Friday, January 15, 2010

Another example of the fine art of bullshitting

When I think of Rush Limbaugh, the Shit Demon from the film Dogma sometimes comes to mind.

Perhaps you have heard what the prescription drug addict himself has said about the Obama Administration's response to the earthquake in Haiti. If you have not, or if you need a refresher, here's what he said, among other things:
Yes, I think in the Haiti earthquake, ladies and gentlemen -- in the words of Rahm Emanuel -- we have another crisis simply too good to waste. This will play right into Obama's hands. He's humanitarian, compassionate. They'll use this to burnish their, shall we say, "credibility" with the black community -- in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It's made-to-order for them. That's why he couldn't wait to get out there, could not wait to get out there.
Clearly, for people like Limbaugh—you know, bullshitters—there is obviously no way for the president to win. If Obama rushes aid to Haiti, then he is only trying to "burnish his credibility with the black community." If Obama does not rush aid to Haiti, then he, like that prick who preceded him in office, doesn't care about the suffering of victims of natural disasters, like all those people in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit who made the mistake of voting democratic.

Now, Limbaugh appears to believe that we've helped Haiti enough, so screw 'em. But the president obviously does not and cannot share Limbaugh's attitude. Limbaugh knows that if Obama drags his feat or only half-heartedly comes to Haiti's aid, he will receive widespread condemnation.

Many of us understand that a rapid, massive aid effort is clearly appropriate and required, and that is just what Obama is trying to mobilize. And yet Limbaugh condems the man for it. And that is why I can confidently, and without reservation, classify Limbaugh's criticism as another example of the fine art of bullshitting.

Hey, Rush: go f*ck yourself. And while you're at it, think about all the Haitians whose lives might have been saved if you hadn't convinced people not to contribute to the aid effort.

Why I Am Not a Christian: Exhibit A

If you follow current events and have some knowledge of history, you've probably noticed that Haiti seems to be victimized by one disaster after another. And perhaps you've even wondered why.

There are at least two answers to this question. One is informative and enlightening; the other is unbelievably stupid.

According to Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press, Haiti's bad luck is attributable to "a killer combination of geography, poverty, social problems, slipshod building standards and bad luck, experts say."

With regard to geography, Haiti is prone not only to hurricanes and other tropical storms, but also to earthquakes, according to Borenstein.

Haiti's social problems make natural disasters even more difficult to deal with. "It starts with poverty, includes deforestation, unstable governments, poor building standards, low literacy rates and then comes back to poverty," writes Borenstein.

Some, however, disagree with the experts.

According to Pat Robertson, Haiti's suffering is attributable to its being cursed:

ROBERTSON: [S]omething happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, "We will serve you if you will get us free from the French." True story. And so, the devil said, "OK, it's a deal."

And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other. ... They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God.

This is one reason why I am not a Christian. When some Christians attempt to make sense of reality, they sound like time travellers from the 16th Century. Not only is Robertson's apparent ignorance of 500 or so years of scientific progress breathtaking, but the possible moral implications of his view are repulsive and sickening. Is it wrong of us to send aid to Haiti? Should we all just turn to God and pray and leave it at that?

All of you morons who send money to CBN and their propaganda show The 700 Club need to stop. Pat Robertson is evil. By supporting him, you participate in the evil and are thereby complicit in it.

If there is a hell, it is intended for people like Pat Robertson, not me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

McGwire admits to steroid use

Read about it here.

Politics = the fine art of bullshitting

You've probably heard by now that republicans are calling on Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to resign. Reid is the Democratic leader of the Senate.

In their new book Game Change, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann write that Reid "was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama – a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,' as he later put it privately."

As Douglass K. Daniel of the AP reports, republicans are arguing that there is a double standard. Democrats called on Trent Lott, the former republican Senate leader, to resign after he made racially sensitive comments, but democrats are not demanding that their own leader resign.

Some object to the argument by claiming that Lott's remarks and Reid's remarks are different. You, of course, can be the judge. According to CNN, Lott said the following about former senator Strom Thurmond: "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

As CNN points out in the same story,
Thurmond ran as the presidential nominee of the breakaway Dixiecrat Party in the 1948 presidential race against Democrat Harry Truman and Republican Thomas Dewey. He carried Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and his home state of South Carolina, of which he was governor at the time.

During the campaign, he said, "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches."

Thurmond's party ran under a platform that declared in part, "We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race."
Now, carefully review what Senator Reid said. With the exception of his use of an "N" word, what did Reid say that was racist or offensive?

Nothing.

It is not racist to point out the racism inherent in American politics.

And using the particular "N" word that Reid used simply does not compare to a possible endorsement of pre-civil-rights era segregationism and racism.

So why are republicans making such a big deal out of this? Politics, of course. Reid faces a tough reelection campaign, and this issue might make that campaign even tougher for him if they can make this stick somehow.

That's politics. Throw around as much bullshit as possible and see what sticks. Whether there is truth in your bullshit or not is irrelevant.

That's why Liz Cheney, who is just about as repulsive as Dick—and that is pretty freaking repulsive—was trying to make an issue out of this on Sunday's This Week. Here's the transcript:
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the most endangered Senate Democrats is the leader, Harry Reid, and he got into a little bit of hot water over the weekend. This new book, "Game Change," by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, quotes him in a private conversation, saying that -- let's show it right now. "Reid was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama, a 'light-skinned African-American' with 'no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,' as Reid said privately."

This has already drawn a lot of criticism. Republican Chairman Michael Steele this morning is saying that Reid ought to resign. The president has accepted Harry Reid's apology.

But Steele himself in some hot water, as well. He's got a book out this week, a lot of Republicans angry about that. And he's saying he's not going to take the criticism anymore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEELE: I'm telling him, I'm going to look him in the eye and say, I've had enough of it. If you don't want me in the job, fire me. But until then, shut up. Get with the program, or get out of the way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Judy, let's talk about Reid first. He didn't need this at all, already at 52 percent unfavorable in Nevada, being defeated, behind both his opponents right now.

WOODRUFF: Ouch. He didn't need this, but, you know, he does have friends in the White House. Somebody very close to the president said to me yesterday, after all this blew up, said, you know, this is the Mormon from Searchlight with an ear of tin and a heart of gold. He's done some very good things for the White House. They know he's carried their water on -- on health care, and they're not -- they're not going to put any distance between themselves and Harry Reid.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There had been some talk which Reid -- sorry -- which Reid tried to squash that he might not even go through with the election in November. You say he's in the race to stay?

HUNT: Oh, I think he's in the race to say. This is what Harry Reid does. What else is he going to do? He's not going to go back to Searchlight. And I think the only hope he has -- because his numbers are terrible -- is that the dysfunctional, corrupt Republican Party in Nevada. I mean, with the senator, with the governor, I mean, they have more people under indictment or under -- and that's the only thing -- it is probably the worst state in the union to make the case against Harry Reid, as unpopular as he is, and that's his only hope.

REICH: This is -- this is the Democrat's great benefit. I mean, every time they're in real, real trouble, the Republican Party comes to their aid.

HUNT: Michael Steele...

(CROSSTALK)

REICH: And Michael Steele is a good example. This week was basically designed for the Republicans, with the Democratic resignations. I mean, it looked like Democrats in disarray. And Michael Steele comes in, and talk about disarray. He is going rogue.

CHENEY: But, you know, can I just point out that I think one of the things that makes the American people frustrated is when they see time and time again liberals excusing racism from other liberals. And I think that, you know, clearly, Senator Reid's comments were outrageous. And the notion that they're being excused...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: But in a private conversation that he thought was off the record...

CHENEY: I don't think racism is OK, George, whether you're saying it in private or in public. And the excuse of it by liberals, you know, is -- is really inexcusable.

But I do think, frankly, you know, he's given the voters of Nevada yet one more reason to oust him this -- this next time around, and I suspect that's what they'll do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: George, you're shaking your head.

WILL: I don't think there's a scintilla of racism in what Harry Reid said. At long last, Harry Reid has said something that no one can disagree with, and he gets in trouble for it.

CHENEY: George, give me a break. I mean, talking about the color of the president's skin...

WILL: Did he get it wrong?

CHENEY: ... and the candidate's...

WILL: Did he say anything false?

CHENEY: ... it's -- these are clearly racist comments, George.

WILL: Oh, my, no.

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: ... quickly, Liz, I -- I think it was certainly an indelicate comment, but, in fact, during the election, there were stories and there were people commenting on Tiger Woods, Adrian Fenty. I mean, I think it's very unfortunate, but I think there is an element that says that -- that -- that some -- some blacks do better than others because of appearance. I don't think that's right...

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: ... but I don't think...

(CROSSTALK)

CHENEY: ... this may be the way that liberal elites speak to each other in private. It is not the way that people that I know speak to each other in private or public...

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: ... no one's ever accused Harry Reid of being a liberal elite.

(CROSSTALK)

CHENEY: ... all of us hope that this nation will be one, where we're judged by the content of our character, and that is not what that comment...

(CROSSTALK)

REICH: Before we banter around or use terms like "liberal elites" or "racism," let me just say that race is, unfortunately, still a factor in politics and in this country. We may not like it; we may not want it to be. And in the election, people did talk about race. That does not make them a racist.
Amen, Professor Reich.

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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---W.K. Clifford

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. ---Thomas Jefferson