Saturday, June 30, 2012

Why We No Longer Deserve Nice Things, #2

US Senator Rand Paul (R-TN), on the Supreme Court decision upholding the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act:

“Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional."

THIS is a United States Senator, people.  Someone actually elected a man to high office who has no understanding of sixth-grade civics.

Rand Paul (and his idiot father) are another reason we no longer deserve nice things.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This ... Was Unexpected

Everyone was awaiting Bad News.  The Supreme Court of the United States - that piss-poor excuse for a bowling team from Passaic, New Jersey - was due to hand down a ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act, or "Obamacare."

(Psst - hey, Fellow Republicans:  Disregard the fact that Obamacare is actually Romneycare, our Party's candidate for President's Massachusetts health care plan.)

The focus of the case was the Individual Mandate, a provision that simply says everyone needs health insurance, so everyone should have health insurance.

So, anticipation was high.  The ideological makeup of the Court had me thinking that the mandate would be struck down, pulling a key pillar out from under the law.  One GOP candidate had even scripted and recorded four statements based on which of four possible directions the Court might take.

Of course, he or his staff stupidly posted all four on YouTube, which occasioned much hilarity.

So today, the Supremes got on the black robes and tossed us a 190+ page ruling.

And ...


Chief Justice Johnny Smiles joined with the liberal wing of the Court in upholding the Act, and the mandate, by a 5-4 margin.

I will confess that I have not read the decision yet (I'll wait till I have a few hours free), but it's likely that Fat Tony, Sammy the Weasel and The Dingbat were appropriately apoplectic in their dissent.

The decision surprised many people, but the Egg On Face Award goes to a tie for first in the "Whoops, We Screwed the Pooch" department, CNN and Fox News.  Both of these 'news' sources proclaimed that the Mandate was dead based solely on the first page of the ruling.

Naturally, the Right is foaming at the mouth, and is demanding that House Speaker John "Mighty Tan" Boehner immediately make another idiotic attempt to repeal the Act.

Which won't happen, Johnny-Mop.

Another segment is calling for the Chief Justice to be impeached or pressured to retire.  What fun!  Maybe he'll go this month, so Obama can appoint a new one before the election.

But I confess to being surprised - something that doesn't often happen, here in the Cloud-Cuckoo-Land that is 21st Century America.

I'd best enjoy it while it lasts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why We No Longer Deserve Nice Things, #1

(This is going to be a recurring post, as I describe the many and sundry ways that we, as a nation, have so far strayed from good sense that it'd be better to simply build a wall around the continental United States and call it "AmeroDisney" than let any of us loose on an undeserving world.)

We begin with an axiom:  That authoritarians prefer a populace to be ignorant rather than informed, because the more people think, the less likely they are to fear and the more likely they are to criticize.

Sound about right?

Good, we'll continue.

The State of Louisiana, in particular its Governor and legislature, was the butt of much good-natured ribbing as it was revealed that the overwhelmingly Republican and conservative factions there had enabled thousands of school students to become eligible for vouchers that could get them into private schools.

Now, over and above the obvious corollary that a school voucher program bleeds money away from public schools in favor of these private schools, there is the matter of the curriculum taught at these schools.  These schools are invariably Christian-oriented, so their textbooks are chosen with that in mind.

And here's where We No Longer Deserve Nice Things.

In an attempt to disprove the Darwinian theory of natural selection, and the massive array of good scientific results and evidence supporting the evolution of life, the textbooks and the companies that publish them make the completely ridiculous assertion that the Loch Ness Monster ... is real.


I kid you not.

They want to teach Young Earth Creationism to the youth of Louisiana (or to as many as possible), then unleash these uneducated and frankly intellectually crippled young people out into the world.  And they want to teach it by asserting that humans and dinosaurs coexisted - and even, according to one report, state that dinosaurs were actually the fire-breathing dragons of legend.

Louisiana is not alone in this.  Texas, one of the largest consumers of textbooks in the nation, regularly edits out all reference to science; large swaths of various state legislatures, the United States Congress, countless school boards around the country (including, I am distressed to say, my own locality), and possibly one Presidential candidate* think that The Flintstones was a documentary, and not a cartoon based on The Honeymooners.

This is part and parcel of a general trend in this country that has been seen developing over the past thirty-plus years.  The trend includes:
Celebrating stupidity and even teaching it in order to guarantee that the great mass of the next generation are incapable of thinking critically;
Denying solid scientific evidence (evolution, mass vaccinations, anthropogenic global climate change, etc.) in favor of either willful ignorance or willful blindness;
Demonizing intellect and praising ignorance; and
Putting higher education (with its emphasis on free inquiry) so far out of the reach of the average American student that it becomes impossible to get a degree without incurring a lifetime of debt.

What is the end state of all of this, you may ask?

Simple.  The object, I believe, is to reduce the vast bulk of succeeding generations to imbecility.  After all, all the education they need is the ability to read a sign and do simple sums.  They won't need to think critically, as all media will be geared (as it is already, in a growing and distressing way) towards a healthy mixture of fearmongering and stupidity.  University studies have already shown that viewing one particular news source actually makes you less informed, which shows that the plan is working.

And this is why we no longer deserve to have nice things.

*Depending on which way you hold the Etch-A-Sketch on any given day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why All the Fuss?

The rather ponderously named House Committee on Government Oversight (that's a laugh, for a start) voted yesterday on Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CACA)'s motion citing Attorney General Holder for contempt.  This all stems from an ATF operation called Fast and Furious, which basically involved allowing agents of Mexican drug cartels to buy guns at American gun shows, and allowing said guns to be smuggled across the border down Mexico way.

Despite the fact that a similar operation was set up under The Administration That Must Never Be Named, this has caused a great deal of hatred, wailing and gnashing of teeth by Rep. Issa. 

Personally, I can't for the life of me see what the fuss is all about.  And I'll tell you why.

[WARNING:  Sarcasm ahead, and it might get heavy!]

Most conservative and Republican politicians in Washington are part-property of the National Rifle Association, which can be reliably guaranteed to start screaming blue murder if anyone whispers a word about anything that could possibly be construed as gun control.  In fact, the NRA's president has stated that gun ownership should be considered a fundamental right for everyone, not just Americans.

So why the huhu, folderol and whoopdy-do about allowing Mexicans the right to keep and bear arms?

And there's also a good anti-immigration slant to this line of argument, and we must recall that the GOP's Party line is geared against the Scary Brown People Down South.  That line of reasoning is this - that as long as there are vicious and well-armed gangs along the border, it'll be too damned dangerous for illegals to even think about crossing the border.

(And by 'vicious and well-armed gangs,' I'm not talking about Americans.)

[Okay, sarcasm off.]

Considering that Rep. Issa was the target of a pair of ultra-orthodox Jewish terrorists way back in the day, I'm surprised he's not in favor of gun control.  But let that pass.

(Disclaimer:  Don't start calling me a filthy liberal; I'm a lifelong Republican.)