Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Republicans who expect people to be stupid

When Barack Obama was campaigning for president in 2008, he declared that marriage is between a man and a woman. For the most part, his position was treated as a nonissue. Now Rick Santorum is campaigning for president. He too says that marriage is between a man and a woman. What a different reaction he gets. There's no mystery why. Mr. Santorum is attacked because everyone understands that he means what he says.
Mcgurn is trying to be dense or misleading or both. Take your pick. (Mcgurn has been a speechwriter for Rupert Murdoch and was Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush). Obama was talking about semantics. Santorum wants to control people's sex lives. Santorum is against birth control, women's access to abortion (even in instances of rape), and gay rights. It is within the context of Santorum's sexview in general that people interpret Santorum's statements. And actually, a lot of people for gay rights thought Obama didn't need to be going into right field - though they knew he wasn't anywhere near as obnoxious as Santorum with his desire to deny people's right to privacy.
"In an interview with the Associated Press (AP) taped on April 7, 2003, and published April 20, 2003, Santorum stated that he believed mutually consenting adults do not have a constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts. Santorum described the ability to regulate consensual homosexual acts as comparable to the states' ability to regulate other consensual and non-consensual sexual behavior, such as adultery, polygamy, child molestation, incest, and bestiality, whose decriminalization he believed would threaten society and the family, as they are not monogamous and heterosexual."
Santorum is dense enough to think that when the law allows consensual sex between adults that all sex - consensual or not is allowed. This is somehow logical to him. Logic and religion don't generally mix - but in Santorum's case his idea's are so far from logical it boggles the mind. Which is what makes Mcgurn trying to put a logical spin on them is so annoying. (Of course - one can only figure that the corporations want Santorum as their puppet - so Mcgurn, as their spokesperson, will say anything).

IMO, The Wall Street Journal should be boycotted. Not only does it advocate obnoxious right wing viewpoints such as Santorum's (framed by the likes of Mcgurn), the WSJ has also included pro-torture editorials and editorials which try to convince dense people that global warming is a hoax.

The problem is that some of what the WSJ does is very good. It can be considered a reliable source of news. But then they mix in their editorials and the part of the WSJ that is reliable gives credibility to their propaganda and right-wing nonsense. In that way - they can be more dangerous than FOX, which can be ridiculous all the way around (though FOX, too, probably gets people who go there for the news who leave being more ignorant than when they started out - what with FOX's opinion/'news').

Monday, February 20, 2012

"The Testimony Chairman Issa Doesn't Want You to Hear"

Sandra Fluke, a law school student attending Georgetown University

From the LATimes:

This week, there were no women appearing with the first panel before a House committee, which titled its hearings "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State" but that really was about the healthcare overhaul's requirement that employers' health insurance policies cover contraception.

The Democrats’ witness of choice -- a female Georgetown law student whose friend couldn't get access to contraceptive treatment there because of the university's religious affiliation, and who, evidently as a consequence, lost an ovary because of a syndrome that causes ovarian cysts -- was not permitted to testify. That, according to California Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who heads the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was because she is not a member of the clergy, unlike the five men who did testify.

A letter to Democratic members from Issa's staff explained the decision not to let the student testify; it said the hearing "is not about reproductive rights but about the administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience."

Issa's colleague, New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney, begged to differ: "What I want to know is, where are the women? I look at this panel and I don't see one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventive healthcare services, including family planning.... Of course this hearing is about rights -- contraception and birth control. It's about the fact that women want to have access to basic health services [and] family planning through their insurance plan."

A second panel later in the day included two women chosen by Issa, both from Christian-oriented academic institutions but neither a clergy member. The two Democratic women on the committee, Maloney and the D.C. representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with a male colleague, Mike Quigley of Illinois, walked out of the hearing in protest.


I am upset that Republicans actually seem to believe that the fact that these authoritarian religious men are disturbed by other people's sex lives is a reason to change public policy. The religious beliefs of the women are apparently irrelevant - and yet the men/Republicans cry that this is a violation of religious liberty (for the men). It goes beyond absurd and into the world of disturbing.

Of course the Republicans are also in denial about global warming, overpopulation, over-consumption, etc. It would be nice if they realized that we can't keep having medical technologies prolong life without also have medical technologies that prevent everyone from having 10+ kids.

Some of these people (like the Pope and Santorum) actually believe that people should not be having sex unless they are creating a baby. But really - what does the Pope know about sex? Are any of the Bishops heterosexual? If they have any more hearings, perhaps somebody should ask them why they are so concerned about how much sex other people have (procreationsl or recreational) - when they have decided sex is irrelevant to their lives. And what does their obsession about controlling other's sex lives have to do with spirituality.

"131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds"

From Climate Central:

Weather Anomolies - Winter 2011-12

Europe freezes as America enjoys a mild winter

It’s been a deadly end of January and start to February in Europe, where the cold has killed at least 460 people, according to health officials. The Weather Underground rates it as Europe’s coldest outbreak since at least 1991. The 1,780-mile Danube River — vital for transport, power, irrigation, industry and fishing and nearly as long as the Mississippi River — was wholly or partially iced over from Austria to its mouth on the Black Sea.

Why has Europe been so cold? A large area of high pressure is lodged over Scandinavia and northwestern Russia, allowing the jet stream to flow around its western edge and bring extremely cold, Arctic air down toward the Mediterranean Sea. This cold air has brought snow showers to Rome, frozen Venice’s famous canals and even brought very rare snowfall to northern Africa.

Even as the cold air has invaded Europe, it has remained incredibly warm in the United States, which is having a mild winter. Here’s the contrast on temperatures between the two hemispheres during the first five days of February, from the UK’s Met office:
_________________________________________________________________ Strange Minnesota winter continues MINNEAPOLIS -- Buds on the trees and an overnight grass fire near Hugo and the wild, weird weather trend in Minnesota continues into February. "It's unbelievable," said Lawn Ranger's Todd Dilley.

He chalks this season up as one Minnesota's weather anomalies. His Lawn Ranger snowplows have sat idle for most of the winter.

The greatest snowstorm we've had so far dropped a little over 4 inches back in December. January was one of the driest and warmest on record and despite a cooler temperature here and there, February is on pace for more of the same.


We have had a weirdly warm winter. We got a couple of inches of snow one day, we had some ice another day. But mostly I am thinking that our weather must be more like what northern Georgia normally gets. Daffodils have bloomed (a couple of them - many have been in bud stage for a couple of weeks or so). Willow trees are coming out. The plants seems to be 4-6 weeks ahead of normal. Also - the ticks never went away. Zuma had ticks in December, January and February - normally we get a reprieve of a couple of months. It's very weird.

"Warmer Planet Could Be Dominated by Mosquitoes, Tics, Rodents and Jellyfish"

Of course we at Universal Jellyfish knew about the jellyfish, ticks, & mosquitoes - rodents is a new one...and swans...(though I doubt that global warming will be good for any mammals in the long run). Article in Scientific American today:

Imagine a planet where jellyfish rule the seas, giant rodents roam the mountains and swarms of insects blur everything in sight. It may sound far-fetched, but enough global warming is likely to change the distribution of wildlife on Earth. While species that are under threat, such as the polar bear, seem to get all the attention, others are beginning to thrive like never before.

In the past three months, new studies have been published about killer whales, wandering albatross and trumpeter swans—all of which appear to be benefiting from climate change.

Melting ice is turning the Arctic Sea into a giant buffet for killer whales. They have been arriving in growing numbers to feed on belugas, seals and narwhals, according to a recent study by scientists from the University of Manitoba. Warmer temperatures make it easier for the whales to hunt because their prey is less likely to climb onto sea ice or hide below it to escape.

At the opposite end of the world, in Antarctica's Southern Ocean, changing winds have been helping the wandering albatross find food faster. Researchers say global warming has produced stronger air currents that allow the birds to spend less time away from their nests, increasing the odds that their chicks will survive.

"The duration of foraging trips has decreased, breeding success has improved and birds have increased in mass by more than 1 kilogram," wrote the study's authors, who called their findings "positive consequences of climate change."

In Arctic areas, global warming is happening at roughly twice the average speed, which has allowed Alaska's trumpeter swans to expand their breeding grounds northward into regions that were previously too cold, according to a study published in Wildlife Biology in December.

....White-tailed deer in the northern United States are already showing a population boom thanks to this year's lack of snowfall, which has made it easier for the animals to find food, said Curtis. He also believes a warmer spring could benefit snakes and salamanders, giving them more time to grow and add to their fat reserves.

...Jellyfish populations are also suspected to be swelling because of climate change. In recent years, the creatures have been clogging the nets of fishermen, stinging record numbers of beachgoers and blocking the water intake lines of power plants in at least three countries. Some scientists are linking the phenomenon to warmer waters and ocean acidification caused by high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Studies have found that today's oceans are 30 percent more acidic than in the 18th century, when the Industrial Revolution began.

...Certain species of insects, like mosquitoes, ticks and invasive beetles, are also expected to benefit from warmer temperatures. In fact, a 2003 study published by the Ecological Society of America concluded that "all aspects of insect outbreak behavior will intensify as the climate warms."

...Future levels of carbon dioxide may help beetles, as well, according to researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who found that Japanese beetles lived longer and laid more eggs after eating leaves that were grown in an environment with additional carbon dioxide.

..."What we really don't know is what the long-term consequences of climate change are," explained Curtis. "There will definitely be winners and losers, and it's hard to predict what some of those will be." He said animals that can migrate—like whales and birds—are more likely to adapt, while species bound to a particular environment, or food source, will face greater challenges.

Even creatures that appear to be benefiting today may not be so lucky in the future. Scientists predict the winds that are helping the wandering albatross will become increasingly violent by the end of the century, threatening the birds' survival. And Colorado's marmots don't easily adapt to heat, so rising temperatures may soon put them—and the plants they eat—at risk.

"It's hard to say if swans will even benefit long-term," said Schmidt, who explained that the ponds they live in may already be drying up. "If those sorts of things are occurring, it might be a zero-sum game. Or it might be negative."