Here’s the inimitable Gov. Chris Christie, appearing at an event on the Jersey shore to mark the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, demonstrating once again the patience and calm resolve that’s the mark of a true leader. This man is presidential material, no doubt about it. Sit back and dig the optics.
Pope Francis is more pro-science and anti-superstition than most Republicans: Pope Francis Takes a Stand for Evolution, Against ‘Magic Wands’.
Social conservatives in the United States who’ve been unhappy with Pope Francis’ moderation today have one more reason to be upset.
Daniel Berger reported this afternoon:
Pope Francis broke with Catholic tradition Monday by declaring that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real, and remarking that God is not “a magician with a magic wand.”
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” the pope said at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, during a plenary meeting dedicated to evolving concepts of nature.
The pope’s remarks came earlier today in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
“The Big Bang, that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God; on the contrary, it requires it,” the Roman Catholic pontiff said. “Evolution in nature is not in contrast with the notion of [divine] creation because evolution requires the creation of the beings that evolve.”
The Senate and Governor races this year are incredibly close, according to the polling: Look How Close Democrats Are to Winning … and Losing.
Using the poll aggregator at the Huffington Post, I’ve compiled the current state of the hottest races this cycle, as well as what would happen if Dems shift the numbers a mere two points, then three points:
In the Senate, if the election was held today and these numbers held up, Republicans would pick up AR, AK, CO, IA, LA, MT, SD, and WV. They would lose Kansas for a net pick up of seven seats, or a 52-48 Mitch McConnell majority. Heck, at that point Kansas Independent Greg Orman would try to caucus with Republicans, and if they took him, that would be a 53-47 GOP majority.
But slide those numbers over just three points — easily doable if we get our “non-likely” voters to the polls, and things change significantly. Suddenly, Republicans are only assured of pickups in AK, LA, MT, and WV, with losses in Kansas and a too-close-to-call race in Arkansas (Blue), Kentucky (Red), and probably South Dakota. Even if they squeaked by in those three states, they’d still be shy of the majority.
It’s vitally important for anyone who cares about liberal values to get out and vote in this upcoming election; it’s going to be very close and the enthusiasm of the base is what will make the difference. Will we see another Republican sweep? I certainly hope not; that would be a real disaster for the country in my opinion. But all of us need to do our part in getting out the vote if we’re going to have a chance of preventing it.
Would you be surprised to learn Joseph Farah, owner of the utterly deranged right wing Birther/conspiracy theory journal World Net Daily, is a dyed-in-the-wool young Earth creationist? No, you say? I didn’t think so. But today he removes all doubt with a loony screed that’s like reading a message from the Dark Ages: Was World Created 6,028 Years Ago Today?
Do you believe the world is hundreds of millions or even billions of years old as evolutionists do?
Or do you believe the Earth is much younger, in line with the biblical genealogies beginning with Adam and Eve?
People get annoyed with me when I raise this issue. They say, “Farah, why don’t you stick with politics, instead of science and religion?” They say I jeopardize my credibility in reporting the news and the pressing issues of the day.
That, of course, is ridiculous, because in order to “jeopardize” his credibility, Farah would first need to have some.
When I did a regular daily talk-radio show years ago, my producer would beg me not to go there, because, as he believed then, evolution was a matter of scientific proof, not a theory. (After listening to me talk about this topic day in and day out, he finally came around.)
(Probably just to shut him up.)
I take the Bible literally - and seriously. And the Bible strongly affirms a date in the neighborhood of 6,000 years, at least for the age of man, who was created on the sixth day, according to Genesis. If that’s not true, it calls into question the rest of the Bible’s accuracy.
Ya think? But of course, that will never do, because Farah needs to believe that a book that’s been translated and filtered and rewritten since the Bronze Age contains absolute literal truth in every word.
But hey? What about all those fossils of dinosaurs? Not a problem!
I know what some of you are thinking: “Farah, what about the dinosaurs that were tens of millions of years old? How do you explain that?” Quite simply, I don’t believe it. Throughout man’s history, in every culture, we have stories, pictures and sculptures depicting dragons and leviathans and sea serpents. Are we to believe these were all concocted in man’s imagination? Even the Bible references such observations. If behemoths like the one described in chapter 40 of the Book of Job somehow threatened the Bible account of history, I don’t think it would be there.
Hard to argue with logic like that.
Farah continues in this vein for a quite a while longer, but I had to stop after that paragraph, dear reader, because young Earth creationism makes me very irritable. But Farah’s blind stupidity is absolutely not unusual in the right wing, or even in the Republican Party. More than one GOP congressman would fall right in line with this anti-science gobbledegook.
These are the pig-ignorant fanatics who believe they should control America, folks.
(h/t: Right Wing Watch.)
Here he is again, folks, the Dumbest Man in Congress, with a truly crack-brained theory about why gays shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military: because they’ll be sitting around getting gay massages instead of training for battle.
Louie always comes through with the craziest shit. Never change, Louie!
“I’ve had people say, ‘Hey, you know, there’s nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks,’” he said. “Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it’s a different kind of fighting, it’s a different kind of war and if you’re sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you’re not going to last very long. It’s guerrilla fighting. You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism and if that’s what you start doing in the military like the Greeks did … as people have said, ‘Louie, you have got to understand, you don’t even know your history.’ Oh yes I do. I know exactly. It’s not a good idea.”
Pew Poll: Ebola Worries Rising, Especially Among Republicans, but Most Trust Government to Deal With It
After the non-stop fear-mongering by most of the media (but especially right wing media) about Ebola, it’s not surprising that the latest Pew poll shows a rise in the general public’s fear level. But a majority of the respondents still believe the US government and hospital systems are capable of preventing a major outbreak.
Public concern about the spread of the Ebola virus in the U.S. has increased since early October. Currently, 41% are worried that they themselves or someone in their family will be exposed to the virus, including 17% who say they are very worried. In a survey two weeks ago, 32% worried about exposure to Ebola; 11% said they were very worried.
Most people (58%) express little or no concern about becoming exposed to Ebola, though that is down from 67% in early October. And majorities have at least a fair amount of confidence in both the federal government and U.S. hospitals to deal with the disease.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Oct. 15-20 among 2,003 adults, finds that 54% express either a great deal (18%) or fair amount (36%) of confidence in the federal government to “prevent a major outbreak of the Ebola virus in the U.S.” This is little changed from early October, when 57% had a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the government to prevent a major Ebola outbreak.
A very interesting and telling result from this survey: Republicans (who almost exclusively get their news from Fox and other right wing sources) have gotten significantly more fear-stricken since earlier this month. And obviously, it’s due to the panicky and often misleading nature of so much right wing media coverage of the disease.
Since early October, worries about Ebola exposure have increased across most demographic and partisan groups. But the rise in concern has been particularly striking among Republicans.
In early October, 33% of Republicans were at least somewhat worried that they themselves or a family member would be exposed to the Ebola virus (7% very worried, 26% somewhat worried). Today, nearly half of Republicans (49%) are worried, with 16% saying they are very worried and 33% somewhat worried.
There has been less change among Democrats - 36% now have at least some concern about personal exposure to Ebola, compared with 30% in early October. The partisan gap in Ebola worries, which was negligible two weeks ago (three points), has increased to 13 points in the current survey.
Iowa Republican Joni Ernst is running for the Senate seat vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin, and she’s been campaigning on her history as a person who loves castrating hogs, often saying in her speeches that she plans to “make Obama squeal.” She’s super-classy.
And she’s also a true far right extremist, as these secretly recorded remarks highlighted yesterday by Greg Sargent reveal:
Joni Ernst wants to make America squeal
The audio was recorded by Radio Iowa, which didn’t highlight the key remarks at the time; the Iowa Democratic Party has only just come across those remarks now, and circulated them to reporters today.
In the audio, Ernst came out for a balanced budget amendment, said that would require “severe cuts,” reiterated her desire to eliminate the Department of Education, vowed a “good, hard look at entitlement programs,” and said electing a GOP Senate majority would be a key step towards all of this. She also said we are “encouraging people” to get on food stamps. And then she waxed philosophical:
“What we have to do a better job of is educating not only Iowans, but the American people that they can be self-sufficient. They don’t have to rely on the government to be the do-all, end-all for everything they need and desire, and that’s what we have fostered, is really a generation of people that rely on the government to provide absolutely everything for them. It’s going to take a lot of education to get people out of that. It’s going to be very painful and we know that. So do we have the intestinal fortitude to do that?…
“We’re looking at Obamacare right now. Once we start with those benefits in January, how are we going to get people off of those? It’s exponentially harder to remove people once they’ve already been on those programs…we rely on government for absolutely everything. And in the years since I was a small girl up until now into my adulthood with children of my own, we have lost a reliance on not only our own families, but so much of what our churches and private organizations used to do. They used to have wonderful food pantries. They used to provide clothing for those that really needed it. But we have gotten away from that. Now we’re at a point where the government will just give away anything.”
Look closer at these statements; what Ernst is saying is that if people can’t afford health insurance, or can’t get it because of pre-existing illness or catastrophic accident, they should be left on their own. Presumably to die, unless they can find a church with a “food pantry” to help them. And she’s advocating the destruction of Obamacare, the only safety net this country has successfully enacted yet for these people.
It’s rare to see the essential heartlessness of the Republican Party’s opposition to health care stated so nakedly — but it’s getting less rare all the time, as the extremists like Ernst continue pushing the window farther and farther to the right.
As the Republican Party sinks ever deeper into its denial of climate change (good luck finding a single GOP politician these days who doesn’t deny the influence of human beings on the Earth’s climate), NASA has reported that last month was the hottest September on record since the records began.
Last month was the warmest September globally since records began being kept in 1880, NASA reported Sunday. January through September data have 2014 already at the third warmest on record. Projections by NOAA make clear 2014 is taking aim at hottest year on record.
One Ebola death in this country and people are in a paranoid frenzy. But huge-scale disastrous changes in the Earth’s climate? Yawn. Who’s on Dancing With the Stars tonight?
The head of the National Institutes of Health doesn’t specifically call out the Republican Party in this statement, but I will; the anti-science, anti-research GOP is the main reason why America hasn’t been able to do the basic scientific research necessary to be ready for diseases like Ebola.
And I’m saying “diseases like Ebola” because there will be more of these rapidly evolving viruses and bacteria to deal with in the future. This is an object lesson in why the Republican Party’s agenda is so incredibly harmful to the country.
Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed down” research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,’” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
It’s not just the production of a vaccine that has been hampered by money shortfalls. Collins also said that some therapeutics to fight Ebola “were on a slower track than would’ve been ideal, or that would have happened if we had been on a stable research support trajectory.”
The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that President Obama is considering using an executive action to circumvent Republican bans and close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
They say such a move would “likely provoke a sharp reaction,” which may be the understatement of the month.
The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said.
Such a move would be the latest and potentially most dramatic use of executive power by the president in his second term. It would likely provoke a sharp reaction from lawmakers, who have repeatedly barred the transfer of detainees to the U.S.
He could veto the annual bill setting military policy, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, in which the ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. is written. While the veto wouldn’t directly affect military funding, such a high-stakes confrontation with Congress carries significant political risks.
A second option would be for Mr. Obama to sign the bill while declaring restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners an infringement of his powers as commander in chief, as he has done previously. Presidents of both parties have used such signing statements to clarify their understanding of legislative measures or put Congress on notice that they wouldn’t comply with provisions they consider infringements of executive power.