An Idea for Tonight’s GOP Debate

Apparently the Republican debate tonight, in which ten candidates will be participating, will be limited to a total of two hours, including commercials. If we assume 18 minutes of commercials per hour (it seems like most hour-long TV shows are around 42 minutes long without commercials), that means that, if we ignore the time needed for the moderators to ask questions, each candidate will get 8 minutes and 24 seconds total—assuming they divvy up the time evenly.

The ten participants, according to Politico, are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.

A summary of recent polls at Real Clear Politics shows Christie in last place out of this set of ten candidates, with 2.4 percent.

I have a suggestion for Gov. Christie. Continue reading


From the Mouths of Babes (UPDATED)

Fox News has a story about a 13-year-old kid who posted a YouTube video criticizing President Obama’s decision to invite Ahmed Mohamed to the White House (h/t Tim). It pretty much covers all the usual points: why is the president taking an active stand on this issue and not on [other, possibly-unrelated issue]??? Even at its best, it’s not a very good argument. In this case, the kid mentioned the president’s purported silence about Kate Steinle and “cops…being gunned down,” even though the second point is decidedly not true, and neither point is relevant to Ahmed Mohamed’s story.

I’m not going to get too worked up about this, though, because this kid is 13 years old. The real question is why Fox News seems to be giving him so much of a platform.

See, this is not the first time conservatives have rallied around a teenager who said things they wanted to hear. Wonkette reported on young conservative darling Jonathan Krohn a few years ago: Continue reading


The Means Do Not Justify the Ends

It bears repeating, now and then, that the people (politicians, activists, etc.) who tend to bray the loudest about the need to stop abortion also tend to oppose any and all measures with an actual, proven track record of reducing the number of abortions—usually because those measures require an acknowledgment that sex is a thing that happens whether they shame people for it or not. That’s something they just cannot do, I guess.

(They also tend to oppose measures that would assist new parents in raising the children they insist those new parents have, but that’s a rant for another day.)

In the face of all this evidence of what actually works, they just keep spinning their wheels. It’s almost like stopping abortion isn’t the real objective, you know?

Or, to put it another way: Continue reading


What I’m Reading, April 24, 2014

Nari Sin [CC BY 2.0 (], via FlickrThe Difference Between a Tea Party “Patriot” and a Real Patriot, Allen Clifton, Forward Progressives, April 19, 2014

Republicans are great at coining a term and using it over and over and over and over and – well you get the point. It’s as if there’s a secret handbook only conservatives are given access to where they’re instructed which words to say and when to say them. Rich people aren’t wealthy, they’re “job creators.” Laws that legalize using religion to discriminate against others are “religious freedom” laws. Even when it comes to patriotism they act as if they’re the only ones who are patriotic. As if flying an American flag, putting a “God Bless America” bumper sticker on their vehicle and finishing sentences with “support our troops” instantly makes them patriotic.

Maddow Asks: ‘Why Do We Overlook Right-Wing Violence and Refuse to Call it Terrorism?’ Answer: Because They’re White, Chauncey DeVega, AlterNet, April 18, 2014

Domestic terrorism is an oxymoron in America when white folks are involved. Whiteness imagines itself as kind, benign, safe, neutral, normal, and good. “Terrorism” is something those “other people” do, i.e. the Muslims, or some other ambiguous cohort of black and brown people who “hate American values”. Whiteness and the white racial frame are possessed by an acute sense of historical amnesia as well. The most dangerous domestic terrorist organization in the history of the United States was the Ku Klux Klan, a group that killed thousands of black Americans during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Open Thread: “Why Be A Neocon?…” Balloon Juice, April 19, 2014, comment by Patrick II

Continue reading


What I’m Reading, April 14, 2014

Not credited. May be work of U.S. Public Health Service (1918 ad) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsDear Parents, You are Being Lied to By Living Whole, Avicenna, A Million Gods, April 11, 2014

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to make the same mistakes. I predicted that an anti-vax backlash would occur when the anti-vax got so successful that they destroyed the herd immunity of a western nation to the point that common diseases could return. If you won’t learn by the carrot then unfortunately it is the stick. The price of Andrew Wakefield and the likes of Sherri Tenpenny, Mercola, Adams was increased disease. We are seeing record increases in common diseases that we were on the verge of eliminating.

How to Talk to Vaccine-Hesitant Parents, Keith Kloor, Discover, April 8, 2014

The smart folks at ThinkProgress seem to have missed all the media coverage of this recent study, which found that, for those already suspicious or concerned about vaccines, images of sick children and dramatic, cautionary narratives “actually increased beliefs in serious vaccine side effects.” This is a known as the “backfire effect,” a phenomena defined concisely here:

When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.

Jenny McCarthy, Who Still Promotes Misinformation About Vaccines, Now Says “I Am Not ‘Anti-Vaccine,'” Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist, April 13, 2014

McCarthy rejects the science — and thinks she deserves credit for just asking questions. Even though those questions were answered a long time ago and she just wasn’t happy with the responses. If Jenny McCarthy is not “anti-vaccine,” then Ken Ham must be the greatest advocate of evolution we’ve ever seen. In the meantime, the Jenny McCarthy Body Count will continue to rise until she comes to her senses and rejects the harmful beliefs that she still holds.

GOP Lawmaker Compares Abortion To Buying A Car, Laura Bassett, Huffington Post, April 9, 2014

A Republican state lawmaker in Missouri defended his controversial bill forcing women to have ultrasounds before abortions by comparing abortion to purchasing a new vehicle. “In making a decision to buy a car, I put research in there to find out what to do,” state Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R) told colleagues at a hearing on the bill Tuesday. *** The major problem with Gatschenberger’s analogy, of course, is that people are not required by state law to do research before buying a car. State Rep. Stacey Newman (D) told Gatschenberger that his car analogy was “extremely offensive to every single woman sitting in here.”

Photo credit: Not credited. May be work of U.S. Public Health Service (1918 ad via [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


My nominee for tweet of the year

Via Oliver Griswold:


Sooo, the conservative heroes of Spring 2012 are the guy who killed an unarmed black kid and the guy who cut off a gay kid’s hair?


The Congressman who Cried “Menace to Civilization”

JackassMissouri Republican Representative Todd Akin had some fun zingers recently in Columbia.

Why hasn’t Congress impeached President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder? Rep. Todd Akin says it’s simply a lack of votes. But he says that may change eventually.

Because impeachment has never, ever backfired on Republicans…

“I think some of the thought was, he’s coming up at this point for election and the best way to impeach him is the ballot box,” Akin said. “So I think that’s the thought, because you’re never going to get something through the Senate. That doesn’t mean that at a certain point you just say enough, I don’t care enough about the Senate, duty calls us to just get up and just impeach this guy. And maybe he’s not quite gotten to the point where you’ve got the Republicans — basically all the Republican bloc is not quite mad enough for that.”

Well, that’s saying something.

I suspect this is just some shameless pandering to the unwashed masses. Still, Akin has been the Congressional representative for Missouri’s 2nd District since 2001, and he’s been something of a nut for far longer than that. He has a masters of divinity supplementing his “management engineering” degree, and I can’t even think of an appropriately snarky comment regarding divinity degrees. I feel as though someone who has written extensive fan fiction mashing up Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Grey’s Anatomy ought to receive a comparable degree.

Anyway, Akin really doesn’t like the President. He doesn’t much care for liberals, either:

Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican, was discussing NBC’s recent removal of the words “under God” from a clip of the Pledge of Allegiance during coverage of the U.S. Open.

“Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal, and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God,” Akin told radio host Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. “This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.”

Akin, who is running in the GOP primary for Missouri’s senate seat, released a statement Tuesday apologizing for his comments.

Akin, a Christian, expressed that he and his family would never “question the sincerity of anyone’s personal relationship with God. My statement during my radio interview was directed at the political movement, liberalism, not at any specific individual.”

Getting back to the point of this post, he seems to be saying that impeachment could be an option in the future. The Constitution allows impeachment as a remedy for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a term that still has no clear definition after roughly 225 years of constitutional jurisprudence. We know it can include getting/lying about blowjobs in the White House. It can also cover the high crime of, uh, being Andrew Johnson. What has President Obama to merit this most extreme of acts?

Still, Akin said he had plenty of relevant concerns: Obama, he said, “ignores the Constitution, he ignores the laws, he wants to impose all of the czars, he completely ignores the train wreck of the economy, which he’s causing with trillion-dollar-plus deficits every year you go along.”

Translation: if Obama does it, it’s impeachable. At least Akin advocates waiting until after the election, if applicable. If Obama gets re-elected, he will either lose all his hair by 2016, or it will all turn some sort of super-gray.

Seriously, though, Rep. Akin is talking about impeachment, the Congressional attempt to remove the President of the United States from office outside of the usual electoral process. It requires sober reflection and dispassionate consideration. What say you, Rep. Akin?

“He is a complete menace to our civilization,” he said. “The question is what’s the best way to get rid of him, I think probably at the ballot box next election, we need to get that done.”

Our civilization??? Yeah, this is going to be a long election season.

Photo credit: ‘Jackass’ by Izmaelt (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.