Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Surviving in the Age of Stupid

When the premiere episode of Trauma aired on NBC last night, I couldn’t help but notice that there was more than a small amount of irony involved. The series opened with a flashback (not a Flashforward) to a tragic helicopter crash that wiped out most of a trauma/rescue team—and forever altered the lives of the survivors—then quickly segued to a scene in which a drooling idiot, salivating at the prospect of sending a text message, seemed more intent on getting his message sent than on paying attention to evolving traffic conditions going on all around him while he speeds down the freeway.

The results, of course, were predictable; one just couldn’t tell exactly when the carnage would happen, or how severe it would be. As it turned out, it was pretty severe, indicating that the texter wasn’t the only incompetent driver on the road that day. Fortunately, this scenario was only a dramatization. Unfortunately, similar scenarios play out in real life, every day, on roadways all across America.

Enter the irony. A scant three hours earlier, Channel 6 News (CBS) aired the results of its daily opinion poll: 8% of respondents to the poll think that texting while driving shouldn’t be illegal. WTF?

Quick! Revoke their driver’s licenses and confiscate their cars. Those people are drooling idiots who lack essential skills (mainly attention span) needed to safely operate a moving vehicle of any kind. Get them off the road before they kill someone.

Yeah, I know, we have too many laws already, and we don’t need big brother constantly telling us what to do. Bullshit! It’s precisely because people can always be counted on to do the expedient thing, the convenient thing, the selfish thing, the greedy thing, or the stupid thing—and that they can rarely be counted on to do the right thing or even the required thing—that make some laws necessary.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Case for Re-legalizing Cannabis

The following video makes a rational, intelligent and compelling argument for the re-legalization of cannabis hemp:

Hemp and the Rule of Law

Contrast the first video with this one, which stars the real-life counterparts of Beavis and Butthead:

Anti-marijuana Public Service Ad

Even though the second video is a parody, it tends to reinforce the idea that when you don’t have anything intelligent to bring to the debate, stupid is not a good fallback position.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Matrix Reloaded?

This 20-minute video will change the way you think about everything. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Perceptions of Reality

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Monday, September 14, 2009

The 51st State?

When Tarleisio—one of my favorite bloggers—posted The Politics of Childhood on MoltenMetalMama, I got to thinking about the nature of classism, the mindset of bullies, and how religion, despite being a major influence in shaping societies the world over, is as much a tool used by ignorant bullies to justify their bad behavior as it is a tool used by powerful interests to control those over whom they have power. But this is not a discourse on the pros and cons of religion; it’s a brief look into the causes and effects of ignorance.

Because ignorance is defined as a state of not knowing (and also a lack of education), it can accurately be said that everyone is ignorant to a certain degree; no one knows everything about everything. For instance, while most people might benefit from having a basic knowledge of first aid, they don’t need to learn how to make complex medical diagnoses or perform complicated surgical procedures. It’s okay for people who have no intention of becoming a doctor to remain ignorant of the things every doctor must know.

What’s not okay is for people to remain ignorant about the things all people should know: the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, the basic workings of their government, the value of a good education, the necessity of not allowing blind emotional impulses to control one’s actions, the importance of respect for one’s self and for the rights of others, et al.

Whenever and wherever egregious departures from acceptable social conduct occur, ignorance attends, either as the root cause or as fertilizer for the root cause. Whenever public debate devolves into a shouting match, ignorance attends. Whenever religion becomes the “be all, do all and end all” of civil society, ignorance attends. Wherever ignorance attends, bullying flourishes, because bullying is the only avenue left open for ignoramuses to express themselves or gain attention.

The willing accomplices of ignorance are complacency, laziness, and a profound lack of curiosity. Hey, it’s easier to go along to get along, Rush Limbaugh says it’s true so it must be true, and besides, critical thinking is really, really hard. Ignorant people are content to live their lives inside the little boxes they build for themselves (or in which they allow others to build for them), because these are their comfort zones. Anything that challenges the status quo directly challenges them by threatening to push them outside of their comfort zones; because new ideas displace old ideas, new ideas and new ways of doing things must be resisted at any cost.

But ignorance is the brake that keeps social progress at a standstill. It’s the reason democracy doesn’t work as well as it should, the reason why news media have become purveyors of lies, and the reason why many legislators occupy their time dealing with trivial matters while more serious matters run amok. Ignorance is the primary reason why the U.S. continues its backward slide and falls farther and farther behind other developed countries in terms of social, economic, technological, and environmental progress.

Most discouraging of all is that the batshit crazy, doorstop-stupid barking moonbats that infest populate the Republican Party (and a small-but-growing segment of the Democratic Party) seem to take great pride in their ignorance and stupidity; they flaunt these negatives—and glorify them—at every opportunity. To make matters worse, they pass these same negative values on to their children, thus ensuring that doorstop-stupid barking moonbats will never become an endangered species. In fact, the community of willfully ignorant people has grown so large that it should probably apply for statehood.

That’s what happens when education takes a backseat to bank bailouts and war, to auto company bailouts and domestic policies masquerading as war. Maybe someday we’ll get our priorities straight, but we probably won’t. Because too many willfully ignorant people are willing to listen to and believe the misinformation and disinformation delivered by media pundits representing the status quo, too few people with way too much financial clout and political power—and too much to lose—will have the final say.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Speeding Toward a Wall of Reality

Few people seem to realize that human overpopulation is the biggest threat now facing humans and other planetary life forms, and fewer still are talking about the crisis that should be—but isn’t—on everyone’s mind. We’ve run into a wall in terms of population growth and economic growth (neither are sustainable), and the sooner we accept that fact the sooner we can start a discussion about possible solutions.

The following five videos are sequential parts of a program that aired on Canadian television on May 5, 2008.

The Agenda w/Steve Paikin: Overpopulation

Part 1 of 5

The Agenda w/Steve Paikin: Overpopulation

Part 2 of 5

The Agenda w/Steve Paikin: Overpopulation

Part 3 of 5

The Agenda w/Steve Paikin: Overpopulation

Part 4 of 5

The Agenda w/Steve Paikin: Overpopulation

Part 5 of 5

Denial has never been a particularly effective coping mechanism, and it’s even less effective as a survival strategy. What we do (or don’t do) in the next few years will determine the future of the human race.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Calamity Jane?

Jane Goodall confronts the elephant in the room—and stays rational throughout.

More about this subject in tomorrow’s post.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Preview of Coming Distractions

America in Crisis

But it’s not just America that’s in crisis; it’s the whole freakin’ world. Most of the world’s serious problems originate with overpopulation, and the profound ignorance and indifference of a substantial number of members of that overpopulation ensure that the problems will continue to worsen until they converge in one huge catastrophic event.

After all, ignorance, indifference, complacency and denial only go so far before reality takes over. The shit ain’t hit the fan yet, but it’s on its way. Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Message from Earl

This e-mail from Congressman Earl Blumenauer landed in my inbox about two hours ago, and I’m taking the liberty of sharing it with you by reprinting* it here. In it, Rep. Blumenauer tears down the web of lies surrounding proposed health care reform. If you have any concerns about the issue of health care reform, here’s yet another chance for you to learn the truth.

September 1, 2009

Dear Mr. Hanson,

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts about health care reform. In the past few months, I have received thousands of letters and emails and have had hundreds of conversations with people about the state of America's health care system.

Just the other day, I ran into the owner of a small business who I have known for years. She told me that her employees' health insurance rates were going up 32.7 % next year - on top of the double digit increases of the last few years! As a result, she was confronted with a terrible dilemma: Should she stop providing health insurance to her employees? Dramatically cut the benefits the insurance provides? Or make her employees pay more for their insurance? Employers across the country are grappling with the same issue, which is why we need health insurance reform sooner rather than later.

The debate over health insurance is not just about people currently without coverage. It's about small business owners and their employees. It's about the individuals who are losing their jobs (and health insurance) due to the ongoing recession and also about people approaching the age for Medicare eligibility who want to make sure that this popular, government run health insurance program is still around when they retire.

Health care costs are spiraling out of control. This year, every insured American family will pay $1,017 in insurance premiums just to cover the medical expenses of the uninsured. Single people who are insured pay $368 per year. All total, that's $42.7 billion a year, or $1,354 per second! This "hidden health care tax" subsidizes the uncompensated health care costs of the uninsured.

Without reform, the cost of health care for the average family of four is projected to rise $1,800 every year for years to come. Worse still, without reform insurance companies will be increasingly responsible for health care decisions, taking away individuals' ability to make decisions about what care they receive.

America's middle class deserves better. America's families need affordable, stable health care coverage that can't be taken away from them. Reining in health care costs is critical in light of our pressing economic challenges and growing social needs which is why I support health care reform.

Here's what the House legislation HR 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act, means to you:


* No more co-pays or deductibles for preventive care

* No more rate increases for pre-existing conditions, gender, or occupation

* An annual cap on your out-of-pocket expenses

* Group rates of a national plan if you buy your own insurance

* Guaranteed and affordable dental, hearing, and vision care for your children


* Keep your doctor and your current plan, if you like them

* More choice, with a high quality public health insurance option competing with private insurers


* You and your doctors make health care decisions - not insurance companies

* More family doctors and nurses entering the workforce, helping guarantee access

* Mental health care must be covered


* No more coverage denials for pre-existing conditions

* No more lifetime limits on how much insurance companies will pay

* No reason to ever again make a job or life decision based on the fear of losing health care coverage

You can read the entire bill and summaries of each of the sections on my website at http://www.blumenauer.house.gov.

As you may have noticed, a lot of myths and outright lies about health care reform are being spread by people who want to maintain the status quo. While it's important to have fair and honest debate about how much government should be involved, how we get the best value for our dollar, and what regulations are put in place to make sure the insurance companies don't end up gouging the American taxpayer, we need to reject the divisive tactics and rhetoric from those who have no interest in making our country healthier.

On that note, I want to take this opportunity to address some concerns I've heard and clear up some misconceptions regarding HR 3200:

* This bill will NOT raise taxes on low and middle-class families. A small surtax on the richest 1.4% of Americans will cover most of the cost of health insurance reform. Furthermore, this increase will not occur during a recession, but is set to be implemented in 2011, long after economists predict the recession will end.

* This bill will NOT cover anyone who resides in this country illegally. Section 246 of H.R. 3200 specifically forbids federal dollars from going towards health insurance for undocumented workers.

* This bill will NOT create "death panels" or euthanize our senior citizens. Section 1233 of the America's Affordable Health Choices Act simply allows Medicare to reimburse health professionals for a voluntary conversation about end-of-life decisions between a patient and a doctor, at the patient's behest. Like all Medicare benefits, this is a voluntary benefit! If patients don't want to discuss their care wishes, they don't have to.

* This bill will NOT exempt Members of Congress and other government employees from following the same guidelines as everybody else. Any health care plan used by a federal employee or elected official will be subject to the same reforms as all other private plans.

* This bill will NOT cut Medicare coverage. This bill does include Medicare reforms designed to lower costs and increase efficiency, but NOT at the expense of caring for enrollees.

* This bill will NOT abolish the private health insurance system in this country. Under the bill, patients would be able to keep their private insurance, and there would be no mandate to switch plans or join the public insurance option. This bill is all about giving people options and letting them choose the type of care that best works for them.

Thank you again for your interest and involvement. I hope you will continue to be engaged in this debate in the coming months, and I encourage you to visit my website (http://www.blumenauer.house.gov) for more information about America's Affordable Health Choices Act and health insurance reform in general.


Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress

* Formatting edited to fit this blog, original wording retained.

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