Ron Paul gets no respect

Alex Pareene has a nice roundup of the GOP candidates views on scienceall of them, except Jon Huntsman, are science-denying wackaloons who reject evolution. As we in Minnesota know, that’s actually where Michele Bachmann’s career got its start, campaigning locally against evolution.

But poor Ron Paul. He only gets a brief mention, and it’s to say that he thinks the evolution debate is irrelevant. Au contraire! He fits in perfectly with the other Republican candidates. Watch him declare that evolution is just “a theory” and he doesn’t accept it.

Darn that lamestream media — they just can’t treat Ron Paul fairly. Come out and admit it, he’s a perfectly representative member of the Nutbag Party.

(Also on Sb)

Do we need another dumb Texan for president?

This is awful: Rick Perry’s Texas A&M Transcript is now available online. He was a pre-vet student in college? Unbelievable. This is a fellow wobbling between a C- and a C+ average from term to term. As an advisor, I would have taken this poor student aside in his second year and explained to him that veterinary school is really, really hard to get into — even harder than medical school — and with his grades he didn’t stand a chance of getting in, and even worse, he demonstrated no aptitude at all for the field. I would have recommended that he switch majors and pursue some field that doesn’t require much math and science, instead of limping along to barely squeak through with a degree in a field he’d never be able to pursue further.

And I guess he did that anyway, going into a career that any dumbass can do, Texas governor.

No wonder he can prate about disbelieving evolution: he’s got negligible biology in his education, and he barely passed what little he took.

(Also on Sb)

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)

More tax breaks for the Ark Park?

Why? This makes no sense. Ken Ham is putting up a for-profit theme park, has already got big sales tax breaks from the state of Kentucky, and now we learn that he’s also getting a major break on property taxes.

The property tax agreement means the Ark Encounter would pay 25 percent of the local taxes due on 800 acres of property where the $150 million theme park will be built. Mayor Rick Skinner says the reduced property taxes will generate far more revenue than unoccupied land.

Well, with that logic, we all ought to get tax cuts on our homes to just slightly more than the valuation of an undeveloped lot.

Besides, we’ve been hearing all these glorious promises from Answers in Genesis about how they’re going to be raking in big bucks and getting amazing attendance and creating all these wonderful jobs for Kentucky — but at the same time they go begging for special privileges like a bunch of desperate paupers.

Christians. Yeah, they believe in that poverty crap, all right.

(Also on Sb)

How good is American health care?

A study in the Journal of the Royal Society of medicine has assessed the effectiveness of health care in 19 western countries and come up with a simple ranking system: a measure of the the number of lives saved relative to expenditures proportional to the GDP. One parameter, called the GDPHE, or GDP Health Expenditure was a measure of how much money the country was sinking into health care per citizen; by dividing this by the mortality rates, they got a measure of the effectiveness of the health care system.

This is a ranking system, and I have mostly a hyper-competitive American audience, so you all want to know whether you win or not, right? You want the data that shows that the US is #1! And here it is, the one result that shows us at the top of the ladder, our average health care as a function of GDP.

Look at that: we don’t just win, we win big, leaving our closest competitor, Germany, in the dust. We spend 125% of the money Germany does per person. Does it feel good, America? We are tossing bigger buckets of money into health care than anyone else.

But now for the number that really matters, the GDPHE ratio. How many lives are we saving with all that money? Here’s the answer. Look at the last column, which is the ratio of money spent to lives saved.

Oops. We’re…#17. We’re almost the worst — thanks, Portugal and Switzerland, for neglecting the medical needs of your citizenry more than we do.

Our health care is miserably inefficient, and we pour extravagant sums of cash into it, but you might ask whether it works at all. And the answer is a bit of good news, yes, it does. This study also compared death rates over time and came to the conclusion that, in the US, more than half a million people are alive today who would not have been with the medical care we offered 25 years ago. Medicine in the US is good, it’s just far more economically wasteful than it ought to be.

I’m still thinking I ought to retire to Ireland.

(Also on Sb)

Brazil needs your help

Governments that aspire to oppressiveness love to restrict the flow of information and communication, and that’s happening in Brazil right now. The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies is considering legislation to control internet access.

Next week, Congress could vote to radically restrict internet freedom in Brazil — criminalizing everyday online activities like sharing music and restricting fundamental blogging tools. We have just six days to stop them.

Public pressure defeated an attack on internet freedom in 2009, and we can do it again! The bill is in three committees in the Chamber of Deputies to stop the bill from passing. These politicians are carefully watching public response to the proposed bill in the days leading up to the big vote — now is our chance to launch a national outcry and force them to protect internet freedoms.

Brazil has over 75 million internet users — we can be deafening if we join together. Send a message now to leaders of the Constitution and Justice, Science and Technology, and Public Safety Committees, then share it with your friends and family across Brazil!

Sign the petition and save Brazil’s internet!