Friday, May 25, 2012

How pro-choice are we?

Gallup released a poll this week that has the Religious Right (and, these days, is there any other kind?) screaming in glee. Because it seems to say that America has started hating abortion. A record low 41% of Americans now identify as pro-choice.

But the chronically brilliant John Fugelsang looked at the numbers, and that isn't what it says at all.

(Current TV video stolen from Crooks and Liars.)

And yes, this is the same John Fugelsang who has permanently linked Mitt Romney to the Etch-a-Sketch, for his attempts to rewrite his past positions on just about every subject.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pot calling the kettle black...

So, in the last few months, at least five clinics that dispensed medical marijuana, which is allowed under California law, have been forced to close because of a campaign by the federal Justice Department. And someone is finally calling them out on it.
The San Francisco Democratic Party adopted a resolution yesterday demanding that President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag "cease all Federal actions in San Francisco immediately, respect State and local laws, and stop the closure of City-permitted medical cannabis facilities"...

At least 5 permitted San Francisco dispensaries have been forced to close in the last few months as a result of the Obama administration's heightened attack in California. The operators and landlords of these and several more dispensaries were threatened with federal criminal prosecution and asset forfeiture in an effort to shut down access points for the city's tens of thousands of qualified patients. San Francisco has been especially hard hit since October, when California's four U.S. Attorneys escalated an already vigorous federal campaign against medical marijuana.

The DCCC argues that, "the U. S. Attorneys in California are not targeting individuals and organizations that are operating outside of the law, but instead are aggressively persecuting a peaceful and regulated community, wasting Federal resources in using a series of threatening tactics to shut down regulated access to medical cannabis across the state of California." The DCCC also accuses the federal government of "depriving...the State of California [of] much needed tax revenue."
We already know that the War on Marijuana wastes billions of dollars every year (that's just marijuana, by the way), and has accomplished exactly nothing, by anyone's estimation. (And, incidentally, despite Obama's support for medical marijuana during his campaign, his record as president has not been good on the subject.)

Although it's difficult to justify the continued waste of money and resources that the government's battle on the Demon Weed entails, it does occasionally give us some fascinating insights into the minds of the people opposing it.

But rather than pointing out the failed logic in the anti-marijuana arguments, or comparing marijuana and alcohol, someone should probably remember the fact that the prohibition of pot was initially a racist concept.

The early arguments against marijuana weren't that it would "destroy the fabric of society as we know it!" In fact, pot had been prescribed by doctors for many years.
Marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 until 1942 and was prescribed for various conditions including labor pains, nausea, and rheumatism. Its use as an intoxicant was also commonplace from the 1850s to the 1930s. A campaign conducted in the 1930s by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics (now the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs) sought to portray marijuana as a powerful, addicting substance that would lead users into narcotics addiction. It is still considered a "gateway" drug by some authorities.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007
Care to guess what makes it a "gateway drug"? The fact that it's illegal.

There are no reputable studies that link marijuana use to the use of other drugs, except for one pesky little fact: buying marijuana puts you in contact with people who sell those other drugs. So they're suddenly accessible to you. That's it. That's the sum total of the reasons that make marijuana a "gateway drug."

You see, what happened was, in 1931, Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon appointed his soon to be nephew-in-law, Henry J. Anslinger, to head the newly formed Beaureau of Narcotics. And why did Anslinger, a former prohibitionist, decide that it was this naturally-occurring herb that was to blame for all of society's ills? Well, in his words:
There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others... Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men.
Not that he was the only one who felt that way. William Randolph Hearst, when he wasn't starting wars, was fairly outspoken himself.
Marihuana influences Negroes to to look at white people in the eye, step on white men's shadows and look at a white woman twice.
(To be honest, Hearst had a second reason to declare war on marijuana - it makes a cheap, renewable source of paper, and Hearst was heavily invested in the logging industry.)

Perhaps when you consider the quality of people who celebrated the arrest of pot smokers by pouring themselves a drink, a few other questions might occur to you about the War on Drugs.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Learning Parenthood from the Experts

Let me see if I've got this straight (so to speak).

Bristol Palin really has no business being in the public eye, other than the fact that her mother was a failed candidate for vice president who supported abstinence-only education, and Bristol stands as evidence of that policy's success. Is that about right?

So, given that fact, I suppose there's some ironic humor to be had that she keeps cropping up in the media. Most recently coughing up a short column on, where she complained about Obama expressing support for marriage equality.

And there's some spectacular logical facepalms in there.
When Christian women run for high office, people inevitably bring up the question of submission. Once, Michele Bachmann, for example, was asked during a debate, “As president, would you be submissive to your husband?”

People automatically assume that a Christian female President isn’t capable of making decisions without her spouse’s stamp of approval. (I should add female Republican candidates –liberal women don’t get the same kind of questions.)
Well, technically, the reason for that is that Christian women are claiming support for a Bible that says:
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22-25 NIV)
And, for that matter:
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)
Those rules seem pretty straightforward. So, if the women are going to thump their Bibles at everybody, it seems like they should be asked to justify that. That's how it works, young lady - if you don't make the claim, you don't have to justify it.

The main thrust of her argument, though, is that Obama shouldn't have consulted with his teen-aged daughters to establish policy. And she's right: he shouldn't. Of course, Obama didn't set any policy, and didn't consult with his daughters to do so, but in general, she's right.

What he said was (and she even quotes him):
You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and, frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.
He even says, in the course of that, "for me, personally." It's opinion, not policy. And he mentioned his daughters in explaining how he reached that conclusion.

That's the way normal people think, Bristol. But then again, you are your mother's daughter, so I guess we can't expect logic out of you, can we?

I've got to say, though, that my favorite part would have to be this:
While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads. In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage. Or that – as great as her friends may be – we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Ideally, fathers help shape their kids' worldview.
Gee, Miss Palin, you might think that you've just made a good point, but... well, I hate to bring this up, but do you remember a certain child named Tripp? You know, the bastard baby born out of wedlock to some tramp rich slut single mother and her high-school dropout babydaddy?

Yeah, I wonder if Tripp has seen his daddy in a while?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Irony Supplements (updated)

So, according to Politico, Michele "Crazy-Eyes" Bachmann has applied for and been granted citizenship in Switzerland.
Marcus Bachmann, the congresswoman’s husband since 1978, reportedly was eligible for Swiss citizenship due to his parents’ nationality — but only registered it with the Swiss government Feb. 15. Once the process was finalized on March 19, Michele automatically became a citizen as well, according to Honegger.

Bachmann’s three youngest children are also now Swiss citizens, and her two older children are eligible to apply for a fast-track citizenship process, according to an email from the consulate provided and translated by Honegger.
Now, Mika (as I'm going to call her from now on) will undoubtedly be releasing a statement shortly about how she can't stand to see America destroyed by Barack Obama. But let's consider a few facts.

1. Michele Bachmann claims to hate "big government." The Swiss government, which combines a Parliament with some of the only "direct democracy" in the world, can be considered to encompass every citizen of the entire country. You don't get bigger than that.

2. Incidentally, remember Mika's complaint about Obama establishing "re-education camps"?
I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.
Every citizen of Switzerland must serve in the military, or a similar "mandatory service." Their fitness for service is reviewed, and of the one-third judged unfit to be sent to a military reeducation camp, a majority must do some other form of politically-correct service (which takes 50% more time to complete the mandatory duty) in fields such as healthcare, relief work, public welfare, agriculture: generally, you are helping your fellow Swiss, in a fully socialist way.

3. Although she will support the Swiss attitude toward illegal immigrants, her stand on making English the official language in America isn't going to pass muster: Switzerland has four official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansch), and about 10% of the population speaks another tongue (with Serbo-Croatian, Albanian, Portuguese and Spanish each having at least 8,000 more people speaking them than English does).

4. She doesn't support clean energy - aside from her stand on drilling for oil in every available inch of ground, she voted against enforcing limits for carbon dioxide emissions, and against tax credits for renewable energy sources. Switzerland, meanwhile, gets a majority of its energy from renewable sources, with less than 40% of their energy coming from nuclear power plants (which they're moving toward phasing out over the next few decades): the Swiss have been declared the greenest country in the world.

5. Although Mika has notably worked against and attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Switzerland has universal healthcare. Period.

6. Most importantly, Mika once called for an investigation into the patriotism of every other congress member. None of whom, except for her, claim allegiance to another country.

That is irony.


Update (5/12/12): And then, on Thursday, she rushed out a statement saying "Oops! It was all a misunderstanding!" You know, unlike her previous statements that showed she knew exactly what she was doing.
"Congresswoman Bachmann's husband is of Swiss descent, so she has been eligible for dual-citizenship since they got married in 1978. However, recently some of their children wanted to exercise their eligibility for dual-citizenship so they went through the process as a family," said Bachmann spokesperson Becky Rogness.

The Minnesota congresswoman was interviewed by Swiss national public television in D.C. on Tuesday while with a group of Swiss parliamentarians.

"My husband is a 100 percent Swiss, and his parents were raised in Switzerland, they were married there, they came to the United States, they bought a farm in Wisconsin and raised their three sons there," said Bachmann.

Asked if she would run for office in Switzerland — as she is now eligible to do — Bachmann joked that the competition "would be very stiff because they are very good," referring to the parliamentarians behind her.
I imagine the Swiss government was relieved. On the other hand, hey! Who knew she read my stuff? Hi, Mika!

Hell, who knew she could read?