Can They Get Any Crazier?

abortion I do not mean to offend anyone.

That said, lets begin offending!

Seriously, I recognize that people have legitimate feelings and beliefs on this subject. I can sympathize. I can even say (easy coming from my perch as post-menopausal of course), that I might personally agree with those who say that it is taking a life. For me it might have been had I decided to do such a thing at the time that I was capable of conceiving. It never happened so I can’t say.

All that being said, let’s look at some points of contention:

(1) when does life begin? The simple answer to the simple-minded is “at conception. When egg meets sperm, cell division begins. But pregnancy does not, and some 50-80 percent of all fertilized eggs don’t implant successfully, and this can take six to twelve days to happen. Where you draw the line raises a host of really ugly problems that are legal in nature, and that is why when life begins is a subject medical and legal experts would rather avoid.

(2) Is personhood different from life? Surely most of us would say yes. When in the growth of the foetus does it become a person? Most would argue when it has viability outside the womb. Other’s of course want to return to that moment of conception. Again, medical experts will differ and the legal implications are huge.

(3) can you rationally be for some types of abortion and not others? Can you justify logically abortion to save the life of the mother? Are you not tampering with God’s province then? Can you make exceptions for rape and incest and if so why? Morally aren’t you compelled as Steve King is to ban them all? (men find these issues so darned easy don’t they?)

(4) what are the common lies told about abortions: (a) it causes  breast cancer (b) it causes infertility (c) most women regret them later (d) forcing women to watch ultrasounds will change their minds (e) abortions psychologically damage women (f) imposing severe regulations on abortion clinics makes abortions safer (g) abortions threaten women’s lives and health. None of these claims are remotely true.

(5) Fetuses suffer pain at abortion. This is not true either. Most medical experts based on a myriad of studies don’t believe a fetus is capable of pain prior to the cortex being wired in at 24 weeks. The vast majority of abortions are done before this period.

(6) the US in the guise of the right to anti-abortionists is well-known for its save the fetus at all costs” but then ignore the infant, child, youngster afterward. The same people who are in the forefront of pushing these anti-abortion bills through the House of Representatives, are the same folks who vote against food stamps, contraceptive care for women, medical care for children, and a host of other social programs that ensure that youngsters born in this country will be raised under healthy conditions. The argument is clear, you aren’t pro-life if your ONLY concern is bringing forth a birth, a birth you then abandon.

As you can see, the issue is a complicated one and there are no easy answers. While it is easy to take a flat stand as many Republican men do (not having to contend with pregnancy has it’s benefits), when you get in the weeds the going gets pretty darn hard. Not that most of the far right has any problem with being disingenuous or illogical.

On the anniversary of Roe v Wade, the GOP House thought to take advantage of the situation and pro-offer a bill that would make their base happy, and accomplish nothing since it could not pass the Senate, nor be signed by the President. It was a win-win for them. •

Until even some of their Republican ladies even thought that the bill went too far, encompassed too much, and was just full of some of those unintended consequences mentioned in (1) and (2). Marsha Blackburn, (R-TN) and all around stupid person, charged with marshalling the bill through the House, retreated in the face of  growing distrust in their own caucus. The provision that proved deadly was the requirement that rape victims would be denied an exception to the general ban unless they had reported the rape to police.

The extremists on the right are predictably displeased and threatening to pressure those wavering Republican women. I’m sure it’s the traditional, if you want to keep your job, you better!

With all this at hand, just how comfortable are you with telling another woman what is best for her? I know I’m not. And I will support her right to decide these very complicated matters herself and with the people she chooses to ask advice of. As they say, if men could have babies, this would never be an issue.

• • •

From Whence Came We?

titles-in-evolutionary-biology-L-5dgnEbFrom an early age, I wondered about where I came from. Perhaps it is why fairy tales failed to trigger my imagination, for I took such things literally and soon discovered that they didn’t live up to logical expectations.

Take Santa Claus. I loved Christmas more than any holiday as a child, and of course I believed in Santa as all young children do who are raised in the Christmas culture. I was not plagued by older siblings who told me it was phooey, or well-meaning adults who “slipped” and brought that belief to a screeching halt.

No, I figured it out all alone, one pre-Christmas night as I lay in bed, trying to will Christmas morning a more hurried arrival. Ignore all that problem of reindeer and flying, and just how much any sleigh could carry, the time just made no sense. Even with a full 24-hours across the globe, Santa would have to travel faster than fast to visit all us boys and girls. I started with just my own “neighborhood” of about one square mile. Why it would take at least an hour, but even it only took 15 minutes to visit a few hundred homes, why there was the city, and then the state, and then all the states, and then ALL of Canada, and then Europe, and even those awful Ruskies had children, and that was a BIG country too.

Well, that is one story, but eventually that grew to all the other questions that needed answering about how the earth came to be, and how the moon came to be, and how humans came to be. I systematically investigated all these things from childhood to adulthood, getting more and more sophisticated answers surely. I became a student of sorts of astronomy and later cosmology, and paleontology. I read books about these subjects for fun, marveling at great mysteries.

I became of course no authority, and understood only up to a point, for sooner or later much of this turns into mathematical equations far beyond my learning. But I got the scientific answers for the most part. As I matured, and developed some sense of a spiritual life, God entered the equation as well, and over the years I discerned that these are really two questions. One demands reproducible proof; the another a philosophical elegance of argument.

Of course the argument rages on, with fundamentalists entering where they do not belong, and atheists peppering them with irrefutable logic at most turns. Both are wrong, because as I said, one does not really relate to the other except when one (the fundamentalists) demands that the Bible be used as a scientific text, and the other (the atheist) insists that all believers are fundamentalists.

Science, in the area of cosmology does posit that there may be unknowables, forever unknowable. Brain scientists question the ability of the brain to know itself in all it’s complexity. There may be limits therefore to human knowledge. If there are, then God has the place of “unmoved mover” as Aristotle suggested.

Fundamentalists fundamentally don’t understand or don’t choose to understand things like the 2nd law of thermodynamics for instance. Sooner or later, in an attempt to sound scientific, a fundamentalist while draw herself up and point out that Darwin’s evolutionary theory violates it. Now, if pressed, she would not have a clue as to why, but she read it somewhere in one of her “how to stump your evolutionary friends” and prove Darwin wrong. Of course it does not, because entropy only works in closed systems. The earth is not a closed system because it is being bombarded continuously with solar radiation (energy).

This is only their second best argument, for their first is always, “if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” Well, my fine airhead, it’s because we didn’t evolve from monkeys, and nobody ever said we did, except another uninformed fundamentalist. First, we are related to apes, not monkeys (and there is a rather big difference), and second we are not evolved from them, but actually share way way back, a common ancestor. We both branched off in different directions (picture the fork in the road), one leading to life in the savannah and mountains, another covering the earth and developing bigger and more complex brains.

Why do I rehash all this?

Why because there has been a significant breakthrough as of late. And it’s worth your time to learn about it. The results are far from in, and it may not prove to be what the author thinks it may be. But it has the scientific world of evolutionary biology and probably physics as well in a tizzy as other research facilities begin the wonderful process of devising experiments to test out the new hypothesis.

As people like myself, and hopefully you as well know, evolutionary theory does not purport to explain “how life began” a common mis-argument of the fundamentalist sort. Such a thing is called abiogenesis. Evolutionary theory has to do with how species change over time due to natural selection. However, a rather smart guy has offered an explanation of “how life began” in a sense, and it involves that 2nd law we talked about earlier.

He posits, by way of mathematical equations, that replication of cells may be a response to infusions of energy (the sun) into the primordial soup. In other words, life arises as a methodological answer  to the desire to “even” out or reduce the heat of the energy. Because the 2nd law suggests that energy dissipates across the spectrum of the system seeking equanimity, replication of cells actually fosters that law England claims.

If this is true, then it is the underlying foundation of Darwin’s theory, and of course it means that life is what is to be expected in the universe, and not at all a rarity.

Of course, not everyone agrees that Jeremy England is right.

That is what science is all about. There is and will be, as I said, plenty of testing and experimentation to determine whether his hypothesis is correct. But it’s exciting news to anyone who, like I, is always wondering and asking “how and why”.

*Do read the article. It’s not that long.

primordial-soup_02

 

Convincing Those Who are Oblivious

Malcom-X-Quote-oppressed-peopleI spend a lot of time thinking.

I write a lot about the things I’m thinking about.

People who think like me, read what I write, and they think it’s pretty okay.

People who don’t think like me, don’t read me, but if they did, they wouldn’t agree with me.

Which is curious, since much of what I think about and write about is pretty well substantiated by actual things called facts.

It would seem evident that my facts should trump your fact-less opinion. But it doesn’t. Because you dismiss my facts. You don’t even waste the time to think about them, you simple use your magic eraser and voilà they are gone.

My husband, the great thinker, The Contrarian, reminds me that people are on a continuum. People are not neatly packed into the left or right or middle. It’s all bleeding all over the place. But we are dealing with averages after all.

“Recent converging studies are showing that liberals tend to have a larger and/or more active anterior cingulate cortex, or ACC—useful in detecting and judging conflict and error—and conservatives are more likely to have an enlarged amygdala, where the development and storage of emotional memories takes place.  More than one study has shown these same results, . . . .”

This has been known for some time. It ends up suggesting that these truisms are mostly true for liberals:

Liberals, according to this model, would be likely to engage in more flexible thinking, working through alternate possibilities before committing to a choice. Even after committing, if alternate contradicting data comes along, they would be more likely to consider it.

On the other hand, conservatives respond rather differently:

“. . .[W]hen faced with an ambiguous situation, conservatives would tend to process the information initially with a strong emotional response. This would make them less likely to lean towards change, and more likely to prefer stability. Stability means more predictability, which means more expected outcomes, and less of a trigger for anxiety.”

You see the dilemma?

Liberals continue to pepper conservatives with facts, and conservatives respond with concerns about values and things that affect them personally. They give you anecdotal information that they see as equally valuable in how they should respond.

Case in point. I know a person who is conservative and a fundamentalist. She is opposed to the ACA because it stems from President Obama, and pretty much is in agreement with all the known Tea Party positions regarding, abortion, gay marriage, guns, and so forth. I’ve never seen her seriously out of alignment with them on any issue.

At one point in her life, her health situation became serious enough that she applied for Medicaid. She was denied as “not eligible”. She self-reported that a “neighbor” couple got Medicaid however. She then went on to explain that God saw fit to have her denied because obviously He had other plans for her.

Let’s try to reconcile this. First, this woman has quoted her pastor as approving statements that call the American poor “akin to the rabble of Rome”. Her remark about her neighbors getting their Medicaid seemed offered as an example of  people who got what they didn’t deserve at least as much as she did. Yet, her application for Medicaid doesn’t define her as a “taker,” because of course she felt that in her situation, she “deserved” it.

However, when Medicaid denied her, that would mean she was not deserving, and thus one of those who was trying to get what she didn’t deserve, thus a taker. Since she cannot see herself as a taker, she is a qualified applicant denied what she deserved by a loving God who had other plans for her.

That’s the way you twist the world to fit your beliefs. People who get government assistance are still takers because they are not deserving, while good people like herself are denied. God has a plan and someday she will understand.

The example is instructive. It will do no good for me to  give her facts about how well Obamacare is actually doing now. She will not be impressed with knowing that in several states, competition between carriers has actually doubled, making it likely that premiums will come down even more in ensuing years. Eight million plus new insured will not do the trick either, since they are like her neighbor, people who shouldn’t get it, and could get their own if they would only get a job.

She might, on the other hand, be persuaded that it’s the Christian thing to do, that a healthier country means that everyone will benefit in myriad ways. Playing to her sense of Christian charity should work. But alas it does not to the fundamentalist. Jesus did in fact make it most clear that we were “our brother’s keeper” and he again and again emphasized to his disciples that here brother meant the truly marginalized. His examples of the marginalized he considered “brothers” were people of other nationalities,  victims of disease, women, those in employment to the oppressors, and sexually active persons.

Some how Jesus’ teachings about carrying for the prisoner, the sick, the hungry, the unclothed, got mixed up. I would take another post to untease the tangle of Pauline and pseudo-Pauline doctrine that is both misunderstood and mis-applied to these teachings to get where we are today with the evangelical right, namely that government should not proffer  programs for the needy, instead, they, the evangelicals should, so they can weed out all those who are not deserving, i.e., the lazy, the takers, the rabble, reserving charity for the “truly needy” which is essentially someone who has suddenly through no fault of their own, “fallen on hard times”, from which, if given just a little help for a short while, they will recover and once again be productive citizens.

That leaves us with appealing to self-interest and values, but here too we run into trouble. Let’s take the issues of food stamps and a living wage as examples. Regularly we are told that food stamps are misused by uncounted numbers of people who are “too lazy” to work. (Facts are to the contrary of course, but facts don’t matter.)  These people are taking advantage of “us” through taxes when they could just as well get a job.  But on the other hand, conservatives are essentially against any minimum wage, arguing that it impinges on an employers right to pay what he/she deems appropriate, and that such a law interferes with free markets. These are values conservatives hold dear: working and free markets.

However, if you wish people to work, but allow business owners to play unfair low wages, doesn’t that put us into the food stamp business? Logic says that if you want people to work you need to pay them enough to care for themselves and their families. So you should support a requirement of a fair living wage.

But again, logic is not the point. Conservatives can and do hold opinions on things that are in considerable conflict. Remember, it is liberals who have to reconcile conflicting beliefs, not conservatives.

While it is easy to say that the way to change the mind of a conservative is to forget facts and give them arguments that appeal to their self-interest and values, such is not always possible as we can see, or at least it requires a great deal more finesse than one would think.

It would seem then, that the answer lies in education. Only by teaching our youngsters that the mind has a way of creating reality to suit its own comfort zone, can we set about the business of giving them the tools that will allow them to avoid the pitfalls of their own predilections.

In this no doubt liberals also have something to learn. The focus  in this essay has been on explaining why liberals can’t change the minds of conservatives with facts. But they too have positive points to contribute. In a stable compromising world,  we could do what we have mostly always done, bring out the best in each other.

What is most important to remember, is that no individual can be utterly pigeon-holed by this analysis. We change over time as well. We do have free will, and the ability to overcome our own negative tendencies. These are generalities across a spectrum. Genetic predispositions are just that, predispositions, over come again and again by serious study, and life experiences. We would do well to remember that.

(Do read the link–it gives a lot more detail and links to further study)

Items to Make You Queen of the Watercooler Next Week

large_overworkedSee that’s me. I mean, imagine a woman instead of a man, and that’s me. I’m spend hours reading just so that you don’t have to. I mean you can if you want to of course. God forbid that fine education goes to waste, but I have burned up the Intertubes in an effort to find all the news that you missed.

And I read it all. And some of it was crap upon further inspection, and so I ditched it. And the rest, well you gotta know this stuff. Especially if you want all your friends and aunt Tilde to think you are just a real smart ass. (meant in the kindest way of course)

So, let’s get to it, in no particular order.

Paul Krugman has a fine op-ed in the NYTimes detailing the crazy party, AKA, the GOP. What he says is very true. The GOP argument for deliberately toying with the very health of our economy goes something like this: I have put a gun to your head and demanded your money or your life. If you refuse to give me your money, it’s your fault that you’re dead. I gave you the option to live after all!

On the other hand, this may all go to prove that one can actually get admitted to Harvard and get through it with flying colors and still be utterly and profoundly stupid. Ted Cruz may be set to be one of the most spectacular blazing super nova that sputtered out in record time in the history of horses asses, err, super novae.

If it is true that humans have an individualized predisposition to violence, is it equally true that humans in community have a predisposition to violence in the form of war? It seems many assume this to be true. But evolutionary biologist, David P. Barash argues that this may in fact not be true. The latter may be only a capacity rather than an adaptation. Want to learn more? If you don’t think it matters, think again. We base our defense systems on assumptions of what other groups are likely to do. If we assume all people are driven to war to achieve ends, we build a different defense system than if we do not. And we’ve sure got the tax bills to reflect that.

I know that most of you are just thrilled every time you get a chance to read about quantum mechanics, I mean what self-respecting grease monkey or grocery check out lady  isn’t obsessed with the working of the universe at the extra-tiny scale? Ever heard of an aplituhedron? I bet not. It all means that all the complicated mathematical twists and turns are eliminated as well as the super computer to do the computations. Now little Bobby can explain the most complicated sub-particle interaction with nothing more than a pencil and paper again!

If you are going, uhh, okay so what? Well, you all know that physicists have been since the beginning of time, trying to join the big universe with the small universe (macro and micro forces?) and it has just never fit well, and well, the don’t call it the elegant universe for nothing. Everybody who knows this stuff figured the answer would eventually be simple. This might be it. I’m not a physicist as you might have guessed by now.

I mean this is simply delicious early fall reading. Get to it.  :)

Now I know you will love this one. There is a new book out there that you probably will want to get. I can imagine about half a dozen of you will be on Amazon in moments. It’s called Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing, by Melissa Mohr. Colin Burrows review of the book is worth the reading. Now read it your grouthead gnat snapper!

Steven Pinker from Harvard has written a book that details how we are becoming less violent as societies over time. He also argues that the world would be better led by science than by the humanities. Some beg to differ. A great essay from The Berlin Review of Books, and Gloria Origgi, A Reply to Steven Picker’s Scientific Manifesto.

overworked4111Love words? Lots of words? Okay.

The American Scholar has a fun essay called Is There a Word for That? Words are being made up all the time, but you knew that. Want to know who created some words we now take for granted? Who is responsible for katydid? Or neologize ? Or Anglophobia? Blurb? Gerrymander? Bromide? Oh I bet I got your attention now.

Similarly, if you have ever remembered the quote but not the quoter, and the more you looked the harder it got? Who Really Sad That? You would be surprised at how often we get the attribution wrong. Amaze your friends by correcting their quotes!

“Whoever is not a socialist when he is 20 has no heart; whoever is not a conservative when he is 30 has no brain.” Usually attributed to Churchill. Actually? Nobody knows.

Enter the fine world of WAS–Wrongly Attributed Statements.

I betcha thought that the human mind created the gear, that round thingie that has “teeth” and meshes with other objects similarly constructed? That together makes things turn and other things go up and down and maybe side to side? You would be wrong. Scientists have found a gear in nature for the very first time. And YOU are some of the first non-specialists to know that, so don’t you feel so very proud?

A cute little guy called a planthopper (he has a very important scientific name you need not memorize) has a couple of gears in his back legs that mesh together and then when he calls on them to, spin backward sending him off on a leap across the earth that looks pretty fun. I’m sure it made sense to him too in terms of escaping predators or getting up as high as he wanted to feed. It’s called evolution folks. There is a little embedded video so you can watch him go!

Must a life be meaningful in order to be happy? Do we prefer meaningfulness over happiness if we can’t have both? They are not the same by the way. Happiness in part is getting what you want or need in life. Meaningfulness can have zero to do with this. Similarly happy people report that health is essential, yet health has nothing to do with meaningful lives. Happiness is apparent in the now, while meaningfulness tends to be a future assessment. This is a long article but one that raises lots of questions to think about. Well worth your time.

Nautilus brings us the ever-beloved essay on dinosaurs. The discovery and explanation of our bird predecessors have had a varied history as scientists working from small numbers of bones, continually revised their thinking of these creatures over time. As is usual, it is the unsung tiny dinosaurs that have done the most to correct our understanding over time of what these cuties looked like and how they lived. For the kid in all of us, this article will satisfy. I still wish there had been Brontosaurus, they were so neat!

With the advent of all the cute devices we have now from phones to tablets to readers to computers, all with calendars and reminders of one sort or another, there is less and less reason to have to memorize things. Nobody has to write down a phone number or address. The call is registered, switch it to contacts and it’s saved forever. Enter an address in your Google maps app, and you don’t need to record that address again. And maybe, just maybe that’s a good thing. Memorization may be a much over-rated thing. Curious? Read on.

How many late night gab fests have lingered long into the night over the ever-present question– Why was Spinoza excommunicated anyway? I mean this guy was ostracized with a big O, like in members of the congregation being order to be no closer that four cubits to the man. That’s some serious excommunication! Worse, payment of a fine served to dissolve most bans. Spinoza’s was life long. Spinoza himself never spoke of the harem, most of his works and fame came long after it. What is as interesting as why is by whom: Jews who had escaped forced Catholicism in Spain and Portugal and once free in Amsterdam, practiced a form of Judaism that was anything but normative. All in all, quite fascinating.

Happy reading everyone, and to all a good day!

books

Did You Know That. . . .?

Thinker_thumbA lot of disparate thoughts travel through this brain case I can safely inform you. You know me well enough to recognize the dangers of entering into my sandbox of synaptic pleasures. I’m either hopelessly unfocused or a cobbled together unrecognized genius. Some days it’s more one, other days, well.

I’ve come to see it as a blessing of sorts. At least I try to see it that way. I should have been a college professor, but of course that but begs the question–on what subject?

Any the hoo, I have a lot of thoughts about Syria but not a lot of coalesced conclusions, so I’ll beg off at the moment. Is it too trite and cowardly to just say, I’m conflicted?

I had a bizarre discussion with fellow high-school mates about the issue of spanking as discipline which proved to me once again how easy it is to stay with ideas that are both comfortable and supported by simplistic memes that denote little if any critical thinking. More and more I conclude that indeed advances in the human condition are the result of a very few minds indeed, and put into place by mostly brain-dead human hordes who are spoon fed some “reason” for implementing them.

If all that sounds rather cloudy and vague, well, it’s a cloudy and vague day here in Las Cruces. It’s been raining off and on for several days, which is highly unusual, at least for us recent arrivals–we saw so little rain last year that it made one appreciate water as a life-giving commodity surely. This year, we were told, as of Monday at least we had not yet received four inches of the wet stuff, and we might get at least that during this week. Since the desert is nothing but sand covering a rock hard-pan, the danger in these parts is floods in low-lying areas. Water races to its lowest place and rushes along, making gullies and rivulets through the desert. These become ditches or arroyos as we call them here, and eventually the Grand Canyon if you can stick around that long.

So anyway, here are some things I’ve read this week that you might find interesting.

horse_1456083iVlad, who appears to be in the driver’s seat at the moment internationally that is, has some things to say and said them in the NYTimes.

It’s an interesting “open letter to the American people“. Part propaganda, part history lesson, part chutzpah, it is worth a couple of minutes to read.

Having a power mad ex-president of the Communist party and ex-KGB officer, Putin deigns to give America a lesson in democracy. One can but admire the rich irony of that alone!

What he has to say about the subject of exceptionalism is worth reading. There is truth in those words.

As I said, my thoughts on the subject of Syria are unclear. That Putin wants to be a “player” is clear. What it will cost is not so clear.

A man so determined to show off his “masculinity” bespeaks something surely. What that is, I am not at all sure of.

 

¤

geniusI did mention the possibility that I am a hidden genius didn’t I?

That is almost surely a good reason for concluding that I am not.

Like “hero” we bandy about the word genius rather loosely these days.

If you would like to read an interesting take on what genius is and is not, then read I Dream of Genius over at Commentary. I found it a good read.

At least you can see if those you think of as geniuses are what the author does.

¤

If you would like to look at the mind in a different way, a more evolutionary way perhaps then you might want to pick up a new book out there by E. O Wilson, emeritus professor of biology at Harvard.

If you are unsure of whether you want to invest in The Social Conquest of Earth, then you can read through a review of the book from The Spectator.

HINT: once more we are compared to insects. All it all, it looks worthy of some good reading and some very good thinking ahead if you opt in. The review is not favorable on Wilson’s book. See if you agree. In either case, it seems a worthwhile read.

¤

Cosmic archaeology, need I say more?

Some say that aliens have looked and found us. But there is a thriving scientific community that spends its time looking for them. This is way more than looking for Goldilocks planets my friends, much more.

This is the type of scientific speculation that leads young boys and girls to dream of going into space, and leads them to enrolling in our best science and technology universities.

Come and dream for a few minutes. What can it hurt?

Go and read Distant Ruins.

¤

What happens when we both hear and see something? Do these two senses work together to enhance our fact gathering?

Is there a hierarchy of the senses? Do some matter more? Does one?

Oh I’m sure in the late recesses of a bleak and cold winter’s night, you too have asked this question.

So go and get the answer: Who did you hear, Me, or your lying eyes?

HINT: You might just have been McGurked!

¤

Another thing I imagine you’ve given a lot of thought to is why we are so fascinated by the lives of the writers we read and admire. I mean how much has been written about the life of Hemingway for instance? Are we not enthralled with the secret world of Proust, or Dickinson? How about Emerson or Fitzgerald? Balzac? Oh come now, you know you are curious.

A biography writer, shares some thoughts on what we can and cannot learn about those whose words cause us to depart this reality and enter another, one that sometimes we would rather inhabit.

Good reading here.

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Finally, if you have ever had the occasion to be “linked” to a “scientist” or other “expert” on something like global warming or evolution, or biblical literalness, American exceptionalism, the Judeo-Christian roots of American government, or similar things, you know what you are up against.

If you had the resources and or time to do the research,  you would almost surely find that most of these experts are anything but. Some our out-and-out failures who can be bought for a price, others are traveling into areas for which they have no formal expertise at all, and others are simply grifters, ready always to make a buck upholding any cockamamie “theory” that comes down the pike.

There is a great little site called Encyclopedia of American Loons. You can look up the biography of a startlingly large group of imposters and get the real low down on what they know and don’t know. An invaluable site. Since they seem to be novice bloggers I asked to them add the widget for a search engine and they have. Now you can enter a name and find out if they have bio’ed him or her. Or if you just want some fun reading, just go read a few.

So, now that I have solved all your reading needs for the weekend, I’ll leave you to it, with promises of more to come.

 

And the Nominee for STUPID is. . . .The GOP

bobbyjOh my head hurts. I mean seriously people, the list of nominees for MOST STUPID is the most widely contested race of all.

Shall we poll the Internet denizens?

Here are some of the nominees. Feel free to add any you can think of. The winner will receive a dead fish wrapped in the NYTimes, delivered by a pony express rider wearing a Dior gown of sparkling crystals.

1. Proving that he can’t read, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin says he will sign a new bill requiring an ultrasound of any pregnant woman seeking an abortion. Having learned nothing from what happened in Virginia when Governor McDonnell also planned to sign the same sort of thing, Walker announces that “I don’t have any problem with ultrasound”. No I guess HE doesn’t. But perhaps if it were required that all men who decide to treat women like children and tell them what to do with their own bodies, should undergo a lobotomy, he might, just might, change his tune. But then again, maybe not.

2. Arizona House Representative, Trent Franks resurrected the old “rape victims block the pregnancy” argument of Todd Akin, stating the “incidence of pregnancy following rape is very low.”  This was in support of a bill introduced by Franks making abortion illegal after 20 weeks. Democrats had introduced an amendment making an exception for rape and incest. It appears that Republican man are raised to believe that they are doctors by osmosis. It’s a male thing.

sarah-palin-stupid-republican-quotes-dumb-republicans-best-republican-quotes 3. So utterly against any immigration bill are some Republicans that they don’t even want to debate the issue. The reasons are obvious. The final bill may well pass the Senate, and then it’s on the House where Boehner will wring his hands and insist that he’s only there to help the House speak it’s will. The likes of Steve King and Louis Gohmert and Steve Stockton, will provide the show there. For now this group joins in a team effort to win the golden smelly carp award: Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Tex.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), James Inhofe (Okla.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Mike Lee (Utah), James Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.) and David Vitter (La.). A finer band of brothers in stupid cannot be found.

4. Virginia Lieutenant Governor nominee, E. W. Jackson wrote a book, and published it. It is called The Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life. Trouble is, he misspelled Commandments to Comandments in the title. Then he said that yoga would lead to satanic possession.

5. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) is somebody you probably never heard of. I suspect you can continue to not hear of him. He took to the floor last week in the House and ranted on about how the President was “a vengeful liar who lacks the moral compass” to lead the nation. He likened himself to Patrick Henry. He thinks he did a good job. Trouble is, I guess he forgets that the polls suggests he may be the one without a moral compass. It’s improper to cast such vitriol on the House floor. But alas it’s nothing new for the crazy crew. And by the by, all his reasoning was based on factual untruths. ALL of them. So I guess he’s intellectually impaired on top of being a flagrant abuser of the mouth.

6. Darrell Issa claimed through selected editing of testimony, that the order to select “conservative” applications for tax-exempt status came “from Washington”. He promised that the full transcripts would be released shortly. Of course the full transcripts said just about the opposite. The person who has owned up to the screening methodology, describes himself as a Conservative Republican and says he doesn’t believe there was any political motivation in the process, but merely a method to extract those applications that would undoubtedly necessitate deeper analysis. Issa now claims that release of the full transcripts would be “dangerous and irresponsible.” He now claims it is Cummings who is the problem.

Santorum_dunce17. Now I admit, this is not a Republican. But well, we have loved Carl Levin for many years. But we are pretty darn happy he’s decided to retire. He voted to keep the decision-making on rape charges in the hands of command. It was wrong. He sided with the military men. It was wrong. This kind of thing makes no sense on any level. It doesn’t promote cohesion in the ranks. It promotes distrust. Shame on him. And on Clare McCaskill who also voted this way.

So that’s my line up for today.

As I said, please add your favorites.

It’s hard to miss a week without Gohmert being on the list I know.

But he’ll be back in the top ten. He won’t let us down.

don-young-wetback-comments-immigrationSo.

Vote.

Vote often.

oops

 

 

Oh I Love Me Some Good Advice

hardball_robertson_1107071You know, I was sitting around the other day, wondering, “what is wrong with me?”, a game I engage in all the time, since I am so very aware that most everything that is wrong with the world is because of me.

Lil ol’ me. WOMAN. Ever since that snake thing in the garden, I have been the scourge of humanity, always leading men astray. And everything that is wrong with a man–well just hunt up the thread on clothes and you can unwind that baby and I guarantee it will lead DIRECTLY to the cause of his wrongness–A WOMAN.

So, naturally, as I was spending my daily “how am I to blame” time, I went DIRECTLY to the man who can tell me exactly wherein I fail.

That man would be the perfect Christian pastor, one PAT ROBERTSON. I mean, he is legendary in his ability to nail a cause down to its basics. Hurricanes, terrorism? Oh they are usually caused by HOMOSEXUALS, but of course, when you follow the thread, you will find that the core cause is the MOTHER of a homosexual.

So, anyway, I am always sure to check in with him, and to look for his Ann Landerish advice nuggets. So, if your husband is spending a lot of time playing video games on the computer?

Now you know! So get that lipstick on, and those pearls adjusted, and those sling-backs polished girls. Your man awaits the girl he dreamed of. And you know better than to say a word about his torn Packer’s t-shirt, his funkie toe-jammy feet, and his belching bad breath. That’s a MAN! Which is always better than a sharp stick in the eye.

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Just a tiny thought. Like 80+% of all folks in the US approve of universal background checks for anyone wanting to buy a guy. So why exactly does the NRA oppose it and subsequently strangle off any agreement by the GOP? Me thinks it may have to do with terrorist watch lists. I’m thinking that being a member of a group designated as a terrorist group might, just might be a black mark against you on an application. And of course there are a few right-wing crazy groups out there that might well earn that designation. The Survivalist/WhitePower/Militia/Obamaisadictator groups? And does this strike a tad too close to home to the NRA, who depend upon these groups to buy all those crazy weapons.

So, background checks could nip at the heels of their membership and affect their corporate masters, the gun makers and sellers.

Am I off base here? Or have I struck on something?

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While I was seeking advice about what the Frook is wrong with me, I realized that I should get a little more advice about my lady parts. One can never have too much of that I can tell you, and as we all know, the GOP incoming freshmen Phil Gingrey from GA, proports to be a OB-GYN so he feels it best to advise that old Todd Akin was “partially right” in his “legitimate rape” claims. Gingrey tells me that a traumatic event can cause a woman not to ovulate and it’s right and good to distinguish between a “legitimate rape” and those other kinds–you know, the liars.

No word from Phil how best a woman can protect herself by no going forth into the world only when she is on the verge of ovulating, just in case she is “legitimately raped”.

Somebody get me a hammer.

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Something I ran across on Facebook the other day that just tickled me. The post was one of those “mock horror” posts about some teacher in South Carolina who had, to make a point, taken down an American flag and stepped on it, remarking that it was only a symbol, no different from a cross or other similar things. It represented an idea which we might well believe it, but the thing itself was just a thing. The teacher was suspended pending an investigation.

Now, of course, flag mistreatment is by and large constitutionally protected as speech. Burning, attaching other items to it, and presumably stepping on it to make a political point are universally upheld unless the state can prove a legitimate governmental objective, unrelated to the 1st Amendment, and the law is reasonably designed to effect that objective. In other words, don’t bother.

Still among the Christianist poster and her tiny band of followers the following was stated in response to the horror of such an unpatriotic” act.

One commenter suggested the teacher should be deported. First Amendment rights are  of no merit to this “freedom lover”, who of course had no clue where a citizen would be deported to. I doubt he doesn’t know that you can’t deport a citizen.

Another commenter suggested the event was tragic, but this post would get little traction because this page is “full of lefties”.

Something like 63% of the American public is against making it a crime to burn the flag. I rather think that the only places who would want such a law would be repressive regimes who are trying to stomp down public criticism. Oh, I guess that would be the opposite of what the “protecting our freedoms” folks would espouse, but. . . .stupid people generally can’t follow a logical train of thought.

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Make it a safe day out there!