Tag Archives: Current Events

Thought For The Day

It is truly amazing to hear the same people who bitched and moaned about how TSA body scanners at U.S. airports violated their civil rights now attack nurse Kaci Hickox for not submitting to a 21-day house arrest on her return from Africa.

Do you people even listen to yourselves?

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Filed under conservatives, fear

Republicans, Make Up Your Damn Minds, Already

[UPDATE]:

HA HA HA HA HA:

Sen. Rand Paul’s letter to Harry Reid about blocking Surgeon General nominee Dr. Murthy over gun control:

RandPaul

Full text at the link. My trolls who keep trying to blame Democrats for the stuff Republicans are doing can go fuck themselves.

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Proving yet again that there is literally nothing President Obama can do to please Republicans, Sen. Lamar Alexander is not happy with President Obama’s pick for “Ebola Czar.” (Keep in mind, the hissy fits/impeachment threats conservatives had over Obama’s so-called “Czars” in the first place make their current call for an Ebola Czar especially hypocritical):

“I had in mind a cabinet-level official with the skills of a four-star general or admiral who had a broad public health background and would be accountable to Congress. That kind of action would give Americans confidence about our government’s response to Ebola.”

Hmm … someone like, maybe, the Surgeon General we don’t have because the Republicans are too scared of the gun lobby to approve Dr. Vivek H. Murthy?

Honestly, I truly believe that President Obama could personally develop a cure for Ebola, cancer, and stupidity all in one tasty, affordable treat — but the GOP would complain that it’s gluten-free.

28 Comments

Filed under healthcare, Republican Party, Sen. Lamar Alexander

Who You Gonna Call, America?

Healthcare professionals nearly universally agree that implementing a travel ban for Ebola-affected countries in West Africa is not just a bad idea, it’s a bad idea that will backfire.

Republicans, the same people who have weird notions about the earth’s climate, have bizarre ideas about how the female body works, believe in fringe conspiracy theories like Agenda 21, and other jaw-droppingly stupid things, disagree.

So, who are you going to listen to, America? When it comes to public health and public safety, are you going to listen to the healthcare experts, or are you going to listen to the crazy people who think there are aborted fetuses in your can of Coca-Cola?

I despair for this country sometimes. I really do.

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Filed under healthcare

Flubola

Interesting piece in The New Yorker about our relatively sanguine response to the flu, which kills thousands, vs ebola, which has sickened three people:

[...] As we know, the flu can be deadly—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average annual death toll from influenza between 1976 and 2007 was more than twenty-three thousand. And unlike Ebola and EV-D68, for which there are no vaccines or real treatments, flu can almost always be prevented, or at least mitigated, if you get a flu shot. Stoking public concern about the flu could actually do some good, by encouraging people to get vaccinated. Instead, the media cover EV-D68 and Ebola as if they’re massive threats to our well-being even though they likely aren’t, and even though the average person can do little to prevent them anyway.

[...]

At work here is the curiously divergent and inconsistent way most of us think about risk. As a myriad of studies have shown, we tend to underestimate the risk of common perils and overestimate the risk of novel events. We fret about dying in a terrorist attack or a plane crash, but don’t spend much time worrying about dying in a car accident. We pay more attention to the danger of Ebola than to the far more relevant danger of flu, or of obesity or heart disease. It’s as if, in certain circumstances, the more frequently something kills, the less anxiety-producing we find it. We know that more than thirty thousand people are going to die on our roads this year, and we’ve accommodated ourselves to this number because it’s about the same every year. Control, too, matters: most of us think that whether we’re killed in a car accident or die of heart disease is under our control (as, to some degree, it is). As a result, we fear such outcomes less than those that can strike us out of the blue.

These attitudes toward risk are irrational, but they’re also understandable. The real problem is that irrational fears often shape public behavior and public policy. They lead us to over-invest in theatre (such as airport screenings for Ebola) and to neglect simple solutions (such as getting a flu shot). If Americans learned that we were facing the outbreak of a new disease that was going to do what the flu will do in the next few months, the press would be banging the drums about vaccination. Instead, it’s yesterday’s news.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the response spectrum, comes this disturbing news:

The Dallas hospital that treated Texas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan didn’t have appropriate protective gear and reportedly left him in a room with other patients for “several hours” before ultimately putting him in isolation, exposing at least 76 people.

Yesterday, Centers for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden acknowledged that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers weren’t provided full-body biohazard suits until three days after Duncan was admitted (they now reportedly have 12).

According to National Nurses United—speaking on behalf of the Dallas nurses—the hospital had no protocols in place to handle the virus. Nurses involved in treating Duncan say he was left in a public area and a nurse supervisor “faced resistance from other hospital authorities,” when she requested he be placed in isolation.

It looks like the very last people who should be in a panic about ebola are the ones in full freak-out mode, while the front-line folks who should be the most engaged are saying, “meh, whatevs.” Seriously? You had one job, Texas. If this is how they deal with ebola, I’d hate to think how they handle something like influenza. I have to wonder why a CDC team wasn’t immediately deployed to that Dallas hospital and basically took it over the moment Duncan was admitted. I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons, including budget limitations and administrative limitations.

But you know, remember when Texas was all “we wanna secede,” and “that Tenth Amendment rawks” and “hey self-deport, you diseased illegal immigrants” and stuff? Yeah, that’s some world-class irony right there. Again: you had one job, Texas.

I was going to get my flu shot last weekend but, believe it or not, I was too sick to go. Some kind of sinus infection-y thing going around. As far as I know, I’ve already contracted the flu. But I’m better now and am getting a flu shot this weekend.

Get your flu shots, especially if you live in Texas. At the very least, it will keep you out of the hospitals that are apparently operated by incompetents who don’t know how to implement known common-sense protocols to contain a rare infectious disease.

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Filed under healthcare

Consequence-Free Sex

It was entirely predictable that right-wing males would act like giant assholes in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling; after all, these are the perpetually-aggrieved folks who have felt neutered by “feminazis” since women first demanded the vote.

My favorite response was from Douchebag Emeritus Erick W. Erickson, who tweeted:

erick

And yet, because Hobby Lobby pays for men’s Viagra, that is exactly what this employer is doing: subsidizing consequence-free sex, only just for men. Because, by virtue of biology, all sex for men is consequence-free. It just is. Birth control levels the playing field for women. And it is no surprise that conservative men, whose most unifying feature is an overarching inferiority complex, have been threatened by that since the first cave lady brewed her special cup of herbal tea to keep the babies away. Insecure men will always try to control that which they cannot control. And that’s what we have here.

This, from The New Republic, sums it up thusly:

There’s a reason so many women were outraged on Monday. They saw the decision as yet another attempt to preserve the old double-standard—to dump most of the responsibility for reproductive health and child-bearing on them, in ways that inevitably deter gender equality. With comments like Erickson’s bouncing around cyberspace, it’s easy to see why they had that impression.

Yeah, it’s not an “impression.” It’s called reality.

9 Comments

Filed under birth control, feminism, sex, Supreme Court, women's rights

Religion Is Dead

That will be the upshot of today’s completely outrageous Hobby Lobby ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court has effectively killed religion.

I know, it looks the opposite, but what have I said here a gazillion, bajillion times, folks? When religion gets forced on people by government or corporations, religion always dies. People don’t want this shit foisted on them. As I’ve said a thousand times before, the surest way to kill off religious belief is to declare a “state religion.” The bigger religion’s role in the secular aspects of life, the more people run away from it.

And in this ruling SCOTUS said some corporations can impose the beliefs of some religions on some employees, effectively legalizing discrimination against women and certain religions. If you’re a company owned by Jehova’s Witnesses, sorry, you have to pay for blood transfusions. No out for Scientologists who object to psychiatry and psychiatric drugs. Christian Scientists who don’t believe in most healthcare at all still have to pony up. But if you’re a Christian fundiegelical who believes completely erroneously and incorrectly that IUDs cause abortions — even though they don’t! — you can refuse to offer a healthcare plan covering that form of birth control to your female employees. That’s what SCOTUS just ruled.

The debate wasn’t even really about the Hobby Lobby peoples’ religious beliefs, it was about their completely erroneous, counter-factual scientific beliefs cloaked in religion:

Hobby Lobby already covered 16 of the 20 methods of contraception mandated under the Affordable Care Act, but it didn’t cover Plan B One-Step, ella (another brand of emergency contraception) and two forms of intrauterine devices because of aforementioned ideologically driven and not medically based ideas about abortion.

“These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation,” Dr. Petra Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic, told the New York Times in a piece on the science behind emergency contraception. “They don’t act after fertilization.” As the Times noted, emergency contraception like Plan B, ella and the hormonal IUD do not work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb. Instead, these methods of birth control delay ovulation 0r thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, meaning that fertilization never even occurs. That said, when used as a form of emergency contraception, the copper IUD can interrupt implantation, but this still does not mean a pregnancy has occurred.

This ruling was stunningly ham-fisted on so many levels. In a nutshell, in “going narrow” SCOTUS picked a religion — the fundiegelical Christian kind — over the rights of female employees who may not be of that religion, and also over the rights of every other religion out there. This is going to have repercussions, people — and not good ones for the religious folks. It’s gonna get messy, and I think it’s gonna smack religious people on the ass so hard they won’t sit for a month. Stories like this one are going to ripple across the workplace in every state. It’s a ruling that basically legalized gender discrimination and religious discrimination. When it all shakes down it’s not going to be pretty for the people currently doing a happy dance.

In the meantime, folks calling for a Constitutional Convention to repeal corporate personhood just got a little more ammo.

[UPDATE]: ThinkProgress agrees with me.

[UPDATE] 2: Charlie Pierce at Esquire also agrees with me. SCOTUS just perpetrated an act of religious discrimination while professing to do the opposite. WTF is up with that, people?

25 Comments

Filed under birth control, corporations, healthcare, religious fundamentalism, religious right, Supreme Court, women's rights

Truly Nobody Could Have Anticipated This

[UPDATE]:

This is rich: the guy who was shot at Walmart was a concealed-carry holder who confronted the killers. So he died. For no reason. And his concealed carry ass was wasted for absolutely no reason, stopping absolutely nothing. But apparently the gun humpers are jacking off all over this guy’s corpse because … I dunno, freedom or something. But that kid who used pepper spray to take out the Seattle shooter last week is a wuss or something.

Seems to me this basically nullifies the talking point that good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns.

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Someone lifted the rock covering the American west and look what crawled out: Bundy Ranch racists, gun humpers, anti-government loons, wannabe revolutionaries, and, yes, even Walmart. Read about history’s most pathetic revolutionaries:

Residents at an apartment complex where it appeared the two lived together said they had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents.

The duo also told people they planned to commit a mass shooting, said Brandon Moore, a resident of the complex.

“They were handing out white-power propaganda and were talking about doing the next Columbine,” Moore said.

We’ve had over a decade now of non-stop hate speech spewed on conservative-funded television stations, radio stations and websites. Since the black man became president it’s reached fever-pitch. The raging paranoia ginned up by leaders of the right like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and other conservatives who actually hold elected office has been non-stop. They’ve spun completely unfounded tales of government oppression, saying the government will cart people off to FEMA camps, institute death panels, ban the Bible, hand the reins of U.S. government over to UN thugs who will, I dunno, force everyone to eat brie or something, and on, and on, and on.

And after years and years of this shit, we still act surprised when yet another anti-government loon takes up their guns (Constitution! Freedom!) and mows down some innocent people who embody this hated government. In this case it was two innocent cops on their lunch break eating some damn pizza.

And you know what? This wasn’t even the only incident of an anti-government loon trying to take out a symbol of government oppression in the past week. We also had this Constitutional genius in Georgia, who decided to show up for his court date armed with an assault rifle, explosives, and spike strips:

Rather than turn up on time for a court hearing Friday morning on charges of marijuana and firearms possession, Dennis Marx was apparently readying for his assault on the courthouse.

Sheriff’s Department officials told the Associated Press on Saturday that they found a checklist at Marx’s home in Cumming, Ga., that listed all of the weapons and tools that police found inside the car Marx drove toward the courthouse.

The items included zip ties and explosives that could be tied to hostages. Police found more explosive devices at his home, according to the Associated Press.

[...]

Marx had a beef with the Sheriff’s Department, stemming from his 2011 arrest and subsequent indictment on 11 felony drug and weapons charges.

Last August, he sued the department for civil rights violations, alleging in federal court that deputies regularly engaged in excessive force and overzealous searches and seizures. He had been representing himself in the lawsuit.

Marx said in the court documents that inmates in Forsyth County had to deal with sewage on the floors and limited access to medical care. Deputies also hit and kicked him and refused to loosen handcuffs, Marx alleged.

In a court filing in April, Marx said deputies had seized some of his property, which prevented him from protecting his family and contributed to the death of a family member. The case brought against him, meanwhile, was ruining his own life and hurting his chances of finding a job, he said. Marx also described himself as a professional gun collector, with other court documents listing guns as among the items police sought to seize.

I mean, Jesus, I just don’t know what the fuck is wrong with people anymore. It’s the guns, and it’s the mental illness, and it’s the paranoid hate speech that ricochets unrestrained around the land, because there are never any consequences for spewing this stuff any more. At least, not negative consequences: Phil Robertson can open his yap and let some misogynistic, homophobic and racist stupid fall out, and Fox News puts him on TV and he gets invited to speak to the Republican Leadership Conference. No, these days, conservatives are rewarded for extremist rhetoric. Sorry, folks, but the Republican Party’s far-right lurch is a huge part of the problem here. When are you guys going to stop empowering the whackjobs and bigots in your party?

Should we blame Hollywood, too? Sure, why not! Not for its perpetuation of gun culture, but for its endless promoting of the archetype these nutjobs seem to have latched on to: the “independent lone wolf” who saves the country from forces of evil. You know the type: John McClane from Die Hard, Dirty Harry or Jack Bauer. This idea that it’s not just okay but actually necessary for the lone wolf to go rogue and take on the forces of evil because only he knows the truth — well, you know what? Great for a movie script, not so great in real life. Maybe Hollywood will make a movie where Jack Bauer goes rogue and tries to takes down the terrorist ringleader plotting to blow up Los Angeles, you know, the guy everyone else thinks is the city’s esteemed mayor? And only Jack Bauer knows the truth? Except, ha ha, plot twist! Turns out Jack Bauer has actually gone mentally insane from listening to too much Rush Limbaugh and Fox News paranoia and he’s made all of this shit up. The mayor’s security detail takes him down just in the nick of time and Bauer spends the rest of his years in a thorazine-enduced haze at the local mental ward.

I’d like to see that movie. Because goddamn, that’s pretty much how these stories are playing out in real life. I mean, what do you want to bet that the Open Carry Texas gun humpers are going to claim if only they had been at that Vegas Walmart with their AR-15s they could have stopped this? Because, lone wolf, and the government can’t keep you safe, lather, rinse, repeat.

Seriously, when is this shit going to end?

24 Comments

Filed under conspiracies, Current Events, gun control, gun violence