Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stealing Yglesias

Because it's so good, I'm just going to quote Matthew Yglesias's entire post:

Ed Gillespie’s RealClearPolitics article on “Myths and Facts About the Real Bush Record” is about as stupid and dishonest as you’d expect. But after “debunking” five perfectly accurate alleged myths, Gillespie gets into the whopper that really gets my goat:

And one last fact: Our homeland has not suffered another terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. That, too, is part of the real Bush record.

This is like saying that except for the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover had a good economic record. The vast majority of Americans to have ever been killed by foreign terrorists were killed under George W. Bush’s watch. As Gillespie says, whether or not a president succeeds in preventing foreign terrorists from murdering thousands of American citizens is an important part of that president’s record. And Bush took office on January 20, 2001. Nine or so months later by far the largest terrorist attack on American soil was perpetrated. That’s a fantastically enormous failing. If you only look at Bush’s final seven years, you’ll see that he was as good as every other president at preventing terrorist attacks. And if you include his entire presidency, you’ll see that he was by far the worst.

Not suffered another terrorist attack since 9/11?

One word: Anthrax.

Remember, kids, it's only terrorism if it's done by a Muslim!

And from the comments:

...the conservatives never give Bill Clinton any love for preventing another terrorist attack after the first World Trade Center bombing that took place six weeks after his inauguration. You know, the one whose perpetrators are all in jail. Instead, they sneer at him for trating terrorism as a “law enforcement issue.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rick Warren: Bigoted Dumbass

Liberals everywhere are rather pissed off that Obama has chosen the odious Rick Warren to give his inauguration speech. David has a good post on the subject. One of the reasons Warren fought against Prop. 8 is that he claimed it would mean preachers that spoke out against gay marriage would go to jail since that would be hate speech, an out-and-out lie.

W.A. Criswell was a Southern Baptist preacher who Warren once described as "the greatest American pastor of the 20th Century." This is a quote from Criswell:

Don't force me by law, by statute, by Supreme Court decision ... to cross over in those intimate things where I don't want to go. Let me build my life. Let me have my church. Let me have my school. Let me have my friends. Let me have my home. Let me have my family

That sounds like pretty boilerplate text you could expect from any conservative Christian when it comes to the gay marriage issue, no? I really wouldn't bat an eye if I heard Warren or Pat Robertson say something like that. (One of the more ludicrous objections gay rights opponents come up with is that gay marriage would somehow hurt their marriages, though they never say exactly how.

But Criswell wasn't talking about gay marriage. He was supporting segregation.

That arguments for segregation seem so applicable to gay marriage opponents seems telling to me, somehow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Math. It matters.

From a letter in today's News-Gazette

The reason that the Big 3 cannot compete is executive salaries. The math once again proves how wrong Kruse is for blaming the autoworkers. The top two General Motors executives combined salaries were over $22 million in 2007. Divide that by 3.8 million cars sold by GM in 2007, and you find that these two salaries added over $5,800 to the price of every car GM sold in America last year.

Yes, please. Divide $22 million by 3.8 million. Did you get 5,800?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Yokel gets his magical Mormon panties all in a bunch

Sigh. The yokels just keep writing. The literate ones, anyway. This week's yokel is Robert Dunn, who will be familiar with anyone that spends too much time on IlliniPundit. This particular letter to the editor of the N-G has got to be the biggest, most hysterical overreaction I've seen in ages. Mr. Dunn is all a lather about the uppity homosexuals not letting him persecute them like a good Christian should be able to.

I am appalled at the treatment that my church has received at the hands of radical homosexual groups

Well, that's fair. I'm appalled that your church would decide to poke it's nose into California politics that are really none of its business. Single-handedly hurting thousands of California families so you can feel all self-righteous is pretty appalling. I can only wonder how many hungry people could have been fed with the $20 million Mr. Dunn's church spent on it's campaign of lies and deceit.

Seriouly, Mr. Dunn is "appalled" at protests and demonstrations? The threshold for appall-dom is set pretty low these days. Personally, I'm more appalled at sick people dying alone while their loved ones are not allowed to be at their deathbeds because they're not "real family."

Notice how it's always "radical" homosexuals? The only non-radicals being the good little queers that just quietly bend over and let the Mormon Church give them the shaft, if you'll pardon the metaphor. The only way Dunn could have made that more of a cliche would have been to call them "radical homosexual activists." Now that's scary!

Now that conservatives are back in the wilderness, it is the time for all conservative Christians to unite beyond denominational and theological distinctions to defend our right to speak out on important moral issues.

Conservatives are back in the wilderness? I'm sorry, did FOX News go off the air while I wasn't looking? Did Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, World Net Daily,, and even IlliniPundit suddenly get up and evaporate while I wasn't looking?

With liberal Democrats ... our First Amendment rights are in jeopardy.

Wait, whaaaaat? Liberal Democrats, the most free-speech political group you can think of are a threat to the First Amendment? Which party ran a candidate that wanted to get Harry Potter banned from the library? Which party is trying to ban the Kite Runner in local schools now?

With the possible implementation of the Fairness Doctrine, religious broadcasting is threatened.

Ohhh. Now it makes sense. The Fairness Doctrine is that ridiculous thing that Rush Limbaugh uses to frighten his listeners. It's a dead deal. No one is talking about bringing the Fairness Doctrine back. No one. Except Rush Limbaugh and his ilk, trying to scare their Dittoheads into being all mouth-frothy.

...we are one Supreme Court justice away from having an anti-life, anti-free speech, anti-traditional values majority in the nation's highest court.

Why do I think that, when the next piece of controversial religious art comes along, Dunn's new-found support of the First Amendment will evaporate like Ted Haggard's pants? An anti-life Supreme Court? What, would they suck the life force out of the lawyers arguing before them? I, for one, welcome our new black-robed, vampiric judicial overlords.

This is a call to unity among all of those who believe that our nation was founded as a Christian nation conceived in liberty.

Geez, all this "Christian nation" nonsense just chafes my butt. People like Dunn seem to think that, because their Christian God is the font of all goodness, and because America is by definition good, America must be Christian. That's poppycock and the founding fathers like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and the like knew it. In fact, they specificially rejected Christianity as the basis for our government.

Now here is the piece de resistance, where Dunn completely jumps the shark:

If we do not stand as one, we could be looking in the future when a letter like this is deemed a "hate crime" and the author is thrown in prison in our new Orwellian moment of "change and unity" under Obama.

Wow. Paranoid delusions much? Name me one public figure that has said that writing a ridiculous letter like Dunn's would be a hate crime. Find me one hate crimes statute that would classify Dunn's bigoted little rant as a hate crime. You can't, because they don't.

But these fundies hate having their bigotry called out as such. And anyone pointing it out is "persecuting them because they're Christians." We live in a country where religous conservatives regularly blame gays for everything from California wildfires to the current economic crisis. They're free to predict Gay Day at Disney would lead to meteor strikes. The Republican Party of Texas still has as part of its platform that gays should be put in prison. So get down off the cross, Mr. Dunn. Soylent Mormon is quite a ways off.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

False economy

One of the sillier things about the proposed auto manufacturer bailout is the noise that was made at the last hearing about the fact that the company CEOs took the company jets from Detroit to Washington, DC. In fact, I'm pretty sure I heard more about that fact than about what actually happened at the hearing. (Amusing fact. When Ford's CEO was asked if he would take a pay cut of his $2 million salary to a symbolic $1, his response was "I'm think I'm OK where I am." Uh, duh.)

Because of the bad PR last time, it's been announced that the Ford CEO will actually be driving to Washington, DC later this week. That has got to be the dumbest economic move ever. According to Google Maps, that's about a 9 hour drive. Let's say he's got an iron bladder like Dr. Fig (don't ask), and will make only the minimum of stops. So let's say it's a 10 hour drive, door-to-door.

Ford's CEO make a $2 million salary, but his total compensation package is $22 million. That means he gets paid $11,000 per hour. Nice work if you can get it, but that means just the time it will take to make this drive will cost Ford $110,000.

But there are even more costs to consider. Mulally is making this trip to ask Congress for the money that might mean the difference between staying in business and going under. (And Ford is probably in the best shape of the Big Three.) So if for some reason, he misses all or part of the hearings, the very future of Ford would be jeopardized. Makes the stakes of having a flat tire seem a lot higher, no? For want of a spare tire...

To get to DC, Mulally will have to drive through Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In December. What are the odds that there might be several inches of snow just like we got in Illinois on Sunday somewhere in that 500 miles? Maybe one percent? And if that snow had a 50/50 chance of stopping the CEO to get to the hearing to beg for his company's future? That's a 1 in 200 chance that we'd lose a company worth $18 billion, even taking into account the recent troubles in the stock market. Alleviating that risk might be worth the price of a private jet.

Flying commercial isn't much better, either. It will take several more hours that flying in a private jet. (I'm guessing, never having flown in a Lear.) Remember that $11,000 an hour? Again, you have all the risk of being delayed because of weather, an oversold plane, mechanical problems, etc.

I'm not saying that the CEO getting to take the company jet on a weekend shopping trip to Rodeo Drive isn't extravagant and unnecessary. I'm just saying that sometimes spending money to save the time of an extremely valuable employee or in an incredibly high-risk situation is sometimes a sensible expense.

What's with salted butter?

Meijer had butter on sale the other day, so I was going to get a pound to stick in the freezer. I don't go in for any of that fancy gourmet butter, so I was just looking for my usual, 1-pound box of unsalted butter quarters. For some reason it seemed to me the section for salted butter was enormous compared to the one for unsalted butter. Why?

People put salt in butter before the days of refrigeration so it wouldn't spoil as fast. These days, it seems everyone has access to both a refrigerator and electricity; some people even have indoor plumbing. So the need to add salt to butter to stop if from spoiling is rather unnecessary. So why is there such a demand for salted butter?