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Rants

Sometimes you just gotta let loose

No More Pawlenty on the Daily Show

I'm so sick and tired of watching Pawlenty come on the Daily Show and spout some bullshit that Jon mostly lets him get away with and come off as some sort of moderate Republican (like he used to be). He was on last night, but I'm not going to link to it because I wouldn't encourage anyone to waste their time watching it.

Throughout the interview he is either incapable or unwilling to understand any of Jon's questions and refuses to answer them. At times I'm not sure if he is just too stupid to understand Stewart's nuance or if Pawlenty just had a script in his mind before the show from which he refused to deviate.

Jon does not want to discuss the AZ shooting at all and makes no effort to blame it on Republican rhetoric. Instead, he asks if Republican rhetoric is totally divorced from reality irrespective of whether it does or does not lead to real violence.

Pawlenty refuses to answer the question, saying the left was angry at Bush.

Stewart asks why Pawlenty thinks the government is too big under Obama when he supported massive government expansions under Bush - as with No Child Left Behind and the Medicaid expansion.

Pawlenty ignores the question and then comes back to say that government is just trying to do too much -- which fundamentally validates Stewart's point: Republicans grow government when in power and decry it when the Dems do it all the while refusing to come to terms with their actions. Here is Pawlenty saying that yes, he supported the massive growth of government under Bush but now the size of that government -- that his party grew -- is just too big. But there is no suggestion from Pawlenty that he even recognizes this rhetorical dilemma because he is so focused on his run for the Presidency.

As someone who once thought Pawlenty was a decent Governor, I really really hate the spineless asshole he has become. He cares nothing for what is the best policy in his bid for more personal power.

Scientific Stupidity

This story illustrates the disconnect Americans have with science and public policy.

From NPR: Dishes Still Dirty? Blame Phosphate-Free Detergent.

In a nutshell, dishwasher detergent can no longer uses phosphates, the magical ingredient that makes dishwashers so effective, even with very soiled plates.

Seventeen states banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents because the chemical compounds also pollute lakes, bays and streams. They create algae blooms and starve fish of oxygen.

Enter some Texas lady:

But dirty and damaged dishes are turning many people into skeptics, including Wright.

"I'm angry at the people who decided that phosphate was growing algae. I'm not sure that I believe that," Wright adds.

She's not sure she believes that??? What the fuck does she know about phosphates in waterways? Almost nothing, I'll bet.

What she does know is that she has to rinse dishes before putting them in her friggin dishwasher and some pots have to be washed by hand. She knows that this is just about the greatest inconvenience she'll encounter in her life, and therefore phosphates could NOT POSSIBLY cause algae blooms. I would have paid money to see a quick follow up question posed to her: "Sure, you doubt the science... one question: What is an algae bloom?"

Listen people, the science is what it is. Phosphates are fucking up our waterways. Dumping megatons of carbon into the atmosphere is changing the climate in ways unprecedented in human history. If you are too fucking content with your lifestyle to be bothered making changes that will allow future generations to do things like fish or live along present-day coastline, then that is your problem, not a problem with the science!

Ugh

The last time I felt this bad after an election was 2004 and the Republicans proceeded to destroy the economy by draining the life from the middle class and enriching the top 2% of Americans.

Now they are back to finish the job.

Actually having an understanding of economics, how (and why) the housing market bubble happened, and the policies involved make it very difficult to even talk to the "casual" voter who has no understanding of any of this but thinks government should "tighten its belt" just as we households have done. Well, you know what? When the government fails to engage in counter-cyclical deficit spending, we all have to tighten our belts for a very much longer time. So congratulations, we have lengthened the impact of the recession. And we reelected the party that created the massive deficients (unfunded Medicare expansion, unfunded wars, trickle-down economics via tax cuts for the richest 2% that have unceasingly failed to stimulate the economy despite 30 years of BS claims from Republican economists).

Obama may prove to be a better President in the next two years with the new Congress but he sure was the wrong man for the job over the past 2. Most Americans have no idea what was done over the two years, why more needed to be done, and they have embraced morons with catchy sound bites. How frustrating.

I Remember Why G W Bush Was Elected in 2000

F the Dems. It has taken me almost 8 months now to remember why I couldn't care less whether Al Gore beat Bush back in 2000. Last year, it was more difficult to remember owing to the havoc the fiscally irresponsible Republicans wreaked on the economy and the stupid war they drug us into.

But now I remember - it was because the Democrats are incapable of getting things done. I was getting frustrated, but this week knocked me over the edge when it started to become clear that the Dems are going to fuck up health care reform (not because the Republicans put the wants of the rich above the desires of the rest of us, but because the Dems cannot keep their own members in line).

Then I saw that some so-called Blue-Dog Dems are spreading some shit about how they aren't sure whether they will vote on Sotomayor. Are you serious? This is such incredible bullshit. Sotomayor is about as centrist as you can get - Obama had no hope of actually pushing a progressive onto the court.

On the stimulus, they caved and gutted the package by making it half tax-cut based to get 3 frigging Republicans to sign onto it. Great - that was worth it. Let's slow the recovery so the President can have the high ground of reaching out to Republicans who overwhelmingly refuse to reach back. Fuck, the mullahs of Iran are probably more willing to work with Obama than the fucking Christian Mullahs of Alabama or Georgia.

Having the Dems in power makes me feel like I am watching a retarded child get slowly tortured to death by a posse of sadist preachers who insists it is all part of God's plan.

The only solace I have is hoping that things have always been this fucked up and we tend to forget just how bad everything was. The Republicans certainly have no conception of history - they revere Reagan, a man who would be crucified by his own party today because of his socialist tax policies and willingness to talk to our enemies. I wonder if Jesus and Reagan are watching this shit while swearing and scarfing jelly beans.

Town Manager Fired Because of Wife

Kimmi pointed this out to me - a Town Manager in some undoubtedly otherwise open minded town was fired because his wife was a porn star. Being Florida, he was probably also totally corrupt because if there is one thing Floridian government is incapable of, it appears to be honesty.

That said, there were no allegations of impropriety except that his wife works, legally, in an industry that the prigs of that town want to publicly condemn even as they undoubtedly contribute to it privately. To his credit, the manager seems to have left without ill will - though I have to imagine that anyone with half a brain would be excited to leave such a place.

To Those Opposed to Health Care Reform ...

Fuck you, you fucking fucker fucknutses.

I just got a letter rejecting my third appeal to the faceless medical insurance company that exists to take my money and use it to hire people that deny claims. Give me my fucking government bureaucracy - which will at least be accountable via the democratic process.

Last year, I had a procedure to alleviate my severe ankle pains. They were recommended by my doctor - an orthopedic ankle specialist that the University uses on its athletes - someone who knows his shit. Turns out that this procedure is considered to be investigatory or experimental by my insurance company - which is convenient because they don't cover things that are experimental.

My doctor scoffs at the idea that it is experimental, pointing me to many studies showing its effectiveness. He then notes that he cannot be responsible for knowing what different insurance companies cover - there are too many policies and some cover it, some don't, blah blah blah. Of course, many of them only cover it after a number of appeals. Looks like mine company - Medica - never does. Well fuck them. I look forward to a government option so I can stop wasting the money I currently send to a company that doesn't cover the shit I need covered.

I'm sure its great that they cover Viagra - I just wish it was my dick that was broken rather than my freaking joints. The next time I have horrible ankle pains, I'll be gritting through them on fucking ibuprofen because I'll still be paying off the previous treatments.

The American health care system is a fucking joke and those that want to scare-monger about how it would be horrible if we had a fucking choice between health care insurers can eat a bag of dicks.

Update: - Crooks & Liars has some good health care coverage, including this clip.

Republicans are a Threat to the Institution of Marriage

Between Senator Ensign (huge critic of Clinton, called on him to resign due to his infidelity) and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, the Republicans and their extramarital affairs are clearly threatening the institution of marriage. These leaders are setting an example that husbands have little obligation to be faithful to their wives. They frequently claim that homosexuals are a threat, but this is clearly a gambit to hide the fact that Republicans are intent on destroying the monogamous family unit that forms the basis of Western Civilization.

I'm actually quite surprised that it took so long for us to figure this out. After all, the states that overwhelmingly vote for Republicans have the highest divorce rates - especially those among the "Bible Belt." On the contrary, the states with the lowest divorce rates tend to overwhelmingly be more liberal - all stats from the CDC.

Clearly, Republicans have been more strategic than we gave them credit for. While they have undermined the entire institution of marriage with their frequent infidelity, they have convinced millions that gays are the real threat! Despite an utter lack of evidence for the gay threat to marriage (aside from a few passages from a book that equally condemns eating shellfish or wearing fabrics of mixed materials), we have fallen for a classic misdirection.

We must take action - we have to pass laws to protect marriage from this Republican onslaught. Legislation ought to immediately require that anyone who wants to marry declare their voting history. Those who vote heavily for Republican will be denied a marriage certificate in order to prevent more damage to such an important institution - the marriages of people who take it seriously. Additionally, the legislation will recognize the marriages of same-sex couples as well - a group of people that has not actually damaged the institution.

As always, the government will not require all churches to marry same-sex couples. Bigoted churches should be free to continue discriminating until they have run out of members (thank you younger generations who are annoyed at the irrational prejudices of gramps). In this case, the government will just get out of the way and stop preventing people who love each other (but intend to be faithful to each other, thus ruling out Republicans) from marrying.

In case it is not obvious, the above is mostly sarcastic. But this is 100% from my heart: to all you Republicans and your moralizing, shut the fuck up (or, for those who recognize this important acronym, STFU). You fucking assholes have spread hate while proving utterly less moral than perhaps every other societal group. Republican politicians may well be the least qualified people in the country to ever make a moral decision. You fuckers make me sick. Now go back to your goddamn cheating and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

Plenty of Pawlenty

Minnesota's Governor has announced he is not running for reelection. No real surprise there - political observers announced as much when Pawlenty announced his budget plan 6 months ago. They noted he was deferring and enlarging the problem, and would probably explode in a few years.

Here we have a governor who pledged not to raise taxes. A few years ago, he did raise taxes on cigarettes but he labeled it "a fee," so it didn't count. Nevermind that the gas tax is literally a fee that we pay to maintain the roads, he decided that could not be raised (fortunately, the Legislature overrode him - generating desperately needed revenue for our infrastructure).

Pawlenty even had my support a few short years ago. I don't know that I would have voted for him in most circumstances, but I praised him for not being a standard Republi-ostrich on global climate change. The times have changed - he has swung massively to the right on energy. Turns out he was all rhetoric and no action ... after groups he put together recommended actions to deal with climate change, he refused to implement nearly all of them.

He is the darling of the right-wing and entirely too many centrists because of his stand against raising taxes. Nevermind that we are talking about going back to the tax level from a few short years ago - when we apparently lived in a socialist country if you listen to the pundits. In a stronger economy, we cut taxes too far (particularly for the wealthiest). Now we have too little revenue for the government services passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.

This is the dirty little secret of Pawlenty - while he refuses to raise taxes, he also does not veto spending bills (unless there is a provision that would do something horrific like allow gay people equal rights or allow dying people to smoke a joint out of medical necessity). Like so many other Republicans, he cannot identify the wasteful or unnecessary government spending programs that we should eliminate to live within our means. As the Republicans have done since Reagan, he chooses to borrow and spend rather than ask the richest amongst us to give some more back to the society that allowed them to succeed.

I have a pretty good life - something that would not have been possible without all the great infrastructure that surrounds us and allows our markets to produce so many great goods. I have a good education because generations before me paid their taxes. I have no problem paying my share to ensure that future generations will have similar opportunities. Heck, I don't even mind that the urban area in which I live pays taxes that go out and build roads throughout the rural areas of the state (that could not afford to build their own because the tax base is too small).

But people like Pawlenty thrive by convincing millions that taxes are unfair and no one should have to pay anything to the government because big city liberals want to give your money to lesbians so they can get married and have abortions together.

I now find Pawlenty revolting. Not so much because of who he is, but because of the people who love him. Just as so many (even in the end!) could not see through the fraud of Bush, many of my fellow Minnesotans will love Pawlenty and never understand how his irresponsible brand of let-the-grandkids-pay-for-it-because-I-have-greater-ambitions-than-Minnesota has hurt our great state.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that I half want to see him do well in the Republican party because I am more afraid of the "Christian" fundamentalists that have been dominating that party even as the rest of American increasingly becomes rightfully skeptical of turning our republic into a theocracy. But I also want to see him fail because I'm afraid of what his brand of fiscal irresponsibility would do to our country -- as with Clinton, we need a few more years of healing the economy before we let Republicans in charge of it again.

Steve Perry published a "http://www.politicsinminnesota.com/2009/jun04/3275/pawlenty-he-got-out-while-getting-was-still-good">good roundup of Pawlenty's record on Politics in Minnesota. He finishes with a sad prediction:

Pawlenty saw it coming and knew it was his last chance to get out with high approval marks. There are still 19 difficult months to go, but he'll enhance his margin of error by backloading his unallotment cuts to year two of the upcoming biennium, which means the worst of them won't start hitting the fan until he's got only 6-8 months left in office. That's a riskier fiscal approach than frontloading the cuts, because it would only exacerbate the impact of any additional revenue shortfalls in year two of the biennium. But there's no question it's what's best for Tim Pawlenty.

Porn Rebuttal

Major props to Jeff Raines in California - who responded to Ross Douthat's Pr0n Slam in a previous Atlantic Monthly - which I also wrote about here. This letter appeared in the December 2008 Atlantic Monthly.

Ross Douthat (“Is Pornography Adultery?,” October Atlantic) writes, “The man who uses porn is cheating sexually, but he isn’t involving himself in an emotional relationship.” Does that make my wife’s romance novels—in which the heroine meets and falls in love with a handsome sea captain with a Ph.D. in marine biology just back from Far Tortuga, where he was saving whales and attempting to get over the tragic loss of his wife, who died trying to climb K2 to raise money for the Special Olympics—better or worse than anything I might see on PhatFarmGirlz.com? She’s also cheating sexually, and she is involving herself emotionally—vicariously falling in love—with a fantasy male I can’t compete with (except for the perfect pecs and the cleft chin, anyway). Why is it that Mr. Douthat’s outrage is aimed only at men?

I continue to stick to my answer of "maybe" to whether porn is cheating or not. Depends on how you and partner define the relationship. Trying to find a universal answer to this question is silly and denies the fact that relationships are built on the needs of those involved (or should be) and the people who are truly concerned about a stable society have to stop trying to force their narrow-minded BS on the rest of us.

SNL on Phelps and Pot

Double Amen!

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