Pharyngula

Right wing inanity

How did we ever let these clowns run the country for so long?

  • John Boehner. No comment from me needed, let his own words speak for him.

    Appearing on ABC’s This Week, the Ohio Republican was asked what to describe the GOP plan to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, “which every major scientific organization said is contributing to climate change.”

    Boehner replied: “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know when they do what they do you’ve got more carbon dioxide.”

  • We in academia are part of an insidious plot to promote Obama’s socialist agenda by teaching nothing but “community organizing” all the time. At least, that’s the impression you might get from right wing anti-academic freedom sites, as this quote might suggest.

    Google the phrase “college and university courses in community organizing” and you get 9,990,000 entries, at least as of today.

    One problem: the goon who did this search typed it into google without the quotes, which means that it returned every page where a college used the word “college” and a university used the word “university” and a community used the word “community”. Properly enclose the phrase in quotes, and the number of entries you get is…two.

The Republicans do make me despair of humanity, sometimes.

Comments

  1. #1 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    Because we’re screwed either way. If Democrats were obviously better in every way, Republicans would never stand a chance. We’re probably about to go into a massive economic depression and Obama’s excessive spending is going to make things much worse in the long run (not that in the last 8 years Republicans were great on spending, but not surprisingly Democrats prove to be much worse as always).

  2. #2 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 24, 2009

    “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know when they do what they do you’ve got more carbon dioxide.”

    Let us all celebrate our scientific ignorance. It’s what makes us good people. When we can ignore the problems around us and mock those who actually know what they are talking about it shows our superiority.

    Now excuse me while I have a nice tall glass of fecal water.

    It’s a natural biproduct you know.

  3. #3 James Sweet
    April 24, 2009

    Well, Boehner was technically correct: The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen is rather comical… It’s just not comical for the reasons he thinks.

    Actually, the logic he applies is rather Creationist-esque: Scientists say carcinogens are bad. Scientists say greenhouse gases are bad. Therefore, the scientists are saying that greenhouse gases and carcinogens are the same thing! Dumb scientists…

  4. #4 tsig
    April 24, 2009

    I despaired about humanity a long time ago. I see nothing to indicate we are going to be a long term species.

  5. #5 lurkoid
    April 24, 2009

    Ah, the argumentum ad googlum.

  6. #6 Walton
    April 24, 2009

    What a bunch of complete morons. The Republican Party is rapidly becoming intellectually bankrupt. Unfortunately, the Democrats are no better.

  7. #7 Anonymous
    April 24, 2009

    I don’t think this asshat really meant that CO2 causes cancer. It was probably just a bad metaphor. It’s dangerous to underestimate your enemies. These people aren’t as stupid as they look or sound.

    By the way PZ, why not try a more honest search like: “college course” OR “university course” “community organizing” that nets 1,650 results. Nothing like 9 million, but still.

  8. #8 El Guerrero del Interfaz
    April 24, 2009

    New job opportunity: teach politicians & similar how to do Web search…

    With the huge amounts of money the filthy rich, US politicians included, have and spend, this can be a way out of the crisis ;-)

    Problem is: they probably are not interested in learning.

  9. #9 Zeno
    April 24, 2009

    “Proof by Google” is rapidly becoming a strong competitor to “I saw it on Wikipedia” and “a friend forwarded me an e-mail.”

    It really is time to resurrect the “Know Nothing” party label.

  10. #10 googler
    April 24, 2009

    Properly enclose the phrase in quotes, and the number of entries you get is?two.

    74.

  11. #11 Steve_C
    April 24, 2009

    David… your insight is as deep and relevant as a Paris Hilton movie.

  12. #12 ZK
    April 24, 2009

    When I search for “college and university courses in community organizing” (complete with quotes) using google.co.uk (set to international though) I get precisely three results, all of which seem to be blogs refering to this piece of rightwingnuttery :-)

  13. #13 AJS
    April 24, 2009

    This guy has plumbed new depths in Not Even Wrong.

  14. #14 James Sweet
    April 24, 2009

    @Rev Chimp: The idea that fecal water is a carcinogen is comical.

  15. #15 Holbach
    April 24, 2009

    Oh crap, those cows belching and farting are going to overwhelm the planet with carbon dioxide and methane and will spell our demise. I’d like to tie a herd up in Boehner’s front and back yard and let the sweet cows gas him out of his house.

  16. #16 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 24, 2009

    Googling for “college or university courses” is stupid with or without quotes. The morons don’t seem to know that Google searches for words, not for fucking categories.

    These people aren’t as stupid as they look or sound.

    These people are at least as stupid as they look and sound. They really believe the stupidities they emit. That’s what makes them so dangerous!

  17. #17 386sx
    April 24, 2009

    9,990,000 isn’t even right. Not even close. He must have made some typos, or something! Who freakin knows. What is it with kooks and google? LOL.

  18. #18 James Sweet
    April 24, 2009

    @Zeno #9: The sad part is that “I read it on Wikipedia” will get you far closer to the truth than Creationists, anti-vaccinationists, or Rep. Boehner. I think I can honestly say that, while this hypothetical would be far from ideal, if more people chose to get their facts from Wikipedia and only from Wikipedia, it would be a vast improvement over the present situation…

  19. #19 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    @Steve: congratulations you can ad hominem.

  20. #20 Becca Stareyes
    April 24, 2009

    By the way PZ, why not try a more honest search like: “college course” OR “university course” “community organizing” that nets 1,650 results. Nothing like 9 million, but still.

    I’d say 9 million and 2 have something in common, though, in that they are completely inane ways of documenting evidence of community organizing in academia. Instead of looking at prominent universities or the state university systems of every state, and checking their course catalog for courses like that — something that could be meaningful, especially if you include which courses in an appendix so that skeptics could check your data — you just take five seconds to generate a meaningless number.

    The difference between one inane number and the other depends on the point you want to make. In this argument, 2 is as meaningful as 9 million, which means you have a Problem.

  21. #21 Steve_C
    April 24, 2009

    Oh for fuck’s sake… I fucking can’t STAND when people blather about how the democrats are no better… really? So being against torture, a financial system with strong oversight, affordable healthcare, better education, a cleaner environment… and on and on, is no better?

    Do fuck off. Seriously.

  22. #22 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 24, 2009

    We’re probably about to go into a massive economic depression

    Excuse me? Aren’t we just coming out of one?

    and Obama’s excessive spending is going to make things much worse in the long run

    You seem to be unfamiliar with the concept of “investment”?

    (not that in the last 8 years Republicans were great on spending, but not surprisingly Democrats prove to be much worse as always).

    I can’t see how anyone could possibly top the three-trillion-dollar war.

  23. #23 Tulse
    April 24, 2009

    try a more honest search like: “college course” OR “university course” “community organizing” that nets 1,650 results. Nothing like 9 million, but still

    “But still” what? That’s off by over three orders of magnitude.

    By comparison:

    “college course” OR “university course” “knitting”: 16,400 results
    “college course” OR “university course” “da vinci code”: 4,490 results
    “college course” OR “university course” “cooking”: 82,900 results
    “college course” OR “university course” “klingon”: 1,270 results

    There are, by this incredibly rough metric, only slightly more higher education institutions offering courses on community organizing than there are offering courses in Klingon. Conservatives, man the barricades! And bring your knitting!

  24. #24 Fred the Hun
    April 24, 2009

    tsig @ 4

    I despaired about humanity a long time ago. I see nothing to indicate we are going to be a long term species.

    Yup!

    We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away.

    George Carlin, The Planet is Fine.

  25. #25 daveau
    April 24, 2009

    Isn’t this the same guy who argued that this really isn’t global warming because the earth was much warmer during the Cretaceous period, or was that some other Republican nitwit? I’m paraphrasing, because I don’t think whoever it was knew the word “Cretaceous.”

  26. #26 Steve_C
    April 24, 2009

    It wasn’t ad hominem. I was ridiculing your statement. It’s called criticism.

    Look it up. Spending is always worse under a Republican administrations.

  27. #27 386sx
    April 24, 2009

    Google the phrase “college and university courses in community organizing” and you get 9,990,000 entries, at least as of today.

    Does this person think that there are 9,990,000 college and university courses in community organizing? Otherwise, what would his point be? Amazing…

  28. #28 GreyRogue
    April 24, 2009

    I guess I’m a little confused. Is there something truly horrifying about colleges offering courses in “community organizing”?

  29. #29 St. Tabby Lavalamp
    April 24, 2009

    “college course” OR “university course” “rush limbaugh” 4550 results

    “college course” OR “university course” “fox news” 8780 results

  30. #30 Glen Davidson
    April 24, 2009

    The idea, Boehner, that the earth can contract cancer, is more than a bit bizarre.

    Your body is warm, which is due to the greenhouse gas CO2. That’s a much better metaphor, and it’s still as stupid a thing as I’ve ever written.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  31. #31 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    @David Marjanovie are you kidding? I live in a university driven city. The fiscal year ends in June and when the new budget comes in, there are going to be a ton of layoffs. My brother is in sales. The store he’s sells so little that it will likely have to be shut down by the end of the year. The university system laying of thousands of people won’t help. There is going to be a ripple effect. You can believe the BS if you want, but we’re on the way down right now and there’s nothing we can do about it.

    @Steve, what I actually said is that that they are not better in every way which is why they don’t always win. Now I would argue that they are better in almost every way than the last Republican administration, but the Republicans will reform/improve themselves and again attract centrist voters in 4 and 8 years. They will win again.

    Democrats and Republicans are like a push pull system. The overall effect is down down down. But if you let either of them stay in power to long, we’ll go down the tubes even faster. Obama is just another politician. He’s going to fuck things up, and he’s going to do things that are downright evil because the alternative is not politically expedient. Maybe not as often and as bad as the Bush admin, but enough that people will eventually start to wonder if it isn’t time for a change…

  32. #32 PopeCoyote
    April 24, 2009

    This is what I find interesting about neoconservative dolts versus skeptical liberals – the conservatives make up a purposely (or ignorantly) misleading statement and reproduce it endlessly without any apparent critical thought involved. When presented with the same data, skeptical liberals immediately check the data and variations thereof. I did the same thing – immediately went to Google to try it. Actually, if you leave out university, it has no matches. The Klinglon analogy is particularly good and rather telling. It is amazing how many people listen to the crap they (neocons) churn out.

  33. #33 bootsy
    April 24, 2009

    @1: As if it needs to be said again, you’re completely wrong.

    Democrats are always better than republicans for the economy.

    The reason the recession may be longer than it needs to is that Obama is not spending enough on the stimulus. Obviously, if he wants to reduce the deficit, he should really slash defense spending (which puts $1.06 in the economy for each dollar spent, compared to $1.60 for non-defense spending). Of course, the republicans brayed about canceling weapons programs when Obama decided to do that!

  34. #34 Wowbagger, OM
    April 24, 2009

    Am I right in assuming ‘Boehner’ is pronounced the same as ‘boner’? If so, that’s pretty funny…

  35. #35 Stogoe
    April 24, 2009

    Ah, so you’re promoting the ‘pendulum’ theory of governance. Myself, I prefer the “two steps forward, one step back” theory. And right now, the Republicans are promoting the “stick our heads up our asses and shit on everytyhing” theory.

  36. #36 Scott from Oregon
    April 24, 2009

    “”Oh for fuck’s sake… I fucking can’t STAND when people blather about how the democrats are no better… really? So being against torture, a financial system with strong oversight, affordable healthcare, better education, a cleaner environment… and on and on, is no better?

    Do fuck off. Seriously.””

    Ummm… I suppose it depends on which metric one wants to pull out of their arses…

    Stealing from prudent poor people through inflation… Soft fascism… Over-involvement in education… general stupidity… Ineffective “programs”…

    Are the democrats “better” then the republicans? Hmmm…

    I’d say a little.

    But that’s like saying my turd is better than your turd.

    I have a WTF question for some diehard liberals– Why does Obama fly halfway around the country on earth day in a very large carbon burning jet just to tell a factory that he likes their wind-turbines and that we should all put air in our tires and change out our light bulbs?

    It’s like when he flies around with a million dollar entourage to tell people “money’s tight”…

    Classic liberal hypocrisy…

    What’s wrong with a bit of video footage from the backyard?

  37. #37 catgirl
    April 24, 2009

    Well, the fact that we breathe out carbon dioxide would suggest that it is bad for us if we have too much of it. If it were good, we’d breathe it in and keep it in. Even if you completely ignore all science, it’s still logical to realize that carbon dioxide isn’t full of puppies and rainbows. But why expect logic from a guy who thinks it’s great to breathe cow farts?

  38. #38 flaq
    April 24, 2009

    The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide.

    Thanks Dr. Boner! I can’t tell you what a relief it is to find that naturally occurring substances can’t harm you. By this logic, he should be happy to ingest a dose of arsenic since it is, after all, a naturally occurring substance. And hey, now that I think of it, rattlesnake venom occurs naturally too! Drink up everybody!

  39. #39 Celtic_Evolution
    April 24, 2009

    I live in a university driven city. The fiscal year ends in June and when the new budget comes in, there are going to be a ton of layoffs. My brother is in sales. The store he’s sells so little that it will likely have to be shut down by the end of the year. The university system laying of thousands of people won’t help. There is going to be a ripple effect. You can believe the BS if you want, but we’re on the way down right now and there’s nothing we can do about it.

    So… your personal, localized, anecdotal data is more relevant than any more commonly used economic indicator?

    If you smell smoke in your house, do you assume the whole world is on fire?

  40. #40 James Sweet
    April 24, 2009

    @#35 and #38: No, unfortunately not. It is pronounced BAY-nerr.

    Incidentally, a friend of mine who used to work in DC for a lobbying firm has met Boehner and she said he was actually kindof fun to hang out with, compared to a lot of representatives… doesn’t mean anything about his science credentials of course.

  41. #41 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    @Steve_C the spending picture is very complex and difficult to analyze. Additionally, the last 8 years skew the picture. That’s not how Republicans traditionally spend. I think the optimal situation is a Democrat in the white house and Republicans controlling congress (i.e. the Clinton years) (and believe statistics show that this was when the least money was spent since 1970).

    Although with today’s batch of Republicans I’m not so sure. Hopefully the Obama beat down discourages the more retarded elements of the GOP so that they can provide a proper balance to the Democrats in the future.

  42. #42 flaq
    April 24, 2009

    It is pronounced BAY-nerr.

    Not when I say it.

    Or type it.

  43. #43 daveau
    April 24, 2009

    Celtic_Evolution @39-

    Exactly! Like the idiots who think that a really cold day in February in Chicago refutes global warming.

  44. #44 Wowbagger, OM
    April 24, 2009

    @#35 and #38: No, unfortunately not. It is pronounced BAY-nerr.

    Yeah, it was probably just wishful thinking on my part. I can’t imagine that anyone whose name was pronounced ‘boner’ would make it in politics in this day and age. Wags and pundits would have far too much fun with it…

  45. #45 Tulse
    April 24, 2009

    Soft fascism

    Right, the administration opposed to extensive government-run torture is “fascist”.

    Is there something truly horrifying about colleges offering courses in “community organizing”?

    Of course — it is the dog-whistle term for commie-fascism. ACORN! Barry Sotero! Taxation without representation! Gun control! Moveon.org! Crypto-muslim!

  46. #46 Stogoe
    April 24, 2009

    That’s not how Republicans traditionally spend

    Liar. Out and out and out lies, ‘buddy’. Look at the past thirty years. Fifty. Eighty. Economy does better under Democrats. That’s one o’ them True Facts, that is.

  47. #47 jsoutofbiblepgs
    April 24, 2009

    I counted 3 entries!!! It’s worse than you thought.

  48. #48 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    @33

    That only looks at presidents. You also have to look at congress. And when you do that, you have to realize that each congress and president is very different. Parties evolve. Right now the Republicans are 100% douchebagalicious. In 4 or 8 years they may be appealing to libertarians and centrists again.

    @39

    I hope you’re right, that would be great. Then many people from my area would move elsewhere which would lessen the burden and lead to recovery. But I don’t think you are right. I suppose we shall see.

  49. #49 jsoutofbiblepgs
    April 24, 2009

    …and all 3 of those entries are of that dude saying that phrase. yaaaawn the GOPies booooore me. So predictably and profoundly stupid.

  50. #50 Stogoe
    April 24, 2009

    Soft fascism

    Missed this dog whistle/talking point before. How nice of you, Scott from Oregon, to clue us in on where you get your talking points. Obviously you’ve ruined socialism as an evil fearmongering buzzword, so it’s time to pull out the big guns. Hope it works for you*.

    *actually, no. I don’t. Fuck off and die, dittohead.

  51. #51 GreyRogue
    April 24, 2009

    Of course — it is the dog-whistle term for commie-fascism. ACORN! Barry Sotero! Taxation without representation! Gun control! Moveon.org! Crypto-muslim!

    Ah, I get it now. I guess “community organizing” is a lot easier to say or type than “communist-fascist teabagging liberal islamic-loving scum and oh yeah I’m really uncomfortable with a black guy in the White House”.

  52. #52 Stogoe
    April 24, 2009

    In 4 or 8 years they may be appealing to librarians

    You used the word. Why did you use the word? Just tell me. I want to know why.

  53. #53 JasonTD
    April 24, 2009

    As scientifically illiterate this particular Republican is, the climate change policies Obama and the Democratic leadership are promoting is just plain bad policy.

    First, cap and trade as applied to greenhouse gases is far too subject to manipulation and lobbying. And I’ve seen little evidence that the EU’s system is actually doing anything to lower emissions. A better way to go is to place a straight tax on GHG emissions at the source (power plants, at the pump, etc.). That has the benefit of taking away the short-term economic advantage that cheaper fossil fuels have over the long-term advantages of renewables. It also doesn’t allow government (Congress or bureaucrats) to pick winners and losers based on who does the more effective lobbying in getting the caps set in their favor. Any GHG reduction is going to hit those in the lower incomes disproportionately, so the tax could be refunded to the people on a per person basis. People that find products that involved fewer emissions could even come out ahead.

    One downside of a carbon tax is that it won’t place any actual limits on emissions. Therefore, it may end up being no better at reducing emissions than a cap and trade scheme. On the other hand, it may actually work better.

    However, the biggest downside to a carbon tax is why no one has actually proposed it. Because it would obviously be a tax. Politicians can talk about cap and trade as a ‘market-based’ solution and make it seem through their rhetoric as if it is the evil fossil fuel industry that will be ‘punished’ by the auctioning of emission permits. The reality, of course, is that we will all end up paying for it through higher prices for electricity, gasoline, heating costs, etc. anyway, so we might as well be honest and say that it is a tax.

    The worst way to control emissions, though, is what Obama’s EPA is doing now – threatening move forward with regulating it under the Clean Air Act. That would be completely ineffective from a scientific point of view. CO2 is a well-mixed gas, so a city, state, or whole region could cut its emissions to zero and not see the concentration of CO2 drop significantly, if at all. This is obviously a political move meant to push the industrial-state Democrats to get behind a cap and trade proposal that will substantially drain the economies in their districts.

    So, rather than pointing to an obvious idiot and laughing at his stupidity, how about we discuss the real issues in dealing with climate change?

  54. #54 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    Scott from Oregeon goes overboard. There is such a thing as leading by example, but it’s a lot more important to get everyone to switch to energy efficient light bulbs than it is for Obama to stop using a jet.

    But he’s right about Democrats being far to quick to want to jump in and regulate and supervise everything. I should know how bad government workers are… I am one.

  55. #55 brightmoon
    April 24, 2009

    CO2 is a carcinogen?
    wow
    how did we let these idiots run the country for so long ?
    but it explains a lot how dubya got re-elected

  56. #56 Aaron Baker
    April 24, 2009

    Hmm. Google might give you a more accurate notion of how many college courses in community organizing are out there if, first, you simply put quotes around “college courses” and “community organizing.” When I do that, 621 entries come up. Obviously, to be something like a real researcher, you would, second, have to check each of those entries to make sure they referred to college courses in said subject and not something else. Since just a cursory scan shows that a lot of these hits are rightwingers complaining about courses in community organizing, your final tally will be quite a bit smaller than 621.

    But all of this of course is silly. Real research would consist of checking the offerings of every American institute of higher learning (not hard to find, though time-consuming to review). That done, I’d be very surprised if community organizers were better catered to than business majors.

  57. #57 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 24, 2009

    There are, by this incredibly rough metric, only slightly more higher education institutions offering courses on community organizing than there are offering courses in Klingon.

    And Klingon is a very, very interesting language for linguists!

    David Marjanovie

    If you can’t read my name, copy & paste it like everyone else does. :-)

    when the new budget comes in, there are going to be a ton of layoffs. My brother is in sales. The store he’s sells so little that it will likely have to be shut down by the end of the year. [?]

    OK, so we’re not coming out of it, we’re still stuck in it. Fine ? doesn’t change my point.

    Stealing from prudent poor people through inflation… Soft fascism… Over-involvement in education… general stupidity… Ineffective “programs”…

    Ooh, so inflation is a Democratic invention! Scary. TSIB. A percent or three of inflation are survivable, a percent or three of deflation are not (the experiment was done in Chile, and I mean the “not” part literally).

    How can one possibly be overinvolved in education? How is that physically possible?

    General stupidity? When comparing anyone to President MORON? What next?

    Ineffective programs? Like the No Child’s Behind Left Act? The Help America Vote Act? The three-trillion-dollar war, for crying out loud?

    I think stupidity is a bannable offense here.

    And hey, now that I think of it, rattlesnake venom occurs naturally too! Drink up everybody!

    Drinking any snake venom is probably harmless. Just make sure it doesn’t get into your bloodstream.

    No, unfortunately not. It is pronounced BAY-nerr.

    (Which is somewhat closer to the original with, well, .)

    Additionally, the last 8 years skew the picture. That’s not how Republicans traditionally spend.

    Is SDI how Republicans traditionally spend? Or just the Missile Gap?

    I think the optimal situation is a Democrat in the white house and Republicans controlling congress (i.e. the Clinton years) (and believe statistics show that this was when the least money was spent since 1970).

    I already mentioned the word “investment”. Perhaps I should repeat it?

    The Clinton years were a time of mutual blockage of government and parliament that would have automatically led to new elections in many other countries. And you praise that stagnation?

  58. #58 SteveM
    April 24, 2009

    And why do these wingnuts keep bringing up cows as a counterexample? [I know why, it's just rhetorical] Cows produce CO2 from grass that took CO2 from the atmosphere. Global warming is not a result of that since it is net 0. Okay, cows also convert some of that to methane which is a “stronger” warming agent than CO2, but it is still offset by the grass it eats. Not so with fossil fuels, burning those is dumping huge quantities of CO2 that were sequestered millions of years ago. They are not part of any cycle and represent a pure increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere; Far more than natural processes can deal with in the time periods we are interested in. Yes, eventually the planet will cope and resequester that excess carbon, but it is the chaos in between that will not be pleasant at all.

  59. #59 Brownian, OM
    April 24, 2009

    The Republicans do make me despair of humanity, sometimes.

    Yeah, but think what a needed food source the fatasses will make when we’ve fucked up the planet enough to render most agricultural land unproductive.

    One well-seasoned Rump of Rush will feed the average family in India for a month!

    I despaired about humanity a long time ago. I see nothing to indicate we are going to be a long term species.

    Future paleontologists will find us useful index fossils.

  60. #60 Heaventree
    April 24, 2009

    Wrong, #40. As flag, #42, correctly pointed out, in poetic truth, it’s both pronounced and spelled “Boner.”

  61. #61 E.V.
    April 24, 2009

    No one has linked to the Texas Congressman Joe Barton self described one-upmanship against Nobel Prize winning Stephen Chu for another display of Creotard idiocy? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgKepHebKRc

  62. #62 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 24, 2009

    Right now the Republicans are 100% douchebagalicious. In 4 or 8 years they may be appealing to libertarians and centrists again.

    The centrists are all in the Democratic Party. In its left wing.

    And, frankly, I think it’s most probable that the Reptilian Party will put up Sarah Failin’ for President (perhaps with Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher the Unlicensed Plumber for Vice President) and just die out?

  63. #63 daveau
    April 24, 2009

    @ 51

    Teabagging?

  64. #64 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    “If you can’t read my name, copy & paste it like everyone else does. :-)”

    My bad, I thought that was an

    And yes, as a more libertarian minded person, government stagnation sounds like a good idea to me! I would prefer to reverse the process actually. I don’t necessarily mind government spending, but I don’t like government control. For example, school vouchers are government spending but citizens are in control. That’s a program I can get behind if it works (and it seems to be working in the DC area from what I read on Reason).

  65. #65 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 24, 2009

    Okay, cows also convert some of that to methane which is a “stronger” warming agent than CO2, but it is still offset by the grass it eats.

    Not in the short term. In the long term, CH4 burns down to CO2 and H2O, but that takes time.

  66. #66 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 24, 2009

    I think the optimal situation is a Democrat in the white house and Republicans controlling congress (i.e. the Clinton years)

    Yeah, I remember the times the government shut down because Clinton refused to sign a budget due the Republicans were overspending. I can see how that supports your point.

  67. #67 raven
    April 24, 2009

    Google:

    Results 1 – 10 of about 3,480,000 for right wing stupid. (0.19 seconds)

    Google gave 3,480,000 hits for the words right wing and stupid. Says it all. LOL

  68. #68 SteveM
    April 24, 2009

    First, cap and trade as applied to greenhouse gases is far too subject to manipulation and lobbying.

    No more so than a straight carbon tax. The advantage of cap-and-trade is that the people who can get under the limits are actually rewarded while the exceeders are punished. A power plant that exceeds the limit is still being “taxed”, it is just in the form of having to buy credits from a plant that is more efficient. Both plants are motivated to become more efficient. And those credits have to available. A straight tax just lets them “buy” as much inefficiency as they want. Cap and trade is really no different than “tax and subsidize” but may be a little more efficient bookkeeping.

  69. #69 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 24, 2009

    Interesting typo in my HTML?

    For example, school vouchers are government spending but citizens are in control. That’s a program I can get behind if it works (and it seems to be working in the DC area from what I read on Reason).

    What is known to work is to simply finance the public schools adequately. If the entire rest of the First World can do it, why not the USA?

  70. #70 Darrell E
    April 24, 2009

    Davidst,

    You sound like a moron. By the way that was not an ad hominem. That was just a plain old insult.

    Walton at No. 6,

    Do you really think that the Democrats are no better? You are either filled to the brim with shit, willfully ignorant, or very naive. Though corruption and incompetence of many types can be found in both parties, or any party for that matter, the current republican party is at least an order of magnitude worse than any other party. I think Steve-C at 21 says it pretty well.

  71. #71 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    What can I say, I was 12 to 20 years old while Clinton was in office and I don’t recall the details. I would have to do extensive research to determine if what you say is indeed the case. I’m pretty sure political reasons were usually involved not just spending. However, I can see that there were not an extensive number of vetoes by clinton (he was about average for the last 30 years). Reagan vetoed twice as much (and GW hardly at all unfortunately).

  72. #72 raven
    April 24, 2009

    What is wrong with community organization?

    My community is organized. No fooling. We have a county government elected by the resident voters. They collect taxes and provide services like roads, cops, fire dept., library, schools, and so on.

    The state is organized too along the same lines. In theory at least, for some reason mostly clowns have been elected lately and disorganized would be a kind word for them.

  73. #73 Matt Heath
    April 24, 2009

    The centrists are all in the Democratic Party. In its left wing.
    The centre, the left and the right are always defined relative to the local politics. There is no absolute scale.

    I suspect you are using a European scale. Next time I catch someone trying to force American politics to fit the scale of “more civilized” Europe I am pulling out a big list of reactionary and regressive bullshit that finds a place within the Overton window here in Europe. For now I’ll just say “Berlusconi”.

  74. #74 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    Darrel E: I’m not going to split hairs. The point was, he intended to insult me rather than addressing my point. Just as you did. That’s close enough to ad hominem for me. I don’t care what you think I sound like. I’m sure our idiotic Republican friends think you all sound like morons.

    I tend to find something to disagree with everywhere. No individual or community is perfect in all their ways. Nowhere is this more apparent than in politics.

    “What is known to work is to simply finance the public schools adequately. If the entire rest of the First World can do it, why not the USA?”

    Perhaps its our genetics. Maybe we’re just built differently, on average, than citizens in Western European nations.

  75. #75 daveau
    April 24, 2009

    “…provide services like roads, cops, fire dept., library, schools, and so on.”

    Wow! Isn’t that socialism?

    jk

  76. #76 Timothy
    April 24, 2009

    Boehner should try parking his car in the garage, closing all the doors, and leaving it running. Maybe it’ll help him realize what happens when you have too much carbon dioxide in a closed system.

  77. #77 Naughtius Maximus
    April 24, 2009

    Anyone else think Gingrich is readying himself for a 2012 run?

  78. #78 wheatdogg
    April 24, 2009

    you get 9,990,000 entries

    Another example of innumeracy. Can there really be that many college and university courses total in the USA?

  79. #79 lurkin
    April 24, 2009

    Timothy, the CO would get him long before the CO2.

  80. #80 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    As an atheist, I’m definitely no big fan of the Bible. However, there is a proverb I like: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

    I reserve the right to be incorrect at times and everyone should do likewise.

  81. #81 catgirl
    April 24, 2009

    Exactly! Like the idiots who think that a really cold day in February in Chicago refutes global warming.

    Actually, it was the first week of March in the DC suburbs where I live. There was actually a climate change rally that weekend and it was really cold and even snowed. Plenty of people said something like, “See how cold it is? Global warming is false!”. However, exactly one week before and exactly one week after, we had ridiculously warm weather. But I guess if you really want to believe something, I guess it helps to completely forget what happened one week ago.

  82. #82 Nerdcore Steve
    April 24, 2009

    It seems these guys are more and more out of touch all the time. Hopefully the electorate will continue to shun them.

  83. #83 Tom Morris
    April 24, 2009

    If we are going to do proof-by-Google for academia, it’s quite simple. Academia has it’s own set of domains – .ac.xx (where xx is the country code, .edu.xx and just .edu (in the US).

    So, if you want to prove-by-Google something about American academia, a far more sensible way to do it is through relative counts of results with site:.edu as an operator.

    Let’s calibrate then: the word ‘biology’ on .edu returns 27.9m results. Business returns 63.3m. Philosophy returns 21.7m results. Economics returns 22.6m results. Mathematics returns 18.2m – [mathematics OR math] returns 33.5m. [theology OR "religious studies"] returns 2.04m. Darwin returns 1.3m.

    [community AND organizing site:.edu] returns 1.7m results. If we accept proof-by-Google as a valid methodology, then we should perhaps investigate here. This doesn’t prove the right-wing argument: that just proves that there are a lot of web pages about community organizing in the .edu domain. That there exists lots of pages in the academic domain that discuss a subject doesn’t mean that the subject is being taught on a course to students. I just searched for [cheese site:.ac.uk] and Google informs me that Imperial College, London’s top science and technology college, has a Cheese Society – their webpage is in the .ac.uk domain though.

    Then it hit me: the reason why I get lots of results is because of Community Colleges: any mention of organizing on a page on any community college website is bumping up the figures, even if it’s a page about organizing one’s trip to the local natural history museum as part of Intro to Geology or whatever.

    So, let’s exclude mentions of Community Colleges. We can do this by putting “community organizing” in quotes. Run it again: ["community organizing" site:.edu]. What do we get? 54,000 results.

    Just as a point of comparison, I put in ["intelligent design" site:.edu]. Surely, if one can conclude that community organizing is being taught on American college campuses on the basis of 54,000 Google hits, then we can see whether or not that evidence would suffice for something else? It returns 41,400 results (["intelligent design" site:.edu]). Presumably, the right-wing can now accept that they aren’t being “expelled” from the academy – they are being discussed only a little bit less on the academic web than community organizing. Parity for insanity!

    But, you might say: this instrument is a bit clumsy. All those pages about intelligent design are rather negative. They include that terrible statement by Lehigh University saying that ID is just some crazy idea that Behe accepts but nobody else does, and a nice article by the philosopher Robert Pennock talking about the wedge strategy and whatnot. They are discussing ID – but they are negative, thus proving their bias…! Which proves the point. Google can give you a rough idea about some things, but you need to look at those results honestly to get a flavour of what they are about. In the case of community organizing, the pages aren’t actually connected with academic disciplines or course catalogues. It’s not like you are going to go along to a class on Shakespearan poetry and find yourself forced to go out and help the poor organize politically. I did see a few pages in there listing community organizing as something that people might want to do after finishing college: having done something like politics or law, becoming involved with politics might be a fairly reasonable thing to do.

    Another point of comparison: [chapel site:.edu] returns over two million results. If Google proves that people are being indoctrinated by the left into socialist-Obama-community-organizing (and, my, isn’t helping poor people get politically active wholly against God’s word), then surely the two million pages about college chapels is more than enough counterbalance…?

    Proof by Google is no proof at all. It’s interesting, and sometimes a good way of testing to see if a sociological hypothesis has weight. But you need a point of comparison. For instance, I did some very amateur research with Google and found that BBC News grossly over-represent the views of the Catholic Church as compared to the views of academics in a way that other UK news publishers did not. But without comparing it to other similar news outlets, it’s just numbers. I wrote it up here: http://is.gd/ujEm

  84. #84 Tom Morris
    April 24, 2009

    If we are going to do proof-by-Google for academia, it’s quite simple. Academia has it’s own set of domains – .ac.xx (where xx is the country code, .edu.xx and just .edu (in the US).

    So, if you want to prove-by-Google something about American academia, a far more sensible way to do it is through relative counts of results with site:.edu as an operator.

    Let’s calibrate then: the word ‘biology’ on .edu returns 27.9m results. Business returns 63.3m. Philosophy returns 21.7m results. Economics returns 22.6m results. Mathematics returns 18.2m – [mathematics OR math] returns 33.5m. [theology OR "religious studies"] returns 2.04m. Darwin returns 1.3m.

    [community AND organizing site:.edu] returns 1.7m results. If we accept proof-by-Google as a valid methodology, then we should perhaps investigate here. This doesn’t prove the right-wing argument: that just proves that there are a lot of web pages about community organizing in the .edu domain. That there exists lots of pages in the academic domain that discuss a subject doesn’t mean that the subject is being taught on a course to students. I just searched for [cheese site:.ac.uk] and Google informs me that Imperial College, London’s top science and technology college, has a Cheese Society – their webpage is in the .ac.uk domain though.

    Then it hit me: the reason why I get lots of results is because of Community Colleges: any mention of organizing on a page on any community college website is bumping up the figures, even if it’s a page about organizing one’s trip to the local natural history museum as part of Intro to Geology or whatever.

    So, let’s exclude mentions of Community Colleges. We can do this by putting “community organizing” in quotes. Run it again: ["community organizing" site:.edu]. What do we get? 54,000 results.

    Just as a point of comparison, I put in ["intelligent design" site:.edu]. Surely, if one can conclude that community organizing is being taught on American college campuses on the basis of 54,000 Google hits, then we can see whether or not that evidence would suffice for something else? It returns 41,400 results (["intelligent design" site:.edu]). Presumably, the right-wing can now accept that they aren’t being “expelled” from the academy – they are being discussed only a little bit less on the academic web than community organizing. Parity for insanity!

    But, you might say: this instrument is a bit clumsy. All those pages about intelligent design are rather negative. They include that terrible statement by Lehigh University saying that ID is just some crazy idea that Behe accepts but nobody else does, and a nice article by the philosopher Robert Pennock talking about the wedge strategy and whatnot. They are discussing ID – but they are negative, thus proving their bias…! Which proves the point. Google can give you a rough idea about some things, but you need to look at those results honestly to get a flavour of what they are about. In the case of community organizing, the pages aren’t actually connected with academic disciplines or course catalogues. It’s not like you are going to go along to a class on Shakespearan poetry and find yourself forced to go out and help the poor organize politically. I did see a few pages in there listing community organizing as something that people might want to do after finishing college: having done something like politics or law, becoming involved with politics might be a fairly reasonable thing to do.

    Another point of comparison: [chapel site:.edu] returns over two million results. If Google proves that people are being indoctrinated by the left into socialist-Obama-community-organizing (and, my, isn’t helping poor people get politically active wholly against God’s word), then surely the two million pages about college chapels is more than enough counterbalance…?

    Proof by Google is no proof at all. It’s interesting, and sometimes a good way of testing to see if a sociological hypothesis has weight. But you need a point of comparison. For instance, I did some very amateur research with Google and found that BBC News grossly over-represent the views of the Catholic Church as compared to the views of academics in a way that other UK news publishers did not. But without comparing it to other similar news outlets, it’s just numbers. I wrote it up here: http://is.gd/ujEm

  85. #85 llewelly
    April 24, 2009

    GreyRogue April 24, 2009 10:54 AM :

    I guess I’m a little confused. Is there something truly horrifying about colleges offering courses in “community organizing”?

    How would you feel if you paid good hard-earned dollars to send your kid to college and he came back an America-hatin’ atheist communist muslim?

  86. #86 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 24, 2009

    Darrel E: I’m not going to split hairs. The point was, he intended to insult me rather than addressing my point. Just as you did. That’s close enough to ad hominem for me.

    Yet still not ad hominem whether you think it is close enough or not.

    Had he said, davidst you are a fucking idiot and because of that no argument you try and make is worth a bucket of moose drool, that would be ad hominem.

  87. #87 Scott from Oregon
    April 24, 2009

    “”Obviously you’ve ruined socialism as an evil fearmongering buzzword, so it’s time to pull out the big guns. Hope it works for you*.
    *actually, no. I don’t. Fuck off and die, dittohead.””

    Ummm… “fearmongering”? “Buzzword”? “big guns”? “fuck off and die”?

    Hackneyed phrases, all…

    More hypocrisy that simply drips and oozes…

    “soft fascism” aptly describes using government to control privately owned enterprises. Perhaps you have another word you prefer? “Central planning?” “State control?”

    Pick one less offensive to your big bad puffed up internet self and poke yourself with it to let the air out…

    My my my…

  88. #88 OrbitalMike
    April 24, 2009

    John Boehner is my congressman. I voted against him, but he won easily with a 2-to-1 margin. It didn’t help that the guy running against Boehner was still in college. Remember, Boehner represents a very Republican portion of southwest Ohio; this district hasn’t had a Democrat as a congressman since 1939.
    I wish there were better candidates running against these clowns.

  89. #89 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 24, 2009

    @Rev Chimp: The idea that fecal water is a carcinogen is comical.

    Yeah it is. Care to let me on on why you are bringing that up?

  90. #90 John Phillips, FCD
    April 24, 2009

    llewellyl, hallelujah :)

  91. #91 John Phillips, FCD
    April 24, 2009

    Sorry llewellyl :0

  92. #92 imr90
    April 24, 2009

    Here is a statistic that would undoubtedly alarm representative “Boner.” If you use his method and Google “college and university courses in pornography appreciation United States” you get 17,000 hits. Since (according to Wikipedia) there are 5,758 colleges and universities in the U.S. that must mean there are approximately three course in pornography appreciation in every school! Something must be done!!

  93. #93 ???
    April 24, 2009

    Yeah, it was probably just wishful thinking on my part. I can’t imagine that anyone whose name was pronounced ‘boner’ would make it in politics in this day and age. Wags and pundits would have far too much fun with it…

    Yes, it would be rather hard to get elected, although if Dick Trickle was to run for the Democrats Boehner would have some stiff competition.

  94. #94 ???
    April 24, 2009

    Am I right in assuming ‘Boehner’ is pronounced the same as ‘boner’? If so, that’s pretty funny…

    Anyone know if Boehner received campaign contributions from the makers of Viagra?

  95. #95 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 24, 2009

    Yes, it would be rather hard to get elected, although if Dick Trickle was to run for the Democrats Boehner would have some stiff competition.

    Ba dooom Bap

  96. #96 genewitch
    April 24, 2009

    Google “University courses” or “college courses” “community organizing” site:.edu

    returns 105 hits, none within the past 24 hours.

    Don’t forget google can filter by TLD, folks.

  97. #97 Brian X
    April 24, 2009

    Scott from Oregon:

    Stealing from prudent poor people through inflation…

    Actually, controlled inflation produces more economic liquidity. A rigid monetary supply (like, say, the gold standard) favors rich people, since it’s a zero-sum game.

    Soft fascism…

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Fascism is most readily defined as a highly authoritarian, highly nationalist/moralist class society operated largely for the benefit of the connected (i.e. Mussolini’s and Franco’s stroking of the Catholic church, Hitler’s corporate welfare state). Left-wing states seek to increase class and economic mobility and downplay jingoism in favor of encouraging pluralism and cross-pollination between various otherwise-isolated sectors of society.

    Over-involvement in education…

    Because we sure don’t need curriculum standards, or universal literacy, or scholarships…

    general stupidity…

    Stupidity infects every sector of the political spectrum, but liberalism in general tends not to be built on wholesale denialism of empirical data.

    Ineffective “programs”…

    Like SDI, or No Child Left Behind, or the War On Drugs, or the V-22 Osprey…

    Scott, as usual, you’ve done nothing except promote ignorance. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

  98. #98 ???
    April 24, 2009

    Like the No Child’s Behind Left Act?

    Wasn’t that a program run by Catholic priests?

  99. #99 Brian X
    April 24, 2009

    Raven:

    What is wrong with community organization?

    Nothing at all. Grassroots involvement is integral to liberal politics; otherwise you wind up with abominations like the Soviet Union, attempting to force a left-wing order from the top down. The idea is that citizen engagement is as important as policy-making.

    The problem is that when wingnuts use the term, it doesn’t mean “grassroots engagement”. It means “uppity negroes” (or, less often, “uppity $ETHNIC trash”).

  100. #100 GeoffR
    April 24, 2009

    Breathtaking inanity in its extreme form can go all the way past annoying to read, and to another place where it’s quite pleasant and amusing to read.

  101. #101 Stogoe
    April 24, 2009

    A rigid monetary supply (like, say, the gold standard) favors rich people, since it’s a zero-sum game.

    Which is exactly the reason that the gold standard is fetishized by right-wing wackos.

    Scott from XXXX (sorry, I just can’t keep linking you in my mind to that otherwise beautiful state), nothing you’ve said in any way dissuades me from thinking you’re just mouthing someone else’s talking points.

    I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

    Brian X, that’s one of my favorite godawful movies of all time. The other one’s awesome, too, but it’s not in the same category.

  102. #102 Phyllis
    April 24, 2009

    Oh John Boner. He’s my parents’ rep. He’s a bit better than the guy before, who was arrested for sleeping with a minor.

    Well, not better, just different.

    And it’s pronounced BAY-ner. Just to be fair and to not descend to the level of the yahoos I went to high school with.

  103. #103 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    @Brian X

    “Like SDI, or No Child Left Behind, or the War On Drugs, or the V-22 Osprey…”

    The War on Drugs? You mean the same war that Obama is happily supporting in full right? Unless he’s just lying for political cover, but what good does that do anyone. Obama has said some nice things about drug policy, but he hasn’t really done anything. His new drug czar said that medical marijuana dealers in states where it is legal will not be federally prosecuted if they are obeying state and local laws. Because of this the judge in the Charles Lynch trial put the trial on hold to ask the DoJ if they wanted to continue. They said sure, it’s inline with the current administrations policy. Please continue.

    The federal prosecutor is portraying the guy as a common drug runner/dealer. The defense is not allowed to mention anything about state medical marijuana laws. One client was a teenager with cancer, but that detail is inadmissible. In the feds eyes, it’s distributing a controlled substance to a minor. Tell me that’s not disgusting.

  104. #104 Andrew Watts
    April 24, 2009

    For those discussing various google counts, check out Googleology is Bad Science:

    Or so it may seem until we consider the arbitrariness of search engine counts. They
    depend on many speci?cs of the search engine?s practice, including how it handles spam
    and duplicates. (See the entries ?Yahoo?s missing pages? [2005] and ?Crazy duplicates?
    [2006] in Jean Veronis?s blog) The engines will give you substantially different counts,
    even for repeats of the same query. In a small experiment, queries repeated the following
    day gave counts over 10% different 9 times in 30, and by a factor of two different 6 times
    in 30. The reasons are that queries are sent to different computers, at different points in
    the update cycle, and with different data in their caches.

    When you get a google count in the hundreds of thousands or millions, try clicking on page 10 or so, and you’ll often find that the number has drastically dropped, because it was just an estimate to start with, and the estimation algorithm can be very wrong.

  105. #105 Eric Houg
    April 24, 2009

    “Properly enclose the phrase in quotes, and the number of entries you get is?two.”

    AH HA! You actually get three! Such a staggering error clearly proves the validity of Creationism!

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

  106. #106 Brian X
    April 24, 2009

    You mean the same war that Obama is happily supporting in full right? Unless he’s just lying for political cover, but what good does that do anyone.

    Nobody’s perfect. I don’t agree with his stance on it either, but then Obama is only a little to the left of center overall. Point is, Nixon started it, and it’s been traditionally supported by conservatives, and it’s been a miserable failure by any measurement that matters.

  107. #107 Kismet
    April 24, 2009

    freak, nice try
    add 2)
    You do know that informed consent is an illusion? Most people testing drugs don’t understand all (if any) risks involved. Phase I testers probably need the money, but if you start to give really dangerous stuff to humans and pay even more money (let’s ignore the fact that no company could pay the costs for now) to make up for the risks, you will get more testers, less informed consent: poor people who need the money; greedy people; stupid people; naive people. And a lot of collateral damage.
    It’s not about conset either way. No one’s consent needs to be involved for a choice to be right. Do you ask unconscious people and toddlers for their consent first or do you perform everything necessary as to maximise well-being of the majority? Consent is no prerequisite.
    Do you know what would happen to those animals in the wild? They would die a much more miserable way. (read #85 by Glen Davidson)
    We can tell from common sense that people WILL die if we test that stuff on humans, while otherwise animals WILL die. Whether any of that happens with or without “informed consent” is of minor importance.
    add 3)
    Similarly to point 2. Let’s forget ‘assuaging’ and all the hypocritical and unimportant crap for now. If you don’t want to test on innocent animals you simply exchange their lives for the lives of innocent humans, whether you do it in the passive or active tense, with or without “informed consent” won’t change the fact. Whether you do it in the passive (“they were killed [as in animal testing]“) or active (“they ‘willingly’ choose to die or risk their lives ['informed consent' of those testers]“) tense makes no difference.

    You couldn’t even pay that many human volunteers to perform enough toxicity tests. So what could you do instead? Computer testing? Stop developing drugs? Or develop useless and dangerous drugs? (this time around killing completely innocent people, like your children dying from measles, *without* their consent, who could live if drugs were developed)

  108. #108 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 24, 2009

    I would have to do extensive research to determine if what you say is indeed the case. I’m pretty sure political reasons were usually involved not just spending.

    At least you admit that you’re making statements about historical events without bothering to look up anything about them. Congrats on being honest.

  109. #109 Kismet
    April 24, 2009

    Ooops. Ignore my post ^. Wrong thread. Sorry.

  110. #110 JBlilie
    April 24, 2009

    The stupid burns like … like … a thousand points of light, like … a shining city on a hill, like … like when I had a pinched nerve in my spine and had 24/7 pain like a blowtorch constantly moving up and down my leg for three weeks straight …

    Are we sure they are actually Home sapiens??

  111. #111 ???
    April 24, 2009

    Results 1 – 10 of about 22,900 for p z myers university biology department.

    Wow, looks like PZ has been cloned about 22899 times.

  112. #112 davidst
    April 24, 2009

    @Brian X, most sensible people that have looked at this issue know that it’s all screwed up. My best hope for Obama is that he knows too but doesn’t feel like he can do anything about it right now. I think that may well be the case.

    That said, historically the War on Drugs has been a non-partisan issue since it has started. R’s and D’s both generally support it with glee. If only for fear of the consequences. Mr. “I didn’t inhale” sure didn’t do any favors for drug law reform.

    I guess we need a super majority of public support before any politicians will be “courageous” enough to change positions.

    The strange thing is that Obama seemed to risk his neck on this issue more during the campaign than he is now. I’m not sure what to make of that.

  113. #113 Copernic
    April 24, 2009

    I Googled “conservatives all have gay sex” and came up with 1.74M entries. What’s that tell you?

  114. #114 JBlilie
    April 24, 2009

    er, Homo sapiens

    Argh! Fumble fingers.

  115. #115 Ann
    April 24, 2009

    sometimes?

  116. #116 Qwerty
    April 24, 2009

    Copernic @ #113 – They like to the Restroom Tango more than once!

  117. #117 Qwerty
    April 24, 2009

    Copernic @ #113 – They like to the Restroom Tango more than once!

  118. #118 sharky
    April 24, 2009

    DavidST:

    Abstinence-only education.

  119. #119 Mover
    April 24, 2009

    [Mover submitted such a mucked-up mangled pile of conservatard poop that it had to be deleted. It takes an advanced degree in stupid to mess up html that badly. -- pzm]

  120. #120 OneHandClapping
    April 24, 2009

    FLAG ON THE PLAY! HTML misuse, 15 yard penalty!

  121. #121 lurkoid
    April 24, 2009

    ^^It’s the Empire Fucking State Building.

  122. #122 dean
    April 24, 2009

    “The fact is, you are. It doesn’t matter if the professors and teachers are aware of their bias or not, they push everything away that does not meet with their view point.”

    Really – all faculty do that? Even those of us who teach mathematics and statistics? Darn, I knew my past actions of penalizing students who refused to master robust estimation methods would eventually be called out.

    “It has become well known fact that community organizations such as ACORN, have routinely attempted to, and in many cases succeeded in, swaying the vote. They use such tactics as voting for dead people, stuffing ballot boxes, gathering up the homeless – taking them to the polls getting their vote – then taking them to another precinct and voting again, and by helping in recounts where they they are real handy at excluding ballots. And they receive tax dollars to help them get their mission accomplished.
    Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

    The tin-foil crazy is strong with this one.

  123. #123 catgirl
    April 24, 2009

    Woah, Mover, trying clicking the “Preview” button next time before you post. I’ve had my share of HTML mistakes, but whenever I blockquote multiple times, I always preview first.

  124. #124 SocraticGadfly
    April 24, 2009

    The problem is that we now have the smoking tailpipe showing big CO2 emitters deliberately hid their own scientists? conclusions, just like Philip Morris.

  125. #125 386sx
    April 24, 2009

    woohaahhahhh ddoduuuuudddeeeee

  126. #126 Cannabinaceae
    April 24, 2009

    Are you now, or have you ever been, an AGW denialist?

  127. #127 amphiox
    April 24, 2009

    For those arguing that the democrats are no better than the republicans, I have only one thing to ask you:

    What hallucinogen have you been smoking, dude? Cause that’s pretty good stuff and I might want some!

    A certain political party, supported by only a minority of the population, gains power through illegal manipulation of the political process, and stays in power for an extended period of time, crushing dissent with threats and intimidation. Enormous sums of money are invested into the military, while other economic concerns neglected to the point of bankrupting the nation. Weapons of mass destruction are stockpiled. Then, on false pretenses, said party invades a smaller and weaker country in order to gain control of certain desired natural resources, in clear violation of international law.

    If we apply the same standard to the Republicans that they applied to the Baath party of Iraq, then the party should be outlawed, Rove, Rumsfeld, and Powell should be jailed for life, and Bush and Cheney should be hanged.

    When Obama and the democrats invade the Vatican in order to stop the Pope from preventing the distribution of condoms in Africa, then we can start talking about equivalency between them and the Republicans.

  128. #128 raven
    April 24, 2009

    “It has become well known fact that community organizations such as ACORN,

    It has become well known… translated from kook to English means:

    I just made something up with no proof or documentation because I’m pushing a fact free, reality free agenda.

  129. #129 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 24, 2009

    Mover’s just a right wing fucktard. Just ignore him.

  130. #130 Alex Deam
    April 24, 2009

    Now I would argue that they are better in almost every way than the last Republican administration, but the Republicans will reform/improve themselves and again attract centrist voters in 4 and 8 years. They will win again.

    As has already been said, the pendulum theory of government is stupid. How do you know they will bounce back? Never heard of the Whig Party?

  131. #131 mothra
    April 24, 2009

    I seem to recall that Newt Gingrich was fired from an academic position for recruiting and using students and class time to organize for the Rethuglican party.

  132. #132 Bert
    April 24, 2009

    I got 66,000 results for “Clown College”

  133. #133 Rey Fox
    April 25, 2009

    “Every cow in the world, you know when they do what they do you’ve got more carbon dioxide.”

    The word is FART, Mr. Congressman. FART. Sheesh.

  134. #134 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    To clarify:

    In my view, both parties leave a great deal to be desired. The GOP has increasingly been taken over by anti-science, reactionary “traditional values” wingnuts. Conversely, the Democrats are heading for a high-spending, big-government Keynesian economic model, which, history teaches us, is a really, really bad idea. And the US Libertarian Party is a joke.

    What I would like to see is a new party – perhaps the “Free Liberal Party”. The platform would be:

    *End the War on Drugs. Remove criminal penalties against marijuana.
    *Maintain Roe v Wade and a woman’s right to choose.
    *Repeal DOMA and provide federal recognition of same-sex marriage, where states allow it.
    *Convert Social Security and Medicare into private individual savings accounts, and allow savers to withdraw their funds from the system and invest them elsewhere.
    *Oppose torture in all its forms. End extraordinary rendition, close the detention centres and prosecute any operative who uses any form of torture, including waterboarding, in future.
    *End all government support for so-called “alternative medicine”.
    *Oppose the teaching of pseudoscientific ideas (such as creationism) in school science classes.
    *Repeal the PATRIOT Act.
    *Cap federal income taxes at their current level, with the aim of reducing them in future. Cap spending, and start looking for ways to trim down the federal budget. Pledge no further tax increases, ever, in any circumstances.

  135. #135 P
    April 25, 2009

    Pz… help me raise money for charity…

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=104737816232

  136. #136 Caravelle
    April 25, 2009

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been about this wondrous video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgKepHebKRc&feature=related

    (posted already, I know, but apparently nobody noticed).
    A beautiful example of self-pwnage by Rep. Joe Barton, and a frightening example of the ignorance of our leaders to everyone else. Though I guess with creationists and people who fear a One World Currency, simple ignorance of plate tectonics becomes mundane…

  137. #137 thommo
    April 25, 2009

    Google “college courses in community organizing” (in quotes) and you get 1 page… this one.

  138. #138 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    Conversely, the Democrats are heading for a high-spending, big-government Keynesian economic model, which, history teaches us, is a really, really bad idea

    Walton continues to prove that he’s an economic and historical illiterate, mindlessly repeating what his political masters mentors tell him.

    Conservatives and their lickspittle looneytarian lackies have been pushing the big lie that Keynesian economics prolonged the Great Depression. This is the conservative talking point du jour ever since the “center-right nation” meme started looking idiotic and ever since fringe-right-wing bloviator Amity Shlaes published her since-discredited book claiming FDR essentially created the Great Depression. Many conservatives push the “FDR ruined the country” meme with the very authoritative-sounding statement that “based on all kinds of studies and academic work done on the great depression” the New Deal’s “massive government intervention prolonged the Great Depression.”

    Of course, the conservatives doesn’t offer up a single study or “academic work” as any kind of proof. They pretend the idea the New Deal helped end the Great Depression is so fantastical as to prompt guffawing. Folks like Greg Jarrett claim that historians “pretty much agree” that FDR prolonged the Great Depression, and resort to insisting that they know that’s true because “it’s in the books.” Indeed, these people want us to believe that what was only very recently the deranged propaganda of a handful of conservative political pundits is now such a consensus opinion among historians that to say otherwise is to evoke laughter.

    Let’s look at what historians actually say. Here’s Eric Rauchway:

    For a start, New Deal intervention saved the banks. During Hoover’s presidency, around 20 percent of American banks failed, and, without deposit insurance, one collapse prompted another as savers pulled their money out of the shaky system. When Roosevelt came into office, he ordered the banks closed and audited. A week later, authorities began reopening banks, and deposits returned to vaults.
    Congress also established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which, as economists Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz wrote, was “the structural change most conducive to monetary stability since … the Civil War.” After the creation of the FDIC, bank failures almost entirely disappeared. New Dealers also recapitalized banks by buying about a billion dollars of preferred stock…
    The most important thing to know about Roosevelt’s economics is that, despite claims to the contrary, the economy recovered during the New Deal. During Roosevelt’s first two terms, the U.S. economy grew at average annual growth rates of 9 percent to 10 percent, with the exception of the recession year of 1937-1938…
    Excepting 1937-1938, unemployment fell each year of Roosevelt’s first two terms. In part, the jobs came from Washington, which directly employed as many as 3.6 million people to build roads, bridges, ports, airports, stadiums, and schools — as well as, of course, to paint murals and stage plays. But new jobs also came from the private sector, where manufacturing work increased apace.
    This basic fact is clear — unless you quote only the unemployment rate for the recession year 1938 and count government employees hired under the New Deal as unemployed, which conservative commenters have taken to doing.

    So, as Rauchway says, the hard data about bank closures, job creation and overall economic growth rates shows the regulations and spending of the New Deal helped end the Great Depression. In fact the data actually suggests that the major, data-driven criticism of the New Deal is that it didn’t spend enough money fast enough.

    Sorry, Walton, but your buddies on the right are wrong.

  139. #139 SC, OM
    April 25, 2009

    lickspittle looneytarian lackies

    I like.

  140. #140 Mover
    April 25, 2009

    PZM @ Mover #119

    [Mover submitted such a mucked-up mangled pile of conservatard poop that it had to be deleted. It takes an advanced degree in stupid to mess up html that badly. -- pzm]

    Blame your censorship on messed up html. That’s good.

    It must be nice to be the king. Ay, PZ?

    Your friendly neighborhood Conservatard.

  141. #141 Wowbagger, OM
    April 25, 2009

    Mover wrote:

    It must be nice to be the king. Ay, PZ?

    Why not start your own blog? That you can write what you please and no-one will ‘censor’ you.

  142. #142 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    Mover, your post was unreadable. Don’t blame other people if your fuckup got deleted.

  143. #143 Anonymous
    April 25, 2009

    One client was a teenager with cancer, but that detail is inadmissible. In the feds eyes, it’s distributing a controlled substance to a minor. Tell me that’s not disgusting.

    This was a devastating case, but I was under the impression the DoJ decided to go after Charlie before Obama stated that he’d not prosecute those following state laws. I hope Obama does abide by what he says. CA is looking to fully legalize and tax the shit out of marijuana, and has been met with high optimism (sorry, had to throw that pun in), from the state legislators, and the governator (Arnie) is behind this (there’s video of a younger Arnie passing a joint on the intertoobz). Would help with our tremendous financial problems, and help get some money back into our failing schools.

    Also, I do not think this guy was truly legit as a From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-medpot24-2009apr24,0,1972910.story:
    Though Lynch was not charged with violating state law, prosecutors contend that he broke the law because he was not truly a “primary caregiver” entitled to dispense marijuana to patients and that he profited from the operation of his business Not too sure how he could have operated without a caregivers license though.

    A little gem from that article
    Rob Schultz, the town’s city attorney said he received only one complaint about Lynch the whole time he was in business “and that had to do with the quality of the medical marijuana.

    Funny, mos dispensories have high quality stuff (there’s that pun again)

  144. #144 Anonymous
    April 25, 2009

    Walton opined:
    “Convert Social Security and Medicare into private individual savings accounts, and allow savers to withdraw their funds from the system and invest them elsewhere.”

    So, Walton, what happens when your youngest child turns out to have cystic fibrosis, and then six months later your eldest is diagnosed with diabetes. Your wife slips on some steps and sustains a head injury from which she makes a full recovery – after spending five weeks in intensive care.

    You now have no ‘savings’ left, and your family is pretty much uninsurable. If you lose your job you’re going to have to conceal your family issues from potential employers lest they think giving you a job is going to blow their insurance plan.

    You have zero idea of the realities of healthcare for those in lower earning groups.

  145. #145 llewelly
    April 25, 2009

    Copernic | April 24, 2009 2:53 PM:

    I Googled “conservatives all have gay sex” and came up with 1.74M entries. What’s that tell you?

    It raises an important question. If all the gays enter into faithful marriages, who will all the conservatives have sex with?

  146. #146 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    Anonymous,

    Most libertarians disdain reality. If given a choice between modifying their fantasies and making adjustments based on real world considerations, ideological purity wins every time.

  147. #147 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    For the record, Walton is lying about the following:

    What I would like to see is a new party – perhaps the “Free Liberal Party”. The platform would be:

    *End the War on Drugs. Remove criminal penalties against marijuana.
    *Maintain Roe v Wade and a woman’s right to choose.
    *Repeal DOMA and provide federal recognition of same-sex marriage, where states allow it.
    * [one truth excerpted]
    *Oppose torture in all its forms. End extraordinary rendition, close the detention centres and prosecute any operative who uses any form of torture, including waterboarding, in future.
    * [another possible truth excerpted]
    *Oppose the teaching of pseudoscientific ideas (such as creationism) in school science classes.
    *Repeal the PATRIOT Act.
    * [and a third truth snipped]

    How do I know he’s lying? http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/god_abortionist.php#comment-1522990

    [I asked:] Will you now speak out against the current [anti-reproductive-choice] law?

    [Walton replied:] On here? Maybe. In real life? Certainly not. The last thing the conservative movement needs (in Britain or worldwide) is more internal divisions.

    This is the curse faced by libertarians and classical liberals everywhere. We are never going to gain power outright in any country, because we don’t have a natural popular support base. So, in many countries, we have to ally ourselves with religious/social conservatives – despite the fact that they say many things which I find nonsensical or abhorrent – as the lesser of two evils. In my own corner of the Conservative Party, I know some quite hardline (mainly Catholic) religious conservatives. I could quite happily have written a post on my blog condemning the Catholic Church for its recent pattern of deranged and morally bankrupt behaviour, for instance. But it would be impolitic to do so, given my readership.

    No doubt you’re going to decry this stance as cowardly and hypocritical. But think about it. I could join the (nascent) UK Libertarian Party and spend my life ranting on the internet about how the whole political establishment is morally bankrupt. I wouldn’t be compromising my principles. But would I ever have any real effect on the actual political landscape? None whatsoever. In order to apply one’s principles, one has to achieve power or influence those who hold power; and in order to do that, one has to make compromises. I’d rather help to get a slightly less bad government into power, than opt out of practical politics completely and rant about how bad they all are. This is why libertarians are so often allied with social conservatives, despite our different views on many issues.

    He admitted that he will never work against the goals of the conservative establishment. So all his highminded socially liberal rhetoric here is ripe bullshit. Acquiescing to their every authoritarian whim is a small price to pay for their tax policy. And splitting up the conservative/libertarian coalition is too dangerous, because then progressives might win more elections.

    (This story does not end well for you, young Anakin.)

  148. #148 Mover
    April 25, 2009

    catgirl@123

    Thank you for your advice. I usually do use the preview feature, but I was in a hurry. Just my luck.

    Anyway,

    To PZ,

    My apologies for my last accusatory post @ 140. The messed up post no doubt was messed up.

  149. #149 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    strange gods before me,

    Please note that after I made that statement, I reconsidered my position (in part), and I have written a blog post (a couple of weeks ago) which called, inter alia, for the legalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland:

    http://nevercallretreat.blogspot.com/2009/04/abortion-chaplains-and-nhs.html

  150. #150 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    Tis Himself,

    If given a choice between modifying their fantasies and making adjustments based on real world considerations, ideological purity wins every time.

    So I’m simultaneously being accused (by strange gods before me) of sacrificing my principles for political reality, and (by you) of ignoring reality in favour of my principles? Am I a deluded ideologue or a cowardly compromiser? You can’t have it both ways. :-)

  151. #151 truthspeaker
    April 25, 2009

    Posted by: Steve_C | April 24, 2009 10:42 AM

    Oh for fuck’s sake… I fucking can’t STAND when people blather about how the democrats are no better… really? So being against torture,…

    The Democratic party is against torture? You could have fooled me.

  152. #152 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    That’s a marginal improvement, but highly constrained. “Walton” is a pseudonym. Should you continue to pursue politics as you’ve planned, your participation in libertarian/conservative coalitions will still mean sacrificing the above social freedoms and human rights for tax cuts.

    I sincerely appreciate your mention of MP Abbott’s EDM, as far as your pseudonym goes. For what it’s worth, I thank you. It matters, though not as much as publicly working with the pro-choice movement under your own name. For that I think we can still take you at your earlier word, you’d never do so “in real life.”

    And, So I’m simultaneously being accused (by strange gods before me) of sacrificing my principles for political [expedience], and (by you) of ignoring [physical and economic] reality in favour of my principles? See, both are possible, without contradiction. You just did a trick of equivocation with the word “reality.”

  153. #153 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    It matters, though not as much as publicly working with the pro-choice movement under your own name. For that I think we can still take you at your earlier word, you’d never do so “in real life.”

    Erm, I blog under my own (first) name (it appears in the sidebar), and my blog posts are automatically imported to Facebook and are read by many of my friends and acquaintances in real life, including some people well-connected in politics. (The reason my blog appears to be read by few people is because most of the discussion takes place on the Facebook imported version rather than the Blogger version, as the vast majority of my regular readers are people I know in RL.) So my views are not a secret, and I am not afraid to rock the boat.

  154. #154 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    All right. I didn’t know that.

    Still, voting Tory is in general an anti-woman action. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/new_zealand_is_looking_better.php#comment-1526972

    (And as an aside I must note that your bit about entirely dissolving the NHS seems to stand in contradiction to other noises you’ve made here about providing at least basic welfare to impoverished children.)

  155. #155 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    Walton,

    I did notice that you didn’t try to argue against my post on Keynesian economics (aka the New Deal) and the Great Depression. Probably a good move on your part.

  156. #156 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    (And as an aside I must note that your bit about entirely dissolving the NHS seems to stand in contradiction to other noises you’ve made here about providing at least basic welfare to impoverished children.)

    I did say, in that paragraph, that I would retain state subsidies for the very poor and medically uninsurable.

    I did notice that you didn’t try to argue against my post on Keynesian economics (aka the New Deal) and the Great Depression. Probably a good move on your part.

    I’m not an economist, and I’m not qualified, nor sufficiently conversant with the jargon, to argue the point effectively. There are plenty of libertarians floating around on the internet who are economists, so I’ll leave it to one of them to address your points.

  157. #157 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    Still, voting Tory is in general an anti-woman action.

    I disagree. And, even if you were right, would this not be outweighed by the fact that Labour are rapidly destroying this country and its economy, and it is urgently necessary to oust them from power? (This week’s budget was absurd. 700bn in extra government borrowing, including 174bn this year alone; and a new 50% tax rate on those earning over 150,000 a year.)

    I don’t think it’s fair, on your part, to expect me to be a single-issue voter on the topic of abortion. Is it the only important political issue? Is it worth sacrificing economic recovery in order to maintain a woman’s right to choose? Voting Labour because the majority of Labour MPs support abortion rights would be rather like voting for Bush in 2004 because he supported Social Security privatisation. It’s an important issue, but it isn’t worth voting for a bad candidate because they’re right on a single issue, when any good they might do on that issue will be outweighed by the harm they will do on other issues.

  158. #158 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    I did say, in that paragraph, that I would retain state subsidies for the very poor and medically uninsurable.

    And a fat lot of good it’ll do. Subsidies don’t change the fact that those private insurers don’t cover chronic pre-existing conditions, so children born with congenital health defects will still be shit out of luck.

    Still, voting Tory is in general an anti-woman action.

    I disagree.

    The fuck you do, my friend. I calculated the numbers and linked to them. You don’t get to just “disagree” with the statistics.

    And, even if you were right, would this not be outweighed by the fact that Labour are rapidly destroying this country and its economy, and it is urgently necessary to oust them from power?

    You just answered your own question:

    I’m not an economist, and I’m not qualified, nor sufficiently conversant with the jargon, to argue the point effectively.

    Lo, you just called retreat. Wisely. Now keep running.

    I don’t think it’s fair, on your part, to expect me to be a single-issue voter on the topic of abortion. Is it the only important political issue?

    “What an odd suggestion! I’ve roundly criticized you from most every angle by now. Indifference to women’s lives is just the easiest charge that I can make stick.”

    Is it worth sacrificing economic recovery in order to maintain a woman’s right to choose?

    You haven’t demonstrated that tax cuts equate to economic recovery.

    So all you’re really saying is you think that women’s reproductive rights, reducing harsh drug penalties, gay marriage rights, and other social freedoms, all combined, are less important than tax cuts.

    Profits before people.

  159. #159 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    Subsidies don’t change the fact that those private insurers don’t cover chronic pre-existing conditions, so children born with congenital health defects will still be shit out of luck.

    That’s what I meant by “medically uninsurable”. Did you think I just put that phrase in there as a rhetorical flourish?

    As to the rest of your comment: I’m not trying to demonstrate to you that my economic ideas are right. I’m just pointing out that, if you assume for the sake of argument (without agreeing) that my economic ideas are correct, then it seems clear that I am justified in prioritising those economic ideas over any other area of public policy – because without jobs and economic recovery, millions of ordinary people will suffer.

  160. #160 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    Or, to put it another way:

    (1): Labour are more likely than Conservatives to protect a woman’s right to choose.
    (2): Conservatives are more likely than Labour to have an effective plan for economic recovery.
    (3): Economic recovery affects more people’s lives than do abortion rights.
    (4): Ergo, economic recovery is more important than abortion rights.
    (5): Ergo, one should vote Conservative.

    I am aware that you disagree with point (2), and I’m not interested in arguing it further. But would you agree that, if one stipulates to the correctness of premise (2), the remainder of the argument makes sense?

  161. #161 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    I’m not an economist, and I’m not qualified, nor sufficiently conversant with the jargon, to argue the point effectively. There are plenty of libertarians floating around on the internet who are economists, so I’ll leave it to one of them to address your points.

    I used no jargon in my post #138, most of which was a quote from a historian. I try to use as little jargon as possible when I’m talking to non-economists, and I usually explain the jargon when I do use it.

    You’re wrong in another area. There are very few libertarian economists and not many of them are found “floating around on the internet.” The ten or so people who comprise the Von Mises Institute (most of whom also work for the Cato Institute) make up the vast majority of libertarian economists. The Austrian School is considered a fringe group by other economists. There was a reason why Mises couldn’t get a tenured professorship when he came to the US.

  162. #162 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    There are very few libertarian economists and not many of them are found “floating around on the internet.” The ten or so people who comprise the Von Mises Institute (most of whom also work for the Cato Institute) make up the vast majority of libertarian economists.

    Now that is just nonsense. How about Professor David Friedman? Or Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe? Or Professor Russell Roberts? (to name just three prominent anarcho-capitalist academic economists who, to the best of my knowledge, are not affiliated with the Mises Institute) I think you’re mistaken in defining “libertarian” as synonymous with “Austrian School”; libertarianism is broader than that.

  163. #163 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    Conservatives are more likely than Labour to have an effective plan for economic recovery.

    A highly debatable point. The shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is making that claim, but then he’d have to, wouldn’t he?

  164. #164 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    That’s what I meant by “medically uninsurable”.

    Well then you’re hardly talking about the “abolition” of the NHS. You’re instead talking about winnowing it to a provider of last resort.

    Did you think I just put that phrase in there as a rhetorical flourish?

    Your usual style has put me in the habit of assuming that like our esteemed ex-dictator, you “don’t do nuance.”

    As to the rest of your comment: I’m not trying to demonstrate to you that my economic ideas are right.

    That’s even worse. Then you’re not saying all of the above combined are less important than tax cuts, but less important than your ideological dogmas, of which you are admittedly incapable of calculation the effects.

    I’m just pointing out that, if you assume for the sake of argument (without agreeing) that my economic ideas are correct,

    Assuming everything, you’d still have to calculate the damages of this recession versus that damages of dissolving the welfare state. And you can’t, so you’re resorting to dogma.

  165. #165 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    I think you’re mistaken in defining “libertarian” as synonymous with “Austrian School”; libertarianism is broader than that.

    You’re right. The Chicago School economists can be described as libertarian, and there are a couple of dozen of them. That doesn’t really change my point that libertarian economists are a fringe group. After the Chicago Boys’ fiasco in Chile, the Chicago School has lost most of its credibility. The New Zealand mess didn’t help either. Friedman’s monetarianism isn’t too highly regarded now. In fact, even your Tory buddies are embracing Keynesian economics.

  166. #166 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    I am aware that you disagree with point (2), and I’m not interested in arguing it further. But would you agree that, if one stipulates to the correctness of premise (2), the remainder of the argument makes sense?

    No, I’m not convinced of (3) either. Abortion’s impact is first and foremost economic; the long-term addition of an unwanted child can be more burdensome than the much more temporary loss of a job. And from (3) to (4) is a non sequitur; to get there you’d have to change (3) to “Economic recovery affects more people’s lives, and more substantially, than do abortion rights.”

  167. #167 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    Well then you’re hardly talking about the “abolition” of the NHS. You’re instead talking about winnowing it to a provider of last resort.

    No. The NHS, at present, works rather like the Veterans’ Affairs hospitals in the US; hospitals are run directly by government (via local bureaucratic bodies called “NHS trusts”) and health workers are public employees.

    I would scrap all of that and privatise all health services (ideally, hospitals should be owned and managed by co-operatives of doctors). People would have to obtain private medical insurance; however, those who could not afford such insurance, or were ineligible for it due to pre-existing conditions, would get cash in hand from the State to cover their costs.

    Just think about the problems you have with the Veterans’ Affairs health care system in the US – now imagine the astronomical cost and bureaucratic nightmare if that system were extended to cover every US citizen. That’s what the socialists tried to do in the UK, and the results have been as bad as one might expect.

  168. #168 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    The New Zealand mess didn’t help either.

    Erm, last time I checked, NZ is one of the most prosperous countries in the world and has a very high standard of living – much of which can be traced to the market reforms of the 1980s.

  169. #169 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    Missed something else. (5) does not follow from (4), because there are many other losses at stake than just abortion rights.

  170. #170 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    Incidentally, Walton, Hans-Hermann Hoppe is a Fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Which is hardly suprising considering that Hoppe and Murray Rothbart were co-founders of paleo-libertarianism.

  171. #171 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    Just think about the problems you have with the Veterans’ Affairs health care system in the US

    Oh please Brer Fox, whatever you do, please don’t throw me into the briar patch.

    Obama suggested partially privatizing VA care, and veterans freaked out. He was forced to rescind the proposal, because the people in VA care absolutely do not want private insurance companies getting their filthy hands involved. Score one for our socialist soldiers, score zero for our capitalist president.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Story?id=3991225&page=2

    Study after study puts the VA system at the very top for fewer medical errors, for effective treatments, for lower costs and for patient satisfaction. And the VA delivers all of this for at least $1,500 less per year per patient than Medicare.

  172. #172 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    Erm, last time I checked, NZ is one of the most prosperous countries in the world and has a very high standard of living – much of which can be traced to the market reforms of the 1980s.

    Guess again. New Zealand is presently properous because they rejected many of the market reforms of the 1980s. New Zealand’s Vaunted Privatization Push Devastated The Country, Rather Than Saving It:

    And economic growth? In the years 1985-92, average economic growth in the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries totalled 20%, while in New Zealand it was negative, at -1%. The promised creation of enormous new wealth went into reverse: Real GDP in 1992, at 5%, was below the 1985-86 level. A burst of growth from 1993 to 1995 petered out, and the economy steadily declined until it dipped into negative territory in 1998, posting the fourth-worst growth in the OECD.
    The transformation of the economy was supposed to spur foreign investment, but it mostly meant a feeding frenzy on domestic corporate assets. In 1993, the proportion of GDP in investments was just 70% of what it was in 1984.
    The restructuring of the economy failed most dramatically on the unemployment front, and the country has never managed to get back to anywhere near the 1984 level of 4%. The “workless and wanting work” figure peaked at more than 18% in 1993. In 1999, that figure had been reduced only to 11.2%.

  173. #173 Curtis
    April 25, 2009

    I’m afraid. Really. The argument: Hey, water is essential for life. What does it matter if we are submerged by water. Try living in the desert without water. Water is harmless and important. Therefore Bigfoot is a myth.

  174. #174 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/21/AR2005082101073.html

    Researchers laud the VA for its use of electronic medical records, its focus on preventive care and its outstanding results. The system outperforms Medicare and most private health plans on many quality measures, including diabetes care, managing high blood pressure and caring for heart attack patients.

    See also the chart in the above Post article.

    http://www.longtermcarelink.net/article-2008-3-5.htm

    VA simply comes closer to the mark of providing excellent care than the rest of the health-care providers in the country. One big reason is the veteran system does not rely on insurance reimbursements so money saved through efficient operation remains in the system and does not transfer to insurance companies. This type of operational structure encourages innovation and change.

    And found through that article, the right-wing magazine BusinessWeek calls the VA “the best medical care in the U.S.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_29/b3993061.htm

    Every day some 1,400 patients pass through the Buffalo VA’s unprepossessing entrance, into what many might assume is a hellish health-care world, understaffed, underfunded, and uncaring. They couldn’t be more wrong. According to the nation’s hospital-accreditation panel, the VA outpaces every other hospital in the Buffalo region. “The care here is excellent,” says Roemer. “I couldn’t be happier, and my friends in the POW group I belong to all feel the same.”

    Roemer seems to have stepped through the looking glass into an alternative universe, one where a nationwide health system that is run and financed by the federal government provides the best medical care in America. But it’s true — if you want to be sure of top-notch care, join the military. The 154 hospitals and 875 clinics run by the Veterans Affairs Dept. have been ranked best-in-class by a number of independent groups on a broad range of measures, from chronic care to heart disease treatment to percentage of members who receive flu shots. It offers all the same services, and sometimes more, than private sector providers.

    According to a Rand Corp. study, the VA system provides two-thirds of the care recommended by such standards bodies as the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. Far from perfect, granted — but the nation’s private-sector hospitals provide only 50%. And while studies show that 3% to 8% of the nation’s prescriptions are filled erroneously, the VA’s prescription accuracy rate is greater than 99.997%, a level most hospitals only dream about. That’s largely because the VA has by far the most advanced computerized medical-records system in the U.S. And for the past six years the VA has outranked private-sector hospitals on patient satisfaction in an annual consumer survey conducted by the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan. This keeps happening despite the fact that the VA spends an average of $5,000 per patient, vs. the national average of $6,300.

    Read that last sentence again. The VA is better and cheaper than private insurance.

    You’ve got some weird assumptions that US citizens familiar with the VA simply do not share. This may surprise you, but when I am trying to advocate socialized medicine to my friends and acquaintances, I deliberately say “imagine the VA system extended to every citizen.” It’s the easiest and most effective way I know of selling the idea.

  175. #175 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    Tis Himself @#172:

    The rant about “globalization” at the end of that article, and the endorsement of tariff protectionism, prevented me from taking it seriously. (I don’t understand how some leftists can argue on the one hand that we should do more to help the developing world, but at the same time advocate tariffs to protect Western industries from foreign competition and, thereby, impoverish people in the developing world. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?)

    International trade, and the phenomenal amount of wealth it creates, has already lifted billions of people out of abject poverty around the world, and will continue to do so – if we don’t screw it up through governmental interference. I am a free-trader not because I care about the rich, but because I care about the poor – and I’m realistic enough to observe and applaud the amazing achievements of global capitalism.

    This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have any government interference; we should have a basic welfare safety net for those who, through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times.

    strange gods:

    Study after study puts the VA system at the very top for fewer medical errors, for effective treatments, for lower costs and for patient satisfaction. And the VA delivers all of this for at least $1,500 less per year per patient than Medicare.

    Fair enough, but your article goes on to point out that a large part of the reason for the VA’s massive recent improvement is the fact that it’s introduced an efficient standardised system of electronic record-keeping – giving doctors instant access to patient records. Believe me, the NHS doesn’t do that (it’s a real headache for all concerned – no pun intended – when you need to transfer to a different doctors’ surgery). I have a deep respect for the sacrifices made by American veterans, and I’m glad the VA is providing them with decent care. But as your article also acknowledges at the end, it would be administratively, politically and economically impossible to extend the same system to all US citizens.

  176. #176 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    (Note: My comment above refers only to my original post at #171.)

    There would also be a moral problem with extending VA care to everyone – quite simply, what has the average citizen done to deserve comprehensive free healthcare? Veterans have made a sacrifice for their country, and whether or not one agrees politically with the conflicts in which they’ve served (which, in some cases, I don’t), they’ve chosen to undertake a great personal risk and suffer significant privations, and they deserve benefits in return for that.

    By contrast, let’s imagine Joe Citizen, an ordinary civilian who’s never bothered to take out medical insurance because it’s too expensive, and he’d rather spend the money on booze and cigarettes. When he has a heart attack or liver failure, why, exactly, should his healthier and more prudent neighbour pick up the bill?

  177. #177 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    But as your article also acknowledges at the end, it would be administratively, politically and economically impossible to extend the same system to all US citizens.

    Administratively, an article from a right-wing corporation like ABC should be expected to say that.

    Politically, an article from 2007 could not predict that in 2009 only 53% of US citizens would prefer capitalism to socialism and among adults under 30 the two systems would be tied in a dead heat.

    Economically, if VA care is on average $1,300 cheaper per person than private health insurance, we can’t afford not to socialize everything.

  178. #178 dean
    April 25, 2009

    “By contrast, let’s imagine Joe Citizen, an ordinary civilian who’s never bothered to take out medical insurance because it’s too expensive,”

    Here’s a thought (something new for you, Walton) – perhaps you should say “who’s never been able to get medical insurance because it’s too expensive.”

  179. #179 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    Believe me, the NHS doesn’t do that (it’s a real headache for all concerned – no pun intended – when you need to transfer to a different doctors’ surgery).

    That’s an argument for having the NHS emulate the VA.

    There would also be a moral problem with extending VA care to everyone – quite simply, what has the average citizen done to deserve comprehensive free healthcare?

    You’d probably be surprised how ineffective this argument is among Americans. One of the consequences of the “American exceptionalism” that the conservatives have encouraged here is that most of us now imagine simply being a US citizen to be a great accomplishment in itself. It’s silly, but it might help you understand how a conservative Democrat like Barack can give speeches full of downhome midwest common sense and then walk away with 365 electoral votes. The guy’s too right-wing for me — see Russ Feingold for an example of a great American statesperson — but it was still fun watching him beat the far right at their own game.

    So, what has Joe the Plumber done to deserve VA-style health care? He was born in Ohio and not England, quod erat fuckin’ demonstrandum.

    But I don’t go in for that stuff. So I’ll give you an argument that would convince me.

    Morally, what has Joe done to deserve to be denied access to a cost-effective health care system that works better than most anything he could buy on the street? Well, the worst I can come up with is that he’s a traitor who hates the First Amendment. But thanks to the First Amendment, that’s okay. So he hasn’t really done anything too terrible.

    Morally, if we can save citizens an average of $1300 by switching over to single-payer health care, that alone is reason enough. The economy would be stronger, the average citizen would be healthier, and quality of life would improve. It would be immoral not to.

    Morally, if there remains some demand for veterans to have a higher level of care than everyone else, then have the VA offer those state-of-the-art treatments still in development that aren’t yet covered by the general citizens’ system. Our reverence for our veterans then becomes a further impetus toward innovation, and everybody wins. I think this last one is a great idea and I thank you for helping me brainstorm it, comrade.

  180. #180 Britomart
    April 25, 2009

    Bootsy

    Where did you get your information:

    “Obviously, if he wants to reduce the deficit, he should really slash defense spending (which puts $1.06 in the economy for each dollar spent, compared to $1.60 for non-defense spending). ”

    Thank you kindly

  181. #181 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    Morally, what has Joe done to deserve to be denied access to a cost-effective health care system that works better than most anything he could buy on the street?

    You’re getting this the wrong way round. You’re presupposing that each human being has a prima facie right to healthcare, which he can only lose by doing something wrong, in the same way as each person has a prima facie right to liberty until he is imprisoned for a criminal offence. But the two are fundamentally different; because there’s a basic difference between freedom from interference with one’s person, and the right to be given something for free at one’s neighbour’s expense. Rather, what you need to show is why Joe has a right to receive healthcare at his neighbour’s expense in the first place, whether his neighbour likes it or not.

    Like you, I do not believe that a person acquires any positive moral entitlements to be subsidised at the expense of his neighbour simply by virtue of being born in a certain nation-state. “Countries” and “communities” are convenient human fictions. Nor do I believe that a person acquires any positive entitlements by virtue of being part of “the human race”, which is another fictional entity. Rather, I believe that each person should be sovereign over his or her own body, time and labour; and the proceeds of that labour should not, IMO, be confiscated at the point of a gun to pay for someone else’s healthcare.

  182. #182 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    That’s an argument for having the NHS emulate the VA.

    Yes, but it also shows that the VA’s efficiency cannot be chalked up to it being state-run. Remember, back in the 1970s VA hospitals were notorious for being hellholes. The fact that one able administrator (who, IIRC, later got fired by Congress for political reasons)* managed to build a decent system does not mean that the same achievement is likely to be replicated on a larger scale.

    *Which illustrates nicely the number one problem with socialised health systems: the politicisation of healthcare. People constantly demand more expensive treatment. Over here, we have a news story practically every other day showing some pensioner/mum of seven/disabled child/veteran (delete as appropriate), with soft focus and lots of crying, who has a rare disease that requires an expensive brand-new treatment which isn’t provided on the NHS. Local MPs get involved, and it becomes a political football. And so the spending goes up… but, as no one likes paying higher taxes, where’s the money going to come from?

  183. #183 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 25, 2009

    I suspect you are using a European scale. Next time I catch someone trying to force American politics to fit the scale of “more civilized” Europe I am pulling out a big list of reactionary and regressive bullshit that finds a place within the Overton window here in Europe. For now I’ll just say “Berlusconi”.

    I’m not going to defend Berlusco”li”ni. There is an extreme right in Europe, and it’s not pretty.

    The scale isn’t just European, it appears to apply to much of the world. So I simply made an argumentum ad populum and tried to correlate US politics to what could be a global average or the like.

    “soft fascism” aptly describes using government to control privately owned enterprises.

    Humpty Dumpty.

    *Convert Social Security and Medicare into private individual savings accounts, and allow savers to withdraw their funds from the system and invest them elsewhere.

    Thus inviting those that are not stock-exchange experts, which is > 99.99 % of them, to invest in stuff that looks good but will lead straight to their ruin. Enron, WorldCom, Madoff…

    That’s also bad for the stock market itself. It represents a huge injection of cash that swamps supply and demand.

    Forcing people to fend for their own pensions on the stock market is among the dumbest ideas of the last century. Have you been sleeping the last 10 years?

    Same for healthcare. Private insurers want to make a profit. That means higher prices, and a refusal to pay whenever they can sort of get away with it. It also means that the people who need it most will have no fucking insurance at all, which is the case right now for tens of millions of US citizens. Let me repeat my question, only this time with 20 or more years.

    Pledge no further tax increases, ever, in any circumstances.

    This is just… cute. :-}

    In the real world most of us live in, abiding by such an absolute statement is just not feasible.

  184. #184 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    You’re getting this the wrong way round.

    Or you are. Please keep in mind that I used to be a right-wing libertarian of the risible LP variety, and I don’t actually need to be schooled on the standard presuppositions.

    You’re presupposing that each human being has a prima facie right to healthcare

    And you’re presupposing that he doesn’t. But there’s no inherent reason why your presupposition is right and mine is wrong. The difference of opinion amounts to preferences of value. Your dogmas about so-called positive and negative rights are rhetorical devices for propaganda, not inherent truths about the world.

    As you well know, all it really comes down to is who can convince more of the population to vote their way. And in that regard, “the average citizen will save $1300″ is a pretty effective argument.

    But the two are fundamentally different; because there’s a basic difference between freedom from interference with one’s person, and the right to be given something for free at one’s neighbour’s expense.

    Whereas I would characterize the latter as “the supposed right to withhold affordable medical care from someone who might die without it.” And I’m not sure that’s a right at all. And the average citizen today shares my skepticism. :)

    Rather, what you need to show is why Joe has a right to receive healthcare at his neighbour’s expense in the first place, whether his neighbour likes it or not.

    Not to you, I don’t. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1550744

    Besides, at a $1300 savings, “his neighbour’s expense” is a nonsensical clause.

  185. #185 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 25, 2009

    Yawn, Walton needs to shut up about American politics and health care. Not his problem. Walton, we don’t want your ill considered opinion. It stinks, like most libertard ideas.

  186. #186 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    As you well know, all it really comes down to is who can convince more of the population to vote their way. And in that regard, “the average citizen will save $1300″ is a pretty effective argument.

    That’s why democracy sucks. No one else should be able to vote on how I should expend my labour.

    Please keep in mind that I used to be a right-wing libertarian of the risible LP variety, and I don’t actually need to be schooled on the standard presuppositions.

    You never mentioned that before. Very interesting. Apparently one becomes more loony as one ages (I’m only 19, so maybe I’ll end up as a Marxist by the time I retire. Who knows? Then again, I don’t know how old you are, or how old you were when you were a libertarian.)

  187. #187 SAWells
    April 25, 2009

    Walton, a big part of the problem with your arguments here (leaving aside from the recent outbreak of creepy gun fetishism) is that you seem to expect everyone to buy into your starting assumption about property being sacrosanct. Since all your arguments start from there they are all unconvincing. You must at least _be aware of this_ instead of constantly repeating yourself.

    Personally I’m very happy for a portion of my taxes to go on maintaining the public health because (a) I think healing the sick is a good thing and (b) I’d quite like not to die in a pandemic when the great unwashed all get the plague du jour. Maybe you disagree with both, in which case I despise you. Cheers.

  188. #188 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    Yes, but it also shows that the VA’s efficiency cannot be chalked up to it being state-run.

    Except that it can:

    “VA simply comes closer to the mark of providing excellent care than the rest of the health-care providers in the country. One big reason is the veteran system does not rely on insurance reimbursements so money saved through efficient operation remains in the system and does not transfer to insurance companies. This type of operational structure encourages innovation and change.”

    That’s a unique financial impetus you cannot reproduce with private insurance.

    The fact that one able administrator (who, IIRC, later got fired by Congress for political reasons)* managed to build a decent system does not mean that the same achievement is likely to be replicated on a larger scale.

    Nor does it mean it’s unlikely. It has precisely dick to do with the matter. There are any number of ways an organization can be administered, and if one model is inappropriate for a given scale, there are others.

    That one was a particularly weak objection, Walton. Take a break if you’re getting burnt out.

  189. #189 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 25, 2009

    Walton, I’ll happily take a tax raise to fund universal health care. Without the need for insurance company profits, the total cost for health care will drop. Even I can see that. Why can’t you? And keep in mind I still have health insurance (such as it is) since I am still employed. At least for the near future, which is all that can be said in today’s economy.

  190. #190 SC, OM
    April 25, 2009

    There would also be a moral problem with extending VA care to everyone – quite simply, what has the average citizen done to deserve comprehensive free healthcare?

    Oh, I know! Massachusetts is freakin’ insane! Just ’cause I’ve used my eyes for everything from manual labor to earning a doctorate and teaching college students, that’s no reason to provide me with visual exams and preventative care, even if my pressure has tested high in the past. Much better for everyone involved to let me go blind. Really, I’ve done nothing to earn sight.

    Fuck you.

  191. #191 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    That’s why democracy sucks. No one else should be able to vote on how I should expend my labour.

    Says the guy who wants to force his fellow citizens to pay for impoverished children’s baseline health care.

    You really need to find a new set of talking points that is more in line with your actual beliefs.

    You never mentioned that before. Very interesting. Apparently one becomes more loony as one ages (I’m only 19, so maybe I’ll end up as a Marxist by the time I retire. Who knows? Then again, I don’t know how old you are, or how old you were when you were a libertarian.)

    Huh. I have, here, but apparently not in conversations with you. I’m not sure how seriously even you could say for sure that a US Libertarian Party ideologue is less loony than a pro-gun democratic socialist. Of particular note is that my commitment to the Constitution did not change a bit. Anyway, I’m about 30 now and I was in my early 20s then. Immediately prior to that was a tragic bout with conservative Christianity, so if I really thought these trajectories were predictable, I’d have great hopes for you.

  192. #192 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    Immediately prior to that was a tragic bout with conservative Christianity, so if I really thought these trajectories were predictable, I’d have great hopes for you.

    Well, I’ve been everything from a sort-of-naive-semi-Communist (as a very young kid) to a right-wing Christian (in my teens), and I’m not even twenty yet. I have a very strange mind. It’s rather like a carousel… round and round it goes. (Sorry. I’m rambling.)

    Says the guy who wants to force his fellow citizens to pay for impoverished children’s baseline health care.

    You really need to find a new set of talking points that is more in line with your actual beliefs.

    Well, there’s ideology and then there’s practicality and humanitarianism. But anyway, as you noticed, I’m getting burnt out. I’ll come back to this tomorrow.

  193. #193 maureen Brian
    April 25, 2009

    Walton,

    A few weeks ago there was a fire at your college and the fire brigade was called.

    You will recall that the earliest fire brigades were provided by the parish but only the richer urban parishes could afford one and they weren’t terribly efficient. Later fire cover was provided by the insurance companies. Not everyone could afford insurance, of course, so cover was patchy and duplication of resources made a more advanced fire-fighting technology no more efficient than in the middle ages.

    A country-wide fire service – all equipped and trained to more or less the same standard and available to all on the basis of citizenship – I refer you back to the Putney Debates of 1647 – proved to be both more effective and the best possible use of resources.

    If fire engines then why not health care?

    Or did you stand in the street that day waving the fire service away and refusing to be saved by anything paid for by taxes?

  194. #194 SC, OM
    April 25, 2009

    I have a very strange mind. It’s rather like a carousel block of cement

    Fixed.

    Well, there’s ideology and then there’s practicality and humanitarianism.

    *sputter*

  195. #195 SAWells
    April 25, 2009

    Oh, and Walton, by my estimation I pay less for my tax contributions to the NHS in the UK than I did in premiums and copays when I was in the USA. _Socialised health case makes me personally richer_.

    Bluntly, you need more exposure to reality before your opinions become interesting to people other than you. You are not Pitt the Younger.

  196. #196 astrounit
    April 25, 2009

    So those scheming liberal scientists have been playing a game of chicken little, warning that carbon dioxide is a “carcinogen” and “harmful to our environment”.

    And this imbecile has the audacity to characterize these howlingly absurd but purposeful misrepresentations as “comical”. (We can all be assured that there WERE people watching that who agreed with every word he said…without batting an eye).

    It is entirely evident that some people just don’t WANT to listen or WANT to understand anything they DON’T LIKE to hear…even if it’s backed up by evidence that stretches from here to the Moon.

    I wonder how people like that manage to survive. It really makes me wonder if their denialist stupidity extends to refusing to remove their hand when it is burning in a fire.

    A WORM knows better.

  197. #197 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    Well, there’s ideology and then there’s practicality and humanitarianism.

    Uh, I guessss. That sounds like such an alien statement to me now that I have a hard time remembering what it used to mean.

    Do you remember this?

    Is it not more horrific for millions of people to die with the blessing of the state than for them to die through crime?

    No.

    What is more horrific is for more people to die.

    I feel like the most obvious difference between us is that I make practicality my ideology. Because if an ideology doesn’t lead to the more preferable among possible results, then it is quite literally misleading.

    I weigh rights into the equation, so I’m not strictly a utilitarian. But, for fuck’s fucking, what good is an ideology that leads you where you know you shouldn’t go?

  198. #198 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 25, 2009

    There would also be a moral problem with extending VA care to everyone – quite simply, what has the average citizen done to deserve comprehensive free healthcare?

    Fuck you, asshole.

    It’s a human right.

    By contrast, let’s imagine Joe Citizen, an ordinary civilian who’s never bothered to take out medical insurance because it’s too expensive, and he’d rather spend the money on booze and cigarettes. When he has a heart attack or liver failure, why, exactly, should his healthier and more prudent neighbour pick up the bill?

    Because it’s cheaper for everyone if no drunk lung cancer patients roam the streets?

    I also wonder if such walking strawmen really exist.

    Morally, what has Joe [the Unlicensed Plumber] done to deserve to be denied access to a cost-effective health care system that works better than most anything he could buy on the street? Well, the worst I can come up with is that he’s a traitor who hates the First Amendment. But thanks to the First Amendment, that’s okay. So he hasn’t really done anything too terrible.

    Morally, if we can save citizens an average of $1300 by switching over to single-payer health care, that alone is reason enough. The economy would be stronger, the average citizen would be healthier, and quality of life would improve. It would be immoral not to.

    Morally, if there remains some demand for veterans to have a higher level of care than everyone else, then have the VA offer those state-of-the-art treatments still in development that aren’t yet covered by the general citizens’ system. Our reverence for our veterans then becomes a further impetus toward innovation, and everybody wins. I think this last one is a great idea and I thank you for helping me brainstorm it, comrade.

    This simply bears repeating.

    But the two are fundamentally different; because there’s a basic difference between freedom from interference with one’s person, and the right to be given something for free at one’s neighbour’s expense. Rather, what you need to show is why Joe has a right to receive healthcare at his neighbour’s expense in the first place, whether his neighbour likes it or not.

    Insurance like that (it goes both ways: you have a right to receive healthcare at Joe’s expense) is simply part of the society contract. If you don’t like that, vote against it, and if that doesn’t help, emigrate… :-|

    Again, I don’t understand what’s not to like about an insurance system. If you ever need it, you’ll likely get more out of it than you paid in; and you can’t know beforehand if you’ll ever need it.

    the proceeds of that labour should not, IMO, be confiscated at the point of a gun to pay for someone else’s healthcare.

    For his own healthcare, you mean.

    Yes, but it also shows that the VA’s efficiency cannot be chalked up to it being state-run.

    It merely shows that the VA’s efficiency cannot be chalked up to that one factor alone. It shows, however, that private insurers are not automatically better than state-run healthcare — and there are lots of private insurance companies in the USA.

    Over here, we have a news story practically every other day showing some pensioner/mum of seven/disabled child/veteran (delete as appropriate), with soft focus and lots of crying, who has a rare disease that requires an expensive brand-new treatment which isn’t provided on the NHS. Local MPs get involved, and it becomes a political football.

    Why doesn’t that happen over here?

    Because, you see, I’ve never seen such a story (in Austria, France, or elsewhere).

  199. #199 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    Fuck you, asshole.

    It’s a human right.

    Says who?

    Again, I don’t understand what’s not to like about an insurance system. If you ever need it, you’ll likely get more out of it than you paid in; and you can’t know beforehand if you’ll ever need it.

    Fair enough, but that isn’t an argument for forcing me to participate in it whether I like it or not. If I want to save the money, and take the corresponding risk of dying due to lack of healthcare, why shouldn’t I have that option? Why is it the state’s job to ensure that I have health insurance coverage whether or not I want it?

  200. #200 SC, OM
    April 25, 2009

    I also wonder if such walking strawmen really exist.

    Strawmen really shouldn’t smoke. :)

  201. #201 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 25, 2009

    Walton, why are you continually harping on the US health system? If you want to change things in the UK, be our guest. Get involved with the party of your choice and do the grunt work until you can stand for office.

    Meanwhile, leave us yanks alone. We don’t want or need your opinion.

  202. #202 strange gods before me, 10 years ago
    April 25, 2009

    Go to bed, Walton. Your stuff is so easy that I can answer your messages for you while you’re gone.

    If fire engines then why not health care?

    People who don’t pay for the fire department will still benefit from its existence, as putting out their paying neighbors’ house fire prevents their own houses from alighting. In this sense the fire services are said to be non-excludable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excludability

    It is thus acceptable to force people to pay for the fire department, because otherwise they’d benefit without paying, pushing their share of the costs off onto more responsible citizens.

    In contrast, it’s largely possible to restrict people who could afford health care, but who opt not to pay, from receiving benefits. These people would essentially be freeloaders under a single-payer system of universal coverage, and it’s wrong to require more responsible citizens to pay for freeloaders.

  203. #203 SAWells
    April 25, 2009

    Walton, you and I are both UK residents, and one of us is in gainful employment and paying income tax. As and when you can say the same, come back and whine about having to fund national health care.

  204. #204 SAWells
    April 25, 2009

    @202: bonus points for failing to discuss herd immunity and contagion, and of course not mentioning isolated houses! You have your libertarian reality avoidance down pat.

  205. #205 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    @202: bonus points for failing to discuss herd immunity and contagion,

    But of course! The basics of libertarianism were laid down before the widespread acceptance of germ theory. And, uh, apparently ideology must be recited before any interference by practicality. *cough*

    Hope that’s not tuberculosis.

  206. #206 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    And, uh, apparently ideology must be recited before any interference by practicality.

    No. This is not standard libertarian practice. I’m just an idiot.

    I guess I should go and re-learn the basics of debate, since I’m unable to even convince myself, let alone anyone else.

  207. #207 SAWells
    April 25, 2009

    Walton, there’s a story about Sydney Smith. He and a friend were walking down a city road flanked on either side by tall buildings. Two women were having a spirited argument (apparently over laundry), one from an upper window of one house, one from the other.

    “They can never agree”, quoth Smith, “they are arguing from different premises.”

    Essentially: you constantly attempt to argue for libertarian policies by stating that they are in line with libertarian ideology. This, however, is irrelevant to convincing anyone else to support either your policies or your ideology.

    For example, while we’ve established that we have totally different moral views about health care provision, I have pointed out to you that I pay less for my nationalised healthcare than I did for private health insurance. Does that not appeal to your self interest? By supporting nationalised health care you can _save money_. Now, what can you say to support your policy that would appeal to _me_, _independent of a libertarian view_?

    So, yes, go and learn the basics of debate.

  208. #208 Britomart
    April 25, 2009

    Walton, did you ever go look up enlightened self interest?

    You benefit when your neighbors are healty and well educated.

  209. #209 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 25, 2009

    Yawn, Walton needs to shut up about American politics and health care. Not his problem.

    Actually… it is his problem. When America sneezes, the whole world hears it.

    It really makes me wonder if their denialist stupidity extends to refusing to remove their hand when it is burning in a fire.

    See? That’s why reflexes evolved. You literally don’t need to think about them. =8-)

    I feel like the most obvious difference between us is that I make practicality my ideology. Because if an ideology doesn’t lead to the more preferable among possible results, then it is quite literally misleading.

    I weigh rights into the equation, so I’m not strictly a utilitarian. But, for fuck’s fucking, what good is an ideology that leads you where you know you shouldn’t go?

    This is a Molly nomination. Remind me next Molly thread if I forget.

  210. #210 SC, OM
    April 25, 2009

    No. This is not standard libertarian practice. I’m just an idiot.

    But idiocy is standard libertarian practice. :P

  211. #211 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 25, 2009

    But idiocy is standard libertarian practice. :P

    Amen sister. Add selfishness for good measure.

  212. #212 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    Aw, Walton. At least you can be endearing at times.

    While it never hurts to refine one’s debating skills, I must caution you that this is not enough. You’re smarter than the average ursid, so by the time you’re done with university, you’ll be especially or even spectacularly capable of arguing for ideas that are fabulously wrong. Dawkins invokes this phenomenon to explain how smart people can be Christians, but it applies across the board.

    If I can give you some advice, keep in mind that checking in on one’s emotional cues does not necessarily constitute a fallacious argument from emotion. The experience of empathy, for instance, partly functions to impart guidance from our evolutionary past about what works and what doesn’t in interpersonal arrangements. Apes whose feelings of care for one another allowed them to form stable communities became our ancestors; those who were not so compelled to stick together died out and are lost to history.

    So if you find yourself about to say something that shocks the conscience, consider that that may be a sign that what you’re saying is actually wrong. Wrong, so far as wrongness is taken to mean nonfunctional and not conducive to a stable societal arrangement. And while you or I wouldn’t take stability to be much of an end in itself, there’s little opportunity for freedom or the pursuit of happiness without it.

  213. #213 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    Thank you, David. :)

  214. #214 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 25, 2009

    Says who?

    Me.

    I want to have healthcare, and I have empathy for everyone else to that extent. That’s the reciprocal-altruism angle. Further, I can’t see anything inherently ludicrous about the notion of considering this a universal right; it wouldn’t lead ? it hasn’t led ? to absurdities or financial catastrophe.

    Works exactly the same way as the right to life: I don’t want to be killed, and… copy the entire rest of the previous paragraph.

    If I want to save the money, and take the corresponding risk of dying due to lack of healthcare, why shouldn’t I have that option?

    You’d end up in the ER (see right to life above) on our tax money ? on more of our tax money than otherwise. You have a financial interest in me having health insurance, and vice versa.

    Back from theory to practice: of those varying tens of millions of Americans who lack health insurance, how many do you think would opt out of it, “take the risk of dying” (never mind chronic disease or other long-lasting damages), if they could afford having health insurance?

    Strawmen really shouldn’t smoke. :)

    Fair point :-)

    I guess I should go and re-learn the basics of debate, since I’m unable to even convince myself, let alone anyone else.

    Nonono. You should completely get out of this lawyering debate stuff, where winning the debate (convincing people) is more important than actually being right. You should exchange it for science: the practice of constantly trying to disprove your own convictions (in addition to everyone else’s), the art of not falling in love with one’s hypotheses (at least not so far that love makes blind). Take a rock hammer and be destructive. That which is firm enough will not crumble; go find out what that is. :-)

  215. #215 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 25, 2009

    If I can give you some advice, keep in mind that checking in on one’s emotional cues does not necessarily constitute a fallacious argument from emotion. The experience of empathy, for instance, partly functions to impart guidance from our evolutionary past about what works and what doesn’t in interpersonal arrangements. Apes whose feelings of care for one another allowed them to form stable communities became our ancestors; those who were not so compelled to stick together died out and are lost to history.

    Evolutionary epistemology.

  216. #216 Walton
    April 25, 2009

    You should exchange it for science: the practice of constantly trying to disprove your own convictions (in addition to everyone else’s), the art of not falling in love with one’s hypotheses (at least not so far that love makes blind).

    But we’re not dealing with factual, empirical questions here; this isn’t a question like “do black holes exist?” or even “does God exist?”. We’re dealing with normative, value-laden questions, to which the answers are prescriptive and not descriptive; how the world should be.

    Obviously, this doesn’t mean that a political statement can’t be attacked on empirical grounds; if someone makes an assertion like, for instance, “Gay marriage is bad because it causes societies to collapse into anarchy”, then the statement is simply empirically wrong, regardless of what one personally thinks about gay marriage.

    But if I make a statement like “Capitalism is better than socialism”, then it rests on all kinds of assumptions. What do we want our economic system to achieve? Do we want it to achieve massive wealth creation and innovation (in which case capitalism is indeed better), or do we want it to achieve equality of outcome and a basic standard of living for the poorest (in which case socialism is better)? Or a mixture of both? We can test empirically whether our policy proposals are likely to achieve our desired outcomes; but when it comes to the question of which outcomes we desire in the first place, it becomes a matter of ideology, not science.

  217. #217 strange gods before me
    April 25, 2009

    That spurs me to share what I’m reading right now. http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/carrot&stick.html

    I don’t know how it ends yet, I found the link in an interesting thread.

  218. #218 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 25, 2009

    But we’re not dealing with factual, empirical questions here; this isn’t a question like “do black holes exist?” or even “does God exist?”.

    We are dealing with factual, empirical questions here: “What happens if we implement this or that economic ideology?”

    Values only come in afterwards: do we like the results (and therefore the policies that have brought them about), or not?

    …Well, actually, we agree. Just for the sake of clarity, I’ll spell it out here:

    But if I make a statement like “Capitalism is better than socialism”

    You can’t make that statement (or its opposite) yet, because you first need to show what happens under what you call capitalism. Whether that is good is the next question.

  219. #219 ian
    April 26, 2009

    It’s up to three references and none of them are probative since all refer to the initial claim: Google the phrase ?college and university courses in community organizing? and you get 9990000 entries

  220. #220 Mover
    April 26, 2009

    Wowbagger, OM @140

    “Why not start your own blog? That you can write what you please and no-one will ‘censor’ you.”

    I have.

  221. #221 Mover
    April 26, 2009

    Copernic@113

    “What’s that tell you?”

    1.74M homosexuals want to have sex with conservatives?
    1.74M homosexuals want to be conservatives?
    1.74M homosexuals pretended to be straight to have sex with conservatives?
    1.74M homosexuals thought they were conservatives?

    Is googling like noodling?

  222. #222 Brian X
    April 27, 2009

    *End the War on Drugs. Remove criminal penalties against marijuana.

    Not exactly
    *Maintain Roe v Wade and a woman’s right to choose.
    *Repeal DOMA and provide federal recognition of same-sex marriage, where states allow it.
    *Convert Social Security and Medicare into private individual savings accounts, and allow savers to withdraw their funds from the system and invest them elsewhere.
    *Oppose torture in all its forms. End extraordinary rendition, close the detention centres and prosecute any operative who uses any form of torture, including waterboarding, in future.
    *End all government support for so-called “alternative medicine”.
    *Oppose the teaching of pseudoscientific ideas (such as creationism) in school science classes.
    *Repeal the PATRIOT Act.
    *Cap federal income taxes at their current level, with the aim of reducing them in future. Cap spending, and start looking for ways to trim down the federal budget. Pledge no further tax increases, ever, in any circumstances.

  223. #223 Brian X
    April 27, 2009

    So would I vote for Walton’s party?

    *End the War on Drugs. Remove criminal penalties against marijuana.

    Not exactly. More like, tone down the “war” approach and rethink the whole thing as a public health question. And put some actual health care people in charge of the DEA.

    *Maintain Roe v Wade and a woman’s right to choose.

    Yes, but that comes under a general pro-feminist platform.

    *Repeal DOMA and provide federal recognition of same-sex marriage, where states allow it.

    DOMA would seem to violate the full faith and credit clause anyway, although I wouldn’t count on the Roberts court (at least in its current incarnation) to find that.

    *Convert Social Security and Medicare into private individual savings accounts, and allow savers to withdraw their funds from the system and invest them elsewhere.

    Misses the point of “security”, and also provides unsophisticated investors the ability to shoot themselves in the foot. Future Bernie Madoffs would have a field day.

    *Oppose torture in all its forms. End extraordinary rendition, close the detention centres and prosecute any operative who uses any form of torture, including waterboarding, in future.

    Yes, but with the understanding that it is both wrong AND ineffective.

    *End all government support for so-called “alternative medicine”.

    Apart from perhaps reforming the NCCAM into a more evidence-driven body, I fail to see what this would accomplish. I would rather see the government do a more effective job of policing all therapies to make sure they’re safe and effective. (That would shut the alties down in a big hurry.)

    *Oppose the teaching of pseudoscientific ideas (such as creationism) in school science classes.

    Well, yes.

    *Repeal the PATRIOT Act.

    Yep.

    *Cap federal income taxes at their current level, with the aim of reducing them in future. Cap spending, and start looking for ways to trim down the federal budget. Pledge no further tax increases, ever, in any circumstances.

    That makes no more sense than returning to the gold standard. It sounds good, but it’s ultimately crippling in the long run. Yes, we should be trying as a general rule to cut government waste, but trying to put a hard cap on taxation to force the issue is putting the cart before the horse.

    No, Walton, I don’t think I’d vote for your party.

  224. #224 Brian X
    April 27, 2009

    PZ, can you delete #222 (and this one) for me? finger slipped…

  225. #225 Mover
    April 28, 2009

    dean@122

    Really – all faculty do that? Even those of us who teach mathematics and statistics? Darn, I knew my past actions of penalizing students who refused to master robust estimation methods would eventually be called out.

    I did not say all. This is the same tactic I get from a koolaid drinking atheist coworker. If I point out the members of one group or another is doing something, and it doesn’t matter if it’s good bad or indifferent, he always, always says.. “all do that?”

    It’s silliness. Besides, it doesn’t take all faculty to indoctrinate students. All it takes is a few and the remainder of the faculty being unsure, afraid to offend, and remain silent, to further the brainwashing of anyone.

    The tin-foil crazy is strong with this one.

    Rather simplistic and juvenile, don’t you think? It’s easy to write someone off because you don’t like what they are saying, isn’t it?

    Maybe faculties do the same thing.

  226. #226 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2009

    Mover, still living in your own world, looking for conspiracies where they don’t exist. Yawn. Boring twit.

  227. #227 Walton
    April 28, 2009

    Yes, we should be trying as a general rule to cut government waste, but trying to put a hard cap on taxation to force the issue is putting the cart before the horse.

    I disagree. The only way to cut government waste is to starve the beast. Combining a tax freeze with a Balanced Budget Act, preventing the federal government from either raising revenues or borrowing money, would force it to live within its means.

    Apart from perhaps reforming the NCCAM into a more evidence-driven body, I fail to see what this would accomplish. I would rather see the government do a more effective job of policing all therapies to make sure they’re safe and effective. (That would shut the alties down in a big hurry.)

    My aim is not to shut them down; if idiots want to waste their money on “alternative therapies”, I don’t really care. What I want is to ensure that they can’t make taxpayers pay for such useless nonsense.

    Not exactly. More like, tone down the “war” approach and rethink the whole thing as a public health question. And put some actual health care people in charge of the DEA.

    I’d scrap the DEA outright. It’s counterproductive; by trying to stop shipments of drugs, it drives the price up, making drug importation a more profitable market.

    Rather, I’d legalise marijuana (at the federal level, though states could still ban it if they really wanted to), both for recreational and medical use. Harder drugs would, as you suggest, be treated primarily as public health issues, while remaining illegal. Sending drug addicts to prison isn’t working; what is needed is a much more extensive network of public rehab clinics to which persistent drug abusers can be sent.

  228. #228 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 28, 2009

    Walton says: “I disagree. The only way to cut government waste is to starve the beast. Combining a tax freeze with a Balanced Budget Act, preventing the federal government from either raising revenues or borrowing money, would force it to live within its means.”

    It must be nice not to have to live in the real world and deal with the consequences of your actions. Do you know what happens in the real world when you starve the beast? People start covering their asses and stealing from worthwhile efforts to pay for pet projects. Levies don’t get repaired. Maintenance goes undone. Repairs are deferred. In other words, you get America in 2009, 29 years after Reagan said government was the problem.

    Like it or not, Walton, government is necessary. It is how the commonwealth is conserved and maintained and grown. The failings of government are the failings of humanity. I do not know how you avoid corruption among real humans, but if you think starving government is a recipe for virtue, then you must have access to some pretty strong controlled substances.

  229. #229 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2009

    Walton, we yanks don’t give a flying fuck what you, as a brit, think about our government. Especially with your morally bankrupt philosophy on politics. Stick to complaining about the European politics.

  230. #230 Mover
    April 28, 2009

    PZ Notes from ABC commentator…

    plan to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, “which every major scientific organization said is contributing to climate change.”

    Every major scientific organization? Does he mean cancer researchers and ufologists? How about biologists? Maybe the scientists at the CDC? I’m sure they are all experts in climatology.

    My theory is that some guiltists believe that the world would be better off if “man” stopped using its resources to improve the human condition and are working hard to see that happen. That some countries, such as their own, represent all the evil in the world (if there really is “evil”) because their country is more successful at the business of prosperity and freedom. This at the exclusion of all other people (in their minds). Hell, The History Channel has gone to great lengths to show what still other experts believe this Earth would look like when there are no humans (mostly Americans I believe) scrambling around and defacing it (The History Channel, ?Life After People?). What a pleasant thought.

    Anyway, that appears to be the mindset of millions of self-depreciating environmental guiltists around the country who believe that by putting some know-nothing Democrat in office it will help them accomplish their goal of saving the Earth from CO2. Never mind that their guy started jetting around the country and world as soon as he could. Just imagine all that CO2 going into the atmosphere. He flew to Denver to sign a bill that could have easily been signed at his desk.

    The wackos concern with environmental CO2 has pasted mass hysteria and become a religion of its own.

    Listen. CO2 is not that bad.

    – Only small percentages of its extremely small percentage (0.04%), make it to any altitude in the atmosphere.

    – To hold heat in, it would probably have to be a blanket of it.

    – Rain washes it out of the air.

    – A warmer Earth would have more water vapor in the air (called “clouds” in some cases), Venus being an extreme example. Which leads to rain.

    – Throughout history the climate has warmed and cooled independent of atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

    – The average temperature has been flat for the last decade.

    Keep swallowing the koolaid though. You will have lots of company in your fellow mushbrains and guiltists and your buddies in government will keep ‘greening’ it up to get your vote, while they continue to do nothing, as Democrats have always done.

    I don’t hate Democrats. I just believe the country would be much better off if they represented their voters instead of big-dollar special interests.

  231. #231 Anonymous
    April 28, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead, OM

    Walton, we yanks don’t give a flying fuck what you, as a brit, think about our government.

    Are you one of those arrogant Americans that Barry was talking about?

    Too Funny.

  232. #232 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2009

    Are you one of those arrogant Americans that Barry was talking about?

    Nah, just tired of Walton’s libertardian philosophy sophistry. BS sessions are for college dorms, not at this blog.

  233. #233 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2009

    Mover, you are just another “well meaning fool”. If you say “A”, we know “B” is correct, and should vote accordingly.

  234. #234 Mover
    April 29, 2009

    Red,

    President Obama is a wonderful wonderful person who will make the USA a wonderful place to live and raise your children. So are all the Demotards in the US Congress.

    Thought you ought to know.

    BTW: Silly me. I forgot to put my moniker in my last question to you (Are you one of those arrogant Americans that Barry was talking about?)

    I’d like to commend you for responding civilly.

  235. #235 Mover
    April 29, 2009

    One problem: the goon who did this search typed it into google without the quotes, which means that it returned every page where a college used the word “college” and a university used the word “university” and a community used the word “community”. Properly enclose the phrase in quotes, and the number of entries you get is?two.

    Gee, I did the same thing and got 3 returns. I experimented a little with the placement of the quotation marks and was returned as many as 74000 hits when using them around “college” and “university” courses “community organizing”.

    The results seemed to be consistent with lots and lots of colleges offering courses in community organizing. Well, except for the first result, which was the Daily Kos.

    I had thought it might be another step in the full conversion of unwitting students and academe to the Democratic Party and ACORN, but I’ve softened my view on that. I now believe it’s most likely just another attempt to cash in on Barry’s popularity and get brainless students to pay up and try to emulate him. Follow the money.

  236. #236 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2009

    Sarcasm from Mover. Gee. Stop the presses. Still not winning friends and influencing people are you? If you want civil, start with losing the attitude. But then, hell will freeze over first, won’t it?

  237. #237 Mover
    April 30, 2009

    : Nerd of Redhead, OM@236

    What Attitude?

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