Sunday, March 04, 2012

Idiot Rush Limbaugh - early March 2012

Following a week of bashing Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke for wanting to testify about the controversy over President Obama's birth control insurance coverage policy -- including calling Ms. Fluke a "slut" -- Rush Limbaugh issued an apology yesterday on his website (I guess the fact that several sponsors have either pulled their advertising from his show or have threatened to led Mr. Limbaugh to be a bit introspective about his behavior):

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.


I will let the statement largely speak for itself -- it shows how beautifully Mr. Limbaugh "illustrates the absurd with absurdity." I do have one question, however: when you call someone a "slut," isn't that a personal attack?

BTW, for another opinion on Rush Limbaugh, you should visit Rachel Maddow's blog, http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/ and click on the video "Rush Limbaugh doesn't understand women's birth control."

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Idiot Post-Super Bowl comment

More about Susan Komen tomorrow, but today I have to mention about something idioitic related to the Super Bowl. No, it wasn't the comment from the announcing team that Mira Kraft was the "widow" of Pats' owner Robert Kraft (she died this past summer, so I don't know how she achieved widow status). Nor am I talking about the attempt to make Wes Welker the Bill Buckner of this year's Super Bowl (few humans could've made the catch that Welker could not hold onto in the 4th quarter).

No, I am talking about Mrs. Tom Brady, aka Gisele Bundchen. In defending her husband, Gisele proclaimed, "My husband cannot f*cking throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time ... I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times."

OK, Gisele was frustrated by Giants fans who said victorious Giants quarterback Eli Manning "owns your husband [Brady]", but you also don't throw your husband's teammates "under the bus."

I almost feel sorry for Brady -- almost, because I never have been a fan of this guy who dumped his pregnant girlfriend for Bundchen. But, to lose for the second time to the Giants, and then be put in a bad position with teammates because his wife ran her mouth -- well, let's just say it's going to be a lost post-season for old Tom.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Idiot Susan Komen Decision

The Susan G. Komen Foundation decided earlier this week to end $650,000 worth of grant funding to Planned Parenthood. According to a statement released by Komen founder and CEO, Nancy Brinker, the decision was made to prevent duplicative grants, make sure grants are directed to actual service providers, and to follow a new policy of stopping any grants going to organizations under local, state or federal investigation.

It was this last factor that most directly affected Komen's decision to discontinue future funding of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is currently the subject of an congressional investigation initiated by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). Stearns, a virulently anti-choice congressperson, is examining whether public money was improperly spent on abortions. Stearns' investigation of Planned Parenthood came after prodding by the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life.

Fortunately, Komen reversed its decision in the wake of the blowback it got. The organization, whose VP of Public Policy, Karen Handel, is an ardent anti-choice former GOP gubernatorial candidate in GA, really stepped in it. The excuse -- that Planned Parenthood is under investigation by Congress -- doesn't pass the laugh test. It is relatively easy for a Congressperson -- especially one in the majority party -- to launch an investigation, no matter how valid it is. It should also be noted that Republican Nancy Brinker has worked hard to cement ties with the George W. Bush Institute. Brinker insists that politics has played no role in this defunding/funding decision. If she really believes that, does she have a sufficient connection with reality to continue as Komen CEO?

Ironically, Planned Parenthood has raised more money in the last week after the initial Komen decision as it would have lost. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York contributed $250,000 alone. It appears that in this matter, Planned Parenthood ended up much better off, while the Susan G. Komen Foundation has a major black eye from an idiotic, politically motivated decision.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Idiot School Decision

Not long ago, I was chair of a Communication and Theater program at a small, religious school in the northeastern U.S. The students were great and the faculty collegial. The administration was another matter. It wasn't that they weren't nice people (except for a couple). It was that the place wanted change, but they didn't want conflict. I don't mean destructive conflict. No one wants that. I mean any kind of conflict. If you disagreed over the substance of an argument, that meant you were a disagreeable person. I quickly fell into that category. How change was going to occur in that kind of atmosphere was beyond me.

I've moved on, but I guess my former place of employment has not. They just suspended a long-time, popular professor over his assertion of his right to free expression. It began with his posting editorial cartoons in the doors of his office, and now they object to a satirical video he did about the administration of the school. I've seen the video. It's, to say the least, "edgy" and certainly controversial. Some might say that it is in bad taste. But, the protection of free speech means that all speech -- unless it presents a clear and present danger (like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater) -- is protected, no matter where the speech falls on the taste continuum.

My former school is clearly in the wrong here, though I fear that ultimately my friend will be forced into retirement -- albeit with some sort of financial settlement (I really don't think the school wants to fight this in court, and I don't think my friend wants to incur the legal expenses associated with his defense). I have been in academia for more than 30 years and know that if an institution wants to get rid of you, you are gone, no matter if you are clearly in the right.

It's a sad commentary on the state of free expression in the academic world.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Religious Tolerance of the Governor of Alabama

In the category of "you can't make this stuff up" comes the religious bigotry of new Alabama governor, Robert Bentley, who yesterday said, "Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother." Bentley made this statement at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church after his official inaugural ceremony.

Not sure where that puts people of Jewish, Buddhist, or Islamic faith -- not to mention Scientologists. Are they now second-class citizens? Or is Bentley offering to convert them?

What is upsetting about this is Bentley's apparent ignorance of the First Amendment. The first 16 words of the Amendment say, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That means government may not favor one religion over others. It also means that there is a separation of church and state. While the term does not appear in the Constitution, founding father Thomas Jefferson (who should know what was meant in the Constitution) wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 citing that the language of the First Amendment and said that it built "a wall of separation between Church and State."

When our elected officials are ignorant of -- or refuse to adhere to -- the Constitution, it is a frightening state of affairs.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Important News According to the New York Post

An important news item from today's New York Post:

"Curvy "Mad Men" star Christina Hendricks lived through her own Golden Globes drama when she lost an $850,000 diamond bracelet on the red carpet.

The voluptuous redhead was horrified to find out that after making it up the carpet Sunday at the Beverly Hilton, one of the two bracelets loaned by Chopard had slipped off. Inside the ballroom moments before the show started, the panicked actress asked us, "Have you seen a diamond bracelet? I've lost one that looks like this," pointing at the one glittering bracelet left on her wrist.

As the stars were being urged to take their seats, Hendricks -- wearing a figure-hugging red gown -- then hurried out of the auditorium back onto the red carpet to look for the bauble.

Outside, an event worker had found it and handed it back to a relieved Hendricks. But once back at her table, she found she couldn't get it back on due to a tricky clasp. So she decided to turn it over to her publicist, who was outside, for safekeeping.

But security blocked her as she tried to leave the auditorium, as no one is allowed in or out once the show starts. She begged, "Please let me out, I have to give my diamond bracelet to my publicist!" The guard watched wide-eyed as Hendricks pulled the bracelet out from her ample cleavage. He opened the door a crack and she passed the jewels through to her publicist outside. [Emphasis added]

A rep for Chopard confirmed Hendricks was wearing 200 carats of their diamonds at the show and a security guard was on hand to make sure nothing went missing. The jewels included a 49-carat emerald and Marquise-cut diamond bracelet set in platinum, and a 124-carat, pear-cut and fancy-shape diamond bracelet set in platinum.

The Chopard rep said the bracelet that fell off was the 124-carat one worth $850,000, and it was returned by her publicist. The rep added, "Whoever put it on her wrist may have not closed the safety clasp correctly. But both bracelets and her earrings were returned in perfect condition today."

Hendricks' rep didn't get back to us."

Gee, I wonder why Hendricks' rep didn't get back to the Post.

I'd comment more, but I think the story speaks volumes about Murdoch-owned news outlets.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Misunderstanding Net Neutrality

Rachel Alexander is the editor of the Intellectual Conservative. Based on her column on net neutrality, she is definitely conservative. Intellectual, not so much.

Alexander argues that "net neutrality," a term that refers to Federal Communications Commission rules aimed at preventing Internet providers from blocking access to websites and online services, "will increase regulation and costs by restricting companies from making marketwise choices. Moreover, additional government rules and regulations rarely increase freedom of speech." Alexander further argues that "The Federal Communications Commission selectively took information from those left wing organizations to justify its new rules. Alexander provided a link which purportedly supported this charge, but which, instead, linked to a Free Press commentator who criticized the new rules.

Additionally, Alexander charged, "This is unnecessary government intervention seeking to solve a problem that doesn’t exist." Really?

In November 2010, shortly before the FCC was to issue its net neutrality rules (and while the FCC was still studying the effect of its merger with NBC) Comcast was accused of violating the principles of an open Internet when it demanded that Level 3 Communications, an Internet company that carries Netflix's video feeds, pay a fee for sending data over Comcast's network. It is just this practice -- practices that could result in a tiered Internet in which network operators would be allowed to deliver their own content via a "fast lane," while relegating their competitors' traffic to a "slow lane" -- that net neutrality rules are trying to prevent.

The FCC rules really didn't result in true "net neutrality." The rules do not ban "paid prioritization," leaving open the possibility that Internet providers might favor the delivery of their own traffic, or that of partners who pay an extra fee. "Managed services," a somewhat ambiguous category that includes voice and video subscription offerings from broadband operators, were also exempt from the rules. The rules are hardly radical, and contain many features that the industry itself wanted.

It would be wise that Ms. Alexander, before launching into an attack on the FCC, that she know what she is talking about. Unfortunately, she is all-too-typical of many commentators these days -- not letting the facts get in the way of a good theory.