Monday, October 8, 2012

Gravity Is A Bitch

It’s just me, right?

Am I the only one who thinks these people need help?

Professional help, with electroshock therapy and strong medication and something involving the word “inpatient.”

Honestly, what the hell happened? Is it the Jesus Fever? The Glenn Beck Itch? Is it inbreeding? Brain tumors? Space Aliens? Government experiments with the water supply? What?

I admit to curiosity.  I wonder if they can actually hear the words coming out of their mouths? Or is it more like a buzzing noise echoing inside feverish heads?  Based on the evidence, I’m guessing it’s the latter.

These people remind me of a joke we used to tell in the military:

An Airborne Ranger standing in the pouring rain, wearing a 30lb pack, knee deep in the muck, holding his weapon overhead to keep it out of the filth, says, “Oh yeah, this sucks!”

A Marine hunkered down in a sweltering jungle, wearing a 50lb pack, waist deep in mud and biting flies, under enemy fire, says, “Goddamn, I love how this sucks!”

A Navy SEAL, after parachuting into the sea from high altitude, then swimming ten miles underwater in SCUBA gear, crawling through freezing surf up a beach under fire dragging 70lbs of gear, out numbered and out gunned ten to one, says, “Oh Yeah! I wish it would suck more!”

An Air Force “special forces” officer, sitting in an easy chair in an air conditioned van a hundred miles behind the line, turns to his CIA friend and says, “Oh maaaan, cable’s out, this sucks.”

Wait, what? The unemployment rate dropped below eight percent?! Oh maaaaan, this sucks!

Seriously, have you heard this nonsense?

Listen, when you see a drop in the national unemployment figures as a bad thing, you have lost your goddamned way.

It flabbergasts me that conservatives, these people who wave the flag and lay claim to such great patriotism, who think they’re better Americans than all the rest of us, and who daily manage to imply that the Constitution runs like hemoglobin in their veins and that they bleed red, white, and blue, yes those people, would think a drop in the unemployment rate is a bad thing – because it happened on Barack Obama’s watch.

A drop in unemployment is good for the entire country, good for our entire economy. Hell, it’s good for the whole world.

But that’s the rub, isn’t it?

These people epitomize the Rush Limbaugh mentality: I.e. I hope he fails! No matter what, I hope Obama fails. No matter what the consequences to the country, I hope he fails.  These Conservatives, who have embraced the selfish me-first philosophy of Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan and the exclusionary bigotry of the talk show pundits and the unreasoning hatred of the TV preachers, really don’t see improvement for all as a good thing. 

No, of course they don’t.

To them, a rising tide is good only if it raises their boat and the boats of those they designate truly American – and as long as it drowns those they deem unworthy.

In the conservative religion, heaven is an exclusive club where only evangelicals and their friends are righteous enough get an invite, everybody else burns forever. Conservative heaven is governed by the Bush Doctrine: you’re either with us or against us, period and no exceptions.

That’s how they see America, it just ain’t that great of place if it includes everybody.

To them, it’s not paradise unless others suffer, unless others are excluded.

Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised, these are the same hypocrites who dismissed the death of Osama bin Laden, the criminal terrorist who murdered three thousand Americans and sparked two wars which killed seven thousand more (not to mention several hundred thousand non-Americans, but hey, who gives a shit about those people, right?), just because it happened on Barack Obama’s watch.

Seriously, when you see a drop in the national unemployment figures as a bad thing, and not just a bad thing but as some kind of conspiracy, you need professional help.

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the numbers on Friday last week, indicating that unemployment had fallen below eight percent for the first time in four years, the whole damned country should have been celebrating. Instead, the world’s best conservative and former GE CEO, Jack Welch, glumly tweeted:

“Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”

I don’t know what’s more bizarre, the fact that some creepy rich bastard like Jack Welch is on Twitter in the first place or the fact that a billionaire Wall Street Republican who helped cause the current economic mess and who parked his company offshore and shipped jobs overseas so he didn’t have to pay either American taxes or American wages actually managed to convince conservatives that he gives two gold plated shits and a squirt of warm tax free piss about the unemployed middleclass as anything other than a revenue stream.

If Jack Welch actually cared about unemployed Americans, he would have hired them when he had the chance.

The president may not be able to change the unemployment numbers, but Jack Fucking Welch, CEO of GE, and his friends sure could have.

When Welch said, “can’t debate, so change the numbers” he wasn’t implying anything, he was directly accusing the President of the United States of malfeasance. 

Jack Welch directly accused President Obama of cooking the numbers.

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that he would think the numbers were a lie, Wall Street tycoons like Welch lie about their numbers all of the time. They lie to the board of directors, they lie to stock holders, they lie to the auditors and the regulators and the IRS, they lie to their employees and their wives, they lie to the American people in general (Go ahead, buy a GE product, check the Mean Time Between Failures number, wait, and then tell me I’m wrong. Buy one of Jack Welch’s dishwashers, but don’t forget to pick up a mop while you’re at it).  So I suppose it’s hardly a surprise when people like Welch think everybody else must be lying too – that’s the world these people live in. Anything for a buck, anything to further their own selfish goals and greed.

Welch is a coward, and what’s more he knows it.

See, when confronted, Welch immediately activated the standard Wall Street CEO escape pod and went into Cover Your Ass mode.

When he was asked point blank by CNN’s Ali Velshi to back up his accusation against the President, Welch responded,

“I should have had a question mark, Ali, at the back of it, let’s face it, OK?”

Ah, a question mark. Well then, a question mark, that makes it OK, right?

Not, “I say the the President committed a crime and I have proof!” no, rather “Well, uh, and I’m not saying he did, uh, weasel weasel, but, uh, maybe the president changed the numbers? Hmmmm?”

During the CNN interview Welch repeatedly emphasized that he was questioning how “implausible” the drop in unemployment seemed. 

Of course, by “implausible” what Welch actually meant was “unfair.” 

It’s unfair, so it can’t be true. Wah wah.

How utterly typical of these Wall Street types, eh? Crash the whole economy, hide your money in the Caymans, liquidate businesses and ship jobs overseas – and then blame somebody else when the bill comes due.  Oh yes, how utterly unfair that things aren’t going your way, Jack.

These Chicago guys, they’ll do anything. They can’t debate, so they changed the numbers.

But Welch was quick to add that he “wasn’t accusing anybody of anything,”  he’d just left a question mark off the end of his tweet.

Yes, add a question mark, by all means, sure, invoke the standard technique of agents provocateur, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, and dissembling pusillanimous cowards everywhere.

As Velshi said,

“To say something like this is like Donald Trump saying that president Obama is not an American citizen without any proof.”

Remember, Folks, so long as the Unemployment Rate shows rising unemployment, the figures are absolutely reliable and it’s all President Obama’s fault. But if the figures show a drop in unemployment and an improving economy, well, then the figures don’t matter, the math is questionable, and Barry must be lying. Of course you have to ignore the fact that the unemployment rate has been falling slowly but steadily for the last four years – despite deliberate efforts to the contrary by people just like Jack Welch and the obstructionist Republicans in Congress that he bought.

Just like so long as Osama bin Laden remained free it was a failure of the Obama administration, but when we did get the son of a bitch, well, you know, it didn’t matter because it happened on Obama’s watch.  Besides, we probably didn’t get him anyway, because he was already dead, still in hiding, or, well, whatever, man, whatever, Obama lied, the SEALs lied, the Navy lied, it’s all true, man. And even if the SEALs did get him, the President doesn’t have anything to do with that shit, he’s too busy being responsible for the unemployment rate, apparently.

Of course, this is just the second coming of the same old religion.

This is the problem with creationism.

And that’s the answer to my rhetorical question up above, i.e. what the hell happened to these people?

What happened was creationism and creationist thinking. 

Creationism warps your reasoning ability.

These are the same folks who deny anything they don’t like in favor of conspiracy theories and magic fairy dust.  Evolution, climate change, military intelligence, birth certificates, don’t like what it says? Then just don’t believe it, stubbornly avert your eyes and cover your ears.  If you don’t like the numbers, if you don’t like the evidence, just angrily pretend that it doesn’t exist, loudly reject the offending information and substitute your own made-up nonsense (no matter how ludicrous) instead. Ignore the beam in your own eye and accuse everybody else of lying for profit.

But here’s the funny thing: the universe doesn’t care what you believe.

Gravity sucks you down whether you believe in it or not.

Gravity will kill you regardless of your politics, regardless of your religion, regardless of what you believe. This is provable and repeatable.  If you claim you don’t believe in gravity and you jump off a roof, your acceleration towards the center of the earth can be predicted with precision to nine decimal places. You can deny the math all the way to the ground but it won’t change a goddamned thing.

These people have confused denial and wishful thinking for critical analysis and healthy skepticism.

Of course, there’s no actual comparison between well defined phenomenon such as gravity and squishy arcane economic calculations like the unemployment rate.   The comparison is a mental one, once denial and conspiracy theories based on politics become a way of looking at the world, it’s just as easy to deny climate change as it is an unemployment rate that happens to be unfavorable for your particular political agenda – even if it is great news for everybody else (the dropping unemployment rate, not the rising temperature).

Like the joke up above, how we approach life defines who we are.

The problem with ignoring reality is that sooner or later you hit the ground.


And when you do, well, then it sucks to be you.


  1. Jack Welch's personal history: http://my.firedoglake.com/omnipotentpoobah/2012/10/07/jack-welch-as-a-virtual-business-messiah/

    Not a Nice Man.

    The awful thing is that we're defending Obama based on numbers that really aren't very good. And people are reacting to noisy preliminary data. One quarter it's up, the next quarter it's down. It is as if we declared the end of winter based on one warm day. There is a trend, but it takes some statistical effort to see.

    By Krugman's estimates (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/06/constant-demography-employment-wonkish-but-relevant/) we will be back at full employment around 2018 or so, but—-and this doesn't get discussed as much--the average job will be much worse than the average job in 2000. And this, we are saying, is good economic management?

    1. Raven~

      Do you know how bad the Depression was when President Obama took office?
      Neither do I.
      But I CAN tell you, it was a LOT worse than even the President or any of His Staff were prepared for. And if he wasn't in the face of non-stop obstruction by the GOP in Congress, unemployment would be much lower than it is now.
      Every single Jobs Bill coming from the President/Democrats in Congress could not even get a floor vote.
      Mitch (the Bitch) McConnell swore even before Obama was inaugurated, that the GOP would do ANYTHING to stop his Policies dead in their tracks.
      That is the only thing they were not an EPIC FAIL of.
      But they were an EPIC FAIL for the Country.
      Who ever votes for Vulture/Granny Starver will be voting for Dumbya all over again, only this time, on steroids!

    2. Well having been one of those paratrooper types mentioned above I truly do agree that "Gravity is a Bitch". The ride is great until it comes time for the end of the ride, it is at that point you realize possibly how quite silly you have been jumping from a perfectly good airplane (which is subject to debate as to what is a perfectly good plane). I listened to Welch try and weasel dick his way out of his comment on Hardball and he just made a mess of it. He tried to talk about the assumptions used. well the assumptions are the one constant within the equation. So it doesn't matter when the data for the report are from. I also agree about Generous Electric Appliances, get a mop, and a back method of clothes washing and dish washing, and don't forget the ice chests for the refrigerator. I'm quite like many of you I cannot fathom the depths of denial most conservatives will go to in order to bring order to what in and of itself lacks a certain degree of disorder (Life).

    3. I did--I read economists. Christina Romer, on Obama's own staff knew. And of course Paul Krugman was all over it. I don't think anyone has won an argument with Krugman on macroeconomics since he was a grad student, and that was decades ago. Obama could have paid attention to them.

      The Democrats held Congress for the first two years of the Obama administration. There were two years for action. In those years, Obama chose to listen, instead, to former banker and now Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Romers left Obama's staff early; Geithher has stayed on.

      Obama will have to make his own excuses. I will not make them for him.


    4. Aside from the fact, Raven, that the Democrats actually only held Congress for 2 1/2 months.

      Hoping you are not the person who posts on Mudflats...

    5. No, not that bird.

      If I'd thought how many different cultures and subcultures give symbolic weight to ravens, I might have picked a different 'nym, or at least qualified this one.

    6. Jennifer Granholm - The War Room - Current TV did a fantastic chart showing, indeed, the Dems' only held Congress for 21/2 months. http://current.com/shows/the-war-room/videos/debunking-the-myth-of-obamas-two-year-supermajority

    7. My opinions (for what it's worth) is that Obama FAILED to understand that the Rethuglicans would be so obstructive. GW Bush said, upon his departure, that he wished that President Obama would succeed because then the country would succeed. Obama must have heard that louder than he heard Mitch (the bitch - love that!) say that Obama must fail, irregardless of the cost to the country. Obama was TOO conciliatory to the Party of NO in too many ways, but in many of those instances, I understand that he gave/compromised in order to get even a part of what he felt the country needed. Example, extended unemployment benefits in exchange for not letting Bush Tax Cuts expire.
      Krugman has been on Obama's case since about Day 1 to be more active and to give in to the blackmail less.
      Oh, and the Stimulus did work. Check out "the new new deal; the hidden story of change in the Obama era." by Michael Grunwald.
      Jim Wright, is there a number of times I can post your blog on my facebook page? I seem to be doing it almost every time you write. One suggestion about this current blog: Can you use bold and underlines? For the statement you make "because it happened on Barack Obama’s watch."

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  3. I appreciate your honesty in the article.

    Many of us who are Christians do not feel that the Conservative Right Wings are representing us, nor our faith...in fact...many like myself feel that they represent the antithesis of the faith they claim. They are surely brain warped and really, we (as Christians) hate being associated with "them".

    The words nor actions of Jesus are not consistent with the right wing rhetoric that is spewed all over the media and newspapers and is embodied in the persona of the GOP party today.

    I am also pretty mad as Hell at the media right now and their claims of GOP "winning" and the stupid conspiracy theories of the multi-billion dollar Wall Street executives...they hide the fact they are seeping in their own "illegal or "unethical" mud.

    1. So why are there no, or at least only a very few, Christians speaking out against this smear campaign against the president from the religious right wing. We complain that "moderate" Muslims don't condemn their extremists, well, I don't see "moderate" Christians outraged at the venom their fundamentalist brethren are spewing. Why are they not on the Sunday talk shows condemning these tactics, condemning the birthers, the "he isn't a Christian," "he is a Muslim" crap.

    2. It's good to hear from you. One knows the Christian left is out there, but it gets such little airtime and ink.

      BTW, do you read Fred Clark at Slacktivist?

    3. Oh, I'm not on the Christian left. I am one of the unwashed heathen non-believers who are to the left of the democrats but take what we can get.

    4. Heh, I was going to ask you, Raven, if you read Slacktivist. I guess I won't bother, now.

    5. Hear, hear, Kelly. (OK, in this medium it should be "Read, read!")
      I rarely want to identify myself as a Christian for fear of being lumped in with what passes for Christianity in most of the United States. And saying "evolution-believing, welcoming, non-fundamentalist, progressive, keep-prayer-out-of-school, ecumenically minded, don't-assume-everyone-is-Christian Christian" just plain takes too long.

      Rolf - as far as moderate and liberal Christians not standig up more, we do but we don't get noticed. Take a look at the Episcopal and United Methodist denominations. Another good take on progressive/liberal Christianity is Sojourners, run by the Rev. Jim Wallis. For that matter, check out the Nuns on the Bus.

    6. I know you are there (and appreciated), and I have read Jim Wallis - not though Nuns on the Bus, but you should try harder to get your message on a national stage to balance the fundamentalist rhetoric about America being doomed if a non-republican is elected, ever, to anything.

  4. What first struck me when this went down was that he meant to say, "The numbers can't be that low because we've done everything in our power to keep them higher."

    Great essay, Jim.

    1. Can I "like" this comment?

    2. Daniel, you couldn't be more correct. It's all summed up in Senate minority leader Mitch Mcconnell's statement that their top priority was making sure Barack Obama is a one-term president.

      They don't care a whit about the good of the country, they only care about advancing their power

  5. This connects directly to the insidiousness of "No Child Left Behind" and the Texas textbook debacles. If we lower the bar and eliminate critical thinking by teaching to the test, then we remove the best tools for countering our argument. We create very polite little sheep or, in areas where lack of awareness commonly leads to death, an entire group of people we can label as losers for not meeting standards that have little to do with actual learning. It may seem these are separate issues, but the systematic dumbing down of discourse in both schools and media creates the perfect environment for the rich to spout absurdities and make those proclamations become the news. It's villainy, but cleverly wrought over such a long time that the majority of people fail to notice it as such.

  6. Jim,

    I think a number you stated in your article is a wee little bit in error. The war in Iraq resulted in a death toll of at least 100,000. I think several hundred thousand is overstating it a bit.

    Jim in Michigan.

    1. Two wars, and half a dozen actions short of war outside the two war zones. Not just Iraq.

      And 100,000 dead in a Iraq is a fairly conservative estimate.

    2. "Excess deaths," in Iraq (that includes civilians) measured and computed by the standard methods--it is hard to gather statistics in a war zone--, were approximately 600,000 by 2006. We corvids fed well.


  7. So today I had a Jim Wright moment in a conversation. This "friend" was going on about this exact subject and saying how the UE numbers don't reflect reality and she doesn't believe them and that she's underemployed and we should be counting people like her and THEN....and here it gets good...she says "So what has Obama done for people like me? What? He's has a chance!" so I moved in for the kill.

    I said "WAIT just a minute! Here you are, underemployed, and you want the government to do something for you? Aren't you the 47% that Mitt's talking about? What are you doing for yourself? Here you are, waiting for the government to come to your rescue while you sit there and do nothing! Why aren't you in school? What aren't you starting your own home laundry business? Why aren't you working 3 jobs part-time to make up the money? I get it, this is all so that when you retire, you can stand at the Government teat and take more Social Security than you paid in! Or so you can claim "disability" and get your money sooner? You're dependent on the government and you're just sitting there waiting for them to give you a handout!!".

    At that point, the look in her eyes was the same one you get from people when they suddenly realize in the middle of an argument that they're wrong. Either that or it's the same look as when a squirrel realizes he's about to lose the argument to a 4x4. And she literally ran away from me. Literally. She probably won't sleep for a week now. Heh! I've never been more at peace with myself.

    1. Welcome to my world. Bawahahahaa!

    2. Kraw.

      But I bet if you meet your friend again you'll find she hasn't changed what she says at all. If she loses enough arguments, maybe she will, or maybe she'll end up one of these conservatives who beliefs plain falsehoods. Belief and knowledge are funny things, and people don't like to admit they are wrong.

    3. I like this article because it explains a couple things about peope and belief. I make my students read it every semester. Many of them don't believe in gravity or facts.


    4. The most powerful part of the article is the final conclusion: people will continue to peddle BS until the pain of doing so (in terms of ridicule and loss of credibility) becomes too great.

  8. I just discovered you; and I think I have fallen deeply, madly, incurably, and undeniably in love with you ...

    1. New people are required to bring brownies and beer for everybody else. Sorry, but those are the rules.

    2. At this point, I think I need to bring a whole pan and a keg.

      Oh, well.

    3. Those would be the funny kind of brownies right?

    4. Brownies, check.
      Beer (Killian Red, right?), check.

      How about a pecan pie made with my really special not-too-sweet recipe, just to completely suck up to you?

    5. Home brew and triple chocolate death cookies okay? Fred Clark linked to you and now I'm wondering where you were all my Internet life. Like Bryan Lambert on steroids.

  9. By way of introduction, I'm a Navy brat who works with the Air Force, and a regular reader. I'd offer to have your kids, too, Jim, but I'm a bit over the hill for that. One thing I will say, since my boss is a Special Tactics Officer (O-6), that he'd eat the SEALS, Marines, and Special Forces guys for breakfast....

    It never ceases to amaze me how people (and yes, the left is sometimes very talented at this, too) can twist almost any statistic to make it say what *they* want it to. But this consistent effort to deny the President any sort of credit for *anything* is just astounding. Killing the jobs bill, for example, is cutting off their nose to spite everyone's face.

    I post a link to your essays all the time on FB, in the hopes some of my more lucid conserative friends will "get it," but I fear it's wasted effort.

    1. Conservative friends. I don't know what a conserative is, or where they'd fall on the political spectrum...?

    2. I don't like to quote statistics in public debate; many people do not understand them well. Even statistics that one understands and is using correctly turn into blither when someone spoken to someone who doesn't understand.

      Beyond that, there's the shame of the economics profession. The whole right wing (neo-liberal, Austrian school, freshwater school) of the discipline has collapsed, leaving the neo-Keynesians in bewildered possession of the field.

      Political spectrum: Far Right - Paul Ryan; Moderate Right - Harry Reid; Center - Nancy Pelosi; Moderate Left - Bernie Sanders; Far Left - Noam Chomsky. It's not a coincidence that the radical right has a VP candidate, the moderate left has a not particularly influential Senator, and the most successful far left presidential candidate is barely a living memory.

      What is usually called the political center is somewhere between the actual center and the far right. You can read about the actual center, which is vaguely liberal here.

      This seems to be infodump time for me. I hope it's of some interest.

  10. I like this club!

  11. I just told that joke to my wife a few days ago. But since I earned a pocket rocket a long time ago my joke always ends with a launch officer in his control center and cable is out.

  12. Well said again, Sir.

    Neutron Jack (Google the term) doesn't hold a lot of credibility with me, but I was sort of surprised by his brazen assertion and his inability to walk it back when it became so plain that it was off the deep end. He doesn't think it makes sense, so it must be wrong - no facts, but no acknowledgement that it could possibly be true. On the few clips where I observed him (interviews w/Chris Matthews and Anderson Cooper), he sounded absolutely nutty. Interesting to see someone who was voted the "Manager of the Century" by Fortune devolve into a charicature of Donald Trump. Sad - and pathetic.

    Thanks, as always, for all you do.

  13. Jim Wright is right though left, if ya know what I mean. :D

    Jim,I wanted to say don't mix Politics and Religion, but the right (not your right but the political right) have so mixed it up to make it near impossible to refute them without doing the same. Sorry it makes us dirty but sometimes ya gotta get in the mud to wrestle the pig.


    George Catt
    (sometimes in) Kingman Arizona

    1. And you've put your finger right on it, George. That's it exactly, it is impossible nowadays to discuss politics with the Right without bringing religion into it. If you look at this year's GOP platform, the one signed by the RNC in Tampa, every item is there because of evangelical Christianity. Abortion, same sex marriage, defense of Israel, declaration of war against Iran, hatred of immigrants, all of it. It's impossible to separate religion from modern conservatism.

      Conservatives often accuse Islam of being a political ideology instead of an actual religion, from where I sit it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    2. Have you dealt with this religious obsession in one of your other posts? I was flabbergasted by THIS today.

      Charlie Fuqua, Arkansas Legislative Candidate, Endorses Death Penalty For Rebellious Children In Book

      Then there's the science hating, climate change denying, evolution denying, and social issues you've already mentioned.

    3. Have you dealt with this religious obsession in one of your other posts?

      Not one post, many. It's a common theme around here.

    4. One more - this guy (along with Todd Akin - legitimate rape guy) is on the House Science Committee. The freaking House SCIENCE Committee

      Paul Broun: Evolution, Big Bang 'Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell'

    5. Oh yes, Paul Broun. I've got a special post in mind for the House Science Committee.

    6. I envisioned a thick post made of properly aged wood set in well cured concrete. Then I remembered you didn't mean a hanging or whipping post, but a blog post. Considering your barbed wit, the difference is minimal. Given the GOP members on the House Science Committee have the average IQ of an unripe eggplant, I'd be pleased either way.
      (Yeah, okay, median, mode, mean, average, whatever. The anal-hyphen-retentive math types can pick whichever one of those pleases them.)

    7. I see your Fuqua and Broun, and raise you one Clifford Russell. He's not as high in the hierarchy as those two, but damn, does he take the also-Nazis cake.

      (Via the aforementioned Fred Clark, Slacktivist.)

    8. I live in Georgia. I. Cannot. WAIT!!! for your post on Paul "Crazier than Caffeinated Cats" Broun.

      From a speech given at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia, Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA) explains that the Bible has all the answers a legislator needs.

      “God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says. And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually. How to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all our public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason, as your congressman, I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.”

      This man needs his medical license (yes, medical license!) yanked immediately. O, and he's the Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. And he has ethics charges pending.

      Broun is running unopposed for reelection in his Georgia district this November. Please? Someone from Athens please throw your hat in the ring. Get this loon out of public life? Please?

    9. Randy, it's the rebuttal underneath that makes me boggle

      " I did not say that I wanted to execute parents on welfare and give their kids up for adoption.

      I said that it would be better to execute the parents of an illegitimate child and put their child up for adoption."

      He sees a difference in the two statements!

  14. "Gravity will kill you regardless of your politics, regardless of your religion, regardless of what you believe. This is provable and repeatable. If you claim you don’t believe in gravity and you jump off a roof, your acceleration towards the center of the earth can be predicted with precision to nine decimal places. You can deny the math all the way to the ground but it won’t change a goddamned thing. "

    Oh, how I wish some of them would try this. Preferably from the top of Trump Tower.

    And maybe a Trump at the bottom to act as a landing mat.

    1. As I've said elsewhere, while I feel no particular compulsion to stop idiots from stepping off a roof, it's not fair to people on the sidewalk below.

    2. Well, I can think of a few people who could usefully be deployed to occupy that part of the sidewalk in order to protect the innocent.

  15. Great thoughts once more...

    ...but the question that's been bugging me this week has been 'so when does the gravity kick in, exactly?'

    From what I've read of the analysis of the last debate, it sounds like Romney did a fair job of outflanking Obama. On the left.

    I mean, on which planet can that be done - with that candidate, and that opponent, on those issues - with impunity (this one, apparently)?

    At some point Romney et al are going to have to mark their bs to market. It's just that this gravity thing isn't really kicking in at the moment, so I'm kinda wondering...when, exactly?

    1. Well...if you continue to believe the lies despite evidence the size of an anvil smashing on your head, then metaphoric gravity never kicks in.

    2. Maybe it's like a Roadrunner cartoon, where he suddenly notices he's standing on thin air, and falls, and the anvil he was going to drop on the Roadrunner falls on him.

  16. I've finally made it to your page, and what a page! I sincerely hope you realize your dream of writing, as you do have a way with the word thingies there. I have republicanism running apparently rampant in my family, as both of my younger brothers, as well as their formerly democratic wives, basically assaulting myself and my mother for our Liberalism. They like to wait until they can latch onto anything, anything at all with a hint of truth in it, and proceed to bombard us with their rhetoric, and "see? I told you he's no good", or whatever invectives are running around in their heads. The worst part is, both of them are under 55, and I'm assuming flat ignoring what's going to happen to them, should mittens acquire the WH. It doesn't matter how many nonpartisan links for truth I post, they're now all lamestream, only faux noise and rush are worthy to know the truth, and they spout on every other subject, sans the christianity angle. Thank ( insert name of chosen deity here )! I look forward to much more reading here, and thank you for your efforts!

  17. Nice post, Jim! Crazy wrong is right, and it would be a ludicrous farce--except our country has been in real trouble! How they could fervently wish for our president to fail, any president, is beyond me.

    I agree with Kelly above that these people do not represent all Christians. They don't want a democracy or a republic; they want a theocracy with their own brand of Sharia. And they didn't represent all Republicans. I used to BE one. Never one to vote a straight party ticket anyway, I stuck it out as long as I could, thinking my job was to help vote in moderate Republicans in the primaries, but the Republicans' reaction in Congress after the election listening to President Obama on healthcare was the final straw for me. I changed my affiliation to Democrat the next day. But *I* hadn't changed my outlook; the wingnuts hijacked the party so far to the right they couldn't find their way back to clarity and compassion with a compass!

    I'm calling the Republican Speak "New English." I'll need to order up some translations in subtitles if ever I should want to watch or listen.

    Keep up the good work!


    1. Lorraine,

      I was also a Republican and changed last year when the GOP pageant circus was going on which has done nothing to convince me I am doing was right.

      The Tea Party and related, controlling platforms are hugely frustrating to honest Christians who don't hate people.

    2. Lorraine, almost a year ago, Jim wrote a special blog post just for you. Don't you feel special now?

    3. Another Republican who is endorsing President Obama
      Larry Pressler, former Senator from South Dakota, Vietnam Vet, the ONLY senator who refused to even listen to fake sheiks who tried to bribe senators in Abscam scandal (remember that?), card carrying
      Republican, is endorsing President Obama and lays out his reasons. http://www.salon.com/2012/10/08/ex_gop_senator_larry_pressler_veterans_very_offended_by_romney/

      My desire to stay well informed conflicts with my need to stay sane.

  18. Thanks, Jim. The old joke still makes me smile...good something does!

    I wish we could blame it all on creationism, but it afflicts others who are smart (well, maybe not entirely) enough not to fall prey to that canard but who instead deny other facts and march off merrily with the other lemmings towards the cliff. Like you I am appalled at the number of people out there who simply refuse to think and reason. It is a scary proposition that they are procreating in great numbers and will someday be responsible for more control over the world than they currently have in their grasp.

    We can only try to keep educating, but as the old saw goes, you can only take the horse to water...you can't make him drink.

    Listening to the news this afternoon I hear the former Massachusetts governor is ahead with likely voters 49 to 45 percent. He is and I quote the man of new ideas end quote. Argh!!! People of intelligence not only need to get out and vote but get out and counter the propaganda.

    Thanks for doing your big share on this...think we can get you up on the air? I would pay real money to hear you on the radio or tv!

    Old Navy Comm O

  19. I'd like to welcome all the new folks. Just leave the brownies and beer over there on the table Jim has generously provided for that purpose.
    Now, let me encourage you to take a few hours to yourself (take the laptop in the can, tell the family you've got a crash deadline on a project for work, whatever it takes not to be disturbed) and abandon yourself to spelunking through the Stonekettle archives.
    You'll be glad you did. You can pick titles that look intriguing, just grab a random date and start working your way forward and/or back in time, or whatever. A few entries even have links to other posts. ALWAYS follow them. Familiarize yourself with the Station's frame of reference. The effort is guaranteed to bring your some encouragement if you've feared critical thinking has vanished from the collective discourse. It may actually help you feel a little better about the election. Or not.
    One caveat: If you got your alone time by claiming to be up to your eyebrows in some Serious Computer Business, be sure to stay out of earshot (and keep those refreshing beverages out of arm's reach). You're liable to cry out in anguish or ecstasy, snort liquids through your nose, and or howl with uncontrollable laughter at unpredictable moments.

    1. I did this exact same thing as a newbie reader. I knew that before I could commit myself to Jim I had to read his postings on his neighbor, Sarah Palin. Once I breathed a sigh of relief, I read and read. This is also one of the few blogs where I make it a point to read all the comments as the rules are enforced.

  20. Great observation.
    ..... and they just keep it up, eh ??? Didn't you just write about arguing with
    "Unreasonable People ?"
    These folks have no other POV than "not only are WE right, you're wrong and going to hell."
    Of course, gravity doesn't exist, and there's no need to prove it because REAL Americans know this.
    Would the cat land on its feet ?

  21. I am not an intellectual, just an average woman who has worked hard, been conscious of not using more than my share, shared when I could and told the truth.

    So I really do not understand people who lie to get what they want. Why would anyone vote for a man like Romney, who is not based in the truth? How out of balance is that? It seems as if his party, is all ego, all get and no give, no compassion, no understanding of the big picture. It is just appalling to me, to see what people are doing and saying.

    If we can not be concerned about the suffering of our fellow citizens, then in the end, what good are we? Who but someone who is totally rooted in ego, would discount and condemn a person who has been out of a job for a couple of years? These are humans who are suffering all manner of stress, because many business leaders, have no compassion, have not hired workers, have exported jobs these people need. Just as Romney raped so many companies he took over, I think he called it 'Harvested"!

    How can any American think the way Romney has conducted his business and this campaign, is a good or proper way to behave? It is all ego centered and if the majority vote for this emotionally damaged, egocentric man... this county is done for. Do they not realize, the SS they have paid into will be gone, that seniors will not be able to remain in nursing homes? That only the wealthy will go to college? Children will go hungry! They already are, but it will be worse.

    I find this all very distressing. How can one mediocre debate, turn people away from a President who wants to make sure that all people have medical care. HE is not a street fighter, he is a thoughtful caring person. So, what is the appeal of this ego centric millionaire, Romney? The man thinks that 47% of us.. the children, the soldiers, the retired who have given their lives to better this nation... are worth nothing!

    Elders have wisdom, hold secrets we all can learn from, children are our future... the Native people say, we need to consider the next seven generations, when we make choices, the soldiers, do not pay income tax, but are out there pouring out their blood and peace of mind, because this nation asked them to... but these are the people Romney has no time to worry about!!

    Something will be proven very sick and pitiful, if the people of this nation, vote this liar, manipulator and egocentric, sick man, into office. We will never recover from the damage these people who lack compassion, will bring to this land. It truly frightens me, not for myself, I am older, but for all those who still have life to live and families to raise. God help us, should that happen.

    Thanks for speaking your mind... have just found your site and appreciate it! WE need more people with your passion for what is right...

    1. Beautifully written.

    2. I also cannot understand why someone would even consider voting for Romney/Ryan. I have a relative that I truly love, yet she says she is "leaning" Romney. Ha. She is well read and in many ways, a critical thinker. HOWEVER, she will NOT vote for Obama because #1) she is vehemently ANTI-abortion, under any and all situations. She will deny that but it's obvious. that will be the litmus test for her vote. #2) she is against "having to buy a product", health insurance.
      She just can't get her head around that Romney/Ryan lie.
      I know I won't be able to get her to support Obama with her vote, but keep nudging her to alternative candidates, to rob a vot for the R/R.

  22. You know, your pro-Obama commentators leave me wishing I wanted to say kinder things about Obama.


  23. I wrote this, a year and a few months ago, which seems to be to Jim's point, though less eloquently stated: "The overall disease is probably a result of Really Really Badly not wanting to face reality, on the part of the leadership of both parties. Neither party wants to alienate the wealthy and powerful, neither party wants to bell the Dragon (Chinese currency policy), neither party wants to take a strong environmentalist stance, neither party wants to tell the public they were wrong about economics for the past 30 years. So we get 'messaging' instead."

    And with that, I fly away for a bit, or at least stop croaking.

  24. As usual, you've written a great indictment of the tactics some will stoop to to make the other guys look bad. I don't like the way the fundamentalist extremist "Christians" use their beliefs to contradict well researched science. As a person of faith, I am dismayed that if I call myself a Christian, people may think my mind is closed to any new ideas. I consider myself a progressive Christian, and I don't reject science.
    One thing has puzzled me for years (and I would love to hear your ideas)why do the same fundamentalist fanatics who are anti Semitic here in the USA, such big supporters of Israel?
    BTW: There is no such thing as gravity, the earth sucks.

    1. I'm not really clear why do the fundamentalist anti Semitic fanatics in the USA are such big supporters of Israel. However, I believe the reason is that they believe that it will put them in a better position to be lifted up to heaven when the legions of the anti-Christ attack Israel, thus leading to Armageddon. Of course, most of the Jews will either die or be converted. So, for the fundamentalists, Israel is just a means to their end of days.

  25. I think we need to start agitating for a stricter interpretation of the separation of church and state.

    1. Indeed, I don't want my government telling me how to worship, and I don't want my church telling me how to vote!

  26. I was under the impression that the bible-thumping-literalist nutjob fundamentalist fanatics are not pro-Isreal so much as they are pro-arming-Israel, pro-Armageddon, hastening the return of Jesus, and therefore getting to their rapture all the faster. I'm just as scared of Christian fundies getting their hands on our nukes as I am of Iran building their own, and for the same reason. People who do not have a healthy fear of dying should not even own pocket knives, never mind weapons of mass destruction.

  27. The mark of a mature human being is to know and accept) your personal faults.

    I have two major faults. I tend to be less than tactful - rather blunt in my speech, but after 45+ years to work on that, I'm getting a bit better. At least I've learned somewhat to try to keep those comments INSIDE my head instead of out. Most of the time anyway.

    Until I confront one of the above mentioned, then my second fault comes in: I do not suffer fools gladly. Which seems to exacerbate the first fault. It usually ends up badly. People start cringing away, dogs start howling, clouds begin to cover up the sun.....

    1. Hey hedgewytch, you just described me perfectly and additionally made me laugh! Thanks!

      Jim, another awesome post. I continue to share your words of wisdom as often as I can. You need to have a column on the front page of every newspaper in the country, write books, be on TV, and run for the Senate. Of course, in doing that, you'll still make time for your cat(s). That's important too. ;-)

  28. Thank you for putting your thoughts out into the ether. Listening to the unreasonable people honestly makes me feel mentally deficient, like I'm missing something. It is nice to know that all I am really missing is the defective reasoning necessary for the double-think that is going on. Again, thank you!

  29. One of my coworkers once said to me "You seem really intelligent. I just can't understand why you don't see the truth of intelligent design." (A softer form of Creationism.) I replied that I have never witnessed any "fact" of life, nature or human interaction that can possibly be explained or influenced by a higher supernatural authority (i.e God).

    This person became very angry with me and immediately pulled the Religion card. As in, any non-religious person cannot possibly negate the existence of a God without being accused of debasing all that is good and pure in Christianity. What is so ludicrous with "good Christians" is that if you question their beliefs, they attack you as un-American and anti-Religious fascists. Fucking Christo-Taliban....did I say that out loud?

  30. Sigh........yes. I also have this sneaking and unpleasant feeling that the reason that the Religious Right (aka the Reich wing or talibornagains) are so opposed to abortion is that somewhere in their little hearts, they want to outbreed the competition.

    I am not religious, nor do I wish to be. I am reasonably polite most of the time, take care of my family as I can, and try not to injure anyone. That seems to me to be the best of human nature; I have found that religion sometimes gives people an excuse to exercise the worst of human nature.

    As for the GOP, they are firmly living on some other plane, and I have no wish to join them there. I've listened to Broun and Aikin (on the science committee) and realized that Michelle Bachmann is on the intelligence committee (??), watched John Bolton become an ambassador and wondered who the hell thinks that these are good decisions. I've listened to that sleazy Karl Rove, watched as the party of values got involved in sex scandals, and wondered while everyone ignores the poor...and refuses to consider universal, single payer health care. I've watched the GOP in Texas fuss about not being able to put children on death row, watched the fuss about allowing LGBT people get married, work at a chosen job, or join the military. It leaves me open-mouthed and outraged most of the time.

    I still haven't managed to understand how and why these people get elected!

    If anyone can explain this stuff, I'll not only provide brownies and beer, I'll be willing to leave my hermitage and have coffee sometime.

    1. "As for the GOP, they are firmly living on some other plane, and I have no wish to join them there."

      Hey, you've discovered a proof of the existence of Hell.

      The sleepy, sick, and very silly raven.

      (There's a longer answer to how, & I can give part of it, but not tonight. But you'd do better to read the historians and journalists of the last half of the 20th century, and don't underestimate the power of Rich Old White Guys who see their privilege threatened.)

    2. "... somewhere in their little hearts, they want to outbreed the competition."

      Google quiverfull. They do.

    3. For what it's worth, I think that the GOP has latched on to the Christian fundamentalists cause for no other reason than to gain votes. I don't think they (the RNC & Rich Old White Guys) give a rat's ass about any of those issues because when push comes to shove and their precious daughter is pregnant when they shouldn't be, a flight to France for the necessary "procedure" isn't a financial burden. They don't care because they aren't affected by it. What do they care about what happens to public education, social security, unemployment benefits and health care when they are not personally affected by any of them? Now how they can convince so many of their constituents to not care about some of those issues long enough to vote just to prevent gay people from getting married is beyond me.

  31. "those people would think a drop in the unemployment rate is a bad thing – because it happened on Barack Obama’s watch."

    People seem to think that they are citizens of the Republican party and that this is patriotism and sufficiently good patriotism. I prefer to be a citizen of the United States. -- Mark Twain

  32. Great post as always, Mr. Jim.

    I would like to just reply to the various people who say they don't understand why Americans would like to see their own president fail.

    Welcome to being Black in North America.

    This is White Man's Games™. It isn't just the RICH, old white guys. White guys from all levels roll these dice. Not all mind you... Gay white men are learning that coming out excludes them from playing on Team WMG.

    Being Black in North America means learning early on that your insecure white school compatriots will go out of their way to make you trip and fall and fail whenever possible. And then they will turn around and blame you for sullying their sneakers as you tumble over their outstretched foot.

    It means right out of the gate, you are assumed to be inferior and anything you may produce needs a second eye on it because "he really doesn't know what he is doing."

    Or there is the patronizing attitude of "We'll help you, son" when you are more than qualified to handle the situation on your own.

    And if you should accomplish the task in an exemplary manner, there are questions as to how you accomplished it. Who helped you? People investigate to find how you managed to do it. Did you cheat?

    Mr. American President Obama has acted like he's got SuperBlack syndrome through his term so far, and I'm boggled that he's managed to get as much done as he has. But do I see where this behaviour comes from? Same old games as usual.

    1. Right. This seems like a good place to link Ta-Nehisi Coates essay, "Fear of a Black President." I expect you have read it, but our host and other commentators may not have.

  33. As a high school English teacher, I have long believed that we were headed down the road to destruction via the pleasure-distracted, infantile-conditioned way of Brave New World.

    I have now come to realize that we are ALSO taking the 1984 path, where "news" is constantly manipulated not to show that our Fearless Leader is always right, but that he is always wrong. And let's not forget the Two-Minute Hate that is actually the 24-hour Hate on Fox News.

    And Iraq has ALWAYS been our enemy (forget that they were once an ally). Same with Afghanistan.

    And if you veer from the company line, your existence is erased, or worse, set up to be publicly smeared and discredited, though you may have once been the darling of the party.

    Scary days, my friends.

    Veronica (from Texas - Base of operations for most crazy Party members)

    1. I am not shitting you, I no sooner clicked off this page, then found this in my FB newsfeed from Huffington Post.

      "Texas School District Reportedly Threatening Students Who Refuse Tracking ID, Can't Vote For Homecoming"


      School IDs imbedded with tracking device? Big Brother is actually in my backyard. Seriously, this is the largest school district in my area. I have not seen this on the local news. (Granted, I rarely watch/read it because it is a waste of time.)


      Veronica (again)

  34. Uh-oh, another comment from Texas. No worries, we try to keep the crazy contained but occasionally it leaks out. But thanks to Jack and a couple of Arkansas pols for taking the crazy spotlight off our state for a short while.

    So, yesterday's polls show the presidential race tightening. I'm shocked...shocked I tell you that the Republican statisticians haven't bitched about the numbers, in unison of course. I'm sure the war on math is just having a short period of remission.

    Most excellent blog, Jim. I'm happy to have found it (FB link from a friend). Comment quality is also quite good, which is refreshing and hopefully not just an island of sanity in a turbulent sea of group-think.

    --Don in Huaco (original spelling of Waco, a Native American tribe)

  35. My instant comment back, yelling at the radio when I heard the idiocy of the "7.8 is a cooked number" whackaloons, "If you think 7.8% is cooking the books, you have no fucking idea what cooking the books really looks like." Seriously, these people can't even cheat well that they think 7.8% would be something you'd fake to look good. If you're going to cook the books, that number would be in the low 6% range (believable, defendable as long as you hand wave fast enough) and would have been for a few months. Argh. If 7.8% is "putting in the fix" YOUR FUCKING DOING IT WRONG.

    And Welch drove GE into the ground. I was a vendor to GE at the time and had a front row seat. If it weren't for the phenomenal performance of GE Capital, they would have had to have a fire sale. That anybody listens to this idiot on management issues is beyond me. That we're still continuing the madness of Six Sigma "because it did so well for GE" is just mind boggling. Hey, American Industry, you know WHY you can pick up 6 Sigma trained GE managers and engineers like candy on Halloween? Think real hard about it, I'm sure it'll make sense soon.

  36. Weeks after Northside Independent School District in San Antonio rolled out its new "smart" IDs that tracks students' geographic locations, the community is still at odds with the program. [98% of the community has no idea of the program.]
    The "Student Locator Project," which is slated to eventually reach 112 Texas schools and close to 100,000 students, is in trial stages in two Northside district schools. In an effort to reduce truancy, the district has issued new student IDs with an embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip that tracks the location of a student at all times.
    The program officially launched October 1 at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School. Without the badges -- required to be worn around the neck -- students cannot access common areas like the cafeteria or library, and cannot purchase tickets to extracurricular activities. Reports indicate that the district has threatened to suspend, fine or involuntarily transfer students who fail to comply and officials have noted that "there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card as we begin to move forward with full implementation."
    Are we moving to a 21th Century of "We The Cattle"? My friend uses these RFID's to track his Longhorns...
    But, students? ...

  37. Oh, we're not moving there, we are there. Look at police tracking of cell phones.


  38. If there's anybody who ought to know a cooked number when he sees one, it's Jack Welch.




    Craig in Utah

  39. Sigh. I had t0 read a lot about Jack Welch in various business classes- his unmitigated gall in demanding not only money but perks as CEO of GE was beyond belief. Dude- you're making a gazillion dollars a year- buy your own goddammed tickets to the opera!

  40. Stay informed folks. Symmetry is on the way. Nature has a plan that will take care of unemployment concerns and, in the process, will release energy of unimaginable power, sort of like an anti-unemployment H-bomb, and we are gradually making ourselves incapable of doing anything about it.

    For over a hundred years, physicists have hypothesized the existence of antiparticles that are exact opposites of particles that make up the universe, same mass but with charges and spins reversed. Others think of it as the yin and yang of the universe but yin and yang is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and how they give rise to each other, like light and dark, or hot and cold.

    So, in the end, given these opposing forces, unemployment figures and anti-unemployment figures will counterbalance each other. Unfortunately, politicians have no clue as to where jobs will come from so they keep thinking in the past.

    But farming and manufacturing are passe. Robots can now do just about anything the human body can do, - and do it better. The leftover is what can be called a knowledge-based economy. Brain power versus anti-brain power where, currently, the anti’s are winning. And as long as we have a creationist attitude toward knowledge and the economy we will continue to lose far into the future.

    John from Rhody

  41. I don't think I can stand any more fright-wing batshit crazy. Just when you think you've grown a tough enough hide, this kind of hypocrisy shows up. I'd just about digested this when, on my way to work this morning I heard some tealiban conservative spouting off about "this administration" and that they "ignored" requests for additional security in Benghazi in order to "make themselves look good." I swear I almost drove off the road. So tell me this isn't the same thing as ignoring (and then sneering about when called before congress) a security memo actually titled "Bin Laden determined to strike within US"? Really? How is THAT ok? How is that not sweeping a problem under the carpet?

  42. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/jack-welch-jobs-report-032200419.html

    love it when these clowns double down.

  43. There is no such thing as gravity. The Earth sucks.

    Thus endeth my silly-assed joke that I got from my old man over 40 years ago and still can't get out of my head!

  44. A scientist friend explained that when an apple rolls off your desk (or an idiot jumps off a building), it illustrates the "THEORY of gravity", just like the "THEORY of evolution".

    Like Valerie, another "evolution-believing, welcoming, non-fundamentalist, progressive, keep-prayer-out-of-school, ecumenically minded, don't-assume-everyone-is-Christian Christian".

    Marsha outside Philly

  45. And now the clown triples down. No joke.


    After which, he took his ball and went home.

    Meanwhile, today's initial claims report must really chap ol' Jack's ass.

    Craig in Utah



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