Thursday, June 30, 2011

Santorum on Afghanistan

Running an unwinnable campaign aimed only at the most conservative of Americans, Senator Rick Santorum has been hanging out mostly within the safety blanket of Fox News. It's a good place for him to be, because it means that he can say things like this:
A president of the United States, if you are engaging in a military action you better be there to win or not be there at all. . . . If your objective is to get out, I'm going to put a timeline on when we are going to leave, that's your objective. If your objective is success, you say we are going to commit until we win that's the difference between the objective is leaving and the objective is succeeding.
Without being confronted with facts like these:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Unwinnable War in Afghanistan
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook
(I love that I live in a country where comedy shows have more information in them than "news networks.")

It's like everything that comes out of Santorum's mouth is just frothy bullshit (sorry for that image). That man says some of the dumbest things I've ever heard someone say, and I have seen all the Twilight movies.*

The goal in Afghanistan hasn't been to win for a very long time now. The goal is to get the country to the point where we can leave safely. If we're "in it to win it," we're never leaving and we're compromising our security by continuing to destroy whatever credibility we have left in the Middle East. Imperialism is not working for us. It makes us less safe. And that's not even counting for the men and women we've lost trying to defeat guerrilla soldiers in their own territory.

But, we do pour a lot of money into the defense industry, which in turn keeps our economy relatively stable. And we have this super fun foreign policy thing to fight over every election, which keeps Democrats and Republicans in the limelight with their prospective supporters. So there's that.

I wonder if Frothy really believes this stuff, or if he has just realized that being a mouthpiece for the most uneducated, intolerant of Americans is an easy way to make a few bucks. I'm not sure which one is worse.

*Not by choice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Santorum's All Over the Left

From the Des Moines Register:

Speaking to about 190 people at the Lyon County Republican dinner, Santorum pledged to continue his fight against same-sex marriage.

“The reason the left has gone after same-sex marriage is because it’s a two-fer,” Santorum said. “When you redefine marriage, you cheapen marriage. You make it into something less valuable, less special … [and] it is a sure bet that will undermine faith.”

Who told Frothy our secret plan? Musta been one of those gay friends he's always on about. Man, if I ever find out who those guys are...

It's almost hard to imagine that Rick Santorum actually believes the things that come out of his mouth, because they're so unbelievably batshit. Does he really think that liberals are out to "cheapen marriage" and "undermine faith?" Who even thinks like that? I mean, I'm sure there are a few militant atheists who don't believe in marriage, and they probably side with the liberals, but they're not exactly a majority.

You know what cheapens marriage? Not having sex before it. That's a really destructive thing to advocate, because it encourages people to get married at an age when their marriage is far more likely to end in divorce. You know what else cheapens marriage? Not using birth control and then advocating the idea that even if your wife's life could be saved, abortion is not an option. Because, you know, nothing cheapens your marriage like having a dead wife.

I can't think of a single marriage, actually, that would be threatened by gay marriage. Can you? And as for faith, well, it has no place in politics but can be of very great personal significance. If Santorum could learn that concept, he might be a viable candidate. But, since he can't, he's not. Thank God.

The Pro-Choice Pledge

Okay, folks. Here it is: the crowd-sourced, collaborative pro-choice pledge that will no doubt soon be sweeping the nation. Y'all had a hand in this, so I hope that you'll correspondingly do your part to support it. If you need the back story, it started here, was on the wrong end of a shit-storm here, and was re-worked here.

Without further delay, the pledge:
I pledge the following to the members of the Susan B. Anthony List and the citizens of the United States of America:

1. If I become pregnant and decide that ending the pregnancy is the best course of action, I will have an abortion.

2. I respect the right to obtain a safe and legal abortion, even in situations where I would not abort.

3. If I become pregnant and opt not to have an abortion, I will remember that my choice would have been meaningless without the right to choose, and will continue to defend that right.

4. I will support universal access to affordable contraception and accurate sex education, with the full knowledge that it is easier and safer to prevent an unwanted pregnancy than to end one.

5. If I am able, I will donate to Planned Parenthood and/or other organizations that defend my right to choose.
If you feel so inclined, please sign it. And since you were inclined to sign it, you should probably share it with others so that they might do the same. Let's show Santorum and the other Republican presidential hopefuls that pledging to deny people their rights is not the way to win votes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Abortion issues: a brief history of Roe v. Wade as a quasi-response to Jocelyn

There have now been a couple of posts from my very talented colleague Jocelyn regarding an abortion pledge that she posted, the second regarding positive and negative comments she has received from her initial post regarding the abortion pledge and some revisions to said pledge. There are parts of her pledge I agree with and parts of her pledge I disagree with, but I'm not going to get into those sort of details here. I am a very pro-choice individual, and that comes from a long background. My grandfather was a physician from the the late 1930s until the early 2000s. He was not particularly interested in politics (his top 5 interests were family, work, giant gap, big cars, suits, and Vegas), and as such he mostly voted Republican from the mid-60s on because the AMA told him to because of Medicare. I should add he was a first generation Jewish citizen whose mother was an illiterate candy store owner, so it's not like he was someone who you would have guessed would have voted mostly Republican presidential candidates from 1968 to 2000. But he knew what abortion was like before Roe v. Wade. My grandfather passed away when I was 21, and he firmly believed that no person who experienced or really knew what the pre-Roe v. Wade back alley abortions were like could think legalized abortion was a bad idea.

I led with that information because I don't want anyone to think that I take the following statement lightly: Roe v. Wade arguably may have been the worst thing to happen to the overall liberal cause in America. That isn't necessarily because it is the wrong decision, which I'll discuss a bit below, but instead because it gave the right a significant tool to use to make the Republican party the sole party for devout Christians in this country. It tied the 1970s conservative idea of a frighteningly expanding federal government invading the rightful sphere of state and local governments to a medical procedure that was viewed as murder by devout Christians. Now for the good thing that Roe v. Wade did for all Americans, liberals and conservatives alike: on the specific issues of abortion and unwanted pregnancy, Roe v. Wade has prevented a huge amount of suffering that results from unwanted pregnancy.

This post isn't to say anything bad about those who are fervently working to preserve the right to choose. They are necessary, and are doing a clear good. But a history of how we got to Roe v. Wade is important. It started with a 19th century law in Connecticut that prohibited contraception. When Planned Parenthood opened a clinic in New Haven, CT in the mid-20th century, they got hit with a fine for it, and as a result Griswold v. Connecticut made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court held that the Ninth Amendment provided a right of privacy to citizens under its penumbra, and that right to privacy included the right to use contraception. That right to privacy was expanded to abortion in Roe v. Wade.

Here's the problem: it's not clear the Griswold Court was right. On the other hand, the argument that the Griswold Court was wrong is no more coherent. I personally agree with the Griswold Court's decision... but I can't say that the Constitutional argument is unassailable. Nor can I argue that Justice Stewart's dissent that the Connecticut law was extraordinarily silly but that the Constitution does not prohibit silly laws was clearly wrong. But the arguments of my conservative friends are no stronger than my own on this issue.

I think we all need to be willing to say that we view the decisions in Griswold and Roe v. Wade as right or wrong because we either agree or disagree with the end result, not because we have some deep understanding of the limits of the Constitution. As I'll argue soon (I promise), you probably would have received a different answer regarding the proper limits of federal authority from each individual involved in drafting the Constitution.

But those of us on the pro-choice side also have to be willing to admit that a conservative Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade would not be the end of the world on that issue. Over-turning Roe v. Wade would not prohibit abortions; it would only make laws regarding abortions the province of the states. Presumably states like Massachusetts, New York and California would have very pro-choice regimes, while states like Utah, Oklahoma and Kansas would have very restrictive regimes. But it wouldn't be the end game for the pro-choice movement. Instead, it would make it a state by state legislative battle.

This isn't to say that the overturning of Roe v. Wade wouldn't be a setback in many ways. It would be. But we have to be honest about its complete impact.

Pledgapalooza!

(Posted by Jocelyn)

So, The Abortion Pledge was simultaneously a success and a failure. On the one hand, the pledge itself has about 300 signatures and comments like these:

Before this pledge existed, I still lived by its principles.

I love my daughter and chose to have her after planning my pregnancy. I will fight for her right to choose for herself the destiny of her own body.

I have had an abortion. It was the right choice for me. If I hadn’t had an abortion, I would’ve been a 13-year-old with a baby.

The right to abortion is a human right. Abortion on demand should be available to every single person who ever has lived or ever will live with a uterus.

I’m 27, pregnant, and eagerly awaiting the birth of my first child! This baby is a wanted baby—the only kind a woman should ever have.

If I needed an abortion, I would have one. Because I was a teenager when abortion was a crime, and what that did to women was another crime. Including, my sister’s friend forced to carry her dead baby to term, which so poisoned her system she was never able to have another child. Abortion restrictions kill women, and the children they would have when they are able.

I feel I have made this pledge to myself in the past, and I have followed through on it. I have never once regretted having an abortion; my life and the life of my future family is better for it.

On the other hand, however, Dan Savage re-posted it on Slog, where it got a reaction more like this:

You’re kidding, right? Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion.

This does nothing other than play to the prejudices of the pro-life lobby.

The list sucks. I am strongly pro-choice but strongly anti-abortion; it’s traumatic (to varying degrees) to the woman concerned, and should really be an emergency option for when things go wrong.

Wow. Just wow. I think I am as prochoice [sic] as they come. I even provide abortions for fuck’s sake but that pledge is messed up.

Note how many people are offended by the pledge, think it’s a bad idea, and or do not perceive it as satire. Since all those people are allies, that makes this a bad pledge.

This pledge seems like one of those imaginary conservative ideas of what liberals are.

This is dumb, and I strongly suspect (or hope) that Jocelyn is a teenager.

Offensive to the core.

Fuck you, you vapid judgemental [sic] fucking cunt.

Wow Jocelyn - way to not get the point of CHOICE. Booo. Bad liberal! Bad!

Bitter, militant, college educated, middle class white womyn in their ‘I had an abortion!’ t-shirts want women to feel having an abortion is no more a moral dilemma than flossing some meat out of their teeth. They are militant, unpleasant, angry misanthropes. Bitter bourgeois bitches. Fuck u Jocelyn. Pro-choice parent.

Jocelyn: you made some mistakes. Now make the responsible choice that causes the least damage. Abort this awful, I’ll-conceived pledge before it gets too far along. I know it’s hard, but you know it’s right.

I've thought a lot about it, read every single comment, and talked about it with Dan, and this is the conclusion I've come to: I like my original pledge. I'm not going to apologize for it because I think it's good. I think it sends a strong message, and I think it started a really interesting conversation. The original, however, is about abortion. What the majority of people seem to want is something that's about being pro-choice. We can do that.

I've read all the comments about the pledge on this site, on the pledge itself, and on Slog. As such, I think we should consider this the "crowd-sourced version." If you hated the old one, expressed your disdain, and like the new one, then consider yourself a co-writer. Here we go:

(changes in bold)
I pledge the following to the members of the Susan B. Anthony list and the citizens of the United States of America:

1. If I become pregnant and decide that ending the pregnancy is the best course of action, I will have an abortion.

2. I respect the right to obtain a safe and legal abortion, even in situations where I would not abort.

3. If I become pregnant and opt not to have an abortion, I will remember that my choice would have been meaningless without the right to choose, and will continue to defend that right.

4. I will support universal access to affordable contraception and accurate sex education, with the full knowledge that it is easier and safer to prevent an unwanted pregnancy than to end one.

5. If I am able, I will donate to Planned Parenthood and/or other organizations that defend my right to choose.

5. I refuse to let a single issue, no matter how important to me, define the way I vote.
Before it goes live, I want your input. Comment away.

UPDATE:

The new pledge is live. Click here!

Rick Santorum Doesn't Care About Minority Gases

Hi all – time to dip my toe into the Santorum pool (ew!). A quick intro to my point of view – I’m a scientist with a research background in environmental chemistry, climate change, and renewable energy. As such, I’ll be focusing more on the science-y aspects of Santorum’s policies and opinions. I promise that not all of my posts will be as long-winded as this one. So let’s get started, shall we?

In an interview with Rush Limbaugh earlier this month, Santorum voiced his belief that anthropogenic climate change is not only hogwash, but a liberal conspiracy to regulate your life.

Santorum Sez:

“The idea that man, through the production of CO2 - which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the man-made part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas - is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd when you consider all the other factors – El Niño, La Niña, sunspots, moisture in the air."

Okay. Let me first state that the Earth’s climate is very, very complicated. I would be going way outside of my role to sit here and try to explain what is going on, and precisely why the above statement is moronic within the larger context of climate research. Instead, I will focus on a few simple facts.

First: El Niño and La Niña are part of the climate. Blaming them for climate change is kind of like saying, “Abraham Lincoln died of blood loss. To imply that this has anything to do with his getting shot in the head is, I think, just patently absurd.”

Second: Carbon dioxide is a trace gas, yes, in that it makes up less than 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere. However, the major component gases are nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, none of which are greenhouse gases. As for man’s contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere… for more than 600,000 years, levels fluctuated between 180 and 300 parts per million (ppm), with an average level around 220 ppm. Since the Industrial Revolution, these levels have jumped to around 390 ppm. That’s a 30% increase over the previous maximum, and a 77% increase over the previous average.

To get a better sense of what this “trace” increase of a “trace” gas really signifies, it’s Back of the Envelope Calculation Time!

Let’s represent the major greenhouse gases by the Pacific Ocean. In the atmosphere, water vapor is about 4000 ppm; methane is 1.8 ppm (it has increased since the mid-19th century, but we’ll leave it at current levels to provide a conservative estimate for CO2 effects). We’ll use the pre-industrial CO2 average as a baseline, giving a relative makeup of 94.7% H2O, 5.2% CO2, and less than .1% CH4. The average depth of the Pacific is around 15,000 feet, so in our analogy the CO2 represents 780 feet of that average depth.

Now, if this depth component were to spike by 77%, that represents a total depth increase of around 600 feet (183 meters). If the oceans were to rise by 600 feet, the following cities would be among those completely submerged: New York, Philly, Baltimore, Memphis, DC, Boston, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Seattle, Miami, Newark. (This is based on the maximum elevation of these cities. 36 of the 50 largest US cities would be at least partially under water.) So a relatively small percentage increase in absolute ocean depth equates to a devastatingly huge impact on land.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the above is just an analogy; I am in no way suggesting a simple correlation between CO2 and ocean levels. Realistically, sea level increases are expected to be 1 meter or less over the next hundred years. I’m just using the analogy to put these “trace effect” numbers into a more concrete perspective.

My point: Minority gases do matter. To put this in terms a politician might be able to grasp: water vapor is like your solid base, the people that are going to vote along party lines in a general election no matter what. Sure, there are a lot of those people, but you can’t really control how many or how they vote. CO2 is like the swing voters and niche demographics – they may represent fewer people than the party-line folks, but the swing votes are often the ones that tip the scales and determine the victor. Your political strategists make you pay attention to those people, so why is it so hard to understand that a trace gas can have influence over climate change?

Immediately following the above remarks, Santorum added:

“There’s a variety of factors that contribute to the Earth warming and cooling, and – to me – this is an opportunity for the left to create… it’s really a [too mumbly to transcribe] a scheme because they know the earth is going to cool and warm, and they know it’s been on a warming trend so they go, ‘Let’s take advantage of that and say that we need the government to come in and regulate your life some more because it’s getting warmer.’”

Seriously? Really? So decades upon decades of research conducted by thousands of scientists is all part of a conspiracy culminating in the democrats increasing environmental regulations because… I guess because it’s fun? The liberals want to impose pointless rules that are economically problematic just to get their rocks off, and all the scientists except me (and a couple of guys who were snagged by the fossil fuel lobbies) have been on the take to fabricate data in order to facilitate said rocks off-getting? Well then. Don’t I feel dumb.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Problem with Having Taxes That Are Too Low

Over the past thirty years, a major tenet of the conservative form of governance that Rick Santorum follows and espouses has been that low taxes are an inherent good. According to the right, lower taxes are always better. This is an utter misapplication of supply side economics.

Now, I'm not an expert in economics, but I have an interest in it and have been picking up as much as I can. But a basic tenant of supply side economics is this: sometimes lower taxes on the wealthy can lead to greater revenues, because taxes that are too high dissuade individuals from working hard. This was best seen when JFK lowered the highest tax bracket from just over 90% to around 70%. Tax revenues did in fact increase. Basic human incentives create a simple reason for this. If I only see 10 cents on every dollar I make over a million dollars, I don't have very much incentive to work to make more than that first million dollars. But what if there's capacity in my business for me to make a few hundred thousand dollars more? When I get 30 cents for every dollar I earn, I have a better reason to keep earning income. The government may only be collecting 20 cents less per dollar I earn, but I have the incentives to earn a lot more dollars.

At some point, though, I've made all the income that I possibly can. The tax structure has already created all the possible incentives for me to make as much money as I possibly can. So, for example, dropping the top federal income tax rate from 39% to 35% does very little to absolutely nothing to influence me to increase my earnings. As a result, the government receives less tax revenues from me than they otherwise would.

The low tax rates of the last 30 years have led to a massive spread in the income gap in our country. As Robert Reich explained earlier this week, the top 1% of the economy has increased their share of the economy from 10% to 20% of the economy. I disagree with other aspects of Reich's analysis, but it is undeniably true that the top 10%, and particularly the top 1%, have seen the vast majority of all economic gains in the past thirty years.

But, you ask, I thought that you said that lowering taxes induces me to be more productive to increase my income? And if the top 1% of individuals are making so much more money, isn't it because they're working harder? Here's the flaw in that thinking. As you may have heard, corporate tax rates in this country are comparatively high to other countries. Individual income tax rates, however, are low. And capital gains taxes are an extremely low 15%.

So what does that mean? It means that if you're wealthy and you run a company, you're going to put your personal wealth above the growth of your company. Why has the recovery from the 2008 economic crisis been a jobless one while we're seeing a lot of companies have near record profits? Because shareholders make 85 cents on every dollar of capital gains they receive.

Our economic incentives are skewed right now. They are skewed away from long term investment and towards short term profit. The exact lesson we should have learned from the economic crisis is that we should be wary of anything that puts short term profit ahead of long term economic stability.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Glenn Beck Wants Santorum in His Mouth

Here's a clip of Glenn Beck saying he could kiss Rick Santorum "in the mouth." Yes, really.



via Gawker and Mediaite

The Abortion Pledge

(Posted by Jocelyn)

As you may have heard, the Republican presidential candidates are frothing at the mouth about the Pro-Life Pledge, put out by the Susan B. Anthony List. Here's what it says:
I PLEDGE to the American people that if elected President, I will:

FIRST, only nominate to the U.S. federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench;

SECOND, select only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health & Human Services;

THIRD, advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, and defund Planned Parenthood and all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions;

FOURTH, advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

Obviously, there is some disturbing language in this pledge. Not only is it threatening to a woman's right to choose, but it also advocates discrimination against those who want to protect that right. As such, Rick Santorum has, of course, signed it. He's also criticized Mitt Romney for not signing it. It's clear to me, however, that this pledge is a threat to women's health, to families, and to freedom (pardon the Republican-style rhetoric).

In light of this alarming document, I thought it wise to produce my own. Behold, the Abortion Pledge:

I pledge the following to the members of the Susan B. Anthony List:

1. If I get pregnant before the age of 21, I will have an abortion.

2. If I know anyone who gets pregnant before the age of 21, I will strongly suggest that they have an abortion.


3. If I get pregnant while still pursuing my education and cannot feasibly financially support a child, I will have an abortion.


4. If I get pregnant and am a current heavy drug user, I will have an abortion.


5. If I get pregnant and discover that my unborn child has a defect that will cause him or her a short life of unbearable pain, I will have an abortion.


6. If I am in a situation where not terminating my pregnancy is likely to kill me, I will have an abortion.


7. If I am in any other situation where I feel like an abortion is the best course of action, I will have an abortion.


8. If I am in any of the aforementioned situations and opt not to have an abortion, I will remember that my choice would have been meaningless without the right to choose and will continue to defend that right.


9. If I have the ability, I will donate to Planned Parenthood and/or other organizations that defend a woman's right to choose.
You can sign it here. Spread the word.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CONSPIRACY!!!!!

(Posted by Jocelyn)


(Via HuffPo)

This guy is out of control. Of all the Republicans in the world, he is simply the most proficient of making shit up, saying it, and then expecting people to believe him. This claim, however, that students have poor test scores because of a leftist conspiracy, is particularly insane. Why? Because it came from the mouth of a man who relies on the ignorance of his constituents to gain votes.

Don't believe me? Here are some choice non-facts perpetuated by Rick Santorum:

Evolution is a contested theory.

So much so, in fact, that he tried to add this amendment to No Child Left Behind:

This is an amendment that is a sense of the Senate. It is a sense of the Senate that deals with the subject of intellectual freedom with respect to the teaching of science in the classroom, in primary and secondary education. It is a sense of the Senate that does not try to dictate curriculum to anybody; quite the contrary, it says there should be freedom to discuss and air good scientific debate within the classroom. In fact, students will do better and will learn more if there is this intellectual freedom to discuss. I will read this sense of the Senate. It is simply two sentences—frankly, two rather innocuous sentences—that hopefully this Senate will embrace: "It is the sense of the Senate that—

(1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and
(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject.
It simply says there are disagreements in scientific theories out there that are continually tested.
Cleverly disguised as an encouragement toward real scientific discourse, this amendment would have promoted the teaching of creationism intelligent design in public schools - something that would almost definitely make kids less informed. Because, you know, nobody who thinks evolution is a valid theory could ever vote for Santorum.

Single mothers don't benefit from education.


Seriously, Frothy said this in his book, It Takes a Family:
The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill, unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GEDs move up the economic ladder is just wrong.
Because if single mothers don't constantly feel ashamed of their situation and remain in poverty as a result, they'll never vote for Old Frothy.

Kids get "weird socialization" in public schools.


Also from his book:
It’s amazing that so many kids turn out to be fairly normal, considering the weird socialization they get in public schools. In a home school, by contrast, children interact in a rich and complex way with adults and children of other ages all the time.
There is a lot of research that says that home-schooled students out-perform public school students, but the bulk of it has been done by organizations that promote homeschooling. The fact is (as Rob Reich, a Stanford professor and critic of homeschooling, says) that there really is no good, reliable research on homeschooling, largely due to the fact that homeschooling is almost completely unregulated. Sure, there are kids who are homeschooled and do really well at academics and life, but there are also kids who are "homeschooled" and grow up completely uneducated and often neglected. There is no uniformity there, and to claim that a system that isn't even a system outperforms the public school system is complete lunacy.

But, then, if people grow up learning how the world works, they'll never vote for Santorum.

Go Ask Alice

(Posted by Jocelyn)

From Fox News:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Attorney General Eric Holder has to be high to want to try terrorists in civilian courts.

"He must be under some influence because he certainly isn't thinking clearly," Santorum said Tuesday.

Santorum was explaining a comment he made during a campaign stop Monday in Iowa.

"Maybe he is eating mushrooms," he said.

Santorum said he was responding to Holder's recent characterization of the civilian court system as the United States' best tool against terrorism.

Mushrooms? Really? I mean, is Holder staring at wood grain claiming that it looks like a river? It's he locked in a dark bathroom playing with glow-in-the-dark paint and trying not to look in the mirror? Or is he sobbing because he never realized how empty his life is? Because if not, the chances of him being high on mushrooms are pretty small.

The defense for trying terrorists in civilian courts actually makes a lot of sense. The idea is that rather than glorify what these people have done by treating them as a valid adversary, we treat them like the criminals they are and try them in the same courts that rapists and murderers get tried in. Then, when they're convicted, we send them to the same prisons that rapists and murderers go to rather than another holding tank filled with their buddies. It also gives the US military the opportunity not to be in a situation where "advanced interrogation techniques" can happen and, therefore, backfire (whether in the public eye or otherwise). It's a pretty good deal.

But, you know, I'm high on a designer cocktail of heroin, Adderall, and antihistamines, so what do I know?*


*Just kidding. I did take an ibuprofen about an hour ago, but I remain sober.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Ad Makes More Sense If You Watch This One First

4 Days from Jon Huntsman Jr. on Vimeo.



You know, not much more, but more. The best part about the fact that Frothy is running for president is the fact that he's completely serious about it. Good thing nobody else is.

Santorum's New, Not At All Confusing Campaign Ad

Today, Jon Huntsman announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Luckily, Santorum has got the situation covered:



See, Jon Huntsman is like a dirt bike rider (or something) and because he didn't sign the Susan B. Anthony list, he's going to fall off his dirt bike (or something). JUST LIKE MITT ROMNEY...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Morality in Policymaking Revisited

Last week, I wrote a post regarding the role that a politician's faith should play in his or her work as a policy maker. That post basically said that while a person's morality, which includes his or her faith, is not something an individual can keep out of their work, a politician should not attempt to impose his or her morality on society. A comment then asked, and I'm paraphrasing here, that isn't it our morality that says that murder is wrong?

In response, I must say that my prior post wasn't a complete analysis, but I'll do a more complete analysis in response. First, I know that it would be correct to state that an individual's moral viewpoint probably effects, and probably should effect, all of their policy viewpoints. Those of us who supported health care reform didn't just do it for economic reasons, but because we believe it is a moral imperative that all Americans should have access to quality health care. However, there are a set of issues that are clearly morality first issues, where economics arguments on both sides tend to come behind the "I just feel this way" sort of issue. The two biggest morality first issues of the day are pretty clearly gay rights and abortion.

I think there are two clear questions to ask: First, does taking the policy of one side in an argument hurt the other side? Gay marriage fits well into this question. Not allowing gay marriage clearly hurts gay men and women, as it prevents them from taking advantage of the privileges our federal and state governments provide to married individuals. The damage to individuals who are against gay marriage is extremely specious and vague.

I would argue that abortion works similarly: legal abortion doesn't harm people who don't choose to have abortions, while prohibiting abortions would harm individuals with unwanted pregnancies. But let's just humor the argument that conservatives will clearly make in response to this, that children who may have been born if not for the abortions themselves are a harmed population. Then you're left with the second question: how split is society on the issue? Before the government prohibits something that is clearly a morals first issue, there should be a clear supermajority of the country who thinks one view is correct. Clearly this is not perfect, as the supermajority has often been wrong on issues like race, women's rights, and sexual orientation. When you think about the government waiting so long on those issues, though, those were also issues where the legislature completely forgot to ask the first question. Who did the civil rights act actually harm, aside from people who were unreasonably bigoted? Who did giving the women the right to vote harm? Who would gay marriage harm? If these two simple questions were asked and honestly answered on these morals first types of issues, we'd end up with a more just society.

Santorum's Google Problem

(Posted by Jocelyn)

Well, this is delightful:


From Obnoxi.us:

In a press release early this morning, Santorum, a frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex, addressed the so called “Google Problem” described by Republican Senator Rick Santorum. Speaking from his tony uptown loft, the semi-organic puddle had this to say:

. . .

“It’s really disheartening, you know? We’re a progressive family who believes in cultural diversity, and keeping our noses out of the personal decisions of others. When we’re linked by name to the very epitome of bigoted intolerance, it creates an unfair perception of us to millions of people worldwide we’ve never met. It’s hard enough going through life as an oozing excretion without the Rainbow Coalition picketing outside our house because this name mixup has caused them to think we’re intolerant, too. The stress has been really overwhelming. In the last three months, I’ve been reduced to little more than a dried up stain.”

Read the article in its entirety here, and don't forget to help us spread the real santorum by Googling and linking to spreadingsantorum.com!

(via Slog)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lindsay Lohan Loves Santorum!

(Posted by Jocelyn)

Or, you know, he'd like her to. Here's what he said on the Chris Stigall Show (in response to the fact that Miley Cyrus hates him):
When she came out against me, we actually had a family meeting and decided whether I can continue on in this process and, you know, we had to talk to the kids and it was difficult. But we’re actually holding out; we still think we might get Lindsay Lohan. And with that, we can continue. We’re waiting.
Aw, little Ricky tried to make a joke! It'd be cute if it wasn't so unbelievably stupid (like pretty much everything else that comes out of his mouth). Does he know that Lindsay Lohan is gay?

Watch the whole interview here:


(via Mediaite)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Role Should Faith Play in Politician's Work?

I've noticed that there has been a decent amount of discussion already on this blog and its comments regarding what role faith should play in a politician's work. First, from a legal perspective, I have to say that the idea that the separation of church and state calls for politicians to entirely leave their faith at the door to the Capitol Building is as false as the idea that the separation of church and state is just an act of judicial activism.

Let's be honest: it's impossible to build that sort of wall. For people who are religious, it's an inherent part of their culture and life experiences, and those are the things that lead to a person's sense of morality. You don't want people to leave their sense of morality at the door, even if you happen to disagree with some of the opinions that individual has.

The problem is when politicians believe that it is necessary for all constituents to share their morality. This is what makes individuals like Rick Santorum so distasteful to so many Americans. Because he believes that abortion is always wrong, he thinks that all Americans should be prohibited from having abortions. Because he thinks that gay marriage is wrong, he believes that gay marriage should be prohibited in America. It would be akin to me saying that because I believe that people should live together before they get married. But that would not be in tune with the morality of many decent, hard-working Americans, and as such I don't think that it would be right for it to be a law. That is something I firm believe each individual should decide for themselves.

I don't ask for Rick Santorum to forego his religion, or to not consider it when doing political work. I merely ask him to not impose his own morality on me, and I will show him the same respect.

Santorum 2012

Have you seen Santorum's alternative campaign website? No?

CLICK HERE!

(Warning: gross)

Santorum Trails Behind Romney

So much for a hometown advantage! Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has found himself in a sticky situation. While primary candidates usually find that they have their homestates covered, a recent Quinnipiac poll finds that Pennsylvania primary voters don't want to be covered in Santorum. Instead, Santorum trails behind Romney 21-16.

The poll does show some hope for Santorum's slow spread of popularity as Santorum proved more popular than Palin, Cain, Paul, Bachmann, Gingrich, Pawlenty and Hunstman, which is really saying something considering what a source of irritation most Pennsylvanians consider Santorum to be.

via TPM

obviously you already did, but do it again

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not the Best Way to Clean up Santorum

(Posted by Jocelyn)

I'm sure many of you have read this post about Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen's, abortion. It reads like so:
Karen was going to die if her pregnancy was not ended, if the fetus was not removed from her body. So, at 20 weeks, one month before what doctors consider ‘viability’, labor was artificially induced and the infected fetus was delivered. It died shortly thereafter.
This is, indeed, a huge act of hypocrisy on the part of the Santorums. To claim that having an abortion for medical reasons is a "phony exception" while knowing full well that your wife did that very thing fifteen years ago is nothing short of disgusting. Or, you know, it would be if it had actually happened.

There is, however, no evidence (that I can find) to suggest that the labor was induced, a requirement in making this tragedy an abortion rather than a miscarriage. Karen Santorum HAS said that she would have considered inducing labor if there were no way she could have survived otherwise, but she didn't actually have to make that decision.

Why does a blog that compares Rick Santorum to anal discharge care? Because comparing a bigot to anal discharge is a much more reasonable act than accusing a man who believes that life begins at conception of something he views as infanticide when there is no credible evidence to support that claim. It's not anywhere near as bad as taking a family's personal tragedy and altering the facts in order to make a point about one member's politics.

Rick Santorum is a terrible, terrible person, and he deserves all the fecal Google-bombing the thinking public can muster, but he doesn't deserve this. Nobody does. For shame.

The Worst Thing About Santorum

(Posted by Jocelyn)

Did you watch the Republican debate last night? Me neither. But it sounds like some very important issues were discussed.

When asked whom he preferred: Leno or Conan, Senator Poopy-Lube responded:
“I’m — neither — probably Leno.”
I mean, honestly. Nobody likes Leno.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The legal flaws of Rick Santorum's gay marriage stance

Rick Santorum has tried very, very hard to make arguments regarding why gay marriage would be such a terrible, terrible thing. One of his go to arguments is discussing how, if gay marriage is legal, things like marrying animals, bigamy and incest must also be legal. Outside of the fact that the slippery slope is called a logical fallacy for a reason, these stances ignore the very basics of both contract and Constitutional law.

The bestiality one is the quickest, so I'll get that out of the way first. At its heart, marriage is simply a contract. In exchange for you agreeing to join your life to mine, including a whole host of property considerations that entails, I also agree to join my life to yours. As such, all divorce actually provides is a process to more efficiently breach the marriage contract. Since it is a contract, marriage requires something very important: consent from both parties. A dog cannot consent to a contract under any circumstances, so a person cannot marry a dog. Or a cat, or a horse, or whatever other man/animal marriages Rick Santorum is envisioning.

The bigamy and incest issues, on the other hand, require a quick summary of some basic Constitutional Law. I'm just going to be detailing the most exacting and least exacting tests for challenging a law on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment, which applies the Bill of Rights to the states. Prior to the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment, a state could have, for example, had an official religion if its state constitution did not prohibit it.

The most exacting test is strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny applies if a law infringes a fundamental constitutional right or if a suspect classification is involved. Suspect classifications include race, sex and national origin, but to this point have not included sexual orientation. I strongly believe that sexual orientation should be a suspect classification, but to this point the higher courts have not agreed. For a law to pass strict scrutiny, it must do three things: (1) be justified by a compelling government interest; (2) be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal or interest; and (3) be the least restrictive means for achieving that interest.

Rational basis scrutiny, on the other hand, is the least exacting test and applies to challenges to laws under either the Due Process Clause or Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment when a more exacting test does not apply. At this point, the body enacting the law must only have a rational basis for enacting the challenged provision. That rational basis only needs to not be arbitrary.

Currently, it is most likely that laws prohibiting gay marriage will be reviewed under rational basis scrutiny. If that is the case, a court would need to determine that preventing gay marriage is arbitrary, or in other words that there is no rational basis it provides and is only prohibited because gay people give some straight people the heebie jeebies. But clearly laws prohibiting incest and bigamy do have a rational basis. Incest has a unique problem because can lead to children with all sorts of nasty birth defects, but bigamy and incest share a big problem as well: oftentimes engaging in those act lead to child victims. Protecting children from the terrible situations that bigamy and incest often lead to is clearly a rational basis that is not arbitrary. At this point, believing children are harmed by gay marriage is the among the worst kinds of prejudice, and has been shown to be flat out false.

Even if the courts determined that laws preventing gay marriage should be subject to strict scrutiny, that still would not prevent the enactment and enforcement of laws that prevent bigamy and incest. On the one hand, if courts determined that sexual orientation was a suspect classification, its determination in that case would only apply to gay marriages. On the other hand, even if the courts determine that marriage is a fundamental right, protecting children from the harm that often results from bigamous and incestuous relations is a compelling government interest, and the only way to enforce that is to make those sorts of relationships illegal.

Santorum's analogies simply don't hold up to any sort of legal scrutiny. If he wants to make an argument against gay marriage, let him go ahead and be on the wrong side of history. But his slippery slope argument is just intellectually lazy.

Santorum vs. Santorum

(Posted by Jocelyn)

Uh oh, guys. All eighteen of Rick Santorum's supporters are apparently mad at us.

From Facebook:
Rick Santorum is a God-fearing man who wants to save unborn children and protect traditional marriage. Because of this, radical left-wing activists launched a Google-bombing campaign so that people searching for his name will find pages full of vile, disgusting filth instead.

What we can do as Christians is to fight back with a Google-bombing campaign of our own. We need to post as many links as we can to www.RickSantorum.com (his real site), to help it rise in the search engine ranks and beat the fake sites.

If you have control over any websites, blogs, facebook pages, or anything like that, post a link to www.RickSantorum.com, and help fight back against the gay agenda.
So, all you radical left-wing activists, don't forget to keep linking to (and Googling) santorum, or you run the risk of derailing the gay agenda and forcing this page full of vile, disgusting filth into obscurity. That is all.

UPDATE:

We are famous!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hi, I'm Glen

First of all, I want to thank Mssr. Dan Savage for allowing me to blog for Spreading Santorum. Secondly, I want to state my intentions in blogging for this site.


1. To help spread the word about Santorum as much as possible. Did you know there are millions of fully-grown men and women who have never heard of Rick Santorum? It's true--& if you're like me, then you wish you were one of them.

But since I can never regain my blessed ignorance of Santorum, then I shall strive to make sure all others suffer likewise with the fearful knowledge of his dread existence.


2. To help spread the word about Santorum in as many ways as possible. Not just in this blog, but also in other, guerilla-like ways (within legal as boundaries, of course)--& then reporting those efforts here.

But unlike Dan, I will not caucus in a state in which I'm not a registered voter, nor will I lick the doorknob of Santorum's campaign office while putridly ill. I may however, put lube and chocolate frosting on their doorknobs.


3. To help stop the spread of Santorum. I will do all I can to help ensure that he has an even lesser chance (than his already-slim-to-none chance) of being one of the top three in the Iowa GOP caucus. Or any other primary or caucus, or any other future election for the rest of his life.

It's very unlikely that Santorum will win the GOP nomination for President, but I want to him to never again even think about running for any elected office. Then maybe we can all forget about the inbred Santorum and his ilk, and maybe someday revert back to the (tossed) salad days of our pre-Santorum youth.

Friday, June 10, 2011

No Rick, the Declaration of Independence is not printed in the Constitution

As an attorney in my day job, there is little that annoys me more than hearing politicians, many of whom are also attorneys, butcher the United States Constitution. While Rick Santorum has frequently used the phrase "original intent of the founders", he avoided it in his presidential kickoff speech. As such, I'll deal with the utter ridiculousness of that phrase at a later date.

But Santorum's kickoff speech did include one of my other pet peeves that many on the right have been guilty of recently: using the Declaration of Independence either interchangeably with or to make a point about the Constitution. To paraphrase the relevant part of his campaign kickoff speech, Santorum said that he loved the Tea Partiers waving their Constitutions around, since according to Mr. Santorum waving the Constitution around is apparently more important than reading it. He continued to claim, "But in that Constitution that they hold up, is another document that’s always printed there. It’s the Declaration of Independence." Then Santorum went on the standard right wing babble about what life, liberty and pursuit of happiness mean. Of course, according the Santorum they mean cutting government spending, cutting taxes on the wealthy, and prohibiting gay marriage and abortion.

My first question is what exactly did Santorum mean by saying that the Declaration of Independence was printed "there?" Does he mean that the Declaration is in the Constitution? Guess what Rick, it isn't. It isn't referenced. And in the Constitution, the term "life" is only used once to describe the punishment for being convicted of treason, the term "Liberty" is used once in the preamble and is not defined, and the phrase "pursuit of happiness" does not appear at all.

This is not intended to diminish the symbolic importance of the Declaration of Independence. Symbolically, it's an extraordinarily important historical document, and clearly U.S. citizens view its opening lines as a basic description of the country's aspirations. From a legal perspective, though, all the Declaration of Independence does is declare the former 13 colonies' independence from England. It does not state what type of government the United States uses. It does not define the relationships between the federal government and its citizens. It just declares independence from England. It is, instead, the Constitution that prescribes our form of federal government and that federal government's relationship with the states and its citizens. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, while the Declaration of Independence is not law at all.

But why did Rick Santorum, and so many others on the right, use the language of the Declaration instead of the Constitution's? I believe the answer is in the preamble: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." It's harder to seriously argue that the Constitution's actual language calls for cutting spending, lowering taxes, preventing gay people from marrying whom they choose, and prohibiting abortion. But since when does a little thing like facts prevent people like Rick Santorum from saying whatever they want to?

Santorum for the Family

(Posted by Jocelyn)

Did you know that Rick Santorum has a website? Me neither. It's kind of hard to find when you Google him. But Frothy does indeed have a website - and a fancy logo and everything!

Seriously?

On his website, Santorum is billed as a "champion of faith and families."

As a husband and father, Rick Santorum knows the importance of protecting and providing for your family. He believes that at the core of the American experience is the family, and that without strong families, we cannot have a strong and vibrant nation.

During his time in elected office, Rick Santorum fought for the preservation of the traditional American family and for the protection of the most vulnerable in our society. Rick was the author of legislation outlawing the heinous act known as partial-birth abortion and he championed the fight to pass the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act” and the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act.” He also authored legislation to advance adult stem cell research, so that ethical research could take place to fight debilitating diseases without the moral implications associated with embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life. . . .

When activist judges took it upon themselves to redefine marriage, and with it the underpinnings of the traditional American family and our First Amendment right to Freedom of Religion, Rick spearheaded the debate in favor of Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004. Rick successfully fought even members of his own Party and had the amendment brought to the Senate floor for public debate in two successive Congresses. Even though he knew he would be labeled a bigot or worse* by members of the liberal elite, Rick Santorum understood this issue was far too important to the future of our society not to be debated before the American public.

As a proud member of the liberal elite, I don't think I could imagine worse family values. I come from a home with a mother and a father who have been married for a really, really long time. When I was a kid, my mom didn't work, choosing instead to stay home with her kids, clean stuff, cook meals, do various craft projects, and volunteer.

I also grew up in a family with several adopted "uncles," some of whom were partnered and all of whom were gay, who died of AIDS in the early '90s. I grew up with my mom saying "if you get pregnant before you can afford a baby, I'm driving you straight to Planned Parenthood." When I organized a walkout to protest the war in Iraq, my mom came by and brought us pizza. When the Catholic church that my family attended covered their lawn with little white crosses as 'graves' for the 'unborn,' we found a new church. This is my family.

At first glance, I'm sure Rick Santorum would be pretty impressed with my white, upper-middle-class family. If he ever bothered to learn anything about us, however, I doubt my family would be a family he would value. And I know for a fact that there isn't a single gay family in the United States whom Santorum values. I'd venture a guess that the only families Rick values are ones that resemble his own; the rest of us be damned.

So, Ricky may see himself as a 'family values' man, but I, for one, plan on doing all I can to keep my family safe from santorum.

*That's us!

Maddow > Santorum

(Posted by Jocelyn)



Ugh. Rachel is such a babe.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Canadians Love Santorum!

Or at least these ones do.

Santorum's Google ProblemS

These are the suggestions when you type "santorum" and "rick santorum" into the Google. (Click pic to enlarge.)



"Santorum scandal"? "Rick Santorum gay"? "Santorum fetus"? "Santorum dead baby"?


Santorum has a Google problem the same way deaf people have a hearing problem.

An Abundance of Santorum

(Posted by Jocelyn)

Boy, Santorum has been everywhere these days: on Rush Limbaugh's radio show talking about how global warming is a liberal conspiracy, on CNN backing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. . . .

None of this is particularly shocking. It's all just what we've come to expect from Old Frothy. In fact, I didn't think I could be shocked by anything he said anymore. But then he said this:


What the literal fuck?

I'm sorry; I shouldn't swear. This is a classy blog.

But, WHAT THE LITERAL FUCK?!

Attempting to ban abortion is one thing, but claiming that the health of the mother is a "phony exception" is shocking. It's shocking. I'm shocked.

There are, in fact, several health-related situations where abortion is medically necessary. If a woman is diabetic and does not have adequate health insurance, she may be unable to keep her blood sugar at an optimum level, which drastically increases the risk of fatal heath problems for the fetus and herself. Is abortion, then, not an option in her case? If a woman develops a fast-acting cancer during or before her pregnancy, she may need radiation immediately in order to save her life. That same radiation, however, is very dangerous for the fetus. Is abortion, then, not an option in her case? If an 80-lb 9-year-old girl is impregnated with twins by her stepfather, then doctors may deem that the dual pregnancy poses a serious risk to her small frame. Is abortion not an option in her case?

There are many more valid medical reasons to obtain an abortion. Some of them are rare, granted, but none of them are phony. In fact the only thing that's phony here is the idea that Rick Santorum might actually get elected.

Thanks for the PR, Rick!


(via Towleroad)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Guerrilla Campaign Poster for Santorum

(Created by Craig Pennington)

The Facts About Santorum

(Posted by Jocelyn)

The Associated Press fact-checked Rick Santorum's presidential announcement speech. Shockingly, there were few facts in it. Read the whole thing here.

Dissecting Santorum

(Posted by Jocelyn)

Op-ed columnist and unwelcome bedroom guest Rick Santorum announced Monday that he is seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2012. In his speech, Santorum made the following statement:
President Obama took that faith that the American public gave him, and wrecked our economy, and centralized power in Washington, DC, and robbed people of their freedom.
Obviously, being able to casually throw out loaded sentences is a requirement for Republican presidential hopefuls, but this one is definitely among the most loaded of all time. Let's break it down into parts and see what we can make of it.

1. "President Obama . . . wrecked our economy,"

This is a shocking misrepresentation of facts. As anyone with a working memory can tell you, the financial crisis came to fruition at the end of the Bush presidency. In fact, Senator John McCain, who was running against then-Senator Obama, took some "time off" from his "campaign" to "work on the economy." The first bail-out was passed by congress in 2008 and signed by then-President George W. Bush. As for the actual cause of the financial crisis, I can only say with certainty that it wasn't Obama. Elizabeth Warren, former Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP and current Special Advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, however, can explain it, and did it pretty well on the Daily Show in 2009:
Every 10 to 15 years, there's a financial panic in our history; you just look at it. And there's a big collapse, big trouble, people lose their farms, wiped out. Until we hit the Great Depression. We come out of the Great Depression, we say, You know, we can do better than this. We don't have to go back to this kind of boom-and-bust cycle. We come out of the Great Depression with three regulations: FDIC Insurance — it's safe to put your money in banks, Glass-Steagall — banks won't do crazy things, and some SEC regulations.We go 50 years without a financial panic, without a crisis. . . .

I said fifty years, because then what happens is we say, "Regulation? Ahh, it's a pain, it's expensive, we don't need it." So we start pulling the threads out of the regulatory fabric, and what's the first thing we get? We get the S&L crisis. 700 financial institutions failed. Ten years later, what do we get? Long-term capital management, when we learn that when something collapses one place in the world, it collapses everywhere else. Early 2000's, we get Enron, which tells us the books are dirty. And what is our repeated response? We just keep pulling the threads out of the regulatory fabric.

Of course! Deregulation caused the financial crisis, and continued deregulation will cause another one in about 10 years. Santorum, however, has another take on the economy (from The Philadelphia Inquirer):
I would do the opposite of what this president is doing….

I would repeal Obamacare. I would dramatically change if not repeal most of Dodd-Frank. I would also throw Sarbanes-Oxley in there, too.
Moving on...

2. "President Obama . . . centralized power in Washington, DC,"

I mean, we live in a democracy (mostly). When our democratically-elected government has a power center, that means its allowed to function efficiently. Since it doesn't often seem to do that, I think it's fair to say that Obama hasn't actually managed to "centralized power." But I'm not going to belabor the point when there are bigger fish to fry, such as:

3. "President Obama . . . robbed people of their freedom."

W. T. F.

Perhaps it's because I'm young, but I never seem to stop being amazed at the way conservatives have no problem taking a word and using it to mean the opposite of what it actually means. What does Rick Santorum think freedom means? Because I don't think it means what he thinks it means. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, which sounds like a dictionary Santorum would like, "freedom" has eleven possible meanings, none of which (to my knowledge) have been in any way impeded by the Obama administration.

Under the Obama administration, women enjoy the right to freedom of choice when it comes to their reproductive health. Santorum, however, had this to say about that particular freedom:
For decades certain human beings were wrongly treated as property and denied liberty in America because they were not considered persons under the constitution. Today other human beings, the unborn of all races, are also wrongly treated as property and denied the right to life for the same reason; because they are not considered persons under the constitution. I am disappointed that President Obama, who rightfully fights for civil rights, refuses to recognize the civil rights of the unborn in this country.
Under the Obama administration, gays and lesbians will soon have the freedom to be out and in the military. Santorum, however, had this to say about that particular freedom:


Under the Obama administration, gays and lesbians are also getting ever closer to attaining the right to marry. Santorum, however, had this to say about that particular freedom:
Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.
Which, you know, is the reason this blog exists.

I guess I'm not really clear about what kind of freedom Obama is supposed to have robbed us of. Is it the freedom to be a bigoted douche? Obviously we still have that, because Santorum and his ilk don't seem to have gone anywhere. No, I think the freedom that Santorum wants is the freedom to impose his own extremist religious beliefs on the general public. Luckily, however, the voting public in this democracy can easily deny him that one in 2012.

This Just in: Santorum is Evil

(Posted by Jocelyn)

From The Huffington Post:
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who announced his bid for president Monday, has spent the past four years serving on the board of Universal Health Services Inc. (UHS), one of the country's largest and most troubled hospital chains.

It turns out Santorum may have had a more personal stake in railing against President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation and beating the drum for less government intrusion in our health care system. Both federal and state officials have routinely cited UHS for a seemingly endless number of violations, ranging from Medicaid fraud to patient neglect and abuse. Investigations have uncovered everything from riots to rape to homicide at UHS facilities.

Yikes! Read more here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pennsylvania Apologizes for Getting Santorum All Over Everything

About time.

The Science of Santorum

(Posted by Jocelyn)

When President Obama assumed office, he promised to "restore science to its rightful place." This was a pretty big relief not only to the scientific community (who saw their federal funding slashed under the Bush administration), but also to people with diseases like Parkinson's (who could see a cure as a result of embryonic stem cell research), environmentalists (who are concerned about climate change), and pretty much everyone who understands that evolution is a 'theory' the way santorum is 'not something you want to get on your sheets.'

Luckily for the rest of Americans, however, Senator Rick Santorum (now officially a Republican presidential candidate) has views on science that rival George W. Bush's. In 2005, Santorum did an interview with George Stephanopoulos in which he argued that, as someone who is pro-life, he could not support embryonic stem cell research. According to the International Society for Stem Cell Research, however, embryonic stem cells are used to achieve specific research goals:

A. Insight into human development
Most knowledge about human development has been obtained through studying model organisms, such as fruit flies, worms, frogs and mice. Human embryonic stem cell lines, which can be cultured and differentiated into a variety of cells and tissues paralleling the earliest events in the development of the embryo offer a unique window into human development.

B. Study of diseases and how they develop
Experimental animal models are typically used to study human diseases in the lab. However, they do not exactly model the disease as it occurs in people. Human pluripotent stem cells, particularly patient or disease-specific lines, offer the possibility to model human disease more accurately in the lab. Read more about disease-specific or patient-specific pluripotent stem cells

C. Regenerative medicine
Replacing diseased cells with healthy cells, an approach called regenerative medicine, is a promising application of stem cells. Currently, researchers are investigating the use of adult, fetal and embryonic stem cells as a resource for various, specialized cell types, such as nerve cells, muscle cells, blood cells and skin cells that can be used to treat various diseases. In theory, any condition in which there is tissue degeneration can be a potential candidate for stem cell therapies, including Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, muscular dystrophies, retinal degeneration and liver diseases. However, an important consideration here is that in some cases the immune system causes the disease by destroying critical cells, such as insulin-producing cells in type I diabetes. It is therefore possible that stem cell-derived insulin-producing cells will be attacked by the immune system as well.

Additionally, some types of stem cells have been shown to migrate toward tumors or sites of injury, or to secrete various factors that influence the behavior of other cells, such as those of the immune system.

These represent possible alternative approaches for the future development of stem cell-based therapies.
Obviously, Santorum has chosen to use the term 'pro-life' to mean something very specific that does not include being a proponent of human life. A proponent of human life (like, say, Barack Obama, who overturned the 2001 ban on embryonic stem cell research after assuming office in 2009) would support scientific research that could present a cure for a number of chronic and/or terminal illnesses. A proponent of science would be able to see the difference between "killing a human embryo" and saving a lot of human adults.

Santorum's views on climate change are similarly troubling. In a 2009 op-ed, he claimed that "global temperatures have actually cooled over the last 10 years and are predicted to continue cooling over the next 10," which is demonstrably not true. In fact the numbers come from a man named Don Easterbrook, who teaches at Western Washington University and whose research puts him at odds with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

All that, however, is debatable. It's not morally offensive to value human life, even if you express it in an illogical way. Nor is it ridiculous to question climate science when it is still an area of active research and new discovery. Rick Santorum's views on evolution, however, are wholly unacceptable. Just take a look at what he had to say about creationism intelligent design back in 2002:
The theory of intelligent design, which predates ancient Greece, contends that nature shows tangible signs of having been created by a pre-existing intelligence. This is in contrast to Charles Darwin's theory, which assumes all physical and material reality has gradually evolved through pure chance and natural selection, whereby the fittest members of each species survive and reproduce.
It's almost not even worth arguing with a statement like that. Where do you even start? There's the fact that there aren't a whole lot of scientific theories that "predate ancient Greece" and still hold water today. Or perhaps the argument that as a respected scientific theory, evolution "assumes" nothing, but is rather proved to be true time and time again by a continuous gathering of evidence from a number of sources. There are also the old stand-by arguments that a scientific theory and a regular, everyday theory are two entirely different animals. Failing that, we could always just go with the obvious: all the evidence we have about life on this planet points to the fact that evolution not only happened, but continues to happen today.


But, in the end, there's really no use arguing with a man whose faith forces him to choose between reality and fantasy. His mind is made up. All we can do is make damn sure that Rick 'Frothy Mix' Santorum doesn't get anywhere near the presidency, thus keeping our science labs, public schools, and health out of his hands.