Friday, August 31, 2012

Lyin' Ryan

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OK, I blogged about this yesterday, but come on! By all rights, this should be a major scandal for months and months yet.

And I really have to wonder about this. As an atheist, I care about the truth. The truth matters to me. However, it clearly doesn't matter to these people in the slightest.

Of course, we atheists can't be moral, because we don't have a god telling us that it's OK to lie whenever we want, right?

Note that Etch-A-Sketch Romney is a Mormon and Lyin' Ryan a Catholic. And it seems to me that the Bible used to contain something called the Ten Commandments, one of which prohibited bearing false witness.

Since we atheists don't have those kinds of rules imposed by dogma, we're thought to be immoral and unethical. But I would be embarrassed to lie like this. I would think it wrong. Furthermore, if the only arguments I had were lies, I'd start to wonder if my positions might be wrong.

But Republicans who loudly insist that America is a Christian nation are just fine with bearing false witness. If it's a matter of their political ambition, lying is no problem whatsoever - not with their leaders and not with the party rank-and-file who make excuses for them.

Still think I need the Bible to make me moral? Ha!

Below the fold, I'll embed Stephen Colbert's take on this:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

They built that!


I'm still amazed by the fact that Republicans are constructing their entire campaign out of lies - and blatant lies, too, starting with that ridiculous "you didn't build that" lie.

But even given all that, the lies by vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan in his speech at the GOP convention were absolutely astonishing. Oh, plenty of people have been lying at the convention, but Ryan set a new record for mendacity.

And maybe, just maybe, it's starting to get noticed. I posted Paul Krugman's comments yesterday, but now, Daily Kos has a whole list of links to articles about Ryan's lies.

For example, here's Joan Walsh at Salon.com:
Paul Ryan gave a feisty anti-Obama speech that will have fact-checkers working for days. His most brazen lie accused President Obama of “raiding” Medicare by taking the exact same $716 billion that Ryan and the House GOP notoriously voted to slash. It was stunning.

But that’s not all. He attacked Obama for failing to keep open a Janesville GM plant that closed under Bush in 2008. He hit him for a credit-rating downgrade that S&P essentially blamed on GOP intransigence. He claimed that all taxpayers got from the 2009 stimulus was “more debt,” when most got a tax cut (and the stimulus is known to have saved between 1.4 and 3.3 million jobs). He derided the president for walking away from the Simpson Bowles commission deficit-cutting recommendations when Ryan himself, a commission member, voted against those recommendations.

He blamed Obama for a deficit mostly created by programs he himself voted for – from two wars, tax cuts, new Medicare benefits and TARP.

And of course, he riffed on the tired central lie of the GOP convention: that the president said “government gets the credit” for small businesses, not the business owners themselves.

There are plenty of details in other articles. Here's Jonathan Bernstein on that deficit commission lie:
It was, by any reasonable standards, a staggering, staggering lie. Here’s Paul Ryan about Barack Obama:
He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.

“They.” “Them.” “Them.” Those words are lies. Because Paul Ryan was on that commission. “Came back with an urgent report.” That is a lie. The commission never made any recommendations for Barack Obama to support or oppose. Why not? Because the commission voted down its own recommendations. Why? Because Paul Ryan, a member of the commission, voted it down and successfully convinced the other House Republicans on the commission to vote it down.

Incredible, isn't it? And as Ryan Grim points out, "it comes just days after Romney pollster Neil Newhouse warned, defending the campaign's demonstrably false ads claiming Obama removed work requirements from welfare, 'We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.'"

In other words, Republicans have gone with lying as a deliberate campaign tactic. No, that's not quite right. It's not a deliberate campaign tactic, but the deliberate campaign tactic. This is it! This is their bold new strategy to take power again - lying, over and over again, with a perfectly straight face.

And not even trying to hide it, because they know that most voters are ignorant about these things - and gullible enough to believe almost anything.

Unfortunately, it looks like Paul Ryan is very, very good at lying.
Analysis of the fact that Ryan can lie the way he does requires the skills of a psychologist. All I can say is that we’re in new territory—a Republican trying to own a Democratic issue, and doing so on the basis of a couple of lies so blatant that he’s practically saying to the Democrats and the media: “Fuck you, come and get me. You can’t touch me.”

Ryan is glib and smooth and has a certain charm. He delivers one-liners very well. He really knows how to package, and where to go and where not to go. He talked a lot about spending, but he didn’t talk much about taxes, because he knows that he can’t really defend his position on taxes, which is slash them for the rich, so don’t even open that door. Open only the doors that lead to free shots at Obama. Many of those too are lies. He’s done far more to add to the debt than Obama has—voting for Bush’s tax cuts and wars and Medicare expansion as a congressman. This is true. But he can make it sound as if no sane person could possibly believe it.

Yes, Paul Ryan - in the most incredible display of hypocrisy I could imagine - even shed crocodile tears for the poor!
We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves. … We can make the safety net safe again.

The rhetoric is stirring—and positively galling. Analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 62 percent of the cuts in Ryan budget would come from programs that serve low-income people. And that’s assuming he keeps the Obamacare Medicare cuts. If he’s serious about putting that money back into Medicare, the cuts to these programs would have to be even bigger.

Among the cuts Ryan specified was a massive reduction in Medicaid spending. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Urban Institute, between 14 and 27 million people would lose health insurance from these cuts. That’s above and beyond the 15 million or so who are supposed to get Medicaid coverage from the Affordable Care Act but wouldn’t because Romney and Ryan have pledged to repeal the law.

Think about a man who can lie like that, who can deliver those lines about helping the weak and maintaining a social safety net while doing his very best to do exactly the opposite. What kind of man is Paul Ryan?

Here's another example. Remember that debt ceiling debacle, when House Republicans held our country hostage? That led to losing our top credit rating, for the first time in America's history. Guess who Paul Ryan tried to blame for that?

Here's Jason Easley:
Ryan Blames Obama for The Nation’s Downgraded Credit Rating.

What Ryan Said, ”It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.”

The Truth: S&P blamed the downgrade on the political dysfunction caused by the Ryan led House on the debt ceiling, “We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process.”

In short, Ryan is blaming President Obama for a crisis that he helped manufacture.

And here's Jonathan Cohn:
About the deficit.

Ryan said “President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him” and proclaimed “We need to stop spending money we don’t have.” In fact, this decade’s big deficits are primarily a product of Bush-era tax cuts and wars. (See graph.) And you know who voted for them? Paul Ryan.


How bad was it? Even a columnist at Fox News noticed!
On the other hand, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold. ...

And then there’s what Ryan didn’t talk about.

Ryan didn’t mention his extremist stance on banning all abortions with no exception for rape or incest, a stance that is out of touch with 75% of American voters.

Ryan didn’t mention his previous plan to hand over Social Security to Wall Street.

Ryan didn’t mention his numerous votes to raise spending and balloon the deficit when George W. Bush was president.

Ryan didn’t mention how his budget would eviscerate programs that help the poor and raise taxes on 95% of Americans in order to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires even further and increase — yes, increasethe deficit.

Frankly, it's hard to know where to stop. His speech was just one lie after another.

That GM plant closing?
Let’s start with the chronologically impossible. Ryan spoke about the GM plant in his hometown of Janesville:
A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

Set aside the fact that Paul Ryan, in a fit of anti-Randianism, asked for government funds to save the plant. Set aside that he voted for the big-government auto bailout. Ryan also conveniently forgot to mention that GM announced the closure of the plant in early June 2008. In fact, Ryan and then-Wisconsin Sens. Russ Feingold (D) and Herb Kohl (D) sent a letter that month to GM CEO Rick Wagoner asking him to reconsider. This was not just before Barack Obama was inaugurated or even elected; it was the same day he won his own party’s nomination. There was no way Obama could have saved that auto plant without also discovering time travel.

The stimulus?
— a line from his attack on Obama’s stimulus:
The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst.
As Time’s Michael Grunwald, who has just published a new book about the stimulus, points out, “Experts had warned that 5 percent of the stimulus could be lost to fraud, but investigators have documented less than $10 million in losses — about 0.001 percent.” Solyndra has been the exception, not the rule.

More on the stimulus:
Ryan keeps attacking Prsident Obama’s stimulus program now. But in 2002 when then President George W. Bush proposed stimulus spending, Ryan supported it. “What we’re trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed,” Ryan told MSNBC in 2002. Ryan says that the stimulus had not positive effects, while economists say it saved or created millions of jobs and pulled the US out of a near-Depression.

... Even more embarrassing, in 2010, Ryan asked for $20 million in stimulus money from Obama for companies in his district, then repeatedly denied requesting stimulus funds. He finally admitted he had done so, but continues to slam the stimulus program as a failure (even though the economy pulled out of a Depression as a result of it).

Obamacare?
Ryan depicted Obamacare as virtually a turn to Soviet-style totalitarianism, as incompatible with liberal freedoms for the individual. But the logical conclusion is that Ryan’s running mate, Mitt Romney, turned Massachusetts into a Gulag.

Socialism?
Ryan’s sly nod to the right wing talking point that Obama is some sort of secret socialist hides the fact that this president is the biggest taxcutter in American history. This is a president whose biggest policy achievement is a healthcare reform that will give private sector health insurance companies millions of new customers.

But will any of this matter? Most people seem to think his speech will go over very well with the ignorant. After all, who's going to believe the "lamestream media"?

And Paul Ryan is such a nice, clean-cut young man. Who's going to believe that he's a pathological liar? After all, the entire Republican Party has done very, very well by lying. (And what they can't lie about - as with Mitt Romney's tax returns or their big-money donors - they keep secret.)

Steve Benen sums it up:
Paul Ryan, the man the media and Republicans celebrate as a bold truth-teller, told one lie after another, demonstrating a near-pathological disdain for honesty. His speech presented no substantive ideas, no policy solutions, and no bold positions on any key issue, but it included enough falsehoods to choke a fact-checker -- all because he assumes you're a fool and journalists are too incompetent to separate fact from fiction.

Is he right?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A conservative for Obama

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I don't usually post these interviews, but I thought this was interesting. Andrew Sullivan is a conservative who supports Barack Obama.

Now, he's a gay man, but he supported Barack Obama in 2008, too, long before Obama came out in support of gay marriage. (Note that he considers civil rights for homosexuals to be a conservative stand, and he has a real point. But that's certainly not "conservative" as it's defined these days!)

Stephen Colbert - in his persona as a right-winger - attacks him for being wrong in 2008, for thinking that Barack Obama could lead us away from those Nixonian culture war battles.

Andrew Sullivan: "I was only wrong in thinking that the Republican Party might just have the good grace and patriotism to actually cooperate with an incoming president in any way whatsoever. ...

"I just think, when you've just got elected president - you're in the worst recession since the 1930's - you might get more than zero votes on your first stimulus package. I'm sorry. They set out to destroy this guy from the get-go, which is why re-electing him is the most important thing, to destroy that [element?] in our politics. ...

"I hope that defeating them [the Republicans] this time might break that fever and bring conservatism back to the center, where we need it."

Why aren't more conservatives this honest and this sensible? Well, it might be because "conservative," as a definition, has lost all rational meaning.

Really, what's conservative about vastly increasing our federal debt by giving tax cuts to the wealthy? What's conservative about considering corporations to be "people" and money to be "speech"? What's conservative about putting the government in people's bedrooms, and between a woman and her doctor?

What's conservative about destroying our environment, mining our oceans, and using up our natural resources as fast as humanly possible? Isn't conservation "conservative"? What's conservative about undermining America's institutions? What's conservative about chipping away at our traditional - and constitutional - separation of church and state?

I could go on and on. "Conservative," these days, is anything but. And yet, Andrew Sullivan is nearly unique, a conservative who's rational enough, honest enough, and brave enough to say these things - and to fight the crazies who've been redefining the term.

Same party, same outcome


Thanks to Jim Harris for the link.

And here are a few others from that same source:












Mitt Romney's little joke

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I've already commented, briefly, on Todd Akin's rape comment, though there's plenty more that could be said about it. But I've been meaning to talk about Mitt Romney's little "joke":
“No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”

As Romney says, the crowd loved it:
Mitt Romney is standing by a joke about his birth certificate he made on Friday, despite complaints from President Obama’s campaign that the line was a nod to racially charged conspiracy theories regarding the president’s origins.

The Republican nominee told CBS Friday, after the campaign appearance where he made the remark, he saw nothing wrong with the comment, in part because it drew cheers from the crowd. ...

The Obama campaign found it less amusing, noting that Romney has consistently refused to denounce campaign supporters at the forefront of the birther movement like Donald Trump. It didn’t help that Trump tweeted about his conspiracy theory the very same hour Romney spoke.

Yeah, no one has ever asked to see a rich white guy's birth certificate! Isn't that funny? What a great joke!
Wait…how do I know that? I haven’t seen Mitt’s birth certificate, but I’ve seen Obama’s. Why should I believe him?

Oh. Because he’s white and looks like everyone else at his rallies. White people look like they were born in America, while brown people all look like foreigners and their claims of being born here are all questionable. I forgot.

And the all-white crowd at a Republican campaign event loved the comment. Imagine that!

It's really odd, isn't it, that Romney currently polls zero among African Americans? Even when the Republicans hand out free peanuts?
An attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday allegedly threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals” before being removed from the convention,...

Keep in mind that the Republican Party - the "Party of Lincoln" - used to be the overwhelming favorite of African Americans. There were 23 black congressmen before 1900, every single one of them a Republican. (The first woman senator was a Republican, too.)

But that was when the South was solidly Democratic. That was before the Republican's 'Southern strategy' of deliberately wooing white racists brought all those old Dixiecrats into the GOP. That was before the South became the new Republican stronghold (replacing the Northeast, which was appalled at how their party had changed).

But why are those black people so touchy? Why is it all about race with "those people"? Why can't they take a little joke?

And speaking of jokes:
Chris Christie got tapped to make the keynote attack on President Obama, but Rick Santorum was assigned to throw out some of the reddest meat at the GOP convention: about the way Obama supposedly gutted the work requirement for welfare (he didn’t).

And in case anyone was in danger of missing the racial subtext, Santorum linked Obama’s waiving the work requirement (he didn’t) to “his refusal to enforce the immigration law.” Welfare recipients and illegal immigrants, oh my! Santorum made sure to scare the white working class with the depredation of those non-white slackers and moochers. It’s 1972 all over again.

But Santorum moved beyond “blah” people to claim that all of America is caught up in “a nightmare of dependency, with almost half of Americans receiving government assistance.” To get to half, Santorum had to be including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps, programs that are overwhelmingly going to white people.

Implicitly, Santorum praised Charles Murray’s thesis (which he praised explicitly during the primary campaign) that “marriage is disappearing in places where government dependency is the highest.” Of course, where in the 1980s Murray made that claim about black people, now he’s making it about the white working class. But Santorum and the GOP are counting on the fact that the white working class — the core of their base — aren’t paying attention to that analysis, they’re only hearing the dog whistles about the non-white. The entire 2012 race hinges on that.

To this day, Republicans are using race to divide us Americans. And their base eats this stuff up.

That base, of course, was created by deliberately wooing white racists after Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawing racial segregation. But this tends to work on white people in general, because it's easy to believe the worst about people who look different - especially when they hear this stuff over and over again from Fox 'News' and other Republican propaganda mills.

This works especially well on elderly white people - people who grew up in a blatantly racist America. And the elderly vote. The young don't. And lately, Republicans have been busy putting barriers in place to keep Democratic constituencies - urban voters, young voters, minority voters - from the polls. Make it difficult to vote and fewer people will vote.

It's sad to realize, but all too many of us Americans are ignorant enough, bigoted enough, and/or gullible enough that racist dog-whistles still work. Republicans tend to use code words - their leaders, at least, know that calling black people 'animals' will turn off some voters - but they're not hard to translate.

In fact, they're not meant to be hard to translate. They're just meant to give them plausible deniability - not among minorities, who know very well what they mean, but among white supporters who want to believe that, anyway.

And ordinary white Americans buy into that, because it's easy to blame someone else for their problems. Even decades ago, this worked. Those so-called "Reagan Democrats" saw economics almost entirely in racial terms, as Republicans intended. They let the rich screw them over, because they bought into that race-baiting. Well, as I say, it's easy to believe the worst about people who look different.

It's the same way with Romney's little "joke." No white president has ever faced accusations about a secret birth overseas. No white president has ever been called a secret Muslim. John McCain was born in Panama, but that was never an issue in his presidential campaign. Of course no one is going to ask to see Mitt Romney's birth certificate.

Heh, heh. Hilarious, wasn't it? Yeah, that was a great joke. I'm still chuckling. Racism is always so funny!

Where's the pattern here?

Paul Krugman summarizes the GOP campaign:
The GOP campaign is based on five main themes, three negative and two positive.

Negative:
The claim that Obama denigrated businessmen, saying that they didn’t build their own firms — which isn’t true.

The claim that Obama has gutted Medicare to pay for the expansion of health insurance — which isn’t true.

The claim that Obama has eliminated the work requirement for welfare — which isn’t true.

Positive:
The claim that Ryan has a plan to balance the budget — which isn’t true.

The claim that Romney has a plan for economic recovery — which isn’t true. (The Economist: “The Romney Programme for Economic Recovery, Growth and Jobs” is like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the sex).

It seems to me that there’s a pattern here, but I can’t quite figure it out.

Oh, I'm terrible at these kinds of things! Where's the pattern? Where's the pattern? I can almost see it...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Republican Party vs the Republican Party

Indecision Forever quotes from previous Republican Party platforms:
For each of the following, identify whether the plank is part of the 2012 draft platform or one of its antecedents…
1. The Nation's labor unions, comprised of millions of working people, have advanced the well-being not only of their members but also of our entire free-enterprise system. We of the Republican Party reaffirm our strong endorsement of Organized Labor's key role in our national life.

2. The Republican Party supports an immigration policy which is in keeping with the traditions of America in providing a haven for oppressed peoples, and which is based on equality of treatment, freedom from implications of discrimination between racial, nationality and religious groups, and flexible enough to conform to changing needs and conditions…In that concept, this Republican Administration sponsored the Refugee Relief Act to provide asylum for thousands of refugees, expellees and displaced persons, and undertook in the face of Democrat opposition to correct the inequities in existing law and to bring our immigration policies in line with the dynamic needs of the country and principles of equity and justice.

3. We fully endorse the principle of equal rights, equal opportunities and equal responsibilities for women, and believe that progress in these areas is needed to achieve the full realization of the potentials of American women both in the home and outside the home…[We have...]

Required all firms doing business with the Government to have affirmative action plans for the hiring and promotion of women;

Requested Congress to expand the jurisdiction of the Commission on Civil Rights to cover sex discrimination;

Recommended and supported passage of Title IX of the Higher Education Act opposing discrimination against women in educational institutions;

Supported the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 giving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforcement power in sex discrimination cases;

Continued our support of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, our Party being the first national party to back this Amendment.

4. We favor self-government, national suffrage and representation in the Congress of the United States for residents of the District of Columbia.

5. Resolved, That foreign immigration, which in the past has added so much to the wealth, development of resources and increase of power to the nation, the asylum of the oppressed of all nations, should be fostered and encouraged by a liberal and just policy.

Answer: Trick question. None of this communist rabblerousery would pass muster with the GOP today. Numbers 1 and 3 are excerpts from the 1972 platform. Items 2 and 4 are from the 1956 platform. And number 5 is from 1864.

Of course, that was a trick question in another way, too. Despite the name, this isn't the Republican Party, not today. It's the Dixiecrat Party.

For more than a century, the South was solidly Democratic. But when the Democrats decided to support racial equality, that created an opportunity for Republicans. And their 'Southern strategy' of deliberately wooing white racists turned out to be wildly successful.

These days, there's no part of America more Republican than the South. All those old Dixiecrats, and their Northern sympathizers, are now the Republican base. They control the Republican Party these days.

African Americans left the party. Moderate conservatives left the party. Northeasterners - formerly the GOP stronghold - left the party, all but Wall Street.

Republican leaders tried to use the racists, the fundamentalists, the unrepentant Confederates, but the tail soon started wagging the dog. Now, that's the Republican base. The Dixiecrats have taken firm control of the GOP.

So of course they don't support the old Republican Party platforms. This isn't the Republican Party (sane Republicans switched to the Democrats, causing that party to shift right, too).

Now, we've got the Republicrats (Demoblicans?) on one side and the Dixiecrats on the other. And the Dixiecrats haven't given up fighting the Civil War.

Mitt Romney is accidentally honest


From the Washington Examiner:
All credentialed media checking into the Republican National Convention are being given a swag bag featuring brochures and items from various sponsors such as sunglasses and a pocket fan. But the bag also contains a copy of the original hardcover version of Mitt Romney’s book, No Apology, in which he suggested his approach to health care in Massachusetts could be accomplished in the rest of the country.

The allusion was later altered for the paperback version of the book, a change that became a contentious issue during the Republican primary.

On page 177 of the hardcover version of No Apology that’s being given out at the RNC, Romney describes his Massachusetts health care law and writes: “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care.”

This language was problematic, because it implied, contrary to what Romney has said elsewhere, that Romney thought his Massachusetts health care law could be a model for the nation.

No, no, no! Romney thought his health care plan was too good for the rest of the country. That was the problem.

But really, he'd have been better off handing out the paperback version, I Apologize, instead, don't you think?

Unless this is another Etch-A-Sketch moment, perhaps? Did the Republicans see a poll that showed voter support for Romneycare Obamacare? If so, maybe it's time to shake that Etch-A-Sketch again.

After all, the Republican primary is over. It's time to stop lying to the loony Republican base and start lying to the nation as a whole.

The Democratic gun control plan



It's a very plausible plan, I must admit.

Monday, August 27, 2012

GOG.com has Silent Storm!!!



How did I miss this? GOG.com is now selling Silent Storm Gold Edition, which includes both the original Silent Storm and the Silent Storm: Sentinels expansion.

The fact is, I missed these games the first time around, too. I don't know how. I finally discovered them about a year ago when Jef Major - One 'f' Jef - did a video playthrough of the Sentinels game.

Above, I've embedded the first clip of that - the first I'd ever seen of Silent Storm. I thought it looked like lots of fun. Jef does a great job with these video playthroughs - he's one of my favorite YouTubers - and this looked like a game I'd love.

But it was impossible to find. Amazon.com was still selling Silent Storm: Sentinels (and still is, for three times what it costs for both games from GOG.com), but you can't play the expansion without the original. And I couldn't find that anywhere.

But once again, GOG.com comes to the rescue! Take it from me, that's very definitely the place to go for great old games. Only,...

Well, damn it, the timing stinks! Heh, heh. My old computer is dying, so I just ordered a new one. I'm already planning to play Skyrim and other new games. Yes, according to GOG.com, Silent Storm will run on Windows 7 (and I could run it under "XP Mode," if needed, anyway).

But it hardly seems right to get a fancy new computer and play old games on it, not at first, at least. Of course, most of the games I do play are old games. And normally, I'm no graphics whore. But I still think I want to enjoy Skyrim at the highest graphics settings, at least for awhile.

Nevertheless, this is great news! I just stumbled across it today, purely by accident. I don't know how I missed it earlier (I think they started selling it in June), because I do get the promotional emails from GOG.com.

What's so great about these games? Well, you can watch the video clip for the details, but the combat is similar to that of X-Com: UFO Defense, one of the best games of all time.

I've never understood why there haven't been a million imitators of X-Com. But for whatever reason, there just aren't many games with that combat mechanic. (Even the so-called "XCOM" game that's currently in development is just going to be another boring first-person shooter. They're stealing the name, but completely ignoring what made made the original X-Com great.)

Silent Storm uses that mechanic, but also has a charm all its own. Now, it's not perfect, not by a long shot. I suspect that it can be very frustrating to play, at times. And it is an old game, by game standards. (Silent Storm was released in 2003; Sentinels in 2004.)

But take a look at the comments and the ratings at GOG.com. Gamers still love these games. There's a good reason for that. Also, old games are cheap, which is another benefit. Finally, you don't need a fancy new computer to run them.

Yeah.

Well,... I'm still looking forward to my "fancy new computer." And I'm still looking forward to Skyrim, too. Never doubt that. But sooner or later, I'll be paying another visit to GOG.com. After all, you can never have too many great games, right? :)

Sharia law too moderate for Republicans

From Indecision Forever:
Consider the Republican platform plank on abortion
The Republican platform committee approved language on Tuesday seeking a constitutional amendment that would ban abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest, or danger to the life of a pregnant woman, a position Democrats quickly labeled the "Akin Plank," after embattled Representative Todd Akin of Missouri.

Sounds pretty Sharia-y. Except for all the nuance in contained in actual Muslim teaching
All schools of Muslim law accept that abortion is permitted if continuing the pregnancy would put the mother's life in real danger. This is the only reason accepted for abortion after 120 days of the pregnancy.

Different schools of Muslim law hold different views on whether any other reasons for abortion are permitted, and at what stage of pregnancy if so.

Some schools of Muslim law permit abortion in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, while others only permit it in the first 7 weeks.

In other words, the official Republican position on reproductive health is more extremist than that found in Sharia law. It all makes sense now. Sharia has to be rejected as too moderate on women's right, just as other sources of "foreign law" like the Magna Carta and English Common Law has to be rejected lest they threaten the planks on national security and civil liberties.

Funny, isn't it? I always thought that Republicans and Muslim extremists thought alike. It was just lucky for the rest of us that all faith-based thinkers know the Truth, and so they can't tolerate the Truth that every other true-believer just knows.

But it turns out that Sharia law is too moderate for Republicans. Well, that's not too surprising, I guess. When extremists take control, you just can't be too extreme.

And no matter how far to the right you are in today's Republican Party, that won't be far enough tomorrow.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mitt Romney: The Musical



"Aggressor Six" by Wil McCarthy

(cover image from Amazon.com)

It's the distant future, and humanity is struggling to survive against the Waisters - incomprehensible aliens with insanely powerful technology, who've traveled 1200 years out of the waist of Orion "for the privilege of squashing the human race like a nest of bugs."

There seems to be nothing we can do to stave off extinction, though our military leaders try every trick in the book, including mass human wave attacks. And in our desperation, they create Aggressor Six - five humans and a very smart dog who are assigned to act like the enemy, talk like the enemy, think like the enemy - trying to gain some slight advantage which might turn the tide.

Aggressor Six (1994) is an incredible book. It grabbed my interest right from the start, and I could hardly put it down. On the Aggressor Six team is Ken Jonson, one of the few people who's ever seen the enemy face-to-face, a marine corporal who survived a horrific attack on a Waister ship, but not undamaged.

The first part of the book alternates Aggressor Six activities with flashbacks to Jonson's combat experience. Jonson seems very fragile, mentally - reasonably so, given his experiences. But there's no time for healing.

Fearing his assignment, he throws himself into the role even more than the others on his team. He knows that the aliens are people, and that there must be some explanation for the attack. But are they just losing their minds? Or are they, indeed, becoming the enemy?

And the aliens are very alien. They do not think like human beings. That's pretty much the whole point. What they are doing seems to make no sense - and it doesn't, not for human beings. But these are aliens. They don't think like us.

Apparently, this was McCarthy's first published novel, but it just blew me away. I remain astonished that McCarthy isn't better known. As I noted in previous reviews, he combines hard science fiction with superb characters. I won't forget Ken Jonson for awhile, that's for sure.

Note that this is set far in the future. I don't know how far, but we're told that humanity had first harnessed antimatter a thousand years previously, and we have colonies around several star systems. But people don't seem to have changed much. Admittedly, we only see military installations. And no civilians at all.

But human technology doesn't seem to have advanced that much, either (nothing like the advances in McCarthy's Queendom of Sol series). Yet we can retrieve useful information - including their language - directly from alien brains. I must admit that strained my suspension of disbelief.

In a way, we don't know anything about these aliens. Yet, from their brains, we know their language, their customs, even their family units. It's an odd combination, none too plausible. But if you can just accept it as the book's premise, the rest of this is a great story.

It's a powerful story. It's draining, even. Human beings die by the millions, maybe even by the billions. And we see enough of their individual stories to imagine that duplicated almost beyond measure. This is a tragedy like human beings have never seen before. Not even close.

It's desperate times, and desperate times require desperate measures.

___
Note: Here's my review of the sequel, The Fall of Sirius.

The crackpot caucus


Here's Timothy Egan's take on the Republican war on critical thinking:
Take a look around key committees of the House and you’ll find a governing body stocked with crackpots whose views on major issues are as removed from reality as Missouri’s Representative Todd Akin’s take on the sperm-killing powers of a woman who’s been raped.

On matters of basic science and peer-reviewed knowledge, from evolution to climate change to elementary fiscal math, many Republicans in power cling to a level of ignorance that would get their ears boxed even in a medieval classroom. Congress incubates and insulates these knuckle-draggers.

Let’s take a quick tour of the crazies in the House. Their war on critical thinking explains a lot about why the United States is laughed at on the global stage, and why no real solutions to our problems emerge from that broken legislative body.

He then goes on to give some very scary examples:
We’re currently experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, a siege of wildfires, and the hottest temperatures since records were kept. But to Republicans in Congress, it’s all a big hoax. The chairman of a subcommittee that oversees issues related to climate change, Representative John Shimkus of Illinois is — you guessed it — a climate-change denier.

At a 2009 hearing, Shimkus said not to worry about a fatally dyspeptic planet: the biblical signs have yet to properly align. “The earth will end only when God declares it to be over,” he said, and then he went on to quote Genesis at some length. It’s worth repeating: This guy is the chairman.

On the same committee is an oil-company tool and 27-year veteran of Congress, Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas. You may remember Barton as the politician who apologized to the head of BP in 2010 after the government dared to insist that the company pay for those whose livelihoods were ruined by the gulf oil spill.

Barton cited the Almighty in questioning energy from wind turbines. Careful, he warned, “wind is God’s way of balancing heat.” Clean energy, he said, “would slow the winds down” and thus could make it hotter. You never know.

“You can’t regulate God!” Barton barked at the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in the midst of discussion on measures to curb global warming.

The Catholic Church long ago made its peace with evolution, but the same cannot be said of House Republicans. Jack Kingston of Georgia, a 20-year veteran of the House, is an evolution denier, apparently because he can’t see the indent where his ancestors’ monkey tail used to be. “Where’s the missing link?” he said in 2011. “I just want to know what it is.” He serves on a committee that oversees education.

In his party, Kingston is in the mainstream. A Gallup poll in June found that 58 percent of Republicans believe God created humans in the present form just within the last 10,000 years — a wealth of anthropological evidence to the contrary.

Another Georgia congressman, Paul Broun, introduced the so-called personhood legislation in the House — backed by Akin and Representative Paul Ryan — that would have given a fertilized egg the same constitutional protections as a fully developed human being.

Broun is on the same science, space and technology committee that Akin is. Yes, science is part of their purview.

Where do they get this stuff? The Bible, yes, but much of the misinformation and the fables that inform Republican politicians comes from hearsay, often amplified by their media wing.

If you care for America - or our planet - at all, you should be terrified at this. And outraged, too. But there are three points I want to make:

First, as I've noted many times before, this is faith-based thinking, rather than evidence-based thinking. The scientific method is designed to determine the truth, despite our biases. It's the only effective method we've found of distinguishing reality from delusion and wishful-thinking.

But these people don't want to accept reality. They don't have the courage for that. They prefer to remain ignorant and, like Judge Head, they prefer their own fantasies. They don't "believe" in science, because science tells them the truth, regardless of what they want to hear.

Second, it's always easy to find reasons to believe what you want to believe. We human beings are very good at rationalizing our existing biases and beliefs. And let's face it, if you look online, you can find backing for pretty much anything you want to believe.

Do you believe the Earth is flat? You can find support for that online. Do you believe that the Moon landing was a hoax, that vaccines cause autism, that George W. Bush planned the 9/11 attacks, that Barack Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya? Those things are all completely crazy, but if that's what you want to believe, you can find backing online. Heck, you can find whole books backing up any crazy idea you care to mention.

My point is that finding reasons to backup whatever you believe is trivially easy. As I said, we are very, very good at rationalizing. So what does that tell you? It should tell you that that's not an effective way to determine the truth. It should tell you that you need a better mechanism than that.

And yes, the scientific method is the best mechanism we've ever discovered for determining the truth. If there's a scientific consensus on an issue, there's no valid reason for us laymen to believe the opposite. If you don't understand why that is, you really need to study the scientific method.

Finally, you might think that these crackpot ideas don't really matter. Yeah, the Republicans might be completely nuts about science, but you support their economic policies. So why should you care that they're batshit crazy on these other issues?

Well, for one thing, these other issues are important. But even if they weren't, why would you think that Republicans are right on some issues, when they're demonstrably crazy on others? What makes you think that their economic policies are any less faith-based than their other policies?

Maybe they're telling you what you want to hear, but is that the truth, or just what you, yourself, want to believe? How can you tell? You must know that Republicans are just as much faith-based in their economics as in their science. You must realize that they're going to reject anything they don't want to believe in economics, too.

And you must know that everything they claimed during the Bush years - notably, that tax cuts for the rich would create such a booming economy, with jobs for everyone, that our budget deficit would disappear nearly overnight - turned out to be completely, horribly, disastrously wrong (at least as wrong as their claim that Iraq would greet us as liberators and that the war would "pay for itself").

Republicans still believe in that dogma, despite the evidence, only because they're faith-based. It's still holy writ to them. You don't abandon your faith because it fails, not when you really, really want to believe it. It's only evidence-based people who admit when they've been wrong, and change their mind.

So why would you accept Republican claims about the economy when they've proven to be complete crackpots about everything else (and about the economy)? Why would you disregard their lunacy in one area, just because you'd like to believe what they say in another? Why is being completely batshit crazy not important to you?

Isn't it just because you, too, want to believe what you want to believe? Isn't it because you have your own biases, and you find it easy to believe whatever backs them up? Well, we all do. That's just human nature. But some of us look for a reliable mechanism for determining the truth, and for separating the truth from wishful-thinking.

And when we see crackpots taking over the Republican Party, it makes us wonder about all of their positions. When we see Fox 'News' lying - blatantly - we wonder why they wouldn't use the truth, if the truth really did back up their claims.

And when we see Republican politicians everywhere avoiding questions and refusing to tell us the details of their plans, we wonder why we should just assume they've got the (secret) solutions to our problems.

Crackpots are everywhere in the Republican Party these days - not just in the GOP base, but among their leadership, too. What does that tell you? How do you feel about it? Frankly, it scares the crap out of me!

___
My thanks to Jim Harris for the link.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong 1930-2012



Neil Armstrong died today, and I thought this video clip of the first Moon landing would be appropriate.

Back then, we were still willing to do something, even if it took tax money. Back then, we still believed in America - in our institutions, in our government, and in our people. Back then, we weren't convinced we were in decline.

We had plenty of faults back then, but we hadn't lost America's traditional "can do" attitude. Both political parties still 'believed' in science, and both parties were willing to put America ahead of their partisan political ambition.

In many ways, we've progressed since then. Let's never doubt that. But we've also lost something. Thirty years of 'trickle-down' economics has destroyed our economy, as well as our confidence. We're less inclined to invest in America. We're far less inclined to take bold steps. We've lost our courage.

Or maybe we've just misplaced it. We've still got our heroes. We just don't back them anymore. Firemen are considered to be just greedy public employees, sucking on the government teat, no matter how many children they rescue from burning buildings.

And astronauts? What astronauts? America has to buy a ticket from other countries just to get into space! Forget about the Moon or Mars. We'd rather give tax cuts to people who already have everything.

It's sad that Neil Armstrong lived to see that. But it's sadder that he didn't live long enough to see us regain our senses and reclaim our ambition.

___
Thanks to Jeff for the link!

Swimming in a sea of insanity



Abraham Lincoln must be rolling over in his grave. This is what the 'Party of Lincoln' has come to.

But the GOP has been busy trying to rewrite history, so I suppose, in their version, Lincoln owned slaves and fought for the Confederacy, huh?

Of course, in their version of reality, the United Nations has a giant military force, too! But don't worry. All those gun-totin' hicks will fight them off. The county sheriff and the county judge will stand in front of that UN armored personnel carrier and fight them off. Thank God for the NRA, huh?

But just think about it. This isn't some random loon, standing on a soapbox in the park. This is a county judge, speaking on the local Fox 'News' affiliate. And that interviewer is nodding his head and agreeing with this nutcase: "Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Right, right."

How would you like to have that judge deciding your fate? How would you like to be in his power, especially if you were a minority? (You know that it's Barack Obama being black that has these loons frothing at the mouth.)

Cenk Uygur gets pretty worked up here, but it's understandable, don't you think? How crazy can these people get?

Cenk: "Because once you say, 'I don't live in the reality-based world - I believe in, you know, vacuum cleaners in the sky' - then there are no bounds. There are no bounds. Then, of course you believe in the blue beanie attacking the hobbit homes, 'cause you don't believe in logic. Once you don't believe in logic, it's over. Then anyone can get you to believe anything."

That's the point I keep trying to make here. This is faith-based, rather than evidence-based, thinking. With faith-based thinking, there's no limit to the crazy stuff you can believe, because you're not constrained by reality.

If you're faith-based, you just believe whatever you want to believe. And frankly, fantasy is often a lot more interesting than reality. In his mind, Judge Head can be an American hero, bravely facing down the UN hordes. Which of us wouldn't want to star in his own fantasy, whatever it might be?

Even logic isn't enough. I disagree with Cenk about that. It's a lot better than nothing, true. But even logic has to be backed by evidence. Evidence is what keeps us tethered to reality.

Unfortunately, the entire right-wing has become untethered to the real world. They're all floating off into their own fantasies. And they're determined to take the rest of America with them. As Cenk says, "We're swimming in a sea of insanity."

Fox biased? Say it ain't so!


That image, from Indecision Forever, is a television screenshot, so it's a bit fuzzy. Sorry. But this will explain it:
On Wednesday, the Obama campaign organized a fundraiser headlined by basketball superstars Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Carmelo Anthony to boost the president's fundraising efforts.

Rather, supporters who donated for a chance to attend the so-called "Obama Classic" thought they were going to a fundraiser being attended by current and former NBA stars. According to Fox Nation and the Free Beacon, they were in fact hanging out with "failed baseball player Michael Jordan and noted anti-police activist Carmelo Anthony."

Heh, heh. Heck, even I know who Michael Jordan is (although "Carmelo Anthony" could be a new flavor of ice cream, for all I know), and even I wouldn't describe him as a "failed baseball player."

And "noted anti-police activist"? Heh, heh. I invite you to read Carmelo Anthony's Wikipedia page. I guess that's not a new ice cream flavor after all...

But how far can Fox 'News' go in pushing their anti-Obama rhetoric before they become a complete laughing stock to everyone? Of course, they've long since passed that point with me. But how could even the true-believers continue to give them any credence at all?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Teresa MacBain at FreeOK2012



This is 50 minutes long (and the sound cuts out briefly a couple of times, near the end), but I thought it was very interesting.

Of course, I've never understood how adults can believe in fairy tales. And then, to start with that mindset, to be so convinced of what you've been told all your life, and then make the long journey to disbelief, that's really impressive!

That's very different from my own experience, which wasn't difficult at all. Sure, I was raised Christian. Sure, I never knew anyone who wasn't a Christian, as far as I knew. (Certainly, no one ever expressed any doubts.) But it was a casual Christian environment, and I don't ever remember actually believing it.

But Teresa MacBain is a member of The Clergy Project.  She wasn't just a believer, but a Christian minister! I can't imagine how hard that must have been. As I say, it's really impressive.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Who's the real flip-flopper?



I miss the Republican presidential nomination, I really do. How fun was that? But now, we've just got Mitt Romney. <Yawn>

Now, it's just dumb and depressing. Back then, it was dumb, but hilarious.

If you can't laugh at Republicans, it's like watching America stumble and fall without the banana peel. It's just not very enjoyable when you realize they're serious. I mean, America could really get hurt!

We Built This!

From Indecision Forever:
When Barack Obama uttered the "You didn't build that!" heard 'round the world last month, he probably thought that he was making a really good point about the interconnectedness of private business and public works, when what he really was doing was helping the Republican National Convention name its events
The GOP is turning what some see as a presidential slight aimed at business owners and entrepreneurs into a theme for a night of the Republican National Convention next week, titling Tuesday night’s session "We Built This!"

The theme and list of speakers are meant to directly contrast comments President Obama made in Roanoke, Virginia last month. Describing what he noted as the federal government’s role in helping the private sector, the president pointed to infrastructure and education.

Do I even need to tell you this next part?
[T]he stadium where the GOP will be announcing "We Built This!" was financed primarily by the government. The Tampa Bay Times Forum arena, which houses the Tampa Bay Lightning, was built in 1996 as the "Ice Palace" with 62% government funds. The total budget for the project was $139 million, of which public money accounted for $86 million and team money accounted for $53 million.

Funny, isn't it? But I'm wondering how Republicans think they can get away with basing their entire campaign on a lie. Don't they expect anyone in the news media will call them on it?

Of course, Fox 'News' is working hard to help push the lie, but their viewers aren't going to vote for Barack Obama, anyway. And what about legitimate news sources? Are Republicans so certain that the mainstream media won't call them on this?

They'd have to be, wouldn't they? After all, it's so very, very easy to demonstrate what a brazen, baldfaced lie this is. I just don't get it. It seems completely insane, unless the GOP is sure that journalism is dead in America.

I  hope they're being overconfident, I really do.

The self-deportation station



One thing you can say about Republicans: they're solution-oriented. Problem identified, solution determined (and without raising taxes!).

And when you think about it, this is really win/win. After all, Republicans are determined to make America such a hell-hole that Mexicans will be clamoring for one of these free rides south.

And not just Mexicans, I suspect. After all, Mexico seems to be making real progress (something anathema to all right-thinking Americans, of course).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Reap the Wild Wind" by Julie E. Czerneda

(cover image from Amazon.com)

The first book I ever read by Julie E. Czerneda was A Thousand Words for Stranger (1997), the first in her Trade Pact Universe trilogy (now, part of The Clan Chronicles, as is this book).

It was lots of fun. I quickly read the following two volumes, then other books by Czerneda. She's now one of my very favorite authors. (See my review of her Species Imperative trilogy.)

But when I heard she'd written a prequel to that Trade Pact trilogy, it just didn't sound appealing, for some reason. I guess prequels never sound particularly appealing to me. But I really should learn to trust my favorite authors. :)

Reap the Wild Wind (2007) is the first volume in her Stratification trilogy (yeah, she seems to do everything in threes) and part of The Clan Chronicles. But the Clan call themselves the Om'ray in this one. They share a planet with two other species and know nothing of the wider universe.

In fact, they see their universe as existing only where they can sense other Om'ray mentally. And nothing ever changes on Cersi. That's by treaty, in fact. The three species live together in peace through very specific rules. Change is prohibited.

Aryl Sarc is a young Om'ray in Yena Clan, a community built high above a swamp in huge rastis trees. No one ever leaves, or arrives, except for the rare young men on Passage, drawn to marry into other clans (if they can survive the dangerous trek).

It's a fascinating environment, and a very odd one, but it's all Aryl has ever known and all she expects to ever know. She realizes that other Clans must live differently (she can sense them and point directly to them, if asked), but it's nothing that will ever concern her. Women don't go on Passage, and even for men, it's rare.

(To a much lesser extent, we also see the life of Enris of Tuana Clan, a young metalworker whose environment couldn't be more different. Of course, we know those two will meet up at some point, and they're both very appealing characters.)

What no Om'ray knows is that there's a wider universe out there. In particular, there's the Trade Pact, a peaceful galactic society of multiple alien species. And Trade Pact explorers have discovered Cersi, unwittingly causing disaster for Yena Clan and changing a world where change is strictly prohibited.

Even worse, some of those Trade Pact explorers are human beings - people who look exactly like the Om'ray, but don't exist to the Om'ray's mental powers. The Om'ray are used to bizarre aliens, but not to something which looks so familiar, but isn't real, by their other senses.

Czerneda has the knack of writing likable characters. We quickly care about Aryl and Enris both. We care what happens to them and to the people they care about. That's probably the main reason I love her books.

And no one in Yena Clan has ever expected change. As far as they know, Om'ray life has always been that way and always will be. Indeed, they work very hard to make sure nothing changes even by accident. So when change is forced upon them, you can't help but admire their courage and their determination. These are people we care about.

In addition, Czerneda - who was trained as a biologist - has created a fascinating ecology here (not to mention some great aliens). Well, the previous trilogy was filled with great aliens, too!

Other than that, this is science fiction about psychic powers - not my favorite theme, perhaps, but a classic one in science fiction. Consider it fantasy if you want - it's certainly not science - but it has a long, respected pedigree in science fiction.

But what you get here is a book about people. They're people with strange powers in an exotic setting, but they're still people. That's the focus of Reap the Wild Wind. Don't expect great SF ideas. This is character-based fiction.

But it's very entertaining. I can't wait to continue the story with Riders of the Storm.

___
Note: My review of the next volume is here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

That's why they invented code words, dude!

From Indecision Forever:
Remember back when politicians used talk all fancy and whatnot to try to dazzle you out of understanding that they were trying to screw you over? It was annoying, but at least I felt like I was getting a show.

Now, it seems they're not even trying to try to make the effort. Quite frankly, I feel dirty
"I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine," said Doug Preisse, chairman of the county Republican Party and elections board member who voted against weekend hours, in an email to The Dispatch. "Let's be fair and reasonable."

I don't know what I find more offensive in that quote, that this guy considers making polling places accessible to more eligible voters to be a contortion of Democracy, or that he that he's too dumb to even attempt to hide his bigotry. Dude, this is what they invented code words for! They made up the word "urban" so that people like you wouldn't have to say "African-American."

Sometimes, I wonder if Republicans are even trying to hide their racism these days. Yes, that's why they invented code words!

Did he really think that people are too dumb to understand that "urban" means "African-American"? Maybe he's been hanging around with other Republicans too much. But no doubt, in a face-to-face meeting, he'd just wink when he said "urban voter," huh?

This is like the so-called voter fraud problem. That's just code for suppressing Democratic - and especially African-American - votes. But some Republicans seem to be too dumb or too lazy to even keep up the pretense.

Pennsylvania Republican Mike Turzai came right out and admitted that voter ID was a partisan political ploy: "Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."

My god, people! What's the point of using code words for such things if you come right out and explain what you really mean, anyway?

What's next? Are they going to start explaining what they really mean by "job creator"? Dude, don't bother! We already know it means screwing over the middle class in order to benefit the wealthy. You really don't have to spell it out.

Monday, August 20, 2012

God's little shield


You heard about Rep. Todd Akin's comment that victims of "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant, right? Crazy, isn't it?
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” ...

A 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found “rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency” and is “a cause of many unwanted pregnancies” — an estimated “32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.”

But do you know what's even crazier? Akin isn't just a Republican Congressman; he's on the House Science Committee!

How crazy is that? That would be like Michele Bachmann being on the Intelligence Committee, or Joe Barton being on the Energy Committee. (Oh, wait, they are!)

Of course, Republicans today don't "believe" in science, so I suppose that Akins fits right in. At least, he's apparently not alone in his belief about God's little shield.

Well, Republicans are faith-based, not evidence-based. They believe what they want to believe. That's the whole problem. That's why we're in such a mess here in America these days.