Election 2012 Was Like a Rainbow of Progress

From QueertyI stayed up until 1am central time watching the returns last night, and it was worth it! I think I was not alone in my fears for this one; despite being hopeful, it did seem that there were an awful lot of crazy people popping up on my facebook feed. As the returns went further into the night, however, my optimism increased. Claire McCaskill took down Todd Akin, Mourdock was beat out by Donnelly, and we got a whole slew of states legalizing gay marriage and marijuana. Even in Florida, voters made the right decision to vote against distribution of taxpayer money to religious institutions! FLORIDA!

This made Obama’s eventual win all the sweeter as it demonstrated the shifting attitudes of the American people away from the hateful and regressive policies that had been presented by Republicans over the last couple years. Of course, reason and compassion did not win by a landslide.  In fact, President Obama barely eked out the winner in the popular vote. It does kind of dampen one’s optimism when you realize that nearly half of the country was willing to let an ordained Mormon Bishop with a credibility problem take up such a powerful position in American politics.  That’s a topic for another post, though!

In keeping with it’s Poe’s Law-like command of the political landscape, Fox News inevitably ran this little gem of an opinion piece blaming the “liberal media” for Obama’s win.  These assholes just can’t seem to let it go, and I’m sure we are all going to have to hear this repeated near-verbatim from their drone-like followers.  Luckily, it seems that many normal people are just glad the election is over and are willing to concede that even if their candidate didn’t win, it’s time for these partisan shenanigans to end.

That being said, we’ll see what happens in Washington; the House is still Republican-controlled.  Hopefully, though, they’ve learned their lesson and will finally start playing nice.

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The Problem With Unfounded Beliefs

Ignorance on its own drives me nuts, but at least it’s a curable condition. Someone doesn’t understand a concept like magnets? BAM!  There’s a wikipedia article to explain it to them! I don’t like math because I’m “bad at it.” POOF! My fiance starts quizzing me randomly during the day and all of a sudden it’s easier!

Unfortunately, a more insidious form of ignorance exists: willful ignorance. This is the type of behavior that leads to aging misogynistic senators making obscenely stupid comments about legitimate rape. Todd Akin doesn’t know jack shit about how the female body works, and damn it, he doesn’t want to! That would mean he’d actually have to have some sympathy for those who have had to make the extremely personal decision to abort a pregnancy and he would have to accept that other people don’t think that life begins at conception.

Another example in a similar realm is sex education. Studies (with real facts and data and everything!) have shown that abstinence-only education DOES NOT WORK. In fact, the states with abstinence-only programs firmly in place are leading the nation in teen pregnancy rates. And yet, advocates of this practice continue to expound on its virtues, again ignoring the reality of the situation because they “don’t believe in” sex before marriage despite this being the norm for most people, teens included.

Now, those were two examples of where people’s religion got in the way of their critical thinking skills. There are SO many more examples, but I want to move on to the other end of the ignorance spectrum- the OVERLY skeptical.  This includes the anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, moon-landing hoaxers, and Holocaust denialists. These people have actually thought themselves out of reality. It’s definitely good to have a health skepticism of most things, but again, CRITICAL thinking plays an important part in knowing when something’s bunk after reading up on it (homeopathy), or if something appears to be true because it has been studied extensively with a ridiculous amount of evidence backing it up (evolution). I know someone who isn’t vaccinating her child. When I asked her why (and asked her to please stop spreading lies about a disproved link between autism and vaccines), she replied with the typical crazy person “big pharma is bad!” argument.

Trying to have a discussion with someone who is willfully ignorant is like banging your head against a wall. They refuse to acknowledge reality, so don’t be surprised when your rational arguments fail. More and more, though, this type of behavior is becoming acceptable.  Look at the shit job that the media is doing with fact-checking political candidates during interviews. As if it’s almost impolite to interrupt someone while they’re lying! The same goes for religion. Why is it considered rude to challenge a wrong belief because someone says “I just know it in my heart?”

So, why can’t I just live and let live? Why can’t I be ok with people just continuing to believe in bullshit? Well, as it turns out, unfounded beliefs are incredibly dangerous.  I share with you now one of my favorite websites:

It’s a simple, informative list of non-reality based beliefs that ended in very real tragedies. I certainly hope anyone reading this takes the time to look over some of the examples of how people’s willful ignorance have harmed others and realize why we can’t be complicit in ignoring that these types of people are out there, and many of them vote.

Obama vs. Romney: The Budgets

Oh my.

A while back, I found this amazing TL;DR (summary) of Mitt Romney’s tax “plan” on Reddit.  Before anyone says anything, yes, this guy is obviously liberal, but that doesn’t make the facts of the proposal any less salient.  Also, I realize that he has made some edits to the original post, so you may have to scroll down a bit to get to the actual summary.  Anyway, for a comparison of the summary to the actual document, here is a link: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth

I thought that the idea of summarizing what is otherwise a ridiculously long and boring document into something more readable is a great way to help voters understand what exactly the candidates are promising.  So, at the urging of one of my friends, I made my own TL;DR for the Obama budget plan.  Here is the original document, and my summary is after the jump: Read More…

Liberal Media Bias?

A common theme among those on the right is to whine about a “left-wing bias” that has swept the media, supposedly skewing the facts in favor of democrats, feminists, and vegetarians alike.  Never mind how creepily reminiscent this is of the recent Taliban assertion that the media coverage of their shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is also “biased,” it also demonstrates a lack of critical thinking if you can simply dismiss everyone who disagrees with you as belonging to some vast conspiracy.  And certainly, the truth does skew to the left, especially now that we KNOW global warming is real, and because “legitimate rape” turns out to be, in fact, all rape.

So, now that we’ve established that the liberal media bias is, as Uncle Joe Biden says, “malarkey,” I would like to present an article that those haters of the media would probably say is incredibly fair and balanced.  Sensationally titled, the pedophile-looking Forbes contributor Peter Ferrara‘s article, “Obama’s Shocking Fallacies, America’s Not-So-Shocking Failures,” explores Mr. Ferrara’s thoughts on President Obama’s healthcare and tax plans, complete with allusions to death panels and de-legitimizing Obama’s presidency.  The article is 3 pages long, and filled with the angry, sarcastic, and fear-mongering language I’ve come to expect from the average right-wing crazy person.

And this is in a respectable mainstream publication no less!  It’s frightening to think how many people will read this, take it at face value, and allow it to direct their voting course.  I urge anyone reading anything politics-related (including this blog) to dig deeper and truly examine all sides.

 

“Romnesia” Has Now Been Added to My Vocabulary

The New Civil Rights Movement today reported on some pretty hilarious comments that President Obama made while speaking at George Mason University in Virginia, where he coined the term “Romnesia” to describe Mitt Romney’s seeming inability to remember where he stands on the issues.  They even have this fantastic graphic to go along with it from facebook.  Reading over the President’s comments, though, I’ve got to wonder if the POTUS isn’t stealing a little from Jeff Foxworthy’s “You know you’re a redneck if…” schtick.  Either way, I see this becoming a meme on the scale of Scumbag Rick Santorum.

all this lying hurts my brain

It’s a nice change of pace from the sleepy Obama of the first presidential debate. Maybe he took a cue from Bill “sax-master” Clinton (aw yeah, almost got you there) on how to be the coolest president ever.  Anyway, we now have this great word, Romnesia, and all its many implications.  During the first debate, I coined the term “interromney’ given Mitt’s various interruptions and general dickishness to Jim Lehrer, and have been using it quite freely since then and especially during the second presidential debate where Romney attempted (but failed) to get the best of moderator Candy Crowley.  Hopefully we get to see the stand-up comedian side of Obama again in the third and final debate, taking place next Monday, October 22.

The Dear Leader

Image

Do not be fooled by that adorable face.  This is Dr. Ezio von Pugglestein, the supreme, the ruthless, the once and future puggle dictator of Puglandia.  He ruled with an iron paw, and had little tolerance for those who oppose him.  Pugyang is the capital of Puglandia and literally it’s only city.  From here, Ezio cast his shadow across the land, committing unspeakable acts of terror upon those who would dare defy him.  After his long reign of 10 years (in dog time, just a few weeks in human time), the citizens of Pugyang fought back to overthrow the tyrant.  Dr. Ezio von Pugglestein is now an exile in his own land.

While he plots his return to power, cared for unwittingly by a couple of young and liberal human slaves, he researches the vast quagmire of American politics hoping to utilize this knowledge of to once again assume the mantle of Dear Puggle Leader, under the guise of democracy.  Unfortunately, he is not capable of using a computer and must enlist the help of his female human caregiver to find the information he seeks.

But seriously, this is a legit political blog.  I swear!