CREDIBILITY

Posted in Rants on May 17th, 2010 by Ed

I can't honestly say that I highly recommend devoting 50 minutes of your life to watching the new Frontline ("The Vaccine War") because it won't be telling you anything you do not already know – namely that people who turn to Jenny McCarthy for medical advice are collectively dumber than a bag of hammers or an Arizona State freshman. It is not informative so much as it is entertaining in the trainwreck sense. You watch for the same reason you might watch boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao fight an uncoordinated 12 year old. It's not so much "I wonder who will win?" as "I can't miss what promises to be the ass-beating of a lifetime."

You will not find a better example of shitty logic – pure, unadulterated, and frequent – than the arguments made by this random collection of quacks, discredited fringe medical professionals, middle aged dads who look like militiamen, and idiot housewives. If you're familiar with the "movement" you're aware of the fact that the arguments boil down to:

1. "My child got vaccinated and then developed (autism/paralysis/narcolepsy/scabies/enlarged earlobes/whatever)." If one thing happens after another, the first was causal.

2. "Many doctors have questioned the safety of vaccines and support the vaccine-autism link." This is the saddest form of Appeal to Authority. It's more like "Appeal to Some Bus Driver with a Blog about Autism."

3. "There is no evidence that vaccines do not cause autism." Argument from Ignorance. Extreme ignorance in this case.

4. "There hasn't been a case of polio in the U.S. since 1979, so why are we still vaccinating kids against polio?" I shit you not, this is an actual quote. Watch the episode.

Their arguments are so stupid, in short, that I don't think it would be interesting to refute them. These are self-refuting arguments. I realize that there is a lot of room for honest disagreement and subjectivity in this world – although this is a recent development for me – but there is still a place for good ol' fashioned objectivity too. If you subscribe to any of these theories, you are retarded. Period. No "but" or "unless" forthcoming.

That said, the aspect of this that bothers me the most is the skepticism of the medical profession combined with complete, unquestioning trust in a bunch of crap one finds on Google searches. I understand the first part of that. I really do. It is a very good idea to be skeptical of medical advice, at least up to a point. The second part of the equation baffles me, though. "I really don't believe anything doctors say" transcends mere paranoia and becomes truly baffling when paired with "But I totally believe Jenny McCarthy and these three moms with a Geocities page!" Who does that? Who thinks that makes sense? In my mind, skepticism so well-developed that it encompasses people with medical degrees should also include clueless, uneducated celebrity morons and the select group of people who can throw a website on the internet.

What drives this kind of skepticism about medical science paired with unshakable faith in quackery and internet strangers talking directly out of their own asses? This is not a rhetorical question. I honestly do not get it. My best guess is that it is some kind of affinity based on similar characteristics – moms being more likely to trust other moms, nitwits being attracted to the arguments of other nitwits, uneducated people feeling kinship with other uneducated people in an alliance against the fancy book learnin' folk.

Perhaps this is just a subset of the population that has always existed – people who combine immature cynicism with total gullibility and absence of the ability to discern credibility from a source. These are the people who fall for Nigerian email scams; buy "collector's items" on the Home Shopping Network; jump on every diet/health fad no matter how ridiculous; believe that ridiculous home remedies can cure fatal diseases; watch Touched by an Angel and think it is based on a true story. A century ago these people were being suckered into buying patent medicines off the backs of wagons. Today they cruise the internet buying equally ridiculous empty promises from whoever happens to be the best salesman. That's what this is all about, no? Salesmanship. Jim Carrey,Jenn y McCarthy, and all of these internet hucksters have it. And of course a bunch of doctors at Johns Hopkins don't. So jumping on this bandwagon makes perfect sense as long as salesmanship and credibility conflate in your worldview. Good luck with that.

NPF: WHY ED HATES RADIOHEAD, AND MANY OTHER THINGS

Posted in No Politics Friday on May 14th, 2010 by Ed

Americans in my age group and thereabouts love them some Radiohead. Hence I am always hesitant to point out that I hate those callow Englishmen. I did two weeks ago. The backlash was immediate, albeit not as strong as I expected:

Well, you're a drummer in a metal band, so your music taste is understandably crippled. I suppose I can give you a pass.

Snap. On the other hand, anyone who would describe my former band as "metal" has just the kind of saccharine tastes that lead one to exalt Radiohead. Oh, it's on now.

Seriously though, I get this a lot. So let me explain.

Honestly, there's nothing objectionable about Radiohead. They are a perfectly average group of musicians making perfectly dull, inoffensive music. There is nothing wrong with them. I find it nearly impossible to imagine someone responding to Radiohead with "Oh God, I can't listen to this horrible racket!" It's the kind of thing young people can listen to while in a car with their parents without offending either.

My first objection, then, is a simple matter of personal taste. I tend to hate things that fit the preceding description. One could say that I am deeply offended by inoffensiveness. I don't hate their music; I hate that they are so boring, so unoriginal, and so predictable. If you are a Rock Musician and the parents of your fans "get" your music – or perhaps even like it – you are doing something wrong. Take a risk. Piss someone off. Hurt someone's ears. Challenge people. Don't just keep churning out boilerplate that makes people say "Oh, how nice." Bands that everyone can find a way to like are, by definition, forgettable.

"But Ed," the script reads, "that is your personal taste. Many people feel quite strongly about Radiohead and consider their music to be profound, not to mention exciting and groundbreaking." Which brings me to the second point: it bugs the hell out of me when people (including professional "critics" who, in an ideal world, would know better) go apeshit for mediocrity.

This is not Radiohead's fault, per se. They cannot control the way people react to them. But imagine listening to someone breathlessly tell you that Good Will Hunting is not only their favorite film but quite possibly one of the greatest films of all time. Can you imagine anything sadder? Good Will Hunting is just a sappy, mediocre pile of cliches destined to be a staple of the in-flight movie circuit. To think that someone would have such terrible taste and watch so much garbage that Good Will Hunting would look like an amazing work of art in comparison is depressing. This is how I feel when I read or hear someone go on and on about the greatness of Radiohead. And sweet merciful christ do you people (that's a royal You) love to go on and on about the greatness of Radiohead.

In my mind it is a damning commentary on the state of music today – at least the mainstream kind – that Radiohead is "great" or "innovative" or "revolutionary" or any of the other terms obsequiously heaped upon them by fans and critics alike. Compared to Puddle of Mudd or Grizzly Bear, yes, Radiohead is amazing. Compared to anything above the lowest common denominator they are not. If Radiohead blows your mind, you have done a particularly poor job of exposing yourself to music that does not appear on FM radio. To me, being amazed by Kid A is merely an indication that a person has never listened to Brainiac.

So that's my beef with Radiohead. Their music is perfectly adequate, and hence I have no interest in it. Though it's not the band's fault, I am powerfully turned off by seeing and hearing people crap their pants over something so predictable and unremarkable. No offense if you love them; I just think that with a little effort you could avail yourself of things that make Radiohead sound pedestrian in comparison. I feel this way about a lot of things and it's not a popular viewpoint. But if all of my viewpoints were popular – perhaps inoffensive – you wouldn't have much interest in reading, would you?

WOODSTOCK '10

Posted in Rants on May 13th, 2010 by Ed

Calling your event "the Woodstock of" anything is not a good idea unless you're absolutely positive that about 200,000 people are going to show up. It is never smart to raise expectations with promises of a new Woodstock – hundreds of thousands of people engaging in bacchanalian festivities of epic proportions – and then have 47 yahoos show up. If only I had written this post a week ago and emailed it to Mr. Craig Halverson of Griswold, Iowa. I could have saved him the humiliation sure to result from his recent decision to promote "the Woodstock of tea parties" later this year.

On 9/11, to be exact (Subtle…and classy!). In Onawa, Iowa. Population 3000, birthplace of the Eskimo Pie (we prefer Inuit, by the way), and rival claimant of "the world's widest Main Street" with Plains, Kansas. So there will definitely be enough space for Maggie Gallagher, which is good news. The event will have a "take back the country theme." Should we just start raising Ed's Travel Fund now?

The event promises "prominent conservative speakers" – I guess he hasn't heard about Palin's six figure demands to give a 20 minute speech she wrote on the limo ride over to the venue – and "bands perform(ing) patriotic music." I sure as hell hope Lee Greenwood doesn't already have a gig on 9/11. But who are we kidding…Lee Greenwood has to have a gig on 9/11.

Should we just start raising Ed's Travel Fund now?

I'm betting that:

  • The most prominent speaker at this trainwreck will be Orly Taitz or Randy Weaver
  • The musical entertainment is either Prussian Blue or those guys who had 5 minutes of notoriety in 2003 for the "I'm in Love With Ann Coulter" and "Bush was Right" songs, the latter straight out of the Third Reich songbook. Or both.
  • The most Woodstock-like occurrence during this event will be a group recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance…or a humorous mishap involving six hits of Purple Microdot on blotter paper made from Chick Tracts and Debbie Schussel unsteadily lurching down the World's Widest Main Street (disputed) while having a hallucinated conversation with Father Coughlin.
  • The printed literature, both books and pamphlets, available at this event will make the literature selection at a Waco, TX gun show look like a peer-reviewed American Government textbook.
  • There are more people there to point at and mock the attendees than there are actual attendees.
  • As best I can tell, there is only one way for me to address these and many other open questions.

    GOOD OL' FASHIONED MODERATE REPUBLICANS

    Posted in Rants on May 12th, 2010 by Ed

    Ah, Maine: the land of Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and the dying breed of moderate-to-liberal New England GOPers. Surely it must be the last bastion of sanity in the Republican Party. I would have bet money on this, but I have to admit that I'm not terribly knowledgeable about the political environment on the ground in a state that might as well be New Brunswick (Note to vacationers: Skip Bar Harbor and go straight to the Bay of Fundy. Bar Harbor sucks.) Turns out that my image of quaint New England Republicans with pleasant JFK-like accents badly needs updating. The state GOP has been conquered by TeaTards. The newly ratified party platform of the Maine GOP is a simply amazing read. It's a coarse mixture of Ron Paul buzzwords, chat topics from the Free Republic forums, neo-Bircherite nonsense, tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theories, and phrases most recently heard from the mouths of your local militiamen.

    As I am always careful to emphasize in the classroom, party platforms are essentially meaningless. They're not even remotely binding to any candidate and at best they have a bit of symbolic value. But that symbolic value is important here. This document indicates that the apparatus of the GOP, at least in this single state, has become one with the lunatic fringe. This is literally a laundry list of Glenn Beck's pet projects over the past year: ACORN, the Fairness Doctrine, "card check", cap-and-trade, the favored interpretation of the 10th Amendment among people who have no idea what the 10th Amendment means, and a thick coating of Patriot/Militiaman jargon. You have to see the whole thing for yourself, but some of the highlights include:

    1. The downright bizarre, such as repealing the Law of the Sea Treaty and the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child. If you are ever confused about whether or not you belong to a fringe group and/or are a lunatic, do this simple test: ask yourself "Do I have a strong and negative opinion about something called the Law of the Sea Treaty?" If yes, seek counseling. (If you haven't guessed, this is a pet issue for brainwashing homeschooling advocates.)

    2. Whole sections that sound like Ron Paul masturbating, including "Return to the principles of Austrian Economics" – as if any of these assheads have ever read an economics textbook in their lives – and "Pass and implement Fed bill #1207 (Introduced by Ron Paul), to Audit the Federal Reserve, as the first step in Ending the Fed." Good luck with that.

    3. Efforts to win the hearts and minds of working voters, like "Clarify that healthcare is not a right. It is a service." and "Reassert the principle that 'Freedom of Religion' does not mean 'freedom from religion'." Don't forget to "eliminate the Department of Education." Then kick back and watch the votes roll in.

    4. Pure, unadulterated paranoia that sounds as if written by the Montana Freemen with a quick revision or two by Terry Nichols. "Repeal and prohibit any participation in efforts to create a one world government." "Restore 'Constitutional law' as the basis for the Judiciary." (It sounds so legit when 'Constitutional law' is in quotes.) "Oppose any and all treaties with the UN or any other organization or country which surrenders US sovereignty." And of course, "investigate collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth, and prosecute any illegal collusion." I had no idea that anti-regulation "industry" was participating in "collusion" to propagate the myth of climate change.

    Like many people who are far removed from it, I am fascinated by the extreme right. I mean, just read their manifestos and their "tax protester" legal logic. To do so is to stare in wonder at the people who can not only imagine this shit but also believe it. Sure, most of it is just buzzwords (say "Sovereign" and "natural rights" a lot and you're golden on the militia lecture circuit) from people who lack the intellectual firepower to understand the comics let alone the Constitution. But upon closer examination it really is quite amazing the web of delusions they have managed to create. They are like a thousand Tolkiens, each with an entire fantasy universe inside their heads.

    Fortunately one needn't dig quite as deep to find this kind of material anymore. As Maine and the Teabagging movement in general have proven, this kind of incoherent babble from America's future Federal courthouse bombers is becoming quite mainstream.

    GENERATION NEGOTIATION

    Posted in Rants on May 11th, 2010 by Ed

    I am totally unqualified to pass judgment on specific acts of parenting. If I ever have kids, I'll probably be feeding them margaritas to get them to stop crying or something equally abhorrent that I would currently criticize with great indignation. So I try not to wag my finger at parents, excepting the most flagrant abuses of the "I tattooed my 2nd grader" variety. That said, I am not hesitant to criticize parenting fads, the kinds of things that saturate the non-fiction bestseller list and are more likely than not to come out of the mouths of a Dr. Phil or a Joy Behar.

    When social commentators paint the current generation of college students – do they still call them "millennials"? – they focus on the Special Snowflake phenomenon, that overpowering sense of entitlement that is the product of well intentioned but empty-headed emphasis on self-esteem building. Self-esteem is a good thing. So is having a grasp on one's own abilities and accomplishments that is at least partially grounded in reality. But this the generation of "everyone gets a medal" and "everyone's a winner." Gawker recently published an email from a would-be intern to a potential "employer" (to the extent that interning is employment) that sets the Special Snowflake problem in high relief. I am important, I am special, I am fantastic, I am desirable. That's what these kids have been told for 20 years before we graduate them into a grist mill of unemployment, unpaid internships, and $10/hr office work with no benefits.

    Enough has been said about that, though. The parenting fad of the 90s that causes educators more grief than any other is the idea that children should always be given choices. Don't give them rules or orders (That's so 1950s!). Give them options and let them learn about making choices and dealing with consequences. So Billy didn't have a bedtime, Billy negotiated his bedtime. Susie's mom didn't turn off the TV, she said "You can either watch another 15 minutes of TV or (whatever), but not both." Let them choose, the talking heads of the day hypothesized, rather than making them feel like they are always being ordered around.

    That's great except for the fact that nothing in the real world actually works this way. I notice this problem acutely in two situations.

    First – and it's not surprising that I mention this immediately after the spring semester when final grades are handed out – today's college students believe that receiving a grade is a multistage process of which the grade they earned is merely a starting point for negotiations. In the short time (six years?) I've been doing this, this is the single most irritating part of the job. I tell them, I am not Monty Hall and this is not Let's Make a Deal. Unfortunately they were born in 1989 so that means nothing to them. Grade negotiation isn't new, I assume, but I have to think it's getting worse. In the past three days I have received numerous emails to the effect of, "I know I failed your class but I really need a C to graduate. What can I do?" You can't do anything, Shooter. If you need a C to graduate then I guess you're fucked.

    Every student launches into the Negotiating Bedtime mode in these situations. They offer to do extra work (which will be as slipshod as their previous efforts, of course). They offer to re-take exams. They simply try to negotiate upward based on dubious logic of some sort – "This is why I deserve a higher grade" or similar nonsense. I have been offered large sums of money to change grades. I have been offered sexual favors for the same. I've been threatened (Not the scary kind – the sad, self-important kind on display in the Gawker link). Some of these kids, for as much as they suck at formal education, would be dynamite as used car salesmen.

    Second, they want to negotiate their post-graduation lives when they have no leverage beyond their conviction that they are special. A student recently told me about getting into Elite Law School X but being unhappy with their offer in terms of financial aid. He described the scenario to me in a way that suggested he imagined himself like Lebron James on the free agent market – he'd state his demands and watch a bidding war for his services ensue. As gently as possible I explained that Elite U. doesn't give a rat's ass about him and if he doesn't take their offer they have 10,000 other applicants with nearly identical qualifications who will. Students also talk regularly about "job offers", as in, "I'll wait to see what kind of offers I get before I blah blah blah." They don't grasp how little they are worth in times like these. Most of them, talented or bright as they may be, will be unemployed or marginally employed for a few years at minimum. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists can make demands. Social science majors can't. This does not occur to them.

    We're quick to point out how counterproductive it has been to fill generations of kids with the idea that they are special, important, and entitled to success and happiness. We recognize that their self-image departs radically from the current reality. Maybe with time we will come to a similar recognition of how useless it has been to teach them to negotiate and to couch everything in the language of choices. This is every bit as impractical given the noticeable absence of choices and leverage to negotiate in the job markets of the new millennium.

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    FOR SERIOUS

    Posted in Quick Hits on May 10th, 2010 by Ed

    Note the new, permanent "Buy Stuff" link at the upper right.

    One last reminder to grab some stickers. Papa needs a new pair of everything. These are perfect for your laptop, bumper, guitar case, locker, bike helmet, front door (keep the Jehovah's Witnesses away), bong, or forehead. In the absence of clothing, one or more stickers can be placed hastily over your genitals. Coffee mugs coming soon. You people aren't going to leave me with a giant box of unsold coffee mugs, are you? I'm thinking you are.

    3" x 5" stickers on heavy white vinyl – $3.50 (shipping included, unless it's outside of the U.S.)





    Gin and Tacos | Promote Your Page Too

    GETTING IT GREEK

    Posted in Rants on May 10th, 2010 by Ed

    Three-term GOP Senator Robert Bennett of Utah was defeated in a pre-primary state party caucus on Saturday, a defeat being blamed on anti-incumbent sentiment and Bennett's "liberalism" – Utah Republican Mormons being the liberal firebrands they are. In particular, the state's small but vocal contingent of TeaTards was irate over Bennett's vote for TARP:

    "I don't think it's a matter of conservative. I think it's a matter of fiscal or financial responsibility, what the Tea Party people are about and the vote for TARP and the vote for the bailout was, in our opinion, pretty fiscally irresponsible and that's what's raised the ire of most people," David Kirkham, a Tea Party activist, told CNN in an interview.

    These are bedrock TeaTard talking points. "Fiscal responsibility" mandates an all-encompassing hatred of the stimulus package, TARP, and all other financial crisis-related spending over the past two years. But surely they are happy about the chance to (finally) live in a stimulus-free world, as FY2010 is rapidly coming to a close and there are no existing or foreseeable plans to renew the massive distribution of Federal funds at the state and local levels. In a world in which cuts to the military budget are being discussed openly, you can bet the house (in the unlikely event that you still own it) on Congress rejecting any follow-up stimulus proposal.

    We are all getting used to the fact that our respective states – especially, but not limited to, places like California, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, and Michigan – had a pretty miserable time with their budgets in FY2010. Now, as we approach the 7/1/2010 start of the stimulus-free fiscal year, we will soon be looking back on 2009 as the good ol' days. Take a look at this summary list of proposed austerity measures being considered in state capitols around the country. We've all watched the financial disaster in Greece unfold with an unusually high level of interest here in the States. Rarely do we concern ourselves with the domestic politics of foreign countries. But we have been entranced by Greece's meltdown, probably because we know without saying it that the same thing will happen here before long. And it will be sooner than many of us imagine at the state level.

    Next year's state and local budgets are going to see the kind of triage solution applied in Greece – 10, 15, or 20 percent across-the-board cuts. Other states will reject that tactic and make Tough Choicestm, meaning they will focus all of the damage on things used by the unwashed masses – public education, transit, Medicare, CHIP, and a grab-bag of other programs that aren't useful to suburbanites and thus politically expendable.

    To steal a phrase from George W., our reaction to this impending budgetary armaggeddon is "uniquely American." The Greeks rioted; we applaud. They demanded fewer cuts; we demand more. They understand the relationship between social spending and their standard of living; we don't. They realize how much worse things are about to get; we seem to think that recovery might be around the corner.

    NPF: THE ALL-TIME RIDICULOUS BASEBALL NAMES ALL-STARS

    Posted in No Politics Friday on May 7th, 2010 by Ed

    Despite the vociferous objections of a number of readers, I had quite a bit of fun a few months ago with the All-Time Baseball All-Ugly Team. Today I want to focus on something less offensive but even more puerile. That's right, more puerile. This entry is going to set the record for dick jokes by a long shot. Hey, it's Friday. Let's come together through the medium of penis humor.

    Rather than trying to fill out a complete roster as I did with the All-Ugly team, let's yield to the randomness of the distribution of silly names and rank them by awesomeness rather than by position. Without further ado and in no particular order…

    1. Johnny Dickshot


    This obscure benchwarmer for the 1930s Pittsburgh Pirates achieved immortality through his legendary name. My father's habit of referring to random strangers as Johnny Dickshot, which delighted me to no end as a child, has stuck with me into adulthood.

    2. Randor Bierd


    They can't all be penis jokes, can they? I think it is only fair to make room for a guy who sounds like an understudy to Vader and Palpatine. If the awesomeness of this name isn't apparent at first glance, say it aloud a few times. I'll wait.

    3. Pete LaCock


    His name is Spanish for "Pete the Cock." What goes through the head of someone who names their child Peter LaCock?

    4. Dick Pole


    Oh for christ's sake. This is like shooting fish in a barrel, or at least like spearing them with one's pole. Bonus points for coming up in the minors with the Portland Beavers.

    5. Albert Pujols


    Note the helpful phonetic pronunciation provided by the Cardinals: "POO-holes." Aside from being, you know, the most dominant hitter since Ted Williams, Pujols is badly underrated in the ridiculous name department. Bonus: Most amazing bootleg t-shirt ever seen for sale outside of a stadium…"Cardinals Take it In the Pujols" with a cartoon bird getting sodomized.

    6. Urban Shocker


    The idea that there is not a D-list rapper or punk band full of 15 year olds named "Urban Shocker" is baffling. Come to think of it, I should have saved this one for the list of the greatest names of all time. No word if he ever gave anyone the shocker.

    7. Jung Bong


    "Bong" is one of those words that are just phonetically pleasing. "Bong." There's no way to say that without enjoying it. Bonus points: Braves announcer Skip Caray delighted in this guy's name, frequently noting that opponents were "lighting up Bong" or getting "another hit off Bong." Since he sucked, there was ample opportunity for such humor.

    8. Rusty Kuntz


    You set 'em up, I'll knock 'em down. He insisted it was pronounced "Koontz" but as you might imagine that did not catch on.

    9. Antonio Bastardo


    He sounds like a luchador or perhaps a b-squad Batman villain. Either way it's a twofer: fun to say and intrinsically hilarious.

    10. Yorman Bazardo


    See above, only slightly more like a James Bond henchman.

    11. Wonderful Terrific Monds


    That's his actual name. Fittingly, he really, really sucked.

    So tell me: who am I forgetting?

    WINDOW DRESSING

    Posted in Rants on May 6th, 2010 by Ed

    OK, I'll join the rest of the internet in offering two cents about People magazine's decision to put Gabourey Sidibe on its annual "Most Beautiful People" list. Let me attempt to explain what I think is so stupid about this without sounding as vicious and ugly as Debbie Schussel. Just to get everyone on the same page, this is the actress in question, star of (by all accounts) the unbelievably sappy Oscar bait Precious:

    Rather than approaching this from the predictable (and already well-worn) "She is fat and ugly, and hence not beautiful" angle, I find this bothersome simply because People does not actually think she is beautiful either. They are using her to show the rest of us what progressive views they have on beauty standards. We are supposed to break into applause and say, "Way to go, People! Fatties can be beautiful too!" And we are also supposed to pay attention to a stupid annual list that we would otherwise ignore. So far, People is 2-for-2.

    The problem is that if People really considered her "beautiful" their list of the 100 most beautiful people would not consist of Sidibe and 99 people who look like the 100 most beautiful people list always looks. The rest of the women on the list are the usual size-three-and-under suspects: Halle Berry, Zoe Saldana, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston, Sofia Vergara, and numerous other stick figures. If People has such an open mind about beauty, why isn't the list a nice mix of people of different sizes and appearance? Why is it 50 supermodels and Sidibe? And how much would anyone care to bet that next year the list is back to being fatty-free?

    People is trying to establish some progressive street cred with a "most beautiful people" list, something that is inherently shallow and stupid. The depressing thing is that in a world in which KFC can be lauded for social consciousness by offering pink buckets of fried chicken, this will probably work.

    ASIDE FROM THAT, HOW WAS THE PLAY, MRS. LINCOLN?

    Posted in Rants on May 5th, 2010 by Ed

    Bill Kristol, defrocked New York Times columnist and mainstream media outcast who is still good enough for Murdoch, sayeth the following on something called Special Report with Bret Baier last week:

    Look the data’s pretty clear in general that the offshore drilling of oil has become incredibly quite safe, not perfectly safe, but compared to other ways of getting energy, quite safe compared to the mining of coal for example, and very environmentally clean, except when there is a disaster like this spill, but Exxon Valdez was much bigger.

    Read that five or six times. Those of you who do not jam knives into both eyes after the third reading should rejoin us for the next paragraph.

    When the spill first happened I noted to anyone within earshot that the "drill, baby, drill" mouthbreathers were amusingly silent. I should have known better. That silence was actually golden and I would soon be yearning for it. And now I am. Kristol's breathtakingly stupid comment actually manages to make a slogan as asinine as "drill, baby, drill" sound like Olivier delivering the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V. Kristol, as usual, led the way for the right wing punditry. His comment was like the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics. Soon we would have:

  • Rush Limbaugh "noting the coincidence" of the event happening on Earth Day, thus establishing damning circumstantial evidence that "environmental wackos" blew up the rig in an act of terrorism. No follow-up word on whether the second rig that capsized on Saturday was also Ed Begley Jr.'s fault.
  • Eric "The Admiral" Bolling, who may in fact be the least intelligent Fox News contributor (akin to being the most closeted Focus on the Family staffer) helpfully suggested that our strategy moving forward should be "Drill here, drill now … drill, baby, drill." Look how well the monkey learned the catchphrase! That kind of classical conditioning could give Pavlov wood from beyond the grave.
  • The highly-paid speechwriter who writes Sarah Palin's Facebook updates enlightened us with a magnum opus entitled "Domestic Drilling: Why We Can Still Believe." Don't worry, she did learn something from her personal experience with the Exxon Valdez disaster…namely that, ya know, shit happens! We must be strong enough to accept the occasional environmental Hindenburg. Bonus point: comparing offshore drilling to the moon landing, which is to say dangerous, expensive, ultimately pointless, and a government-funded gangbang for contractors who live off the Federal teat.
  • The very appropriately named David Asman of Fox Business Channel (which, to remind you, has as many daily viewers as the website at which you are staring) helpfully notes that environmentalists need to "shut up" and that the "solution" (to…the spill?) is to "drill more." With incisive commentary like that, he won't be down in the minor leagues for long!
  • First, God made idiots. That was for practice. When He was convinced that He achieved perfection, He made Fox News contributors.

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