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Tag: "wingnuttery"

Denialist Cherry-Picking

[ 0 ] April 2, 2009 |

Syndicated Columnist William F. George:

Reducing carbon emissions supposedly will reverse warming, which is allegedly occurring even though, according to statistics published by the World Meteorological Organization, there has not been a warmer year on record than 1998.


The story recounted some Americans’ misadventures with the new light bulbs that almost all Americans — all but those who are filling their closets with supplies of today’s incandescent bulbs — will have to use after the phaseout of today’s bulbs in 2014. (You missed that provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007?)

A San Francisco — naturally — couple emerged from Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” incandescent with desire to think globally and act locally, in their home. So they replaced their incandescent bulbs with the compact fluorescents that Congress says must soon be ubiquitous. “Instead of having a satisfying green moment, however,” the Times reported, “they wound up coping with a mess.”

San Francisco, hahahahahaha! Whew, it’s great that conservatives never run out of fresh material.

On the first substantive point, the “1998 is the hottest year on record” is meaningless cherry-picking that does nothing whatsoever so disprove the fact that there is a long-term warming trend. On the second point, the Times story that Will cites also…consists entirely of meaninglessly cherry-picked anecdotes. Obviously, without data about how often ordinary light bulbs fail these anecdotes are worth less than nothing. But for George Will and Fred Hiatt, that’s good enough!



[ 0 ] April 2, 2009 |

Shorter Similarly lengthed Glenn Reynolds: “The fact that the Dems seem poised to only narrowly win an overwhelmingly Republican district with an unknown politician proves that Obama has no coattails.”

And in addition to the other problems, Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that concept of “coattails,” which presumes another election going on to draw voters — I know that this is an obscure point of election law, but Obama wasn’t actually on the ballot in this election. And, of course, when he was on the ballot he had coattails to the tune of +21 in the House and and +8 in the Senate. But, in fairness, this is probably as much about the public hating the Republican policies Reynolds has been relentlessly shilling for as much as anything…

The Supply-Side Paradox

[ 0 ] April 2, 2009 |

And, of course, if conservertarians actually believed this crap, they would presumably favor much higher marginal tax rates, all the better to shrink the government…

At any rate, McCarthy may want to stick with crackpot conspiracy theories about how Obama was actually born on Pluto so he’s not even constitutionally eligible to be president of the galaxy because it’s not even a planet anymore!111!!1!!!!1!!!1! and leave discussions of economics to grownups.

Always the Gold Standard in Wingnuttery

[ 0 ] April 1, 2009 |

Shorter Erick Erickson: If laws requiring the use of environmentally safe dishwahser detergent aren’t a good reason to contemplate severe violence against government officials, I don’t know what is. In addition, these kinds of state regulations would never be allowed to happen if more power was left to the states.

The Police State and the Private

[ 3 ] March 30, 2009 |

A couple things pointed out by commenters in post last week give us a chilling window into a society in which, for example, two judges routinely throwing juveniles in jail for trivial offenses without counsel is no bar to promotion unless you were actually bribed to do so. First, via Weiner, this quite chilling video in which the DA (quite rightly) being sued attempts to defend using threatened prosecutions for the horrible crime of young women sending unrevealing pictures of themselves to friends to try to force said young women to attend what seems to be some sort of winger reeducation camp.

But you haven’t gotten a full picture inside the mind of the bootlicking authoritarian until you’ve read Judge Hawkins’s dissent in Redding. Some commenters asked how strip-searching a young woman for the potential crime of possessing ibuprofen could be justified by a reasonable person. Well, apparently it can’t. But some of Hawkins’s leaps of illogic include:

  • Invoking “an incident several years before in which a Safford Middle School student brought prescription pills to school and distributed them. In that incident, a student who took that drug had to be airlifted to an intensive care unit and almost died,” while omitting what kind of prescription drugs were responsible in that case. Using a catch-all category to conflate Oxycontin and double-strength Advil opens the same kind of road to mischief as conflating mustard gas and nuclear weapons under the “WMD” rubric. (In addition to the obvious problem of using a single incident from “several years before” to justify an arbitrary serach of an individual who had nothing to do with said incident.)
  • Feeble attempts to gin up a history of wrongdoing in a student with a clean disciplinary record order to…well, it really wouldn’t justify the search anyway, but: “At the August school dance, “several staff members noticed some unusually rowdy behavior from a small group of students, including Marissa . . . and Savana Redding,” and a bottle of alcohol and a pack of cigarettes were found in the girls’ bathroom. The majority points out that the staff found no specific link between Redding and the bottle…but there is undisputed testimony that the staff detected the smell of alcohol among Redding’s small group.” So, there was some pretty flimsy evidence that some members of a group Redding was involved with may have imbibed some liquor at a school dance. Well, I’m convinced!
  • Read carefully through the assertions that the fact that the first search conducted on the basis of a self-interested, uncorroborated informant turned up bupkis somehow made it all the more necessary to conduct a further search. Presumably, it would have also been reasonable to proceed to a full cavity search after the strip search turned up nothing, and then after than produced nothing maybe torturing a confession out of her would have done the trick.
  • And, finally, in a passage noted by the commenter and which Justice Alito’s clerks have probably already cut-and-pasted, this Bush-era classic: “The majority favors the term “strip search” to describe a search that took place in a closed office with only a female school nurse and female administrator present, and began with Redding removing her jacket, shoes, socks, pants and shirt, and continued with her pulling her bra and shaking it, partially exposing her breasts, and pulling her underwear away from her body and shaking it, partially exposing her pelvic area. I would reserve the term “strip search” for a search that required its subject to fully disrobe in view of officials, and I think it is useful to maintain the distinction so that we can distinguish such searches from the one in this case.” Yes, how outrageous of the majority to describe a situation in which a student was forced to disrobe by administrators [because of exceedingly flimsy evidence that she had committed a trivial offense] as a “strip search.” Hawkins must be happy to know that if he leaves the bench there’s a position waiting for him at Boalt Hall

Nobody Saw That Coming

[ 0 ] March 27, 2009 |

Indeed, the Republicans probably had no idea about the derision their non-budget would receive, given the decades of precedent that any reactionary white guy in a suit could say anything and be taken seriously by the media. The problem in this case may have been taking the logic one extreme too far — at least Bush’s fiscal contradictions and ridiculous gimmicks were dressed up like an actual budget, while Pence went the next step and just abandoned the formal structure of a budget altogether…

The Detailed, Very Serious Republican Budget Revealed

[ 0 ] March 27, 2009 |

With more graphs!

This “alternative budget” manages what I wouldn’t have thought possible; turn the Republican policy into even more of a farce. And, yet, one has to agree that the complete lack of a budget as part of the alternative budget makes sense: “The alterna-budge is a bag of magic Reagan beans. No one on God’s green earth believes in them or wants them. Adding numbers to it would be like assigning a horsepower rating to Hot Wheels.”

"Our Model is the Trapezoid."

[ 0 ] March 27, 2009 |

In the thread about the Madoff scam a couple days ago, Weiner noted this classic analysis of various scams from Teresa Nielsen Hayden. As it happens, spending my college years in Montreal with medicore French and an unemployment rate ~15% caused me to spend some days in jobs specalizing in #2 — summer in a boiler room selling sports memorabilia, two hellishly miserable days selling Kirby vaccum cleaners (Me: “Why aren’t we stopping in [relatively affluent Montreal suburb?” Driver of van: “These people didn’t get rich paying 2 grand for vacuum cleaners. Hmm, I guess that truism might no longer be true…) And because my friends shared the same economic climate, I also had friends make me sit through Amway pitches and actually spend three months working for Kirby, often pulling in 6 14-hour days a week and getting paid bupkis. So I’ve always been interested in this stuff.

Anyway, I think I’ve identified a group of victims I have no symptahy for: crank libertarian tax deadbeats who pay other crackpots to produce farcical legal justifications for their tax evasion. They can just think of getting thrown in the slammer as “Going John Galt.”

Scumbag of the Day

[ 0 ] March 26, 2009 |

Gingi Edmond. Speaking of Barney Frank, I believe his note that for “pro-lifers” life begins at conception and ends at birth seems apropos here.

Vermont Governor: Fundamental Rights Are A Luxury We Can’t Afford

[ 0 ] March 26, 2009 |

I expressed hope earlier in the week that Vernont governor Jim Douglas wouldn’t veto legislation granting same-sex marriage rights that is poised to pass both houses of the state legislature overwhelmingly (it has already passed the Senate 26-4.) Alas, it seems that Douglas will veto the legislation.

And, as Sully notes, he is doing so with an argument that is transparently unserious even by the standards of anti-SSM arguments:

“The urgency of our state’s economic and budgetary challenges demands the full focus of every member and every committee of this Legislature.”

Apparently, the focus of legislature on economic issues will be better maintained by forcing them to waste time assembling the votes to override the governor’s disgraceful veto rather than simply signing the legislation and being done with it. Hopefully activists and Vermont are getting ready to ensure that the legislative supermajorities will do the right thing.

The Constitution Did Not Enact Mr. Howard Fineman’s Preferred Tax Policies

[ 0 ] March 21, 2009 |

Some of the nation’s foremost constitutional scholars have apparently decided to weigh in on the tax plan passed in the House:

O’DONNELL (3/19/09): You know, this is, this was a brilliant trap—a tax trap set by Nancy Pelosi.

I agree with [previous guest] Howard Fineman that this is unconstitutional. Chris Matthews had said so. I started saying so yesterday morning on MSNBC.

But it was a brilliant trap and here is why. There are 172 House members who take two oaths. They take an oath of office and then they take an oath to Grover Norquist, who is a Washington—a well-heeled Washingtonian fetishist about tax cuts. And they promised to him that they will never, ever vote to raise any taxes of any kind.

Which leaves us with the question — what provision of the Constitution, exactly, is the tax on bonuses supposed to violate? Ed — regrettably echoing the hapless Charles Krauthammersays that “Bills of attainder” and “ex post facto” are two phrases well-known to high school freshmen taking mandatory civics classes, so they must certainly be known to Congressmen.” The ex post facto clause, however, has been held since the early 19th century to apply exclusively to criminal cases. The prohibition on bills of attainder is even less relevant; it certainly prohibits Congress from convicting AIG traders of criminal offenses without a trial, but says absolutely nothing about Congress’s ability to set tax policy.

Another blogger, in addition to the clearly erroneous claims, asserts that the bill violates the equal protection clause. The obvious problem with this argument, however, is that it proves too much. The tax code discriminates in countless ways — against renters and wage earners and in favor of homeowners and investment income earners, for example. It was been well-settled for decades that such discrimination require only some rational relationship to a legitimate government interest. The policy taxing bonuses for corporations that would have gone bankrupt without public support bears a much clearer relationship to a legitimate public objective than a law preventing anyone but an optometrist or ophthalmologist from putting lenses in glasses frames, which the Supreme Court upheld unanimously.

Using taxation to claw back benefits may or may not be good public policy. But it is plainly within the constitutional authority of Congress as it has been understood for many decades.

Douthat’s Greatest Hits

[ 0 ] March 20, 2009 |

Ewwww. Although I’d have to say my very favorite is the non-culture-war one:

It goes without saying that [Saddam Hussein], too, is busy trying to acquire a nuclear bomb, to supplement his extensive collection of biological and chemical weaponry.

I dunno, it seems to me that Kristol made these kinds of arguments about as well.

See also Edroso. And if Pollitt is a little bitter because this job would much more properly be given to her, well, she’s right.

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