.
This whole blog is an equivocation fallacy... If we were to take that seriously, then I suppose I should never talk to a woman anywhere, because rape DOES happen anywhere.

What some people seem to want is for a special exception to be made for women, because they view women as inferior. The people who feel this way are radical-feminists, pretending to be feminists.
This guy was undoubtedly just some random troll (his nickname was probably created seconds before he posted), but nonetheless, I responded to him.

Maybe I was a little rude (because I'm normally such a calm, generous, diplomatic person), but to be honest, my only regret is that I left off a question mark and used the phrase "you're an idiot" twice. Because I can do so much better than that.

My only excuse is that cheap boxed Merlot is a harsh mistress.

As far as I'm concerned, any male who uses the phrase "radical feminist" is almost automatically an inbred mouth-breather with limited capacity for reasonable thought. There are only two types of people: feminists, and morons.

(Quick disclaimer: sure, if you look hard enough, you can find a couple of lesbian separatists out there who want to live without ever seeing a man, or occasionally dominate men, reversing the status quo and sticking women on top of the bigotry heap. But they're a really tiny minority - the exception, not the rule - and it's rampant, overblown stupidity to equate the one with the other.)

You could argue that I'm setting up a strawman to make an argument, but this idiot male attitude is all too common. When you start with the two largest religions in the world openly stating that women are inferior to men, and somebody suggests that maybe the two should be equal, it leads you down a path where drug-abusing sociopaths make up words like "feminazi."

And you end up with men who think all women who don't fall into their stereotypes of "Madonna" or "Whore" must be ball-busting lesbian bitches.

And sometimes, you even end up with people trying to claim that the Costa Concordia disaster was made worse because of feminism.

Apparently, in their minds, there is only a limited supply of rights, and in order for somebody else to get any, they have to lose some. Sorry, guys, that's not how it works: we aren't about to reach "Peak Rights."

Anyone who has wives or daughters (I have one of each) and doesn't want to see them succeed is a subhuman asshat who never evolved past masturbating in public and flinging their own feces.

Because it's a basic fact of life - men do get all the breaks: society contains a built-in bias that allows men to succeed more easily than women. Hate to be the one to break it to you, children, but if you're too microcephalic to figure it out, I'm not going to help you at all. Instead, I'm going to give you math. Because I'm cruel.

Women make up roughly 50% of the US population, but only run about 1% of the Fortune 500 companies.

The average woman earns less than the average man (about 75%, give or take - admittedly, better than it was in the 60s).

"Ah," says the voice of Male Privilege, "could that be because men are smarter?"

No, sorry. About the same - although men tend to think that they are.

(Interesting side-note: because the concentration of money is in the hands of white males, white women earn, on average, 45% less than the salary of white men - a greater disparity than among any other race.)

And those numbers only get worse if you keep digging. According to the Department of Justice, one out of every six US women have been victims of a completed or attempted rape. The male stat? One in thirty-three. (And let's not even get into the concept of sexual slavery.)

But you aren't supposed to bring up these pesky little facts, and a young woman shouldn't talk about how she didn't appreciate getting hit on in an enclosed space. Because pinheaded morons start blathering on about "radical feminism."

Really? It's radical to think that women should be treated the same as men? And at the same time, it's radical to pay attention to the fact that some people feel uncomfortable in certain situations, and you should respect that?

Fuck you. Fuck every bloated, self-involved whiny little boy who uses the word "feminist" when deep down, they're screaming "cooties!"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Newton pulls out all the stops

If you're like me (and to be honest, I'm pretty sure that you aren't - but I digress), you have to have a certain fondness for Newton Leroy Mephistopheles Gingrich. I mean, he may be an evil, bloated troll and a complete abject failure as a human being, but he, more than anybody else in America except Mitt Romney himself, is working hard to help ensure the reelection of Barack Obama.

It's true that we liberals, progressives and real Americans can't afford to be complacent as we approach the election, but sweet flaming Baby Jesus on a popsicle stick! How can you not giggle like a schoolgirl watching the GOP flail away at each other like some kind of morally bankrupt Rock'em Sock'em Republicans?

Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican candidate: that's all but a mathematical certainty. But Newton (who is apparently blind to the open oozing wound where his soul might once have been) is charging in like a screaming toddler in the candy aisle, demanding to have his way, by golly! Dragging his animated wax replica of a wife behind him, he's going to keep stabbing away at Mitten's exposed back, trying to bring the Mechanical Mormon down.

Newton's faltering campaign is freshly energized by an influx of gambling money from a stereotypical mob boss straight out of Central Casting: Sheldon Adelson, who occasionally introduces himself as "the richest Jew in the world."

With all these stacks of fresh, clean money piling up in the back room, Newton's SuperPAC (which Newton has no connection to, except that he set it up and put former staffers in charge) put out a short film and website bashing away at Romney's record as a "job creator."

And things are just going to get better.
"This is going to be Armageddon – they are going to come in here with everything they've got, every surrogate, every ad, every negative attack," Gingrich said. "At the same time we'll be drawing a sharp contrast between a Georgia Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate who's pro-gun control, pro-choice, pro-tax increase, pro-liberal judge, and the voters of South Carolina will have to look and decide."
And just because the Three Stooges have to have their Larry, the craziest of the evangelicals got together this weekend to decide on their favorite flavor of not-Romney, and it turned out to be Santorum Crunch. So we can look for waves of fun coming from that quarter, too.

All I have to say is, the Obama campaign should see if they can borrow some of these ads later on.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

If you aren't part of the solution...

The right wing is completely losing their shit over Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
With Senate Republicans vowing to block any labor board nominees, the five-member board would have been paralyzed this year because it has only two sitting members. The Supreme Court has ruled the board needs at least three members to operate.
So, here's John Stewart to put it into perspective for you.

The problem is that we have a Congress which has done less than any Congress in recent memory, because so many seats have been filled with small-minded small-government idiots, who ran on a platform of "Congress doesn't work. Elect me, and I'll prove it!"

The majority of them don't have any interest in fixing the economy or helping Americans. Instead, they've embraced Mitch McConnell's strategy, which, as he explained it, was very simple: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

So they obstruct, delay and obfuscate; they prevent anything from happening, and then they try to claim that Obama is a "failed president" because he couldn't fight his way past the obstruction.

Well, guess what? He just did, and it's completely thrown them for a loop.

How can you claim that the Senate is "in session" when the entire sesson consists of gaveling in, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and gaveling out? That's nothing but a sham, and the Senate has been completely open about it.

Steven Bradbury and John Elwood, two former legal advisors for President Bush, pointed out that the nature of a "recess" is still open for interpretation, and Obama is fully within his rights to make these appointments.
In a 1905 report that the Senate still considers authoritative, the Senate Judiciary Committee recognized that a "Recess of the Senate" occurs whenever the Senate is not sitting for the discharge of its functions and when it cannot "participate as a body in making appointments." The committee cautioned that a "recess" means "something actual, not something fictitious." The executive branch has long taken the same common-sense view...

The Senate, of course, does not meet as a body during a pro forma session. By the terms of the recess order, no business can be conducted, and the Senate is not capable of acting on the president's nominations. That means the Senate remains in "recess" for purposes of the recess appointment power, despite the empty formalities of the individual senators who wield the gavel in pro forma sessions.
But you can still hear the sobbing from the poor, thwarted motherfuckers. Ironically, one of the motherfuckers in question, Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) managed to step on her metaphorical dick in her public pearl-clutching.
"These appointments are an affront to the Constitution. No matter how you look at this, it doesn’t pass the smell test. I hope the House considers my resolution as soon as we return to Washington so we can send a message to President Obama."
The problem is, the Constitution doesn't specify a minimum length of time the Senate has to be in recess before the president can enact a recess appointment. And since this Congress has effectively been in recess since 2010, it's time for them to shut up and admit that he played the game better than they did.

Monday, January 09, 2012

John McCain's knee jerks again

You have to feel sorry for John McCain. When you're the privileged son of an admiral, and you're in your 30s when those negroes got all uppity the Civil Rights movement took place, it's understandable that you might have a certain amount of "white man's privilege" that it's hard to let go of.

So it probably stung when he got his ass so throroughly spanked by a black man in 2010.

And since he had to sit out most of Vietnam sitting in a bamboo cage, maybe little Johnny just wants to get his war on. I suppose that could be it.

But come on, John!
Arizona Senator John McCain on Sunday warned that the situation in Iraq is "unraveling" due to recent U.S. foreign policy actions there - and that a "very chaotic situation" could give way to a rise in Iranian influence in the region.

McCain, speaking to Bob Schieffer on CBS' "Face the Nation," argued that the recent U.S. military drawdown from Iraq is creating a dire situation in that country.

"It's unraveling because we didn't keep residual force there, because the President of the United States pledged to get out of Iraq," McCain said. "We could have kept a residual force there and kept some stability. And instead it's unraveling, and Iran's influence is increasing and there's every possibility you could see a very chaotic situation there."
See, Johnny, it's probably best that you didn't specifically name which president it was that "pledged to get out of Iraq," since Obama simply lived up to the timetable that was set up by the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement, signed by George W. Bush.

Monday, January 02, 2012

That frothy mix

I have to assume that Rick Santorum is still in the race to be the GOP nominee because he hopes that some simultaneous outbreak of monkey pox will wipe out the rest of the field. That, or, as a good Catholic, he enjoys a little flagellation every so often - it's good for the soul.

He is probably the thirteenth or fourteenth least-electable candidate in the history of humanity, but we can't seem to get him to just shut the hell up and go away.

Even before the primary, Santorum was surging in Iowa (eeewww!) at 15%, but he still can't seem to consistently break 5% nationally. Not that he isn't optimistic (or possibly sadistic): he put it a few weeks ago, "I'm counting on the people of Iowa to catch fire for me." (Which seems unnecessarily cruel, but what do I know?)

The problem is that Santorum is just the latest flavor of not-Romney to hit the shelves. It's his turn to be touted nationally for the next few weeks, until somebody remembers that we're electing a president, not a pope.

Santorum has two major disabilities that are going to prevent his election: his sanctimonious, unpleasant nature, and his aggressively ignorant and regressive social policies. His entire platform, as far as I can tell, seems to be abortion and gay marriage - everything else is secondary. If he were, by some miracle, to be elected president, we'd have an uninterrupted 4-year fiesta of fag-punching.

We know that Santorum is so homophobic that he'll only eat a corndog with a knife and fork, but is he also racist? Well, that one's a little trickier. He has, for a long time, been consistently in favor of the full GOP stand on immigration: no amnesty for illegal immigrants, and likewise no benefits for them; deport criminals, strengthen border security, and even the somewhat trickier "English as the official language" stance. And while that has overtones of "scary brown people," it's the Republican party line. So no points there.

On the other hand, it's somewhat telling when you stand in front of a group of white people from Iowa (a redundant statement, but let's move on) and explained that "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."

His first explanation was that he didn't remember making the comment. Faced with the video, he huddled with his campaign, but the best they could come up with was that he "mumbled it... I was starting to say one word and I sort of came up with a different word and then moved on."

What he couldn't seem to explain was what that "one word" was. "Blaa" is a pretty unique sound. Who does he not want to help? Bloggers? Bluefin tuna? Blink 182?


But let's move beyond that. What would a Rick Santorum presidency do for America? Well, let's consider his belief system for just a moment. What does Rick Santorum believe in?

His career should have been over after he tried to make political points leading the charge in the Terry Schiavo case, exploiting the pain of the family of a provably brain-dead woman. But he weathered that (presumably, the $250 thousand he earned in campaign contributions from the Schiavo debacle helped a lot).

Rick Santorum believes that birth control is directly responsible for the moral decline of America, saying "the dangers of contraception in this country, the sexual liberty idea and many in the Christian faith have said, you know contraception is OK. It’s not OK because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

He wrote an article in 2002 blaming pedophilia in Catholic priests on "moral relativism" and "cultural liberalism."

This is a man who said that John McCain, who was tortured while a POW in Vietnam, "doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works."

He tried to require the "No Child Left Behind" law to ensure that creationism was taught in schools.

In 2007, the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named him one of the twenty most corrupt members of Congress.

Will Bunch, the senior writer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News has covered politics in Pennsylvania since shortly after Rick Santorum was elected for the first time. He wrote a fascinating article from a Philadelphian's point of view entitled "The Rick Santorum That America Doesn't Know." Take a few minutes and read it - it's worth your time.

But the worst thing I know about Rick Santorum is what happened when his wife Karen was 20 weeks pregnant. Her non-viable fetus was not expected to survive, and the mother developed an infection. And Rick Santorum, who is opposed to abortion for any reason, allowed the doctors to give his wife pitocin to speed the birth. And while that may have been wildly hypocritical, what followed was completely insane.

After spending the night with the dead fetus on the bed between them, they took the body home with them, and forced their children to cuddle with it and sing songs to it. Ms Santorum even proudly wrote a book about it.

Where the hell was Child Protective Services when this was going on? Where was the Health Department?

The worst thing that could possibly happen to America would be a Rick Santorum presidency: I wonder how long it would take him to appoint a Grand Inquisitor?

And yet, he is suddenly one of the two front-runners in the GOP field. Is the Republican Party so desperate to find an alternative, any alternative, to the robotic hair-helmet that is Mitt Romney that they're willing to embrace anyone at all?