Today’s opining on the public discourse.
I’m writing this from an unbelievably contorted position whilst deprived of nicotine and starving to death. Yup. The cat’s in a cuddly mood. I shall do my best despite the circumstances, but all complaints about typos should be referred to my feline.
Why, yes, I could move her before she’s ready to get up, but it’s ever so much easier to type with fingers rather than stubs. And I’m not sure my health insurance would cover reconstructive surgery.
Speaking of health insurance, Cons are really starting to outdo themselves scaremongering about health care reform:
Rep. Paul Broun, a right-wing Republican from Georgia, spoke from the House floor this afternoon, to explore his opposition to a public option in health care reform. He concluded that a public plan would kill Americans.
“…and that’s exactly what’s going on in Canada and Great Britain today. They don’t have the appreciation of life, as we do in our society, evidently. And, um. Dr. Roe, a lot of people are gonna die, this program of ‘government option’ is being touted as being this panacea, the savior of allowing people to have quality health care at an affordable price — is gonna kill people.”
There are bad arguments, there are blisteringly bad arguments, and then there’s the nonsense Paul Broun spews.
In addition to the obvious problem of comparing reform efforts in the U.S. to creating a Canadian/UK system — that’s obviously not what’s being proposed — the argument itself is ridiculous. As the Media Matters Action Network explained, “Besides absurdly stating that the public option will ‘kill people,’ Rep. Broun’s ham-handed transition between the health care systems of Canada, the UK, and the US is mind-boggling because those countries’ systems are not a model for US health care reform. And in addition to being wrong about their health care delivery systems, Rep. Broun apparently isn’t aware that Canada and Great Britain both enjoy a lower infant mortality rate and longer life expectancy that the United States.”
In addition to which, Rep. Broun, a lot of people are already dying, while a million survivors end up facing bankruptcy. Not that Cons have ever let such things as facts intrude upon their glorious little private reality. For instance, Sen. Judd Gregg’s thrilled to cite statistics showing more Americans than Brits survive breast cancer. But he’s having a hard time facing one small fact inconvenient to his argument:
The Cuban government operates a national health system and assumes fiscal and administrative responsibility for the health care of all its citizens. No private hospitals or clinics are permitted.
The problem in England is lack of resources devoted to the system. It quite obviously has nothing to do with nationalization.
Truth hurts, doesn’t it? That’s probably why Cons avoid it so often.
Not to be outdone on the health care stupidity front, Rep. Blunt steps up to stick his foot in:
Most of the time, mainstream politicians from both parties are reluctant to publicly criticize programs like Medicare. It’s a popular mainstay of American society, providing health care to retirees.
It was interesting, then, to hear Rep. Roy Blunt (R) of Missouri suggest yesterday that Medicare never should have been created in the first place.
“[Y]ou could certainly argue that government should have never have gotten in the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all, to figure out how people could have had more access to a competitive marketplace.
“Government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare, and later with Medicaid, and government already distorts the marketplace.”
Blunt went on to argue that he’d like to see “people have many more options,” just so long as those options are limited to unregulated private insurance companies.
His office later tried to control the damage with this extraordinary statement:
Blunt’s office backpedals:
Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer said Blunt wasn’t saying that Washington should have never created those programs. He called that “a stretch, even for the Democrats.”
“Roy Blunt did not say those programs were a mistake,” Chrismer said. “He was discussing the current health care debate and discussing his belief that government would be better off organizing health care, as we did with the Medicare prescription drug program, rather than operating health care systems like the Obama-Carnahan health care plan.”
In other words: those programs were a mistake, but since 83% of Americans love Medicare and 74% of Americans love Medicaid, he wants to pretend that’s not what he meant.
The truly sad part is, this is just the tip of a gargantuan iceberg of stupidity. Just you wait until health care reform gets closer to passage, when we’ll get to see the whole thing. Let us hope the boat giving us the nice close-up view doesn’t have Titanic written on the side.
Let’s move on to some serious stupid that could impact education for millions of American children. I am, of course, talking about Texas, and the abject idiocy pouring forth in torrents:
The Texas Board of Education has put together a six-member committee to help develop new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. It’s not going well.
The board picked, among others, an evangelical minister named Peter Marshall to help shape the standards, as well as Republican activist David Barton, a pseudo-historian and religious right celebrity who gives speeches about the United States being founded as a “Christian nation.”
One of their first tasks: downplaying the contributions of civil rights leaders.
Civil rights leaders Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall — whose names appear on schools, libraries, streets and parks across the U.S. — are given too much attention in Texas social studies classes, conservatives advising the state on curriculum standards say.
“To have Cesar Chavez listed next to Ben Franklin” — as in the current standards — “is ludicrous,” wrote evangelical minister Peter Marshall, one of six experts advising the state as it develops new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. David Barton, president of Aledo-based WallBuilders, said in his review that Chavez, a Hispanic labor leader, “lacks the stature, impact and overall contributions of so many others.”
Marshall also questioned whether Thurgood Marshall, who argued the landmark case that resulted in school desegregation and was the first black U.S. Supreme Court justice, should be presented to Texas students as an important historical figure. He wrote that the late justice is “not a strong enough example” of such a figure.
Barton went on to say the state curriculum should ignore the contributions of Anne Hutchinson, a New England pioneer and early advocate of women’s rights and religious freedom, and argued that Texas social studies books should discuss “republican” values, not “democratic” ones.
Way to be obvious about the political agenda, there, Bart. Wow.
I think the wingnuts have figured out that as Texas textbooks go, so goes the nation, since book publishers don’t tend to waste time and money creating textbooks individualized for the states. Nope, they’ll sell the shite demanded by their largest customer to the rest of us, and thus we’ll be able to answer Bush’s immortal question, “Is our children learning?” Not about Caesar Chavez, Thurgood Marshall, Anne Hutchinson, and democratic values, they’re not.
Lowe’s record on the State Board of Education includes:
In 2004 Ms. Lowe opposed requiring that publishers obey curriculum standards and put medically accurate information about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention in new high school health textbooks.
In 2007 Ms. Lowe voted to throw out nearly three years of work by teacher writing teams on new language arts standards. Over the strenuous objections of teachers and curriculum specialists, Lowe instead voted for a standards document that the board’s far-right bloc patched together overnight and slipped under hotel doors the morning of the final vote.
In 2003 and 2009 Ms. Lowe supported dumbing down the state’s public school science curriculum by voting to include unscientific, creationist criticisms of evolution in science textbooks and curriculum standards.
There are times I’m glad I don’t have children. This is one of those times. I’m glad I’ve been spared the task of sitting my children down and explaini
ng to them that the reason why their education sucks leper donkey dick is because a few God-botherers in Texas got their hands on power they shouldn’t have, and now due to the economic realities of the textbook industry, their education gets to take it up the back passage.
And after I got done breaking that news, I may have to explain to them how fucktards like this get elected to national office:
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) this week introduced a bill purporting to “save taxpayers $12.5 million this year and millions more in the future by prohibiting the United States from contributing to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is fraught with waste and is engaged in dubious science.”
[snip - go to link for fucktard's full statement]
Stating his case, Luetkemeyer said that “more than 700 international scientists” signed onto a Senate GOP report questioning that global warming is man-made and said that number is more than “the number of UN scientists, 52, who authored a report claiming that human emissions of carbon dioxide are responsible” for climate change. (One of these “700 scientists” has no college degree and another doubt’s Darwin’s theory of evolution.)
Yet, the IPCC’s most recent report, which found that global climate change is “very likely” to have a human cause, was reviewed by more than 2,500 experts and was written by more than 800 contributing authors and 450 lead authors.
To bolster his argument, Luetkemeyer claimed that the EPA (in its entirety apparently) says the world is actually cooling. No, the “EPA” doesn’t say the world is cooling. Luetkemeyer is referring to EPA economist (i.e. not a scientist) Alan Carlin’s assertion in an allegedly “suppressed” document that “global temperatures have declined for 11 years.” In fact, the last decade will likely be the hottest on record. And while annual global temperatures have both fallen and risen in the last 11 years, climate scientists have identified long-term warming trends spanning decades to indicate that the earth is warming, not just the last 11 years.
And really, my darlings, there is no fucking way on earth I could even begin to explain how people this egregiously stupid end up in Congress. I can’t even explain how they come to exist in the first place.