Saturday, May 25, 2013

No Stars for the Lone Star State

Andrew Jackson was no intellectual. Sporadically educated but still a war hero and lawyer (and occasionally a slave owner and land speculator), he was unlike the well-spoken, educated and cultured men who'd been elected before him. And, much like in France after the Revolution, his election led to an unusual movement: education wasn't merely considered unimportant, it was actively spurned. The people began a celebration of the "common man," the "salt of the earth." You know, morons.

One result of this: in all but three states, the licensing requirements for doctors were repealed, to allow any man the ability to practice medicine. In 1850, in a survey for the Massachusetts legislature, Lemuel Shattuck reported that ""Any one, male or female, learned or ignorant, an honest man or a knave, can assume the name of physician, and 'practice' upon any one, to cure or to kill, as either may happen, without accountability. It's a free country!" (This also led to an astounding rise in the "patent medicine" (or "snake oil") trade, and America's long history of the "travelin' medicine show.)

(In case you were wondering about the etymology of that particular term: at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Clark Stanley, dressed as a cowboy, strangled dozens of rattlesnakes on stage and wrung the bodies out over a bowl. He called the resulting liquid "snake oil" and claimed that a bottle would cure anything.)

That uniquely American attitude is with us today; or to be more accurate, it never left - it just shrunk for a while. But the innate distrust of book-learnin' has been a facet of the American culture ever since Jackson's time, and its most vocal adherents are found in today's Republican party in general, and the Tea Party specifically.

Oh, and Texas. A whole lot of stupid keeps coming from the state where I was born. (And yes, I'm not immune to that charge on my own, but at least I base my stupidity on facts, as opposed to strange conspiracy theories.)

The adopted state of George W. Bush and the home state of Rick Perry, the gene pool in Texas seems to have been badly polluted somewhere along the way, to the point where their main exports these days are shrieking and sweat.

The Governor of the once-great state, Rick Perry, who thought he could be elected despite being unable to name more than two government agencies at a time, is now spending Texas tax money to sign into law a bill which would protect every Texan's right to wish people a "Merry Christmas." (Perhaps he's doing it in May to get ahead of the rest of the "War on Christmas" crowd.)

Texas can also be proud of native son Louie Gohmert, a distended rectum of a man, who recently told a woman that even fetuses with no brain function should remain in the womb (since otherwise he wouldn't be here to stain the memory of intelligent Texans everywhere). He recently had a meltdown when the US Attorney General explained that ignorance wasn't a the best foundation for an argument. As someone wiser than I explained it:
Then (Gohmert) moved on to his main issue: that he thinks the FBI is a bunch of fuck-ups who "blew the opportunity" to stop Tamerlan Tsarnaev from bombing Boston because the FBI didn't fully investigate the information Russia was giving it. Holder demurred on much of what he was asked because it is an ongoing investigation. Gohmert insisted that he knew all about the FBI's refusal to go after Tsarnaev and then he played to his base of evangelical dumb fucks when he said to Holder, "Look, the FBI got a heads-up from Russia that you have a radicalized terrorist on your hands. They should not have had to give anything else whatsoever. That should have been enough. But because of political correctness, there was not a thorough enough examination of Tamerlan to determine this kid had been radicalized. And that is the concern I have. On the one hand, we go after Christian groups like Billy Graham's group. We go after Franklin Graham's group. But then we're hands off when it comes to possibly offending someone who has been radicalized as a terrorist." Having tickled Franklin Graham's prostate but good, Gohmert's time expired.

Holder started to speak to say that Gohmert was wrong when, his blood all het up by gettin' backsassed by a Negro, Gohmert jumped in, "You point out one thing that I pointed -- that I said that was not true." Gohmert had to have his cross-burning ass smacked down by committee chair Bob Goodlatte (which is just the most awesome name for a Republican), who told Gohmert to shut the fuck up and let Holder answer.

And then Holder pantsed Gohmert in front of everyone and pointed out what a tiny little dick and balls the Texan has: "The only observation I was going to make is that you state as a matter of fact what the FBI did and did not do. And unless somebody has done something inappropriate, you don't have access to the FBI files. You don't know what the FBI did. You don't know what the FBI's interaction was with the Russians. You don't know what questions were put to the Russians, whether those questions were responded to. You simply do not know that. And you have characterized the FBI as being not thorough or taking exception to my characterization of them as being thorough. I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know. That's all."

What followed can best be described as Gohmert going into an insulted idiot rage, screaming and slapping himself, crying that the Negro had gotten so uppity as to tell him he's wrong, while the other Republicans, including Issa, realized they had let him out of the cellar for too long and tried desperately to shut him up and get him back into the basement to sit in his rocker next to the radio that plays Rush Limbaugh's show. Holder's look of barely contained amusement is pretty fuckin' sweet. It climaxed with Gohmert saying, and this is as clear as can be in the video, "The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus." No, really. And so, his asparagus defended, he was done.
Which brings us to Ted Cruz, a rising star in Texas politics (which is a similar title, these days, to "pees his pants the least"). This is the fine human being who said that sending money to victims of Hurricane Sandy was "wasteful" and Federal aid is "pork."

Or, at least it was. Until it was Federal aid for victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. Then, suddenly, he was "working to ensure that all available resources are marshaled to deal with the horrific loss of life and suffering that we've seen."

Of course, this is the same Ted Cruz who recently tried to denigrate John Kerry and Chuck Hagel as being "less than ardent fans of the U.S. military," implying that they wouldn't keep America safe from foreign attacks.

Now, it's important to remember here that Cruz is talking about two decorated war heroes. One Democrat, one Republican. While the only uniform Cruz has ever worn is that Reichsmarschall uniform he keeps in his basement.

And the stupidity isn't confined to the upper echelons of Texas politics, either. Let's consider the judge in McKinney, Texas, who decided to insert a clause in the divorce papers to keep a lesbian from living with her partner, or lose custody of her two children to a convicted felon who rarely bothers to see the children. Because the judge didn't approve of the wife's "lifestyle."

There are stupid people everywhere. But somehow, they seem to grow 'em bigger in Texas.

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