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Aug 18 2011

It’s going to be a long election season…

Rick Perry was asked about evolution by a kid; his answer was both condescending and wrong.

“It’s got some gaps in it,” Perry continues, “but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution…”

“Ask him why he doesn’t believe in science,” the mother interjects off camera.

Putting both hands on the outside of the boy’s shoulders, Perry, not acknowledging the mother says, “…because I figured you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

On global warming to a local science teacher, he said, “We teach the straight out facts in Texas in our schools. You’ll have to pick those up in our classbooks.”

Perry is the guy who has appointed three creationists in a row to head the Texas Board of Education. He’s a scientific know-nothing who wants to control science education. He’s pretty much looney-tunes, and he’s one of the leading Republican candidates for president.

(Also on Sb)

83 comments

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  1. 1
    Glissade

    The scary thing is he will become president. Ugh!

  2. 2
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    “We’re not going to win a national election if we become the anti-science party,” John Weaver, Huntsman’s chief strategist, said in an interview. “The American people are looking for someone who lives in reality and is a truth-teller, because that’s the only way that the significant problems this country faces can be solved. It appears that the only science that Mitt Romney believes in is the science of polling, and that science clearly was not a mandatory course for Governor Perry.”

    Source.

    Too bad Huntsman doesn’t stand a chance.

  3. 3
    raven

    Texas under Perry doesn’t have a great trackrecord.

    28% of all Texans lack health insurance, highest in the USA.

    25% of all children live in poverty.

    Unemployment is 8.2%, 26th in the nation.

    They were running a 27 billion USD deficit, almost as much as California.

    Texas also rates near the top in most social problems such as teenage pregnancy. And near the bottom in education.

    He’s also a moron christofascist. Explain to me why anyone would let him run a country of 309 million people?

  4. 4
    Danny Boy

    “but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution…”

    So, Perry’s admitting his state routinely violates the Constitution?

  5. 5
    Nom de Plume

    Putting both hands on the outside of the boy’s shoulders

    Gee, I wonder if the teabagger headline will be “Perry Loses It, Grabs White Boy to Shut Him Up”?

  6. 6
    PZ Myers

    So, Perry’s admitting his state routinely violates the Constitution?

    Why would that bother him? He’s already advocated treason in the form of secession, so I don’t think the Constitution matters much to him.

  7. 7
    Glissade

    I don’t think the country as a whole matters much to him. So that’s why he runs for president! Makes sense? No? Ugh. I need a drink.

  8. 8
    Andy C

    I am hoping against hope that Perry wins the nomination. Obama will crush him; as bad as Obama’s poll numbers are right now (and the Republicans are way worse), he’s still a brilliant politician (that is, at the science and art of winning elections) on the level of Clinton and Reagan. Perry has no chance of winning states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, he likely won’t win Florida, and thus has pretty much no chance of winning.

    Obama has weaknesses right now, but incumbents only lose when those weaknesses are their opponents’ strengths- for example, Bush 1′s strength was foreign policy and defense, and his weakness was the economy. Clinton’s (perceived) strength at the time of the election was the economy, and he won.

    Obama’s weakness is also the economy right now, and his strength (to the public) is foreign policy and defense (chiefly, getting bin Laden). But what are the Republicans’ strengths (to the public)? Certainly not the economy. Maybe Christian-ocity-ness, maybe a little defense. But the R’s cannot credibly call Obama weak on defense any more.

    Go Perry go!

  9. 9
    raven

    This election is the GOP’s to lose.

    We are hosed, up the creek without a paddle. (Most experts eblame Bushco for cutting taxes, increasing spending wildly, and starting an expensive pointless war in Iraq.)

    Historically, when that happens the party in power is tossed out. This is how Obama was elected and how the Tea Party was elected to the house.

    The only way that he can be reelected is if the theothuglicans nominate someone really scary and dumb, like Michelle Bachmann. Perry might qualify for that as well. He isn’t even that popular in Texas and his anti-science and christofascist rhetoric isn’t going to go over too well with a lot of nonTexans.

    The ticket right now would be Perry/Bachmann. That can change though.

  10. 10
    Matrim

    “The scary thing is he will become president. Ugh!”

    Not bloody likely, even with the displeasure at Obama’s performance right now, he simply won’t be able to win the general election. There’s way too much political ammunition that can be used against him.

  11. 11
    Glen Davidson

    “…because I figured you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

    Rather, because if the well of science is properly poisoned, you may never be able to figure out which one is right.

    Glen Davidson

  12. 12
    Mus

    “PZ Myers says:
    18 August 2011 at 3:33 pm

    So, Perry’s admitting his state routinely violates the Constitution?

    Why would that bother him? He’s already advocated treason in the form of secession, so I don’t think the Constitution matters much to him.”

    If he is a traitor (advocated the secession of Texas from the USA), why we don´t see in the news someone triyng to put Perry in trial for that crime?
    Im not a USA citizen, but even i can see that is something pretty wrong with the american politics if confessed traitor is runing (with chances of winning) for the highest position in the american republic: President of the United States of America.

  13. 13
    teawithbertrand

    “but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution…”

    Do they also teach gravity and GRAVITY MAGNETS ?

  14. 14
    jack lecou

    Ugh.

    Someone should point out to him that it might be nice if the governor of Texas was ALSO smart enough to figure out which one is right. Then we wouldn’t have to waste students’ time with the other one.

  15. 15
    Anthony K

    Too bad Huntsman doesn’t stand a chance.

    I went to his twitter feed to see this:

    To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.

    I was going to make a snarky comment about his having fathered seven future energy-eaters, but two of his children have been adopted from overseas. Five is still at least two more than replacement rate, but I’m not going to quibble. He is Mormon, after all.

    WRT that, according to Wiki, his religious views are:

    “I was raised a Mormon, Mary Kaye was raised Episcopalian, our kids have gone to Catholic school, I went to a Lutheran school growing up in Los Angeles. I have an adopted daughter from India who has a very distinct Hindu tradition, one that we would celebrate during Diwali. So you kind of bind all this together.”

    He’s still a fiscal conservative and for civil unions, but not marriage, for same sex couples, but I think I’d be a lot less afraid of a Republican victory if this man were the R nominee. Utahan Pharyngulites: is this man some sort of crypto-asshole? If not, why are we not doing everything in our power to get this man on the ballot?

  16. 16
    Nom de Plume

    Mus @12: I know it’s difficult for a non-American to understand, but for many people in this country, the highest expression of patriotism is

    a) hating the government, which leads to;
    b) secession

    For example, some of the loudest patriots in the U.S. fly the flag of a country that we defeated in war 150 years ago. If you point out the inconsistency to them, they will simply respond “It’s a Southern thing, you wouldn’t understand”.

  17. 17
    HNS_Lasagna

    I would be scared of him whether people think he can get elected or not. He is RUINING the Texas education system and ruining its economy. Furthermore he is a prime example of whats wrong with politicians in the US today- corrupt, uneducated, thoroughly religious, stupid, and immoral… did I mention he’s an idiot. The worst part is that he’s running for the GOP. Thats a problem because a lot of people think that Obama is to blame for the current state of things in our country. In reality it’s got more to do with dumb-ass W.-the wars, the tax cuts, the wanton spending. People think that by getting rid of Obama everything will be fixed. The absolute worst person that could become president (of the current candidates) is rick Perry. Bachmann is a bat shit insane fundamentalist- so she’s a hard choice for people of non-christian religions, and anti-gay/anti- anything not christian so that makes her a non option for a lot of people.

  18. 18
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    What A Maroon:

    Too bad Huntsman doesn’t stand a chance.

    No, it’s not: You can believe in “reality” and “truth-telling” (the minimum standards for being taken seriously as a potential leader, IMHO) and still be wrong. Huntsman may be relatively sane on some issues compared to other Republicans, but he’s no progressive. Notwithstanding all the disappointment and handwringing, progressives’ interests will be in better hands with Obama (and, please FSM, a Democratic Congress) than with any of the Republicans, including the less obviously frightening ones like Huntsman and Romney.

    Our best hope is that the Republicans will nominate someone so batshit that people in the center and center-right won’t be able to pinch their noses hard enough to vote for them.

  19. 19
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Mus:

    If he is a traitor (advocated the secession of Texas from the USA), why we don´t see in the news someone triyng to put Perry in trial for that crime?

    Because we have this pesky thing called the First Amendment that protects speech, and we don’t put people — especially not politicians; political speech in particular is protected — in prison just for shooting their mouths off.

    If Perry had taken any concrete steps toward seeking secession, we might be having a trial… or a war (it’s happened before). For talking shit at campaign rallys, not so much.

  20. 20
    Markita Lynda, healthcare is a damn right.

    Compare that with the usual mantra of “We’ve got to teach our kids what’s right!” and you’ll see how weasel-worded Perry is being.

  21. 21
    Laughing Man

    Wow. If a Creationist mother had put her kid up to a presidential candidate, you’d be all over her in a heartbeat. I guess it’s okay when an evolutionist coward puts her poor kid — who obviously doesn’t want to be there asking those questions — on the block in front of the entire world.

  22. 22
    Mus

    #16: Nom de Plume

    Thanks for your explanation.

    I understand that some people can hate the government, but thinking is patriotic defending traitorous things like secession and the flag of a country that almost destroyed the USA… is crazy!

  23. 23
    OgreMkV

    Don’t forget that Perry stood to make a pretty penny by declaring that every teen girl in Texas had to have an untried HPV vaccine (that would only work on one variety of HPV) and basically had an innocent man killed, despite the reports that stated he was probably innocent.

    The sad part is you guys are all wrong. The majority of the population of Texas loves Rick Perry… well, let me rephrase, they HATE democrats and will do anything to keep them out of office. Most of them also hate people that are different colors and will do ANYTHING to keep them out of any positions of power.

    Politics in Texas has NOTHING to do with intelligence, strength, integrity, or anything else. It is, for much of the population, entirely about race and religion. That’s it.

  24. 24
    Randomfactor

    He’s also a moron christofascist. Explain to me why anyone would let him run a country of 309 million people?

    Because morons vote, too. And given the results in 2010, more reliably than those of us on the eastern slopes of the bell curve do.

  25. 25
    Reginald Selkirk

    Obama’s weakness is also the economy right now,… But what are the Republicans’ strengths (to the public)? Certainly not the economy.

    Yes. I hope that a sufficient number of people realize that
    1) The directions Republicans want to go are not good for the economy
    2) The Republicans are to blame for limiting Obama’s ability to deal with the economy
    3) Should they mistakenly elect a Republican on the economy issue, they will also have to deal with the fallout on other issues, such as reproductive rights and Supreme Court nominations

    Pools indicate the most people blame the Tea Party for the recent debt ceiling debacle, so there is some hope.

    This was refreshing and surprising:
    Poll shows Tea Party is disliked more than atheists
    Huzzah! We’re not dead last any more.

  26. 26
    b00ger

    oh wow, just refreshed and got a new format for the comments. I like this one much better.

  27. 27
    Reginald Selkirk

    Randomfactor #24: Because morons vote, too.

    Yes, that’s why so many Republican policies are directed against effective education. You say “a poorly educated populace,” Republicans say “our political base.”

  28. 28
    b00ger

    @26 Reginald Selkirk

    Grrr! Don’t tempt me with good sounding articles and then put up links that are behind pay walls.

  29. 29
    Human Ape

    Putting both hands on the outside of the boy’s shoulders

    Disgusting. The kid should have spit in the asshole’s face when he did that.

    Perry is the guy who has appointed three creationists in a row to head the Texas Board of Education.

    That’s interesting. I thought he appointed only two science deniers to be chairperson of the Texas State Board of Education.

    Perry is just one of several uneducated morons who are Republican candidates for president and who have a history of trying to destroy science education to defend their dead Jeebus.

    “It’s got some gaps in it,” Perry continues, “but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution…”

    Does Perry think our planet’s orbit around the sun has gaps in it?

    It’s interesting Perry admits there’s incompetent biology teachers in Texas who despite the Establishment Clause teach religious fantasies in their public school science classrooms.

    The President of the United States is suppose to, according to the inauguration oath, “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Perry would rather throw out the constitution so he can have his Christian theocracy.

  30. 30
    HNS_Lasagna

    @21- who says the mother put him up to it (the article certainly does hint that direction I agree). Yes I would be all over it, because creationism has no place in schools. you know why? because it’s a religious belief! Creationists are always saying that evolution is a theory or its not complete or whatever. Thats not true, the real truth is that too many people are uncomfortable with the implications of evolution and the prospect of being forced to use their brains and think about their life (rather than have a religion tell them what to do) so they so vehemently defend creationism.
    and how do you know the kid doesn’t want to be there? can you speak to the childs frame of mind?

  31. 31
    frustum

    HuffPo published Perry’s college grades yesterday. It isn’t pretty.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/05/rick-perry-college-transcript_n_919357.html

    It isn’t surprising that he wasn’t strong in math and science. It is also not surprising he got a D in “Principles of Economics.”

  32. 32
    raven

    Most of them also hate people that are different colors and will do ANYTHING to keep them out of any positions of power.

    Texas is heading towards being a majority nonwhite state soon. 4 are already incuding California. What then?

    I’ve noticed the racism among Perry’s supporters.

    Someone asked one about the 28% of Texans who don’t have health insurance. She said it wasn’t all that bad. Texas does have a lot of uninsured people but that is because it has a lot of hispanics and poor people. Who I guess, aren’t really people and don’t count.

  33. 33
    Reginald Selkirk

    OK, I’ll give you a couple of the money quotes:

    Crashing the Tea Party

    By DAVID E. CAMPBELL and ROBERT D. PUTNAM


    Polls show that disapproval of the Tea Party is climbing. In April 2010, a New York Times/CBS News survey found that 18 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of it, 21 percent had a favorable opinion and 46 percent had not heard enough. Now, 14 months later, Tea Party supporters have slipped to 20 percent, while their opponents have more than doubled, to 40 percent.

    the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about… It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.

  34. 34
    MetzO'Magic

    Wow. If a Creationist mother had put her kid up to a presidential candidate, you’d be all over her in a heartbeat. I guess it’s okay when an evolutionist coward puts her poor kid — who obviously doesn’t want to be there asking those questions — on the block in front of the entire world.

    “evolutionist coward”. That’s an… interesting juxtaposition of words. Obviously though, Perry’s response was poor. It should have been “Kid, were you there when that crocodile turned into a duck?”

  35. 35
    Shripathi Kamath

    Jon Huntsman, RIP!

    He signed his campaign’s death warrant when he tweeted this in response:

    “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

    It is a sad state of affairs when the supposedly sane ones will not ridicule anti-science stances more vociferously.

    Yes, Obama is the one I am talking about.

  36. 36
    Mus

    #19: Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Thanks for remind me about the “First Amendement”, the right of free speech is, indeed, the cornerstone of any democracy.
    No doubt about that.

    But isn`t defending treason (Perry and the talk about the secession of Texas from the Union) against the USA a crime that can be punished by Law?

  37. 37
    HNS_Lasagna

    religion does NOT belong in the science classroom, for any reason whatsoever. end of story. Anyone who thinks so is an idiot. furthermore, do people think it’s just irony that a huge majority of highly educated people don’t believe in god or creationism, seems to me if I were a moron I would be listening to people who have years upon years of education and experience in science, math, history, etc…

  38. 38
    Anthony K

    Huntsman may be relatively sane on some issues compared to other Republicans, but he’s no progressive. Notwithstanding all the disappointment and handwringing, progressives’ interests will be in better hands with Obama (and, please FSM, a Democratic Congress) than with any of the Republicans, including the less obviously frightening ones like Huntsman and Romney.

    Our best hope is that the Republicans will nominate someone so batshit that people in the center and center-right won’t be able to pinch their noses hard enough to vote for them.

    No. That’s not your best hope. That’s what you’ve had for four years: a batshit-crazy Republican defeated, a significant group of batshit-crazy Republican voters gone right off the fucking deep end, and a Democrat so stymied by a poisonous political discourse that your country falls apart while the rednecks cheer. That’s not hope: that’s playing for a stalemate.

    Your best hope is a two-party system in which both parties float semi-reasonable candidates, so that every election doesn’t result in supporters of both parties feeling either like they won or need to escape the country.

    If you keep nominating the batshit-insane, eventually the slightly-more-sane bugshit insane one will get elected. And then push the button because the Xenuchrist bobblehead told him to. Because at some point, you’ll have had a Republican nominee so fucking nuts that you won’t be able to top him. You’ll have reached the Überwingnut, and he’ll lose to whatever right-winger the Democrats nominated, and the disaffected tinfoil-hat-wearing shit-flinging version of the Tea Party that exists in that time will sit there, fuming for four years at how a communist could manage to become President, and the very next election they’ll sweep Clortix, the Eater of Rights and Human Duodena, right into the White House because despite having tentacles for a face, he’s the only Republican candidate who hasn’t openly denied the existence of the sun. And Clortix will make good on his promise to cleanse the Earth by fire.

    But nevermind about Hunstman. I’m having a hard time finding accurate details on his wife’s DoB. That must mean she’s a Mau Mau.

  39. 39
    Mike

    I am a science teacher in Texas. To be clear, we do not teach creationism in Texas public schools. Governor Good Hair is either totally ignorant, or lying. Either way, I’m one pissed off Texas science teacher (again).

  40. 40
    Shripathi Kamath

    Mus, #36

    No, treason has a very high threshold. It is practically impossible to indict someone on that charge merely for strongly stating an opinion.

    Unless unemployment drops below 8%, we may be looking at Bush the Younger’s successor, an even bigger disaster, and a legitimate concern of theocracy making gains.

    Robert Reich has a nice article echoing what Krugman has been shouting for months: we need a *big* jobs bill. The GOP is going to oppose anything that Obama proposes, so the trap he could fall into is propose a small one that is unlikely to have an impact. The GOP will fight it tooth and nail, and Obama will cave in, settling for a smaller package.

    When that package fails, and it will, the GOP will point it out as “See, big government does not work!”

  41. 41
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    But isn`t defending treason (Perry and the talk about the secession of Texas from the Union) against the USA a crime that can be punished by Law?

    Committing treason is a crime, and so is conspiring to commit treason… but simply blathering about the possibility of secession doesn’t constitute either. I’m sorry if I sounded snarky in my previous post: I didn’t mean to be making fun of you; I was trying to get at this critical distinction (which has been the subject of a fuckton of court cases) between speech and behavior. As long as it’s “only” speech, almost any crazy idea is protected.

    If it were otherwise, almost any “out-of-the-box” thinking about how to change/improve our form of government could be (disingenuously, but plausibly) portrayed as an attack on the current Constitution, and thus treason. To avoid that chilling effect, we have to put up with all manner of crazy anti-government speech.

    All that said, PZ was right to refer to Perry’s flirtation with secession as treasonous: In the common-usage, adjectival sense of the word, it is. It’s just that treasonous talk by itself doesn’t rise to the legal standard of the crime of treason.

    Disclaimer: IANAL&IDPOOTV

  42. 42
    Anthony K

    Thanks for remind me about the “First Amendement”, the right of free speech is, indeed, the cornerstone of any democracy.

    So far, free speech and the shaky building that squats upon it haven’t seemed to pan out very well. Even Churchill could only manage that it’s less worse than everything else we’ve tried, but he wasn’t specific on what criteria he was using to determine that. I wonder if he’d have cause to reevaluate his position if he’d seen a Palin/Bachmann ticket.

    At this point, I think my curiosity is piqued by Clortix’ 9-point-plan for Earth-cleansing. “Point 8: The Thermite Initiative to Eliminate Poverty, Crime, and Unemployment” looks to be a lot more effective than stimulus packages and debt-ceiling raises.

  43. 43
    Jim in AZ

    Rick Perry will never be elected president. Of the gaggle that’s out there now for the Republicans – nope – none of them will get the nomination.

    Is there a stealth candidate out there? At least someone that would have a chance? Right now, my opinion is that if this is all they have to offer, Obama will win by a landslide.

  44. 44
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Brownian:

    You’re talking ideal cases (and probably structural reform); I’m talking facts on the ground in this election cycle.

    I don’t think we disagree in principle, but (IMHO) given the current candidates, our best hope for the best outcome in the coming election is that Obama be clearly the only acceptable candidate in the race, to everyone other than the extreme right wing (which, despite all appearances, really is still a minority).

    Our greatest risk is that someone plausibly sane, like a Hunstman or Romney (who got elected governor in Massachusetts fer FSM’s sake!) will take advantage of the bad economy and the disillusionment of Obama’s base to win the election, and then, under the whip of their own base, govern well to the right of what Obama would’ve done.

  45. 45
    Shripathi Kamath

    PZ, I have a suggestion.

    Stephen Colbert has a SuperPac. He is dying for ideas to wreak havoc in the upcoming election season, and constantly requests his viewers for suggestions on what it should do.

    He has also been mocking A Rick Parry A lot these days.

    Why not suggest to him–and here’s where your large number of blog followers comes in handy–to put some of the money behind mocking Perry’s anti-science stances?

    I am sure that Mr. Colbert can come up with creative ways of bringing the focus to ridiculous anti-science positions of the GOP field.

  46. 46
    bricewgilbert

    He obviously said this because he attempts to get it taught, and knows that some probably still do attempt to teach both. I bet he doesn’t even keep track of how many times the courts have ruled against his beliefs. He knows all it takes his for him to encourage it and by his endorsement his state automatically is a creation/evolution state. States rights and all.

  47. 47
    feralboy12

    “…because I figured you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

    It sounds like Perry expects schoolchildren to educate themselves. If you’re not going to tell kids the right answers, or give them any means to arrive at the right answers, why the hell are they going to school?
    I guess it’s the next logical step after homeschooling.
    But this is all coming from a guy who thinks prayer is going to solve anything. I can’t tell you how disgusted I would be if one of my elected representatives chose to pray instead of, you know, doing stuff. It’s like hiring somebody to remodel your bathroom, but instead of working on it the fucker hangs out in the backyard all day hoping shit gets done.
    I haven’t entirely given up hope; these Republican creeps still have to fight each other for the nomination, which it appears Obama will not have to do. Let’s hope for a free-for-all.

  48. 48
    Anthony K

    You’re talking ideal cases (and probably structural reform); I’m talking facts on the ground in this election cycle.

    Sure. But remember how worried we were in ’08 by McCain/Palin? And what happened? Four years later, they managed to drum up two bigger, crazier, fuckheads. What do you think will happen in 2016 if we keep playing this game? 2020? At some point in time, the nutbar you counted on to be too crazy to win will win (let’s say his pod-mate is Governor of a contested state like Florida), and for the next four years you’ll pray you’d voted for Huntsman yourself.

    Because it’ll be illegal not to pray.

  49. 49
    MJtheProphet

    Just once, for a change of pace, can we have a political campaign where we choose the greater of two goods? Or better yet, the best of a whole bunch of goods? The lesser of two evils is getting kind of old.

  50. 50
    raven

    Robert Reich has a nice article echoing what Krugman has been shouting for months: we need a *big* jobs bill.

    Obama hasn’t fixed Bush’s mistakes, what he was elected to do.

    I’m not sure anyone could though.

    He did all the usual things, Keynesian government spending and the fed flooded us with money with “quantitative easing” and zero interest rates.

    Looks like the government is out of bullets.

    I don’t have any easy solutions either. From my reading, we need to judiciously raise taxes, cut spending, and ask for some shared sacrifices from the American people.

    All the politicians are afraid to do anything because then they won’t get elected again. Reagan raised taxes 11 times during his administration, a fact that the wingnuts just totally ignore.

  51. 51
    Anthony K

    Just once, for a change of pace, can we have a political campaign where we choose the greater of two goods? Or better yet, the best of a whole bunch of goods? The lesser of two evils is getting kind of old.

    Apparently not.

    And this is the best thing we’ve come up with so far. And we’re supposed to love it so fucking much that we want to export it to the rest of the world.

    Future civics classes are going to end the lesson on democracy with an optional trip to the suicide chamber.

    “And guess what, kids? Not only will you have to put up with this bullshit for the rest of your lives, but if you try to opt out of legitimising the system by say, not voting or spoiling your ballot, dunderheads will berate you with vacuous quips like ‘If you don’t vote, you can’t complain’. And you’ll know that every election result is the fault of those same dunderheads.

    However, the Department of Ethical Education has mandated that you be allowed a special permanent opt-out at any point this term. If you have decided to take advantage of this opportunity, please hand in your signed permission slips—signed by your parent or guardian; I’m looking at you, Jimmy Orchid-4—leave your clothes in your cubby, and see the nurse for your ricin-cake.

    Those of you who don’t will have another opportunity to self-euthanise at the end of Career Day.”

  52. 52
    Mus

    #41: Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    So talking about treason (secession or other thing) isn`t a crime, because someone is only stating their opinion. Thanks for the two for take your time to explain that, i was making confusion between the wish of treason and the act of treason.
    I really apreciated that you take your time to explain me the diferences.

    And if you and other Americans need to hear in the news that kind of despicable discourse of Perry and others, because that is one of the rights issued by the “First Amendement”, i think that is a small sacrifice to defend the right of free speech.

    By the way: Bill Dauphin, avec fromage, i didn`t feel you are making fun of me with your snarky comment. No worries pal. Feel free to correct me when im wrong!

  53. 53
    teawithbertrand

    @37

    One would think so, but these folks see no value in higher learning. When they see someone with a decent education (anything beyond one year of Podunk Community College), they don’t think “Wow, he must be a smart guy, I should listen to him,” They think “Goddamn smartass thinks he’s better than me.” Stupid is better than smart in their minds. And they don’t understand (and don’t care about) the difference between science and dogmatic bullshit.

  54. 54
    oldguy-1

    Gads, We’ve already had religious nuts and other persons of questionable sanity in the white house, Carter was a BAC. First lady Nancy Reagan consulted an astrologer, Hillary was reputed to consult with the loony Jean Houston.
    Hopefully we give the rest of the world a good laugh.

  55. 55
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Brownian:

    And seeing Hunstman win this time ’round would help with that… how??

    Actually, I think the slide into hell you’re projecting leads through Congress much more than through the White House. Despite the fucking mess he inherited, Obama was on a pretty hopeful trajectory up ’til the 2010 mid-terms. The post-revisionist narrative is that he squandered his political capital on HCR, and that led to the 2010 disaster… but in fact, nearly everything in that bill was broadly popular until the right-wing machine got to work whipping up fear and loathing through deliberate disinformation. (I was there, at my congressman’s Town Hall meetings, and watched it happen.)

    Given a Democratic House (or even a sane, responsible Republican one) and modest reform of the filibuster rules in the Senate, we’d be in a position to really start fixing things. I’m hoping that enough people will recognize the overreach and borderline criminal irresponsibility of Republicans in the House, and in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, that we’ll have those conditions after the coming election. IIRC, Nate Silver recently gave the Dems a decent chance of retaking the House… but, of course, it’s a long time ’til November 2012, and lots can happen.

  56. 56
    Pierce R. Butler

    All of you pro-Obama people getting excited about Perry taking the GOP nomination and antagonizing the electorate seem to think that American vote-counting machinery (almost all made by one corporation with a very questionable history) will report the voters’ choices accurately.

    There seem to be some gaps in your political science education.

  57. 57
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Wow. If a Creationist mother had put her kid up to a presidential candidate, you’d be all over her in a heartbeat. I guess it’s okay when an evolutionist coward puts her poor kid — who obviously doesn’t want to be there asking those questions — on the block in front of the entire world.

    Big difference, the creationist mom is putting her kid up to look like a total moron.

    Sometimes lessons need to be learned, it’s best that your mother isn’t making you out to be a complete idiot.

  58. 58
    Dee

    I liked John Huntsman when he was Utah’s govenor – I was really surprised at how he seemed to keep religious (ie, Mormon) influences out of the way. I thought he did a great job while he was govenor. I would vote for him for president in a hearbeat (I really do think he’s that good) EXCEPT —-

    — he’s a Republican. No matter how good he might be personally, I would still have to take the party along with the candidate, and at this point I wouldn’t vote Republican if they were the last party on earth. Or hell froze over. Or the sun stopped rotating. Or whatever

    On the other hand, it would really be nice to have a genuinely good quality candidate win the Republican nomination, so I do hope he gets that far.

    From a Utah Pharyngulite

  59. 59
    magistramarla

    When I taught in a Texas school, I had a friend who taught biology, who was from “up North”, like me. His wife taught Jr. High biology (poor woman).
    He was not apologetic about teaching evolution, and teaching it as the total truth. He refused to give any time to any “alternative theories”. Parents were howling about him. The administration hated him, and there was almost always someone “observing” in his classroom.
    From what I heard from my better students, they thought he was “a pretty cool teacher”. He was one who did cool experiments and was one of those teachers who would dress up like a famous scientist, or stand on his desk to make a point.
    Needless to say, his contract was not renewed for the following year. The same thing happened to his wife – I still wonder what she was telling the Jr. High kids about evolution.
    They left Texas a year before we did.

  60. 60
    David Marjanović, OM
    Putting both hands on the outside of the boy’s shoulders

    Disgusting. The kid should have spit in the asshole’s face when he did that.

    …?

    “Take your filthy paws of me, you damn dirty human ape”? Is that what you’re thinking about?

  61. 61
    Cuttlefish

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2011/08/18/welcome-to-new-hampshire-now-go-home/

    Dear Gov. Perry–

    You’re not in Texas any more.

    Cuttlefish

  62. 62
    DLC

    Perry and Bachmann have been both trying to out-crazy the other, with both making statements to the effect of wanting to eliminate the EPA. Yes, you heard right. the Environmental Protection Agency. I’m old enough I remember the Industrial Midwest before the Clean Air Act. I remember hearing my fellow schoolchildren with Asthma. Coughing fits. Weather advisories that included smog alerts. Yeah, we don’t need clean air, clean water or unpolluted soil. Just ask the good folks of Love Canal NY.

  63. 63
    Midnight Rambler

    Huntsman: End the EPA’s regulatory reign of terror.

  64. 64
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Bill Dauphin,

    I don’t think we’re that far apart. First, I wouldn’t vote for Huntsman if he were the gop candidate against Obama. But more importantly, in my view, a gop that would nominate someone like Huntsman would necessarily be a gop that wasn’t in the back pocket of the tea party, so there wouldn’t be the danger of dragging him so far to the right.

    But where we differ, I think, is that I’m not so sanguine about Obama’s chances against a putative Perry campaign. I really think Obama’s chances are going to rise and fall with employment; right now I’d put his chances of reelection at 50/50 at best. Given that, I’d really like to see the gop nominate the least batshit crazy candidate they can; ideally, given the current crop, that would be Huntsman; realistically, I guess that’s Romney.

    What the fuck is this world coming to when the Mormons are the least bad option?

  65. 65
    Laughing Man

    who says the mother put him up to it

    Let’s see… There’s the way that she’s pushing him up to Perry, how she’s firmly holding his shoulders, how she’s pushing him to ask certain questions…

    and how do you know the kid doesn’t want to be there? can you speak to the childs frame of mind?

    I can read basic body language. Can’t you? (It does help, too, if you have or work with kids.)

  66. 66
    Laughing Man

    Yes I would be all over it, because creationism has no place in schools.

    Um, not what I meant. I think you know that.

  67. 67
    Laughing Man

    Big difference, the creationist mom is putting her kid up to look like a total moron.

    Sometimes lessons need to be learned, it’s best that your mother isn’t making you out to be a complete idiot.

    You mean like when some mother pushes her obviously uncomfortable kid up to a stranger and, in front of cameras for the national media, tries to prod the poor child by urging him to “ask him why he hates science?”

  68. 68
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    What A Maroon:

    I see your point… but I would consider the election of any of the Republican candidates (including Huntsman) a life-changing disaster. When W was elected (sort of), I was shocked and sad, but I was able to cross my fingers and hope for the best[1]. Now I know better, and it’s hard to see how I could just go one with life following a 2012 Republican win: I’d have to think about emigrating, or quitting my job in favor of radical activism, or something… but in any case, the life I had planned would be out the window.

    That being the case, you’ll pardon me, I hope, for rooting for the most beatable Republican candidate in preference to the least (but still way too) horrible Republican president.

    *****
    [1] It’s hard to remember now, but Candidate W seemed far less radical and scary than President W turned out to be.

  69. 69
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Dee:

    I liked John Huntsman when he was Utah’s govenor

    Actually, it’s Jo[no h]n Huntsman… but don’t feel too bad: IIRC (from a story on The Rachel Maddow Show) it was wrong on the campaign’s own website when they announced! ;^)

  70. 70
    Francisco Bacopa

    Rick Perry simply isn’t telling the truth. I won’t say he’s lying because I don’t think he has enough of an epistemic inside to lie. There is no way he sees the world, there is no inside to his mind He merely makes statements that get him attention and approval that he thinks will move him toward grandma’s cookie. He acts as if God’s heaven is grandma’s slice of pie. Rick Perry has the stunted mind of a four year old who was never asked an open-ended question and listened to combined with an adult’s cunning. And we must all be fearful that this cookie-striving four year old may take him farther than W’s absolutist ten year old took him.

    “Teaching both” is not the official policy of Texas. Even the nutbar Texas SBOE couldn’t pass their textbook revisions. I am sure there are some districts that teach both or simply ignore evolution, but they undermine official SBOE policy, which requires some coverage of evolution.

    BTW, Perry has a lower approval rating in Texas than Obama does. I’m not saying Obama will win us, but it should give Perry fans pause.

    Also, when I was a kid Shell and Texaco used to send scientists out to the schools to make sure we learned real geology. But this was an age when we had the fundie kids kicked down. They would barely talk back to the teacher, they certainly weren’t going to talk back to Mr Scientist in a suit. I fear fundie kids are not so repressed today.

    And yes, repression, that’s what they deserve. I hate to say that but their belief in an Authority Equals Asskicking God means they understand little else. Like House says: “If you could argue with religious people there wouldn’t be any religious people.” Reason, as much as I love it, has its limits.

  71. 71
    Ichthyic

    Reason, as much as I love it, has its limits.

    also known as:

    “You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.”

  72. 72
    Ichthyic

    Now I know better, and it’s hard to see how I could just go one with life following a 2012 Republican win: I’d have to think about emigrating, or quitting my job in favor of radical activism, or something… but in any case, the life I had planned would be out the window.

    I made that conclusion after the “reelection” of W.

    I’m in NZ now.

    life out the window, indeed.

  73. 73
    cyberCMDR

    At this point in the game the GOP candidates are trying to win their party’s nomination, so that is who they are playing to. Once the primaries are over, the winner will probably try to be more centrist. With today’s media however, what they say now is recorded and will come back to haunt them.

  74. 74
    Nakarti

    Problem is, he’s *not* one of the leading Republicans. Ron Paul is, and the news, progressive bias or conservative bias, won’t even say the guy’s name!

    Straw poll
    Bachmann bought 6000 votes and got ~4800
    Ron Paul I didn’t hear about buying any vote tickets, still got 4600
    Parry was a write-in, got 700-some, and MSNBC, CBS, and Faux all presented it like he was the runner-up (even while showing vote counts! They *know* they’re viewers are idiots!)

    In the primary, I’m voting for Ron Paul. As nutty as he may be, at least he’s honest about it.

  75. 75
    Michel

    Seriously guys, try to keep Obama. At least, he said he liked science on a Mythbusters episode! From up here in Canada, it is very painful to watch your politics go sometimes… Even if Harper is less than ideal right now.

  76. 76
    docslacker

    Oh, by the FSM, am I glad that I no longer live in the U.S.

  77. 77
    britbitter

    @ #38
    You just won the internets. Your underlying point is also well taken. Although it’s true that only the winners get to govern, the better the choices are the less the oppurtunity for a bad outcome. I long for the days when ignorant, bigoted, mean spirited people were not quite so emboldened to show their asses in public. Soon after the civil rights movement got underway, bigots and racists were more marginalized and stopped “settin’ the woods on fire”. Now these same people gleefully see an oppurtunity to come out of the woodwork again. Witness the conventional wisdom that “political correctness” is the scourge of free speech. Time to send these folks scurrying back to mutter their hate in the shadows and leave the rest of us to enjoy the sunshine of reason and compassion. K, done pontificatin’ now. Carry on.

  78. 78
    AgentCormac

    I’m scared!

  79. 79
    Just Sayin'

    He’s pretty much looney-tunes, and therefore, he’s one of the leading Republican candidates for president.

    Fixed it!

  80. 80
    Inflection

    “And here your mom was asking about evolution, and you know, it’s a theory that’s out there and it’s got some gaps in it,” Mr. Perry continued. “In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools.”

    While I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find a public school science teacher somewhere in Texas violating the law, in fact McLeroy was defeated in the State Board of Education elections and creationism did not make it in to the biology standards. So Perry’s pretty much lying. That is to say, he’s saying what he wishes were true, as if it were, since that’s the religious mindset in a nutshell.

  81. 81
    Anthony K

    Brownian:

    And seeing Hunstman win this time ’round would help with that… how??

    I didn’t say you want him to win. I said you want a reasonable human being like him on the opposing ticket. Not for the sake of the battle, or the election cycle, but for the sake of the democracy you live in. Because hoping a Democrat will win every election from here on in is neither sensible, nor democratic.

    Actually, I think the slide into hell you’re projecting leads through Congress much more than through the White House.

    Sure. I know. They’re all assholes. But they’re assholes that will win seats in Congress sometimes, and sometimes an asshole will win a presidential election.

    I see your point… but I would consider the election of any of the Republican candidates (including Huntsman) a life-changing disaster. When W was elected (sort of), I was shocked and sad, but I was able to cross my fingers and hope for the best[1]. Now I know better, and it’s hard to see how I could just go one with life following a 2012 Republican win: I’d have to think about emigrating, or quitting my job in favor of radical activism, or something… but in any case, the life I had planned would be out the window.

    George W is a case study in what I’m talking about.

    And whoops! I guess Al Gore’s god didn’t make Bush ridiculous enough to lose; but just ridiculous enough to do some serious harm. Iraq is still splitting its sides, but I’m not sure that’s from laughter.

    But beyond that, a Republican victory would be a life-changing disaster?! I hate to break it to you Bill, but unless you plan to croak before next November, you’re gonna see a Republican president, and probably soon. Throughout US history, presidential parties in power are replaced on average every 8.88 years (median=8, mode=4), or essentially, two elections. So maybe it’s okay that Perry makes it onto this ticket and secures another Obama victory. If it happens that way. But, as I said before, what about 2016? 2020?

    But if your political strategy consists of “hope that the other candidate is so insane that your candidate wins by virtue of being the only one in the debate who didn’t build a fort out of feces”, then I can see why a loss would be a disaster.

    If only you Americans would keep your disasters to yourselves.

  82. 82
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Brownian:

    Sorry I didn’t respond sooner; the web nannies at work figured out that FtB was a blog (quelle surprise, eh?), so now it’s blocked.

    Also, I just got home from playing volleyball (for 3 hours!) with a bunch of other old farts like myself, and I’m fuckin’ destroyed… so quickly (I hope)…

    a Republican victory would be a life-changing disaster?! I hate to break it to you Bill, but unless you plan to croak before next November, you’re gonna see a Republican president, and probably soon. Throughout US history, presidential parties in power are replaced on average every 8.88 years…

    I’m not afraid of any Republican, ever; I’m afraid, quite specifically, of one of these Republicans, now. By my count, I’ve lived under Republican presidents for more than half my life (~28.5 years out of ~51), and, broadly speaking, I’ve survived the experience.

    But I think (I fear) we’re at an historical cusp: Over the next 10 years (or less), we will decide whether to defend, strengthen, and expand the New Deal social contract, or we will dismantle it in ways that will be irreparable in my lifetime. I have great (but conditional) hope for the future, because the rising generations of young people are, I believe, inherently predisposed to progressive values. If we can hang on to the torch long enough to pass it to them, we’ll be OK.

    But the right is also more energized, and more extreme (relative to the current center), than I can ever recall. I think these things are not unrelated: I think the right’s passionate, desperate extremism is a reaction to what they rightly see as a rapidly closing window of “opportunity.” This coming election, along with the 2014 midterms, will, I think, significantly determine whether this is a country I can imagine myself growing old and retiring in.

    In normal times, Huntsman or Romney wouldn’t scare me at all: <BlackKnight>It’s only a scratch; I’ve had worse!</BlackKnight> But I can’t imagine an electoral win for either that doesn’t also include a strengthening of the Tea Party’s hold on the House, and probably a flip to Republican control of the Senate. In that case, HCR, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, environmental and financial regulation, public education, and infrastructure reconstruction would all be more or less doomed… and I just don’t think I could live with that.

    So that’s why I don’t want a sane, tolerable GOP nominee this time ’round: Because such a person would only be a gateway drug to an insane, intolerable Congress, and the relative goodness of the president really wouldn’t matter then. Let us get ourselves out of the ICU first, won’t you, and then we’ll worry about improving the quality of our choices.

    BTW… I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’m just being overdramatic, and the stakes aren’t really that high. But I’m not quite ready to literally bet my life on that hope.

  83. 83
    KG

    Bill,

    I see your point, but I don’t agree. (I note, BTW, that the only practical action that follows from your viewpoint is for American progressives to vote and even campaign for a nutter in Republican primaries – are you actually proposing that?) It would make a difference to the outcome of the Presidential contest only if enough voters would be prepared to vote for Huntsman or Romney, but not for Perry or Bachmann. But if that is so, wouldn’t the same people differentiate between (relatively) sane and totally batshit Republicans in Congressional races? Moreover, if a relatively sane Republican candidate wins, this increases the chances of a batshit right-winger, running as an independent or Glibertarian, picking up enough votes to see Obama home.

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