Monday, August 29, 2011

Allahu Akbar!

From The Hill:
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said the gay community has "gone out on a jihad" against him for his stance against gay marriage.

"So the gay community said, 'He's comparing gay sex to incest and polygamy, how dare he do this,' and they have gone out on a, I would argue, jihad against Rick Santorum since then," the former senator said at a campaign stop in Spartanburg, S.C., on Friday.
Oh no! The two biggest threats to America - gays and Muslims - are comin' to git ya (and yer jobs, and yer guns) if ya don't vote for Rick Santorum! RUN FER YER LIIIIIIIVES!!!!!!!!

Oh, wait. I forgot I'm not an idiot. Santorum, on the other hand, is. What he doesn't realize is that his fear-mongering statement that the gay community is committing 'jihad' against him is actually the most accurate thing he's said possibly ever.

Literally translated, the word 'jihad' means 'struggle.' Rather than harping on the ancient, militant connotation of jihad, modern Muslim scholars have applied the word to Gandhi's struggle for Indian independence and the women's suffrage movement. The struggle, then, for equal rights for all Americans could easily fall in that same category.

Like Muslims, who have a duty to their god to wage a moral and spiritual battle - whether it be against oppressors or against other kinds of obstacles, proponents of equality have a duty to struggle against those who would oppress us. As Senator Poopy-Lube has been so gracious as to practically wear a neon sign around his neck that says "BIGOT," he's kind of an easy target. Plus, you know, it's fun to make fun of him because he actually responds. DON'T YOU KNOW THAT THE BEST WAY TO MAKE US GO AWAY IS TO IGNORE US, RICK?

Allah knows we'd love it if we could ignore you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's Hard to Clean up Santorum

FACT: Trees are trees.
FACT: Cars are cars.
FACT: Trees are not cars.
FACT: Marriage is marriage.

It's tough to argue with such solid logic. I mean, trees are trees, and cars are indeed cars. Trees are not cars and cars are not trees. This is all definitely true.

But what it has to do with marriage, I fail to understand. After all, trees and cars are physical objects - one of them alive and one of them mechanical. Marriage, on the other hand, is at once an abstract concept, a religious sacrament, and a legal status. A particular marriage between two (or, in some cases, more) people could be any combination of those three things. Certainly two people in the United States can be legally married without involving religion, or vice-versa. A couple could also have lived together for so long that they consider themselves married, with or without a certificate saying it's so. In fact, my old roommate and I used to call each other "wifey" due to the extreme domesticity and emotional closeness in our relationship. It was a marriage, of sorts, even if it wasn't a tree or a car.

Beyond the metaphysical, however, there is a bigger reason why this argument of Santorum's doesn't work. This reason is obvious to anyone who has ever thought about anything ever, and therefore Old Frothy is unlikely to ever understand it. I don't even need to tell you what the reason is, because you almost certainly know: marriage has already been re-defined.


It's only in recent history that the majority of Western marriages have stopped being of the arranged variety. Marriages for love (or like or whatever) are now the norm. This is a major redefinition of marriage, one that I doubt even Santorum would argue against. That said, arranged marriages still happen, even in the United States. Orthodox Jews, for example, still exclusively use matchmakers to find a spouse. These marriages are different from the norm, but still entitle the married couple to the same benefits a "traditional" married couple would receive.

It also used to be common practice in the West for the families of the bride to pay a dowry to the families of the husband when an engagement took place. This was to ensure that the woman, who could not work outside the home, would be supported by her husband. This practice no longer takes place for several reasons, not the least of which being that women are seen as a little more useful these day than they had been in the past. Certainly the disappearance of the dowry is a redefinition of marriage with which Santorum would not take issue.

Even in the Bible, we can see marriage evolve. In the Old Testament, nearly all the marriages were polygamous. Men of status had a veritable harem of wives and lovers, with whom they had many children. In the New Testament, this practice disappears, leaving married women with a social status that was slightly more elevated than before. I highly doubt that this redefinition of marriage from polygamy to monogamy is something Santorum abhors.

FACT: Marriage, like trees that grow from saplings to giants and come in many different species, is a multi-faceted and ever-changing concept.
FACT: Marriage, like cars that have increasingly become smarter, faster, and more fuel efficient, has evolved with the times.
FACT: Santorum is the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Santorum at Home

When I was in kindergarten, I got this idea into my head that I was actually mentally disabled in some way and everyone in my life (other students, teachers, my parents, etc.) was just pretending that I was normal to be nice. I've since come to realize that this is (almost) definitely not the case. I think it might be, however, for Senator Rick Santorum. I'm pretty sure that his wife, children, handlers, and "gay friends" are just pretending that he's a real person to make him feel good.

Which, you know, fair enough. I mean, he seems like a harmless enough guy, in a mentally-subnormal, bigoted kind of way. But this effort on the part of Rick's loved ones to humor him isn't actually doing him a kindness. All they're really doing is allowing him to get into situations where he can only embarrass himself. Like this one (via Politico):
Rick Santorum is embarking on a three-day fundraising blitz across Pennsylvania next week.

Santorum, who served Pennsylvania in the Senate for two terms, will hold fundraising events in at least eight cities next week. They’re his first fundraisers since he finished fourth at the Iowa Straw Poll, despite spending little money on the effort. He’ll be hoping to give his underfunded candidacy a shot in the arm and bolster his argument for staying in the race.

What's so bad about fund raising in your home state? Generally, nothing. But when your home state voted 58 to 41 percent to elect a piece of milktoast to your senate seat, it may be fair to assume that you're more than a little unpopular there. And when your home state apologizes for your existence, stating, "we really don't like him," it may be fair to assume that you're not going to raise much money there. Finally, when the most recent poll of Republicans in your home state puts you in third place with 17% of the vote (behind Mitt Romney and 'undecided'), I think it's fair to assume that attempting to find financial support there may mean that you're going to make a huge ass out of yourself. Again.

Seriously, Mrs. Santorum, do your husband a kindness and have him committed. You'll get your reward in Heaven.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Frothy Economics

Noted economist Rick Santorum, bolstered by his recent fourth-place Ames Straw Poll victory, enlightened his constituents on Tuesday as to the nature of the United States' economic crisis. Here's what he had to say:

Letting the family break down and in fact encouraging it and inciting more breakdown through this whole redefinition of marriage debate, and not supporting strong nuclear families and not supporting and standing up for the dignity of human life. Those lead to a society that’s broken…

If you think that we can be a society that kills our own, and that disregards the family and the important role it plays, and doesn’t teach moral values and the important role of faith in the public square, and then expect people to be good, decent and moral when they behave economically, if you look at the root cause of the economic problems that we’re dealing with on Wall Street and Main Street I might add, from 2008, they were huge moral failings. And you can’t say that we’re gonna take morality out of the public square, morality out of our schools, God out of our schools, and then expect people to behave decently in a country that requires, capitalism requires some strong modicum of moral consciousness if it’s gonna be successful.

This is an idea worth investigating. In fact, it's so worth investigating that I spent a whole ten minutes investigating it. In that time, I found some very interesting information. Did you know that out of over 200 countries in the world, there are only sixteen that have a AAA rating from both Standard & Poore's and Moody's credit agencies? That means that those sixteen countries have the world's strongest economies. Following Santorum's logic, it follows that those sixteen must also be the sixteen most morally sound countries in the world.

Which makes it pretty awesome that four of them have legalized gay marriage, twelve of them have universal healthcare, and all of them have some level of legalized abortion. That's my kind of morality, but I'm pretty sure it's not Rick's.

America is a Christian Nation, You Guys

It should come as no surprise to you that Rick Santorum believes in the idea that America is a Christian nation. It's a pretty popular idea among the right, and God knows Rick is as right as they come. It still irks me, however, when he says stuff like this expecting that the majority of Americans are going to dig it (via Perez Hilton):
Every speech I give, I talk about the Declaration of Independence, where rights come from God. That's where they come from in this country. It's different than any other country in the history of the world. We said our rights come to each and every one of us from God. That is the source of our power to govern. Yes, the consent of the governed, but where do the people get the power from which to exercise? It's in keeping and trying to pass laws that is consistent with God's law. God gives you the rights. He doesn't give them to you and says, 'Do whatever you want.' He gave them to you and said… Well, look at later on in the Declaration they refer to nature and nature's God. That we are to live by the natural law and God's laws.

That is what when they talked about the 'pursuit of happiness.' If you go back and read the definition in Webster at the time of the Declaration, or certainly thereafter, what 'happiness' was defined as doing good. Doing good, doing what is moral. So the pursuit of something ordered and morally good is what our founders were saying.

Which is in other words living your life consistent – taking those rights and living them consistent with God's law. That was the goal and the aim of America. Someone has to speak out and remind Americas who we are. Someone has to get up and we have to say that America, as I said last night, is a moral enterprise.
Why, you ask, do I allow such predictable statements by my old friend Rick to get under my skin? Well, I answer, it's because unlike some of the ideological issues on which we hold differing opinions, the idea that America was founded with the purpose of doing God's work is completely disprovable.

Don't believe me? Ask Thomas Jefferson. Here's what he had to say on the subject:
In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.
He also said this:
Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
Seeing as Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, about which Rick claims to be such an expert, I think it's fair to assume that when he wrote about the right to "the pursuit of happiness," he didn't mean "you know, as long as you behave like a puritanical bigot who had to have 9,000 children to make up for his total lack of friends."

But we don't actually have to assume anything here, because John Adams, who was also on the Declaration-writing committee, flat-out said it in 1787:
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
It's fine to be a bigot. As we've all got rights, I can't actually prevent Rick Santorum from shoving his foot half-way up his frothy ass. But I also think it's important that any president of this country have a cursory knowledge of its history, which means accepting that the founding fathers had room among their numbers for non-Christians, and so should we all.

Just sayin'.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hilarious Piece About Santorum in the Washington Post

Check it out:
Santorum hasn’t been running against Barack Obama. He’s been running against Dan Savage, a syndicated sex columnist. It’s hard to blame him. His opposition to Obama is theoretical. But thanks to Dan Savage, his name is quite literally mud.
Wait for it...
He’s trying all kinds of things. Yesterday, he showed up at an event and handed out free jars of homemade Santorum jelly. If you’re aware of his Google problem, you will realize how horrifyingly awkward this must have been.
Awesome. So awesome. Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

THIS JUST IN: SANTORUM IS FUCKING BATSHIT

From the Des Moines Register:
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum criticized early education programs on Tuesday as an effort to “indoctrinate your children,” adding that parents, not federal bureaucrats, must be responsible for the success of students.

. . . .

“It is a parent’s responsibility to educate their children. It is not the government’s job. We have sort of lost focus here a little bit. Of course, the government wants their hands on your children as fast as they can. That is why I opposed all these early starts and pre-early starts, and early-early starts. They want your children from the womb so they can indoctrinate your children as to what they want them to be. I am against that,” he said.

It's getting harder and harder to respond to the santorum that comes out of Santorum's mouth. It's kind of like arguing with my friend Joel, who thinks that 9/11 was an inside job. There is no amount of logic or evidence one can provide that will dissuade a person from holding such unreasonable beliefs. If you want to believe that the government flew remote-controlled planes into the World Trade Center, or that Head Start is an effort to brainwash young people, I really can't stop you.

via SodaHead

But come the fuck on, you can't hold that kind of belief while running for president. Cuz then you'd be part of the system, man. You'd be one of them. If you want to be an anarchist, go for it, but there is no such thing as an anarchist president. Gosh.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Best. Thing. Ever.

Guys, LOOK what I found this weekend:

The Queeriodic Table

Check out number 89!

Monday, August 1, 2011

And on a Clear Positive Note

It was truly wonderful to see Congresswoman Giffords return to the House floor to cast her vote this evening.

So We Have a (Debt Ceiling) Deal

Since the news has been dominated by the debt ceiling issue for the past week, there has been relatively little on the Republican presidential field. That's especially true of also-rans like Rick Santorum. But over the past 24 hours a compromise was reached in the Senate. That Bill passed the House earlier this evening, and is pretty likely to pass the Senate tomorrow.

From the view of a liberal, the end result of the bill is pretty crappy. It's all spending cuts, no revenues, and it could result in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in the next round of cuts. However, it's better than a default, which might have made the 2008 downturn seem like a mere correction. Also, while the political part of me likes the idea of the President invoking the 14th Amendment option, which would involve President Obama stating that the debt limit in itself is unconstitutional, the lawyer in me thinks it's generally a good idea to avoid a Constitutional crisis if possible. It wouldn't help anything if the full faith and credit of the federal government turned on issues of standing and Constitutional interpretation.

So we're in a familiar zone: we have an incredibly flawed bill, but one that avoids the worst possible outcomes. But what are the possible long term results? That likely depends on two things: (1) does the unemployment rate go down? And (2) if not, who do the American people blame for it?

Result No. 1: Best Possible Option

I have heard rumors from some friends who work in the financial markets that some big companies are saying they've been waiting to hire until the debt ceiling issue was determined. One the one hand, this does make some sense. Corporate profits have been up, so you do have a lot of large companies sitting on some significant piles of cash. Considering the uncertainty with the value of bonds pre-debt ceiling increase, it would be understandable if many companies didn't want to add debt. Adding employees is adding debt. On the other hand, though, it sounds a lot like what Paul Krugman has called the Confidence Fairy.

So the best case scenario is that employment picks up, we're down to something like 7% or below unemployment by 2012, and Obama and the Democrats ride that to significant gains in 2012, at which point they enact some more liberal policies than have dominated the past 10 months or so.

Result No. 2: Not Great Now, But OK Long Term

Most analysts, though, don't expect a significant uptick in employment. So what's the next best option? That things don't get significantly better, but the American populace blames Republicans and the Tea Party for it. So while we won't see improvement now, we should see an Obama re-election and some gains in Congress. At that point hopefully the government can get along dealing with our real big three long term economic issues: (1) unemployment; (2) not enough revenue; and (3) bending the medical cost curve throughout society.

Result No. 3: A Whole Lot of Bad

In this case, the economy both wouldn't improve and Obama would be blamed for it. Republicans would maintain the House and take the Senate, and a Republican would win the White House. They'll deal with the economy the way they always do: cutting taxes. Our inherent problems in our economy won't get any better, income disparity will increase, and they'll undo what progress Democrats have been able to make over the past few years. In other words, it's the nightmare scenario.

Personally, I'm betting on number 2, and counting on the American people to have long enough memories to remember who caused all the problems with this debt bill. We'll see how that goes.