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Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Special Kind of Crazy

The frothy hyperventilating began immediately, didn’t it?

I would have been disappointed if it hadn’t.

Last year’s State of the Union address was a bit subdued, what with Gabby Giffords having been shot through the brainpan not long before.  When Obama entered the House chamber in 2011, Republican and Democratic lawmakers sat together as a show of bipartisan support arrayed around Giffords’ empty chair. The booing from the opposition was subdued, as were the cheers from the president’s own party. Of course, despite the new seating arrangement and the vague empty promises of bipartisanship, the frothy insanity, finger pointing, blame laying, chest thumping, dick waggling, comparisons to Hitler and the long-awaited Anti-Christ, and dire proclamations of Islamofascicommunazis started even before the President finished speaking.

On a side note, yesterday Giffords’ border bill passed the House by unanimous consent, proving once and for all that Congress can get things done in a bipartisan manner – providing that the bill’s sponsor gets shot in the head and resigns first. So, yay for progress. But I digress.

As we enter into the final fevered ten months of the frenetic spittle-flecked shit-fest that is the modern American version of democratic civilization, I expected this year to be different only in the intensity of the maddened venom tinged rhetoric.

Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

It started with Mitch Daniels.

At first it appeared that Daniels would be, perhaps, a bit more reasoned, more staid, than Paul Ryan’s strident call to arms last year – and vastly less entertaining than Michele Bachmann’s squalling glassy-eyed paranoid Tea Party response. Daniels looks kind and grandfatherly, like he should be seated on a tractor wearing a worn comfortable woolen sweater and hawking diabetes supplies next to Wilford Brimley. It’s only when he starts to talk that you suddenly realize that Daniels is nuts, his vague fixed smile and unblinking walleyed stare are a thin veneer over what looks to be the early onset of senile dementia. Daniel’s “response” resembled an actual coherent rebuttal, but upon closer inspection was actually just a bunch of conservative talk-radio sound bites lifted whole cloth from the usual pundits. The criticism was obviously cut and pasted together long before the president’s address was even in rough draft, and Daniels delivered it like a heavily medicated mental patient triggered by some unseen stimulus into reciting the Gettysburg Address as a party trick.

I think my favorite part was when Daniels lamented Obama’s evil Orwellian plan to outlaw incandescent light bulbs. Oh no! Anything but that! Keep your filthy government hands off of my hot yellow bulbs, goddamnit!

Just one problem, it was actually George W. Bush who signed that into law on December 18, 2007.

That’s a full year before Obama took office, just in case you got your history from Professor Gingrich.

In fact, that particular bill sailed through Congress with broad bipartisan support, 314 to 100 in the House, 86 to 4 in the Senate. It was only after Obama took office that energy conservation suddenly became government overreach. When it was a conservative in the White House, LED bulbs were just common sense, but when it is a liberal occupying the Oval Office suddenly we’re talking about the stark monochromic light of fascism!

Funny thing, last month Obama signed legislation delaying the regulation – at the opposition of manufacturers and importers who have already geared up to sell the new CFL and LED bulbs. You’d like to think a sitting lawmaker would know that, wouldn’t you? If it bothered him so much that he felt compelled to mention light bulbs on national TV in response to the State of the Union address, I mean.  You’d also think that if Daniels’ GOP handlers were going to write his little rebuttal in advance, they would have at least done some research – wait, unless that was the day Wikipedia was down due to the SOPA protest, but, hey I digress, as is my tendency. 

Yes, I expected bizarre hyperbole and foamy red-flecked froth this year. 

I expected bellicose outrage and ranting punditry and pompous bloviating.

And I was not disappointed.

Turns out, Daniels is a piker. 

Mitch Daniels was nothing but the warm up act.

For extra crunchy crazy, well, you need to step out into Statuary Hall where republicans gathered to vent their spleens after the address.  Universally, conservative lawmakers were offended by the entire speech and testily pointed out how Obama’s optimism is really defeatist hatred of the United States, his praise of the US Military and the US Navy SEALs (who were at that very moment rescuing an American held hostage by pirates in Somalia on Obama’s orders) is really disdain for America’s men and women in arms, his call to bring jobs back from overseas is really contempt for business, and his establishment of consumer protections and regulations on the banking industry is really both a hatred of the free market and white people in general. But for the absolute zenith of the absurd let’s focus on reaction to this line from the President’s address:

Tonight, I am proposing that every state, every state, require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.

The sheer unmitigated gall of the man! Where does he as President of the United States get off suggesting that American kids get the minimum educational qualifications necessary to compete in our society at the most basic level?  How dare he! Why it’s outrageous! What if kids actually did that and managed to get entry level jobs and started working their way up the ladder instead of ending up on welfare and other entitlement pro…. ok, bad example, but I think I’ve made my point here.

Tea Party darling, Utah Senator Mike Lee responded, "That's none of his business! He's not a principal! He's not a public school teacher! He's not a governor, he's not a mayor. These are matters for state and local government!"

Yeah! Damned right! Why…uh, wait, what was that about “he’s not a teacher?”  Are conservatives listening to teachers now?  Because I thought teachers were liberal commies who hated America.  Did that change? Also, point of order, Obama actually is a teacher, or rather a professor of Constitutional Law. Does that count? No, I suppose not.

Arizona Republican Trent Franks was equally outraged, "What are you gonna do, give them the electric chair? It should be handled on the parental level." 

Exactly.

Huh? You there, in the back, do you have a question or do you just have to go to the bathroom?  Speak up.

Seriously, are you blind? It’s right there! Obviously Obama was saying that he intends to implement a federal regulatory agency that will put kids who drop out of school to death! Duh. How do you not see that?

Georgia Republican Phil Gingrey agreed, "To require them to stay in high school to age 18, those who have absolutely no intention of getting an education or value an education are disrupting the other kids in class. I think it's just a government misguided run amok quite honestly.”

Amok! Amok! Government run amok! Oh stop the Amok! (Sorry, I just like saying Amok! Amok! Amok! That’s a funny word. Amok!)

Here’s my idea, why wait until they’re teenagers?  Most kids know if they hate school or not by the time they’re in second grade, I say it’s never to early to drop out! More for the rest of us.

Question, why is it just good old American conservative values (which made this country great, darn it!) to suggest that black people should get jobs instead of food stamps when Newt Gingrich says it, but fascist government overreach worthy of red-eyed outrage when a black liberal President suggests that maybe kids should stay in school?

Say, wasn’t no child left behind a republican idea? So what, now it’s ok to leave some kids behind?

What? Put your hand down, I’m just asking is all. Sheesh.

 

Do you ever wonder who votes idiots like this into office?

You do?

Well wonder no longer.  They’re all over on the Yahoo news forum, lets go check out their comments:

I am not for mandated government control of our schools. Obama is from a system where kids are forced to attend or they get beaten, their father's have their hands cut off, the women are stoned - don't tell me I don't know. I am a Republican

Obama is from a system where kids get beaten for not attending school, fathers have their hands cut off, and mothers are stoned to death for their children’s truancy.  Damn, school in Hawaii is harsh.

It is NOT education: It is INDOCTRINATION for the Communist Party.

Oh noes! Communists! Communists!  Help us Tailgunner Joe!

Question, the countries that are beating us economically right now? China, for example, aren’t they communist?  Isn’t India socialist?  Hey! You stop that right now. No spitting.

the Dems only hope to get anyone off the welfare rolls is to force them to stay in school and somehow learn enough to get them to stay out fo prison for dealing drugs or raping someone. Republicans meanwhile take the approcah that we should elt the kids who want to learn, actually do it. Meanwhile, if you wash out you should fend for yourself, instea dof living off the ones who do stay in school [sic].

The logic, it burns. 

Burns like trying to piss with a case of the clap.

There’s more, oh so much more, but it hurts me to type it. If you want to read more comments on this subject, you can go Google the Yahoo for yourself.

Snark aside, there may be good reason for Republican outrage. And even better reasons why so many conservatives today are advocating for the right drop out of school. 

A new report in LiveScience spells out why.

(Ok, you got me, I didn’t put the snark aside after all. Sorry)

 

Finally, I think it’s important to note that all things are relative, even stupidity. 

There’s never a politician so nuts, that you can’t find one crazier.

Much crazier.

Seriously.

37 comments:

  1. Every time I think the crazies in this country have achieved Peak Wingnut, danged if they don't blow right past it to new heights.

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  2. Peak Wingnut Theory has been refudiated. It is a vertical asymptote situation unfortunately.

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  3. Ben, those of us in the software industry noticed this some time ago. Every time we think we've released idiot-proof software, the world breeds bigger idiots. See Jim's last two links for perfect examples :).

    Anon #1: Sooner or later, they're going to reach the point where they're too stupid and/or too crazy to survive because, like, they'll forget how to eat and stuff. Unfortunately that seems to be a process that has not reached anywhere near its limit...

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  4. Well, BadTux, even slime molds* manage to feed and procreate, so I doubt there's much hope that the stupid/crazy will die out any time soon.

    *With apologies to any slime molds who may be offended** at the comparison.

    **Can't say I'd blame them.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Hear! Hear! Well said, Jim!

    "If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, YOU will cry out and not be heard." Proverbs 21:13 (emphasis mine)

    I may be a bunny that runs around and farts sunshine, but I try to be the best Christian I can be.

    Thanks for the good read!

    Bunny Slippers

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  7. Please keep writing. I always look forward to your posts and enjoy them a lot.

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  8. "Obama is from a system where kids get beaten for not attending school, fathers have their hands cut off, and mothers are stoned to death for their children’s truancy. "

    Well it would probably keep the parents involved in their kid's schooling.

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  9. I appreciate the information. I'll be moving to Oklahoma where the politicians have the decency to protect us from having to eat Soylent Green. Wingnut doesn't even begin to describe these idiots. It's nice to know that since most states have virtually eliminated the large hospitals for the mentally ill, they have replaced them with another institution: the local, state, and Federal governments.

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  10. I am of the mind that soon the GOP will collectively stomp their feet so hard in a fit of idiocy they will be sucked down to the earth's magma. There, they will still be blaming President Obama because if he'd let the mercury amounts stay high they would have been dead before they hit the hot stuff.

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  11. Well, uh, No Child Left Behind was co-written by Ted Kennedy, as I'm sure you remember. Although, IIRC, he lamented on how it was implemented.

    Also, I think M-Theory enthusiasts are jumping for joy right now because the Republican Primary is not only proving there is more than one alternative universe, but that it's possible to travel between membranes at an obviously low energy cost.

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  12. Low IQ and conservative beliefs linked to prejudice? How shocking!

    New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie noted when saying he'd veto legislation to overturn the gay marriage ban in New Jersey "The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South."

    Right, we should have let white people vote on whether black people should be allowed to have equal rights, because the states that refused to grant minorities equal rights were so anxious to change those laws.

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  13. Well said and concur of course ... we really do live in "interesting times" ...

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  14. I have some thoughts. I'm sure you're on tenterhooks.

    1. Jeeeezus Lorrrrrrrd. People who are too stupid to think about what comes out of their mouths should have their mouths taped shut for a month.

    2. Can you be the Speaker of the House, please? I would LOVE to see you ride that herd.

    3. Georgia Republican Phil Gingrey agreed, "To require them to stay in high school to age 18, those who have absolutely no intention of getting an education or value an education are disrupting the other kids in class. I think it's just a government misguided run amok quite honestly.”

    So we are leaving things up to the kids to decide now? Boy, I wish we had been doing that when my parents made me get braces. I didn't think they were worth it, and even though I totally see NOW that they were for my own good, I should have been allowed the agency to decide that for myself at twelve. Huh.

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  15. Brilliantly stated, as always...

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  16. You have to wonder... I mean, you serious have to wonder. It's like the Republicans have this almost Pavlovian response to the name, much less his physical presence. Every time you think to yourself, 'Gods, can they get any crazier in the Republican Party?' they go out and show that yep, they can and do so with pride, smiling as they demonstrate the sheer depths of their collective and individual stupidity.

    It's almost as if we have a perfect laboratory experiment into the Dunning-Kruger effect, in that the incompetent are unable to understand, much less realize, just how incompetent they really are. And the voters... gods, they're just as incompetent as the representatives they're electing to Congress, but you get the kind of representation that best reflects your constituents. That's why the report on stupidity and conservatism is so appallingly on target, particularly for places like the Deep South (where I used to live and would observe it on a daily basis.)

    Since we can't add enough chlorine into the gene pool, and retroactive abortions are out of the question, we'll have to resort to the this option:

    "Stupid people shouldn't breed."
    "Shouldn't breathe?"
    "Well, if they're not breathing, they can't breed, now can they?"

    "Apparently in New Texas, killing a politician was not 'malum in se' and was _malum prohibitorum_ only to the extent that what the politician got was in excess of what he deserved."
    -- H. Beam Piper

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  17. I'm hoping that slightly more than half of them (the extra crunchy crazies) will each go half a step too far at about the same time. The assplosion should be something to see.

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  18. Teh stoopid. Teh sheer stoopid, continues to ooze forth from the frothed lips of conservatives. I saw this posted on FB today. I don't know how long a democracy can survive with so many of its voters having their heads firmly-planted all the way into their small intestines. *sigh* And this piece of drivel comes from my home state of Georgia...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hxx33V4WuY&sns=fb

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  19. Now if the State of Hawaii had nothing better to do and the money do to it, Hawaii could sue for defamation or whatever. Hawaii has certified the President's birth certificate, yet that's not good enough? It's the State of Hawaii who should be offended, and probably is. These birthers call the integrity of the Great State of Hawaii into question.
    Oh, Karl. Assplosion - love it!

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  20. During the rectification of the Vuldronaii the Traveller came as a very large and moving Torb. Then of course in the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex supplicants they chose a new form for him, that of a Sloar. Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you !

    Now THAT makes more sense than the GOP freak show dialog.

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  21. Speaking for myself, I am waiting for the October Surprise to be Obama revealing his new "anti-head bashing measures" to help prevent people from hitting themselves in the head repeatedly with a hammer.

    The immediate response will be every single right wing pundit jumping up and down and touting the values of claw-side hammer whacks versus flat-side hammer whacks and insisting that every good American should whack themselves in the head with a hammer every single day. Problem solved.

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  22. I hear they're serving Fetus Surprise on the moonbase.

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  23. Since it doesn't appear that the Republican leadership stands for anything other than reflexively opposing anything the president suggests, I think Obama should start recording a series of public service announcements:

    "Hello. I'm President Obama, and tonight I'd like to remind you to not spray Windex into your eyes. Thank you.

    And for all those thrillseekers out there; please do not try to juggle a running chainsaw.

    Good night"

    Once the screaming stops and the remaining Republican presidential candidates are fitted for their new artificial limbs, he can move on to" Don't drink lighter fluid" and "Don't play in traffic".

    You will never have to worry about a line at the Wasilla Wal-Mart ever again

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  24. I've been enjoying your blog for a long time now while lurking. Today, however, I got the best laugh ever out of the comments. Thank you, Arakasi. That was the best yet!

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  25. You ever get the feeling that Obama's stuck in a long-game, protracted version of "Rabbit Season, Duck Season" with the GOP?

    Now you're imagining Obama dressing up in woman's clothing and seducing Newt Gingrich to make him look silly.

    You're welcome.

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  26. I gave up TV a couple of years ago, but sadly it hasn't prevented me from learning about the appallingly poor performance of so many idiots in politics. I guess I should also give up my NYTimes subscription, because reading it seems a bit like self-flagellation, considering how thorough their political coverage is. I honestly don't know how much more of Newt The Savior of the Western World (and apparently)the Moon I can take. Or how much more glee over how wealthy he is from Mitt might cause me to shut down my computer and stop up my ears. Nine more months of this? Noooooooooo.

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  27. damn! Hawaii! Really?

    also,Jim

    yummmmm, welfare rolls

    glazed welfare rolls

    in a quiet room

    or the drive-through

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  28. I'll give up my bacon wrapped deep fried cream of aborted fetus on a stick when you COMMIE NAZI FASCIST LIBERAL MOOSLIM LUVVERS pry if from my cold, dead hands!!

    Seriously, I really have to think the Republican party made a pact years ago if someone other than an old, white fundamentalist male became President that they'd all go batshit crazy, declare in the most feverent way possible the EXACT opposite of what said President supports (even though they had supported whatever for DECADES and even passed legislation for it) and vows with their dying breath to oppose any and all attempts to make them believe in the real world until such time as an old, white fundamentalist male becomes President again. In which case, I want my Rainbow Farting PInk Unicorn to go, please. Also, too.

    knittingbull

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  29. George Carlin had it on the money:
    Think how stupid the average person is,
    and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.

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  30. Or as I explained it to an immigrant in 2004 who was telling me "surely nobody is going to vote to re-elect that dummy Bush!", explaining why George W. Bush was going to win re-election: "50% of Americans are below average, and average ain't so smart nowadays."

    - Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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  31. I don't think that kids should be kept from dropping out of school... but I do think that there needs to be a better school system that prepares them for more than just going on to the dubious education of a collegiate system that is behind the times.

    My thought:
    Increase the Vocational/Technical sections within high schools so that kids can graduate with certificates for becoming a mechanics, electrician, medical assistant, EMT, plumber, IT something or another (i.e stuff that is mostly not-quite Associate degree work).

    I bet you'd keep more kids in school if school reflected something that might actually be useful in the real world.

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  32. There are the stupid, the ignorant, and the willfully ignorant. The willfully ignorant are PROUD of their ignorance, and work to keep it that way. God forbid they do any real thinking.

    Ironically, it seems to me that those who actually have organic brain conditions that limit their intellectual potential often work very hard at maximizing their performance - intellectual and otherwise. The willfully ignorant apply just as much effort, it seems, to maximize their stupidity and ignorance. I used to think willful ignorance was just intellectual laziness, but it seems to be something much surlier than that, now I think about it.

    However, that aside.... yet again, Stonekettle, you are my hero.

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  33. Funny how the conservtards paint Obama as a liberal (or a communist no less!) when he is anything but.

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  34. When I was asked a few minutes ago, had I ever heard of Jim Wright & this website, my reply was that there used to be a Jim Wright politician in Texas, & I used to throw his mother's newspaper. But I regress.

    I'm just now recovering from an upper respiratory infection, so I want you to know that laughing so hard at this Jim Wright's highly intelligent style of ranting was actually a little painful. I'll get over that, though, & it was well worth it anyway. I know a couple of far right-wing nutcases who really need a link to this particular site.

    Thanks, Jim Wright. Fine rant.

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  35. When I was asked a few minutes ago, had I ever heard of Jim Wright & this website, my reply was that there used to be a Jim Wright politician in Texas, & I used to throw his mother's newspaper. But I regress.

    I'm just now recovering from an upper respiratory infection, so I want you to know that laughing so hard at this Jim Wright's highly intelligent style of ranting was actually a little painful. I'll get over that, though, & it was well worth it anyway. I know a couple of far right-wing nutcases who really need a link to this particular site.

    Thanks, Jim Wright. Fine rant.

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  36. Thanks, Jim, I was hoping you'd do something on this topic.

    "I also can't wrap my head around the idea that any woman believes in this line of BS."

    Well, it seems to be a personal identity thang. Incorporate into your identity some mind parasite of a religion or political party, and WHAM! cognitive dissonance whenever you encounter something that challenges that parasite. Like, oh, say, a fact.

    By Cosmic Coincidence (the very best kind?), Jesus & Mo today features a classic:

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2012/02/15/costs/

    And then there's this little gem from a recent essay at PoliticusUSA:

    "A camo-clad fellow who had driven hundreds of miles for the occasion, eventually joined me at the table. Unprompted, he proceeded to tell me what he’d do about the drug problem. He pointed a finger at me and voiced a convincing BOOM! Problem solved. Things are so simple in camo-land. He had actually signed up to talk about health care he couldn’t afford and how his business had suffered from his problems. I told him my solution without finger-pointing. “Vote Democrat”, I said firmly. He looked at me like I’d told him to set himself on fire."

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  37. I followed the LiveScience link, and then followed some more bread crumbs to:

    "It's tied in with self-esteem," says University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman. "We find that as soon as people feel that their self-esteem is threatened, they immediately begin to lie at higher levels."

    The Republican Brain

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