I almost seriously blogged about this

I almost seriously blogged about this Onion-esque story about Michele Bachmann:

Dr. Stephen Hawking’s recent statement that the black holes he famously described do not actually exist underscores “the danger inherent in listening to scientists,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) said today.

Rep. Bachmann unleashed a blistering attack on Dr. Hawking, who earlier referred to his mistake on black holes as his “biggest blunder.”

“Actually, Dr. Hawking, our biggest blunder as a society was ever listening to people like you,” said Rep. Bachmann. “If black holes don’t exist, then other things you scientists have been trying to foist on us probably don’t either, like climate change and evolution.”

Rep. Bachmann added that all the students who were forced to learn about black holes in college should now sue Dr. Hawking for a full refund. “Fortunately for me, I did not take any science classes in college,” she said.

Bachmann’s anti-Hawking comments seemed to be gaining traction on Capitol Hill, as seen from the statement by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Science Committee, who said, “Going forward, members of the House Science Committee will do our best to avoid listening to scientists.”

Given all the bat-shit crazy things Bachmann has said in her life, this is perfectly plausible. It wasn’t until it was pointed out to me that the author of the article, Andy Borowitz, is a comedian that I realize this was made-up. This is an indictment of a few things. Most obviously, it’s an indictment of my familiarity with Borowitz. It’s also an indictment of the career Bachmann has led, not that this is the worst thing she has ever uttered, whether fictionally or not. (The worst was when she continued the lie about vaccines and autism.) But perhaps most of all this is an indictment of the New Yorker. The reason I posted this on other social media sites first is that I saw the source was what I thought was a serious outlet. I maybe expect some tongue-in-cheek articles if I’m looking at an “Odd News” section of some site, but I don’t expect to see work from The Onion when I’m not actually on The Onion. Why does everyone want to follow CNN’s lead of making shit up?

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Bachmann not seeking reelection

First Minnesota rejects amending bigotry into is constitution. Then it goes in the complete opposite direction it had been heading and stops trampling the rights of gays in marriage all together. And now there’s this wonderful news:

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann said early Wednesday that she will not run for re-election in 2014.

The Minnesota conservative made the announcement in a video posted on her website.

“After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth congressional term,” Bachmann said in the 8-and-a-half minute video. “After serious consideration, I am confident that this is the right decision.”

This is excellent. Bachmann was an historically ignorant fool that never added one good thing to this country’s well-being. I’m glad to see her gone. I hope she never makes a return to politics.

A Republican said something wrong about science? I’m shocked.

About the only thing Rick Perry has ever done right as governor of Texas is mandate HPV vaccines. (Well, there’s also the case of whoever he hired to do his hair.) Of course, now that he needs to appeal to the majority of Republicans out there, he has been running away from his record. And the other candidates are going right after him:

In case you missed it, [Michele Bachmann] sparred with Texas Gov. Rick Perry Monday night over his executive order that would have mandated vaccination of state schoolgirls against human papillomavirus, a cause of cervical cancer.

“To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong,” Bachmann said. “Little girls who have a potentially dangerous reaction to this drug don’t get a mulligan,” she said. “You don’t get a do-over.”

Perry defended the decision, but conceded that the legal mechanism to reach the goal should have been different.

But on the Today show Tuesday morning, Bachmann went further, telling Matt Lauer, that a mother had approached her after the debate to recount the problems her daughter had after being vaccinated against HPV:

“She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection. And she suffered from mental retardation thereafter. The mother was crying when she came up to me last night. I didn’t know who she was before the debate. This is the very real concern and people have to draw their own conclusions.”

If it was actually true that vaccines lead to things like retardation, it has to make one wonder just how many injections Bachmann has had in her life.

This is typical Republican anti-science horseshit. The only candidate in that party I can trust at all right now is John Huntsman. He has acknowledged that global warming is manmade and that evolution is a fact. (How he reconciles the latter with his religion is a mystery.) This is a good start since we know that the rejection of some core scientific facts correlates heavily with the rejection of other, more political pertinent scientific facts. (Compare the acceptance of evolution about the world with the rejection of the anti-vax movement or the acceptance of the global warming consensus. Furthermore, correlate religion with it all.) Of course, Huntsman is relatively unknown, including to me, so I’m not familiar enough to know where he stands on many other issues.

Interestingly in all this, the American Academy of Pediatrics has stepped up to indirectly criticize Bachmann’s bullshit:

The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation. There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement. Since the vaccine has been introduced, more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend that girls receive HPV vaccine around age 11 or 12. That’s because this is the age at which the vaccine produces the best immune response in the body, and because it’s important to protect girls well before the onset of sexual activity. In the U.S., about 6 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year, and 4,000 women die from cervical cancer. This is a life-saving vaccine that can protect girls from cervical cancer.

Bachmann isn’t going to give two shits, though. Not only is she interested in appealing to the Republican core, but she probably actually believes half the idiotic things that come out of her mouth. Sure, she will contribute to deaths by cervical cancer via her high-profile spread of misinformation, but it’s election season, so she’s okay with it.

She won’t say yes

Michele Bachmann is stupid, but not stupid enough to take up such a sure loss:

Amy Myers, a high school sophomore from Cherry Valley, New Jersey, has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging the Minnesota Representative to a debate and public test on the constitution, U.S. history, and civics.

Myers says Bachmann’s frequent errors, misstatements and distortions aren’t just bad for civic discourse — they’re bad for women.

“Though politically expedient, incorrect comments cast a shadow on your person and by unfortunate proxy, both your supporters and detractors alike often generalize this shadow to women as a whole,” Myers writes.

So to show that Bachmann isn’t a great representative of her gender’s intellectual capacity, Myers proposes a battle of wits.

Bachmann knows she would be wrecked. Aside from the fact that she doesn’t seem to have even the most basic historical facts correct, she has a Teabagger point of view. That means she holds to the false notion that the U.S. is a Christian nation and that it has its founding in Christianity. (A Teabagger who doesn’t know American history? Weird, I know.) This would be more embarrassing than when Christine O’Donnell asked where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state.

I do hope she accepts, though. Now that Donald Trump is fading, the nation really could use another punching bag.

The attacks on Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama has done an excellent job in her role as the First Lady. Her efforts to curb obesity deserve nothing but praise. Being fat is terrible. The only thing worse is being proud of it – I’m looking at you, America.

Unfortunately, in its faux-libertarian, blatantly dishonest attacks, the right has been going after Obama. We have morons like Michele Bachmann who whine about efforts to make poor women aware of tax deductions they can claim in caring for their infants. Then we have the other side of the moron coin, Sarah Palin, claiming that it’s okay to eat, eat, eat all sorts of shit food – despite the heavy evidence that Americans are dying because of the crap they eat. (Do dead people have liberty?) And, of course, there’s Limbaugh. He attacked Obama for eating healthy by lying and claiming she was eating shitty food.

This almost all stems from Obama’s effort to push through a bill last year that decreased the number of hungry students while at the same time funding healthier food for public schools. Conservatives, more willing than ever to lie, keep saying over and over and over “I don’t want to be told what I can and cannot eat!” (Or maybe they’re just that fucking stupid. I don’t know.) The bill changed some government standards for food in public schools. If these people weren’t against the government giving kids shit food, then they shouldn’t be against the government giving them good food. The difference is in quality, not mandates or forced diets or any other nonsense.

What brings this on is the polemics of the argument. Limbaugh showed them perfectly: Michelle Obama had shitty food? SHE HATES YOUR FREEDOM AND IS JUST AN ELITIST!!1!! It’s annoying. We can’t have an honest discussion about this stuff. People who actually give a damn about health are over here saying, hey look, nutrition starts at birth. We need to make sure every child is as healthy as can be. And we also need to make sure we continue those good habits. That doesn’t mean being perfect or not having that big meal at Thanksgiving. It means keeping the salt down, cutting out the trans-fats, boosting the minerals and vitamins; it means exercising – go for a run or a walk, lift weights, play tennis. Every day? If you can, sure. But anyone who isn’t a polemic asshole knows that one doesn’t need to train like a star athlete to be healthy.

Take a look at this typical conservative response I got (via Facebook) about Limbaugh’s failed attack on Obama:

1) You’re right. Ribs are healthy.

2) “Individual splurges”? WAIT a minute! You just said it was healthy? Let’s take a poll: Ribs for dinner – healthy or unhealthy?

It’s this sort of polarization of which I am becoming increasingly intolerant. Anyone who bothered to follow the links from the Limbaugh story knows that Obama had a small serving of lean ribs with a series of healthy sides that most Americans would never touch; she went to that restaurant specifically because it was healthy. What’s more – and I’m sure I’ve lost the polemic audience at this point, what with my use of facts and junk – she was skiing. I personally make it a point to eat some fast food before I take the mountain. I want to give myself the most energy I can for the day because I know how quickly I’m going to burn it off – just because a food is generally not healthy does not mean it is always not healthy. Not that Obama ate unhealthy or had a fatty meal because she went skiing. She actually had a healthy meal. Limbaugh and every supporting conservative either just lied or was willfully ignorant.

That brings me to my next point: fast food. Yes, once in an absolute great while, I will indulge without the reason of some major activity. As shitty as the food is, I’ve never had a problem with admitting how great it tastes. I have it maybe once or twice a month. I’m sure I’ve also gone three or four months without it. And even if I wanted it twice a week, I could get away with it because of my metabolism and healthy activity. Does that make me a hypocrite? Does it make my pro-health arguments invalid? Does it mean Obama would disapprove? Nope, nope, nope. But despite that, I hear one conservative I know give me a shit every time he sees me with a fast food burger. I hate it. Not because it exposes some double-standard – I don’t have that in regards to health. I hate it because it’s an example of the sort of polemics that are more comfortable on conservative radio than in rational discussion. I wish we could banish these arguments wherever they rear their ugly little heads.

But don’t think my motivation here is personal. I’m seeing these pro-fat arguments being made all the time, not just by friends or on Facebook. Polemics are the annoying surface of the issue, but the real problem is that all these conservatives are promoting fatness. It is wrong to not try and be healthy. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to be fat – though fat people tend to be the chubby face of the problem. It means people ought to make an honest effort to be healthy. That will vary from person to person. (It’s especially frustrating when the lying conservatives pretend like that isn’t true.) America faces a terrible problem right now: we’re getting fat and not enough people are angry about it.

Forcing one side to argue an extreme hurts a very noble cause. And despite the lying and unwillingness to engage in an honest dialogue, I think most conservatives also recognize that obesity is a serious problem. We need to tackle it. If we can get our arms around it. We need to take the politics out of all this, get rid of the asshole-ridden polemics. Michelle Obama is making a very good effort and everyone should be thanking her. We need to follow her lead. Fill our schools with healthy foods. Discourage kids from getting fast food. Make restaurants disclose what they’re feeding us. Encourage more activity. These are good things. Let’s not fight against them because of some unrelated ideology.

Michele Bachmann: History buff

Ya know, if we just changed the facts and junk:

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota stood before New Hampshire Republicans with a tea bag clutched in her hand Saturday, but her grasp on Revolutionary War geography wasn’t quite as tight.

Before headlining a GOP fundraiser, the possible presidential hopeful told a group of students and conservative activists in Manchester, “You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.”

I’m just glad Maine doesn’t have the first primary in the nation. We’d have to deal with anti-facts people like Bachmann praising us for our awesome golf tournaments.