Congratulations, Palin

I’m sure the nation is grateful for your efforts.

The sheriff blamed the vitriolic political rhetoric that has consumed the country, much of it occurring in Arizona.

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” he said. “And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

Giffords expressed similar concern, even before the shooting. In an interview after her office was vandalized, she referred to the animosity against her by conservatives, including Sarah Palin’s decision to list Giffords’ seat as one of the top “targets” in the midterm elections.

“For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said in an interview with MSNBC.

Republicans and being just a little fat

In my daily news trawl, I came across two articles listed right next to each other. Here’s the first:

House Republicans have temporarily blocked legislation to feed school meals to thousands more hungry children.

Republicans used a procedural maneuver Wednesday to try to amend the $4.5 billion bill, which would give more needy children the opportunity to eat free lunches at school and make those lunches healthier. First lady Michelle Obama has lobbied for the bill as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has also taken a swipe at the first lady’s campaign, bringing cookies to a speech at a Pennsylvania school last month and calling the campaign a “school cookie ban debate” and “nanny state run amok” on her Twitter feed.

It has been abundantly clear for a long, long time that Sarah Palin is intellectually inferior to most people. I really don’t see how this can even be debated. But it hasn’t always been clear that she’s also just a bad person. Now it is.

Now, if she was scientifically literate, maybe this second article would have an impact on her thinking:

The latest research involving about 1.5 million people concluded that healthy white adults who were overweight were 13 percent more likely to die during the time they were followed in the study than those whose weight is in an ideal range.

“Having a little extra meat on your bones — if that meat happens to be fat — is harmful, not beneficial,” said Dr. Michael Thun of the American Cancer Society, senior author of the study.

The study’s conclusions, published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, are similar to three other large studies, said the lead author, Amy Berrington of the National Cancer Institute.

“Now there’s really a very large body of evidence which supports the finding that being overweight is associated with a small increased risk of death,” Berrington said.

This is what I’m talking about when I say human beings are more important than the abstract ethical principle of liberty. Letting kids get fat is going to have real world consequences that no one wants. Human lives matter.

But kids do like cookies.

Dear Discovery Channel


This is retarded

Rahm Emanuel recently said this.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Emanuel, exasperated upon learning that liberal special-interest groups were planning to run ads against conservative Democrats not supportive of health care reform, blasted the plan as “f—— retarded” over the summer.

This prompted Sarah Palin, that beacon of hope for morons everywhere, to say this.

In a post titled “Are You Capable of Decency, Rahm Emanuel?,” Palin wrote, “Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the ‘N-word’ or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities — and the people who love them — is unacceptable,” adding, “it’s heartbreaking.”

I’m always amazed when I see people trying to make such tenuous connections. The reality is that the only thing that connects “retard” and racial slurs is that both are meant to be offensive. Why each one is offensive is another thing.

“Nigger” is meant to disparage a person based upon race as if there is something inherently negative about being a certain color. Since reasonable people tend to agree that skin color has no normative value, the word can be rejected because it is offensive in a wide array of contexts (though not when specifically defined). “Retard” and its derivatives, on the other hand, are meant to disparage a person for saying or doing something unintelligent, as if there is something inherently negative about not being smart. Reasonable people tend to agree that there is something negative about a lack of intelligence.*

There is, however, a narrow band of usage where “retard” might be considered legitimately offensive to people who are actually retarded. This would be when one uses the term to reference the goodness or general value of a person. Emanuel didn’t do this, instead referencing the quality of the idea of weakening the Democratic party with the goal of passing healthcare. (And he’s right – weaken the Democrats and who do these people think will take power?)

I hate political sensitivity at the expense of linguistics.

*Boy! I can’t wait for the first Clever Carl who disagrees with me to come by and turn this one around on me! Internet. Scoff.

From the Leader of the New Creationists

Official New Creationists Newsletter

Fellow New Creationists, our strength to undermine science grows stronger every day!

As you know, I have just released my version of events in a new book. In this New Creationist document, I distance myself -and thus our ultimate goals – from “wild-eyed fundamentalists”. I stake claim to a position of “nuance”. I have taken a fundamental step in achieving the plan laid out in our mission statement; I have shown just how easy it is to Reach a Middle Ground.

In lieu of our stated first step to use Christian scientists to espouse our coy creationism, I have put myself in the forefront of political and media life to carry out this goal. I have spoken of my upbringing by a father who was a science teacher. This, fellows, is what the American people want. I have suggested my background makes me sympathetic to science. What I say must be viewed as a reasonable Middle Ground; I hate not science (as the public believes) yet I do not shy from entering theology into the discussion. QED.

As is par for the course, I have advocated “teaching both sides”, a key component in Reaching a Middle Ground, but I have furthered our cause by bringing a classic bait-and-switch back into the game. “Microevolution” is perfectly acceptable to all New Creationists. How can we reject it? We can’t. And so we actually embrace it. We are so amiable to science that we have taken the time to investigate – through Academic Freedom, no doubt – the important distinctions in biology. We have concluded (for the sake of the public’s eye) a most reasonable Middle Ground position. “Macroevolution” is simply the stuff of those religious New Atheists. They haven’t bothered to adopt a position as “nuanced” as ours.

We are the New Creationists.

Bragging about stupidity

Steven Anderson is some crazy, religious windbag. That doesn’t really narrow the field, I know, but his claim to fame is publicly praying for Obama’s death by natural causes.

But that’s not what’s interesting about him. That belief sets him apart from much of mainstream Christianity (though the Bible and theology offer no methods to internally condemn his interpretation of God’s will). What’s interesting is what holds him close to the mainstream Bible thumpers. Of course there are the usual positions: he hates abortion, liberalism (which is just reality), and – of course – da gays. But then there’s this subtle piece that gets ignored far too much.

Pastor Anderson holds no college degree but has well over 100 chapters of the Bible committed to memory, including almost half of the New Testament.

Today, most Baptist churches are started by Bible Colleges. However, the Bible makes it clear that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, not a school. Faithful Word Baptist Church is a totally independent Baptist church, and Pastor Anderson was sent out by a totally independent Baptist church to start it the old-fashioned way by knocking doors and winning souls to Christ. This is the scriptural method.

There isn’t really much reason to talk about not having a college degree. There shouldn’t be any pride in that. But for Christians and conservatives, it’s a point on which they puff their chests. Anderson is actually bragging about having no degree. He’s proud that he’s doing it “the old-fashioned way”, which is through willful ignorance. This should be roundly condemned.

Being proud of having a lack of education or feeling a sense of victory at criticizing intelligent people for using big, scary, intelligent words is why people like Larry the Cable Guy have been successful. (It certainly isn’t because he’s funny.) But this allegiance to stupidity is a blight on U.S. politics, too. Sarah Palin almost got elected to a national office. She’s one of the most genuinely stupid people to be given a voice. Her failure to think critically and to keep up with the clearly smarter people on the left is what lifted her up so high. Her simplicity appealed to the high number of simple people in the U.S. Bobby Jindal will probably become a big star for the same reason soon.

It’s pride in stupidity that keeps the idea that faith is a virtue alive. It’s pathetic.

All it takes to refute something…

…is for some journalist to say you did. According to the headline on that article, James Perloff refuted evolution at some half-baked meeting.

Perloff tried to draw parallels throughout history, attempting to connect individuals such as Andrew Carnegie, Karl Marx, Josef Stalin and Adolph Hitler with the teachings and rationales of Charles Darwin. He also told of his own life’s inner conflict, saying he was briefly turned into an atheist at a young age due to Darwin’s theory.

Perloff went on to say, “Survival of the fittest does not explain arrival of the fittest,” and that, “[the theory of] evolution is just speculation on the past and should not been seen as scientific fact.”

There you go. EVILution has been defeated. Good job, Perloff. Honestly. It should be clear to everyone. If someone can make bogus, tinsel thin connections between ideas and people Real America loathes, then the idea must be false. Just pretend that logical fallacies don’t exist and the argument is air-tight.

The event was held in front of a small gathering and was kicked off with a prayer along with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Harold Shurtleff of West Roxbury, regional field director for the John Birch Society.

I remember as a very young kid playing Street Fighter. When the levels got too hard or my older brother beat me a bunch of times in a row, I’d start up a game just by myself. I would have a Player 2 set up, but no one was controlling it. I’d just wail all my 32 bits on that character. It made me feel good. Does anyone get the feeling that conservatives have the same frustration? I mean, the exact same frustration – one born out of immaturity and a lack of rationale. These people are kicking and screaming their prayers and flag-based prayers all over the place because it makes them feel good. Of course, I was a child when I did it. What excuse do these people have? There are more examples.

Take Sean Hannity. He’s a huge idiot. (I heard him say in the middle of a broadcast, and I paraphrase, “…that isn’t an arrogant statement. America saved the world from Totalitarianism. It did this multiple times. The world has us to thank. That isn’t an arrogant statement.”) He refuses to refer to Obama as “President Obama” in virtually every instance. He insists on calling him “The Annointed One”, or “The One” for short. You can feel his anger and immature frustration. People very rarely identify whining correctly (they tend to conflate it with active disagreement). This is not one of those cases. Sean Hannity and the new breed of ultra-radical conservatives are big, fat whiners.

Conservapedia is another great example of a bunch of crybabies. Their page on evolution (which is just a page on creationism) has a section titled “Creation Scientists Tend to Win the Creation-Evolution Debates“. I kid you not. This is their version of 32-bit wailing. They absolutely cannot win. Rather than to accept reality, they set up these conversations in their own heads where they win every time. Sean Hannity does it. John McCain did it. Dubya definitely did it. This is the path of conservatives in America. Yell and whine and if that doesn’t work, beat the crap out of Blanka.