Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ignorance and Illumination: Going Galt

Apparently Obama's announcement of a 4.9% tax increase for those earning more than $250000 (and 3% increase for those making more than $200000) has people making claims that he is a socialist or, alternately, a fascist. You'd think that people would have difficulty combining the two, given that their respective positions on the political spectrum, but some people manage the feat.

Regardless, this has some people talking about "going Galt". For those of you unfamiliar with Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, a quick synopsis:

Atlas Shrugged centres around Dagny Taggart, Hank Reardon, and the titular John Galt. The novel is set in a sort of idealistic dystopia (as contradictory as that sounds) populated by two (maybe three) types of people. Producers, like Reardon and Taggart. Looters/moochers - those who either demand things from the producers or appeal to their sense of pity. And the third category are those who have the right ideals, but aren't themselves producers. At best, they are assistant producers - Eddie Willers, Dagny's assistant, for example - a man who does his job, but isn't a visionary.

At any rate, the moochers/looters wind up in control of the government, systematically punishing the producers because they hate them, and yet depend on them. Psychologically speaking, it tells us a lot about Ms. Rand's mind - she emigrated from Soviet Russia, and therefore had a certain amount of vitriol for "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs". The titular character, fed up with the looters/moochers' activities, establishes an enclave in the Colorado Rockies, and entices other producers to stop "empowering" the parasites, and join him there. With this handful of industry giants removed from the scene, society collapses.

Cheery, eh? Well, this is the hero that people (predominately right-wingers) supposedly wish to emulate. However, the manner in which they do it would be enough to make Ms. Rand cringe...

The meme really got its start from a post by Dr. Helen Smith. Now, the post itself is rubbish - "rewarding those who overspend, underwork, or are just plain unproductive" indeed! - but the real proof of the pudding (sewage pudding with arsenic frosting, in case you were wondering) were the comments this post engendered. It was a veritable Baskin Robin's of wignuttery - every flavour showed up:
  • The very first comment suggested refusing to live up to a contract (anathema for Rand's characters), abuse of a system designed to help ailing family members, and communes. If anything is likely to make Rand turn in her grave, it's people proposing communes in her name!

  • Here in Tenneessee we not only have the Caney Fork and the Little River in which to fly fish but we also make our own cars. Lots of them.
    It does my heart some good as a southerner to know that this time it is the South that is on the productive and responsible side of the issue.
    This gentleman seems to forget what industry was asking, even then, for a fairly colossal bailout, because it wasn't economical...

  • Minimalism. Work all you want. Make all the money you want but spend as little as possible. Put your cash in a safety deposit box so it's yours but the bank and the rest of the financial system can't count is as an asset and use it to make loans, etc.
    This gentleman has a bit more of a Galtish feel to him, but doesn't seem to get that this only helps the US by increasing the value of the currency, increasing the worth of the money the US does collect in taxes. That said, I am all for this technique. I wish the government did it.

  • Anyone who stands against replacing public education with a private educational system or home schooling (and immediate reduction in school based taxes at all levels) should be voted out.
    And here we sample a different flavour of wingnuts - the home-schooling nuts. The idea of "home skooling iz bettar!" is so ridiculous it deserves a post all its own - but to summarize: there's something that manifested in the twentieth century private sector more than any period before it - specialization. While I'm fairly certain I could repair a cart and keep a horse fed and healthy in addition to my other skills, I wouldn't have the first idea of how to repair a hybrid automobile. While my math and computer science skills are fairly well-developed, I know virtually nothing of electrical engineering. I'm sorry, but unless you are in the top 0.5% of the population, there's no way you can teach your child every subject to the same depth they would receive in a classroom. I'll stop here before I really get into it... this will definitely be a later post, however. the stupid, it burns!

  • In business I can lower my salary and either leave it in the business or pay it out in dividends (no FICA taxes). Buy gold instead of stocks and CDs. Drop all subscriptions to MSM. Buy antiques, used guns, etc. instead of new products.
    Once again, we have the stupid people who don't seem to get the concept of a marginal tax rate. If you want to reduce your income out of spite, to deny the government taxation on your earnings... well, that's your prerogative, and good for you for sticking to your guns, I suppose. But diminishing returns?

  • The final straw was the last debate, when the One proclaimed that health care is a "right". Screw him and his minions. Let them try to provide this "right" to the masses, when those who produce it by their labor and intellect refuse to do so.
    And herein we see the benefit inherent in a socialized healthcare system - no idiots like this who commoditize health care. No pay, you die, is that it?

  • I went to dinner recently with a client. He works his butt off. She has never worked and never will work, because she is far, far better than her husband or me. I got the drift.
    And why on earth are these house-pigs praised while the working men are slammed in society?
    Strangely, all the right-wing debates usually feature at least one comment of this nature. Odd, isn't it?

  • Hold your breath, or you may be breaking the law. Any scientist knows that CO2 is not pollution, nor can it be classified as a pollutant. One more reason to vote against Obama
    This stuff too.

And on, and on, and on.

Let's make things simple, folks. Here's how you "Go Galt". First, you have to truly be a producer. One poster suggested that lawyers were producers. I think Ms. Rand would probably disagree with you. Doctors also seem to get short shrift in her novel. In fact, the only people who get respect are the industrialists - the ones who manufacture things or facilitate their manufacture, and get joy out of so doing. So if you work just to pay the mortgage - you never were a Galt, so don't pretend otherwise.

Second, you have to be willing to withdraw your services from society altogether. This may mean working as a fry cook, it may mean living on a self-sufficient farm - but whatever your choice, you cannot contribute to society in a productive manner. You cannot, however, become a moocher or looter yourself; that would run entirely contrary to Objectivism. You cannot join a commune, either. Ideally, you would join a community with its own currency, or which trades by barter.

But the fact of the matter is, even those of the would-be Galters who aren't moochers or looters themselves still aren't Galts. At best, they are Willers. They get their jobs done, but were they to vanish, there would always be others to fill their shoes.

Finally - when Ms. Rand wrote her book, the marginal tax rate on the highest tax bracket was 91%. 39%? Dagny Taggart would laugh at you and tell you to grow a pair.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Asshat of the Day - March 18th, 2009

Samson Effect here, with another Asshat of the Day. Today, we have an asshat who a large number of people believe is beyond reproach; that his words from the pulpit are the divine word of God. Well, I am not one of those people, and so this Asshat of the Day title belongs to none other than His Holiness the Pope Benedict XVI himself. Now, some of you on one side might say what I just said above, that his God speaks through him, and when he speaks about doctrine, he is infallible. On the other side, though, you might think that tabbing any of the higher-ups in the Catholic Church, up to and including the Pope, is just plain unsporting.

Anyways, I'm sure you're familiar with the Church's stance on birth control of any form, which, if you aren't, is 'no artificial birth control' and that abstinence is the way. Well, Benedict XVI is making his first papal visit to Africa, and a few days ago, in line with Catholic doctrine, has said that condoms are not the answer in fighting HIV/AIDS. In fact, he goes so far as to say that it can increase the problem.

Here's the problem with that line of thinking: It's wrong. It's very wrong. It's woefully wrong. Condoms, when used properly, not only reduce the risk of pregnancy significantly, but they have a profound effect on the likelihood of contracting just about any sexually transmitted disease, HIV included. Want proof? A cursory search for stats on Google regarding the subject quickly shows that the pope is quite clearly, at least on the subject of condoms making things worse, talking out of his ass. And when it comes to transmission and prevention of diseases, I think the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention knows a little bit more than the Pope does. Still not sure about it? More from the CDC about the subject, and going beyond HIV and on to STDs in general. Not only does claiming that condoms exacerbate the problem show up to be flat-out false, it's contrary to the goal of just about every single AIDS relief organization in existence.

Right, now that the comment about condoms is thoroughly dusted, the other part that I have to talk about is the Pope stating his opinion (or doctrine) that 'sexual abstinence as the best way to prevent the spread of the disease'. Now, on its face, this much is true. If you don't have sex, you're much less likely to contract or spread diseases such as AIDS, syphillis, gonorrhea, and all those nasties. Two things: First, those are not the only way to spread or contract those diseases, and second, I really don't know how to put this any more succinctly, but he and his followers are eventually going to have to get it into their heads that the very vast majority of people REALLY like to have sex. You aren't going to change that without seriously damaging those people psychologically, not unlike that portion of the Catholic clergy you seem to hear about in the news an awful lot, or (although not Catholic himself) Ted Haggard. You CAN, however, teach people about sex and safety, and how and where the two intersect, and that will help stanch the flow of spreading STDs.

It took about four centuries for the Catholic Church to admit that Galileo was right, hopefully it won't take nearly as long for the Church to admit that the CDC is also right, and that claiming condoms make this problem worse is baseless, harmful misinformation. Pope Benedict XVI, you are the Asshat of the Day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh Sweet Merciful Cheese...

...he's back.

We talked about him just two weeks ago, when we looked at his (lack of) credentials for the important post he holds. Now, however, he's only deepening my misery:
Canada's science minister, the man at the centre of the controversy over federal funding cuts to researchers, won't say if he believes in evolution.

“I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Asking the Minister of Science and Technology whether he believes in evolution is not asking a question about his religion! It's asking a question about whether he's fit for his job! (The answer to that question is no, by the way.)

Dr. Alters, founder and director of the Evolution Education Research Centre at McGill University in Montreal, has it right, later in the article:
“It is the same as asking the gentleman, ‘Do you believe the world is flat?' and he doesn't answer on religious grounds,” said Dr. Alters. “Or gravity, or plate tectonics, or that the Earth goes around the sun.”

If he wants to discuss ID or creationism - fine, put him in charge of some government theological department. But if he's going to be Minister of Science, he'd better damn well put away the fairy stories.

Brought to our attention by the good folks at Canadian Cynic.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Asshat of the Day - March 16th, 2009

Today we return to the well - and by well, I mean the Big Blue Well of Infinite Idiocy. And what do we dip out of that well? Well, what would you expect from an anti-abortion site but a misogynistic chauvinist who thinks that feminists are the cause of society's woes?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ken, aka RuralRite.

Now, my attention was first drawn to this wannabe patriarch by his first comment to a post that already smacked of patriarchal influences:
Most women have yet to be liberated. They moved from the protection of a naturally dominant man to an overly domineering feminist to think for them.

Wearing men's clothing, men's haircuts and being aggressive certainly isn't liberating.

So, pretty damning right off the bat; a generalization, and not even one of an ideology, but of a full half of the population. Also, he equates feminism with the butch look, and implies that women who prefer more boyish haircuts or enjoy wearing pants as opposed to dresses do so out of envy, rather than simple preference.

A couple snarky comments to deal with "feminized" men as being "she-men", and then we get into "yikes" range once again...
I respect my ladyfriend and she respects me so we don't have to prove anything by having sex.

Er... what? In this blogger's opinion, if you truly respect your ladyfriend (or boyfriend), you're having sex as frequently as she (or he) likes. It's not a matter of "proving" anything. It's a matter of "I care for you, and want very much to give you pleasure." Now, given Ken's behaviour, I'm not surprised that "as much as she wants" is none, but I can't help but feel bad for her.
Feminists have comletely failed to convince most women that they have the best intentions for women. Indeed, if it wasn't for the continual infusion of tax-payers(including mens) money, the whole movement would die.

They had enough time and resources over the years but the fact is you can't fool all the people, all the time.

So, now we've progressed from rudimentary sexism to advanced sexism with a paranoid conspiracy theory focus. Come on, Ken, I know you can reach doctoral levels...
It was thanks to men and men only, that everyone including women enjoy all the lax time they have. Without our inventions you'd still be living in a cave.

Women's 'rights' took a notch upward when they weren't tide down with chores.
... and there it is. Men have apparently invented everything in history. Women have been riding our collective coattails for the duration of human history. That, I think, earns him a PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper) in bullshit.

But wait, there's more!
"you seem to think you should share in the achievements of others just because you have a penis."

Now we get to the root of the problem. Envy.

"And I have news for you Ken, women have been inventing things for millennia "

No they haven't but they have been a better help to mankind in more ways than men because of their different, patient personalities and gifts.
So now we're taking Freud's approach - all women view themselves as incomplete men. Also, apparently we're not going to just suggest that women don't invent things, but state it as fact. Where can we possibly go from here?
Another thing a man invented, The Bassiere.

...huh. Well, at least this is innocuous. It's wrong, of course, but at least it's not insulting...
"Why on earth would a man invent a bra?"

Why would he invent a toolbox?

Come on, man! Give me something here! But surely he can't run with this one, given the substantial proof to the contrary...
I guess you ladies are all too young to remember all the inventions or even books on who invented what. Try as they might feminists haven't been able to change that part of history, yet.

I'm quite secure in all that I have accomplished across Canada but it is absolutely nothing in comparison to what our Lord does every nanosecond.

*sound of head repeatedly hitting desk*

Right. So Ken is another "history is being revised by a conspiracy" group. Unlike the right-winger we previously wrote about, though, in this case, it's not the leftist conspiracy. No, it's the feminist conspiracy, which is simultaneously all-pervasive and on its last legs, supported by the patriarchy and undermining it. And then, of course, to throw away whatever shreds of sanity he might claim to cling to, he gives a shoutout to teh Ceiling Cat.

Ken's baseless claims became so outlandish that she-of-the-all-caps, SUZANNE herself, calls him on it. He returns with another claim of revisionist history, content in the knowledge that SUZANNE is anti-feminist and anti-choice, and therefore almost as nuts as he is and bound to agree with his worldview. But not so, despite defending him against other posters.

Now, there's other stupidity on a truly grand scale at Ken's blog - too much to detail here, but do check it out; gibbering idiocy on a grand scale.

Okay, one post that I have to make note of, just because of the sheer insanity that engendered it. Calling someone a "good person" is an insult. Ken is a man (questionable) not a person, apparently. He goes on to say that "person" isn't a real word, and shouldn't appear in the bible. He cites some etymological background for this claim, and it's not entirely from left field. But then he drops right out of the calm shallows of simple misogyny and into the depths of religion-fueled insanity:
The only words which have substance are nouns. Nouns have substance, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc., do not. Verbs are not substantial, they only indicate action. The substance is in the noun. For example, the word party was previously only a noun, but now it's a verb, now it's an act. Instead of saying, "let's go to a party", we say, "let's party". We see how the English language, through its evolution, changes the substance of a word into nothing.

There are no words. Which is fine, because apparently, even if there were words, they would have no substance.

I wonder if he has a tinfoil hat to fit over his asshat?

Right, I Call Bull$%@&.

A few days ago, Justin the Raging Tory (sounds kinda like a kids' TV monster, doesn't it?) posted his swan song. While I wouldn't say I'm "jumping for joy", every time someone like dear Justin - people who mistake opinion for fact and confuse a personal lack of understanding with evidence of fraud - leaves the public forum, the world as a whole gets a little bit smarter, on average. So for that, at least, Justin, I thank you. Thank you for edifying the world by your own withdrawal.

Now, that aside, I call bull$%@& on Justin's chemical stifling of creativity. Do I doubt the mental health issues and medication? Of course not - I have no reason to doubt his word on that, and, in fact, have long suspected, even before he indicated it to be true, that Justin suffered from some mental health issues. However, I'm calling him on the creativity issue.

Why? Well, this, for one. This, for another. (In short, the articles indicate that Methylphenidate and its derivatives either have no statistically significant effect on creative ability, or actually have a salutary effect. The second article also indicates that most of the articles to the contrary are based on anecdotal evidence, or, in extreme cases, simple fear of medicines that adjust neurochemical balance.) So Justin may be feeling uncreative, but the most he can blame on his medication is the placebo effect combined with his own belief in its effect.

Lack of creativity or not, however, the removal of comments seems like simple revisionism (you know, the sort he accuses "leftists" of perpetuating). If he isn't feeling up to maintaining his blog, he could quite easily lock comments, leaving those that had been written visible to anyone who chooses to peruse his blog. I am (as one might expect, given the forum in which I write this) familiar with the Blogger control panel - and it is emphatically not necessary to remove all existing comments to lock posts to any future comments. So what it looks like to me is that in his dramatic departure, Justin is taking the opportunity to make it seem as though his opinions were unchallenged fact, and to erase the contraindicative evidence posted in response to some of his more egregious assumptions or biased comments.

If he ever reads this, he'll probably dismiss this as a "false and wild accusation", but his reason is not "100% true". I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and suggest that it wasn't an intentional lie, but he is wrong in his statement. Though, given the rest of his blog, I suppose we should all be used to it.

Farewell, Justin. You will not be missed.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ignorance and Illumination: The Airplane and the Treadmill

Samson Effect here with a new segment called Ignorance and Illumination here on Not Fit to Print, where we find some situation with a major misconception or ambiguity, and make efforts to dispel the fog surrounding it.

For the inaugural event here on I&I, I'll be discussing the ever-confusing Airplane-on-a-Treadmill problem. There are a few typical descriptions of it, but the key points are this:

  1. You have a typical airplane on an infinitely long treadmill.

  2. The treadmill can accelerate to any speed.

  3. Structural integrity will not be considered as a restriction (i.e. No structural failures of the airplane, tires, or treadmill.)

  4. The axles on the airplane's wheels are, for this case, frictionless.

  5. The airplane will start its engine and attempt a takeoff roll as the treadmill begins moving in the opposite direction, matching speeds with the wheels of the plane.

  6. The airplane will either take off as normal, or will be stopped by the treadmill.

Now, the major source of confusion with this problem seems to be in item number 5; many people have differing interpretations of just what this statement about 'the speed of the wheels' means, as follows:

  1. The speed of the wheels as measured by a speedometer connected to the wheel. This is dependent on the rotation rate of the wheel.

  2. The speed of the wheels as measured by a stationary observer off the treadmill as they move through space, i.e. The translation speed of the wheels.

  3. The ground speed of the airplane, which is identical in principle to case b.

So we'll deal with the misconceptions that abound in case a. Many people think that since the treadmill speeds up, it's going to draw the airplane back as it tries to accelerate; this is not the case. The issue here is that a false analogy to a car is being drawn. A car engine delivers its power to the wheels, which rotates them; that rotation then translates into a static friction force between the tires and the ground, which is what propels the car forward. A car on a treadmill would be stopped by the treadmill because it operates with respect to the ground. An airplane, and the wheels thereof, however, behave differently.

What IS the difference, I hear you cry? Well, the difference is an airplane isn't driven by rotating the wheels; it's driven by pushing the entire aircraft through the air via direct, and the wheels simply rotate freely on the axle to allow the plane to move more easily along the ground. A car's driving force goes through the ground it rests on, while an airplane's driving force goes through the air. The airplane operates in a different reference frame than a car, speficially, with respect to the air, not the ground.

Now, time to analyze the forces involved in the plane powering up. Brakes are off, throttle wide open, which means at our initial situation of a stationary plane and a stationary treadmill, we have two forces acting – thrust, and static friction. Thrust acts through the structure of the plane, accelerating it forward, and the friction acts on the tires. That friction, however, translates very little into the structure of the plane, and mostly only serves to rotate the tires along the ground. Additionally, that friction exists whether the treadmill is moving or not; it exists just the same on a paved, static runway, and airplanes take off from those all the time.

Now, what's the biggest problem with case a? This situation fundamentally defines the speed of the airplane as zero for all time; that's the only case where this situation would be true, and the only case where it can be true is if the engine is not running, or if you're picky, at low idle. Since it makes that definition, it's not physically significant, and once the airplane begins moving through space in reality, then you get a situation where the treadmill is constantly accelerating to match the speedometer connected to the wheel, which accelerates the wheel (but fails to decelerate the plane), which accelerates the treadmill. So with this feedback loop happening, you'll eventually get a situation that is eventually going to become physically untenable, but still failing to stop the acceleration of the plane through space.

So, that being said, case a is physically trivial. There's no important physics happening there because we've demanded in the question that the airplane remains stationary, and it has essentially reduced to “Demand that the airplane remains stationary. Does the airplane take off?” It creates a tautology by framing the question poorly or incorrectly.

So now that we've shown why that definition not only runs afoul of sense, but makes no difference to the physics of the problem as well, let's talk about case b, where the treadmill runs at the speed of the wheels through space. So, for a plane traveling at any given speed, v, along the ground, the treadmill will be running at the same speed, v, in the opposite direction. Now, taking into account what I mentioned well above about the friction, the wheels, will be rolling – and freely spinning on the axle, remember – at a relative speed of 2v, so for a plane traveling at 50 knots, the treadmill rolls back at 50 knots, and the wheels rotate at the equivalent of 100 knots. All the treadmill does is speed up the wheels, slow down the plane.

So, after all that, no matter how you rig it up, as long as your axle is frictionless and your wheels don't explode, then you can get moving forward, get lift, keep accelerating, and take off, no matter how you rig it up.

Still don't believe me? Well, here is some experimental verification, with a real plane on a moving tarp acting as a conveyor belt. You don't even need the ideal scenario!

So hopefully after reading this, you'll be able to find the signal for all the noise on this subject. Fare thee well, and hopefully we've learned something interesting!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Asshat of the Day - March 11th, 2009

We return to BigBlueWave for today's Asshat... but this time, one of her commenters, rather than the wingnut herself.

The topic under discussion? The increasingly horrific case of the nine year old in Brazil whose abortion of the twins conceived through rape by her stepfather was roundly censured by the Catholic Church.

Ladies and gents, I present Susan Peterson.

Now, I'm actually struck nearly wordless with rage on reading what she had to say, so I'll let her speak for herself (emphasis added in an attempt to point out the really astonishingly grotesque or irrational bits):
My understanding has always been that this is not permitted. A cancerous uterus may be removed even though it is pregnant, because this is the removal of a diseased organ and it is that which is desired, not the death of the baby. That is the usual application of the principle of double effect. A fallopian tube with an ectopic pregnancy can be removed because that is the removal of an organ in which an abnormal process is going on, but you can't flush the tube with methotrexate to kill the developing fertilized ovum.

Now, for those not familiar, the principle of double effect was first postulated by Thomas Aquinas and is best summed up thus: a non-evil act that results in a foreseen evil side-effect is permissible provided that the resultant good effect is of greater benefit than the detriment resulting from the evil effect. More importantly to this discussion, Aquinas postulated that an evil act is never permissible, regardless of the good it might do.

So, in Susan's example above, rather than preserving a woman's reproductive system by terminating an ectopic pregnancy through a chemical abortion, the only permissible action is surgery to remove the fallopian tube altogether. But she continues...
At that point in those days after several days of labor the chances of a woman surviving a C section were slim. The standard obstetric practice for such cases was the same procedure which is now called partial birth abortion, which involved collapsing the baby's skull so the head could deliver, allowing the woman to survive.
The church did not allow this, and required that a C section be done and an attempt made to save both mother and baby. Usually this resulted in the survival of the mother and not the baby.
Even though luckily this situation does not exist today, I think it makes it clear that it is not true that it is never wrong to save the mothers life. It is always wrong to kill an innocent child by crushing its skull, even if that is what is required for its mother to live.

Note, here, that she doesn't say "if that might improve its mother's health" or "if that improved its mother's chances". If it is required for the mother to live - if a c-section or natural birth will kill her - a c-section or a natural birth, killing both mother and child, is the only moral thing to do, according to her doctrine. This is nuts. And just in case there was any doubt:
This case would also have arisen in those days more frequently as without IV fluids women died from hyperemesis gravidarum, and it would be quite clear that only ending the pregnancy would save the woman's life. In that case, probably both would die. I am going to go back and read again, but I didn't see an exception even for this case.

So, tragic, of course, but if the doctrines of a bunch of men fifteen hundred years ago say a mother has to die, even if she could be saved, if the alternative is abortion, so she's a corpse. To borrow from her book - Jesus wept.

Now, she goes on to say that if the medical condition doesn't result in death, abortion is definitely off the table - even if, afterwards, the mother might not be able to walk. Or breathe without a ventilator.

But the capper is this:
If her uterus were overstretched and thinned and clearly about to rupture, I believe at that point it could be considered a diseased organ and removed even though this would kill the unborn children, under the principle of double effect.
I recognize that this would destroy her future fertility, whereas an earlier abortion most likely would not, and that this is something which might make her unhappy in the future. However, in Catholic moral theology, the right to life of the unborn is definitely a higher claim than either her suffering in carrying them longer, or her future fertility.

So, because her stepfather's been raping her since she was six (by the way, he was not excommunicated) a nine year old has to deal with pregnancy either until the third trimester, when they can cut her open to take out two barely viable fetuses, or until her uterus is in danger of rupturing, at which point they perform a hysterectomy. In the former case, I can't imagine the stresses on a nine-year-old's system, or the trauma associated with the C-section. In the latter, you have the trauma of pregnancy, surgery, and the permanent, irreversible destruction of her fertility. And both of these are preferable to aborting 15-week fetuses.

Words fail me. Asshat of the Day may be too kind a term for Susan.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Asshat of the Day - March 2nd, 2008

Today's Asshat? Minister of Science and Technology Gary Goodyear.

Why, you ask? Let's let the Globe and Mail tell the story.

The screaming erupted last Wednesday afternoon, just down the street from Parliament Hill, in the offices of a Conservative cabinet minister.

Never a good sign in the Houses of Parliament, screaming.

“The minister was very angry,” said David Robinson, associate executive director of CAUT. “He was raising his voice and pointing his finger … He said everyone loves their [federal budget] and we said, ‘A lot of our members don't love it'… and he said, ‘That's because you're lying to them, misleading them.'”

Hm. Slander, Mr. Goodyear?

Mr. Goodyear, a chiropractor from Cambridge, Ont., said the government has been steadily investing in science and technology since 2006, with a new emphasis on commercialization and that it has designed an overall strategy to ensure Canada remains a world leader in research.

“We have done everything right,” he said.

Well, that at least is a lie.

Now, the G&M article is a start, but there's also a lovely little piece in the Cambridge Voice - Gary Goodyear in His Own Words:

Age of the Internet
”I certainly don’t have any time to play on the Internet,” Cambridge MP Gary Goodyear said, adding that he would be concerned about the comments people may post when no one is watching.
(The Record, July 21, 2007)

And it goes on...

Conservative candidate Gary Goodyear said: “I’m pro-life and that’s the answer to the question.”
(Cambridge Times Friday, June 11, 2004)

And on...

Same Sex Marriage
Mr. Speaker, I, like most of my colleagues on this side of the House and many others on the other side as well, believe that the traditional definition of marriage is the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. However, in the course of this debate those of us who support marriage have been told that to amend the bill to reflect the traditional definition of marriage, we would be in violation of human rights and committing an unconstitutional violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I believe this is an attempt by the government to shift the grounds of the debate. It is another famous Liberal distraction. Liberals do not want to debate the question of traditional marriage versus same sex marriage so they would rather focus on attacking their opponents as opposing human rights and the charter.
(Hansard April 21, 2005)

And this is our Minister of Science and Technology. Gee, he sure sounds forward-thinking and open-minded, doesn't he?

Seriously. U.S. Assistant to the President for Science and Technology? A physics PhD with over 300 published articles, twenty books, and a list of awards as long as my arm, with twenty years' teaching experience at Berkeley.

US Energy Secretary? A. Nobel. Laureate..

Our Minister of Science and Technology? A pro-life, anti-gay chiropractor and acupuncturist who has anger control issues when told he's doing his job wrong. Probably, he's just terrified that someone will ask him to find - and indicate to a health professional - a subluxation.

And there you are, ladies and gentlemen - the Asshat of the Day.

Afterthought: Thanks to Canadian Cynic for pointing me in the direction of this news story, and reminding me of something I had tried dearly to forget.