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Akin Didn’t ‘Misspeak’, He Believes Every Word

5:47 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Campaign 2012 is like most campaign years. It’s mean, it’s nasty, it’s vituperous. There is plenty of truth stretching and truth breaking and as many opinions as people who have them. Dump trucks of dollars blow in an ill wind and the intransigent become the immovable. This is politics American style and for better or worse many people have come to see it as a big game in which everything is fair in love and…well, you know the rest.

To intelligent and sane observers this travesty sucks the nation deeper into the muck at the bottom of a very deep well. It is depressing really. Many people who used to faithfully follow the issues and reliably vote their conscience – right or left – based on the best possible information are opting out of America’s foremost democratic privilege.

It appears sanity left the barn long ago – perhaps too long ago to coral it now. Intelligence is already edging to the door, so let’s discuss it before it too slips irretrievably away.

Although gross partisanship, shameful tactics, and misrepresentations are reprehensible, there is a growing element of willful ignorance carrying the day.

The Fable of the ‘Legitimate Rape’

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) is the latest example. On Sunday, he spouted his now infamous lines about women’s bodies being able to correct the effects of “legitimate rape”.

First, what is a legitimate vs. an illegitimate rape? Second, Akin is repeating a “medical” position from the 13th century. Its non-validity should be beyond question for anyone with even a marginal acquaintance with human reproduction, women, rape victims, or news about rape. Still, he’s not alone. Just ask state Rep. Stephen Freind (R-PA) who estimated the chance a rape victim would become pregnant as “one in millions and millions and millions.

Both Freind and Akin ‘apologized‘ with the usual ‘I misspoke’ homilies. Akin still says he’ll not drop out of his senate race, but the man has become such an albatross around Mitt the Ancient Mariner’s neck the GOP will soon pitch him overboard – with an anvil tied around his neck. Politically, he is not long for this world.

But the amazing thing is not that he said something so stupid. The amazing thing is he apparently believes this stuff. He didn’t ‘misspeak’. He believes every word and he joins a growing and ignominious list of people who seem to believe similar stupid things without hesitation.

The Unauthorized Colonoscopies Are on Mordak

Birthers ‘know’ Obama is a Kenyan communist, despite every kind of proof that anyone can give. They aren’t just politicking, they believe it – fervently -  in the same way some people believe UFOs swept down in the night and treated them to unauthorized colonoscopies. It doesn’t matter what proof they get, as if there was something that hadn’t already been handed over, it will not convince them otherwise.

Michele Bachmann believed the U.S. Census was an Obama plot to collect everyone and put them in FEMA interment camps. There is no reason to distrust what she says. I saw her say it and she seemed pretty genuine to me. Besides, she has a whole string of these fantasies including curing teh gay and communists behind every pillar in Washington – among others.

Pat Robertson believes hurricanes strike because people support gays. He also believes he can pray them away from his hometown. Just last week he said international adoptions are a bad idea because the kids, “grow up weird“. There is no shortage of the things the man doesn’t hallucinate and believe with all his heart.

Long is the list of loons who believe being gay is not only a guarantee they are pedophiles, but that they’re also trying to recruit other pedophiles like some To Catch a Predator army recruiter. DADT is in place, but for years many people believed you were somehow less gay if you weren’t asked if you were gay.

Just ordinary – and sometimes some decidedly not-so-ordinary – folks cite their constitutional rights by claiming the Declaration of Independence grants them. This might not be so bad if you pointed out they were looking at the wrong parchment and they corrected themselves. Instead, try it and you’ll get an earful of how your socialist ways mean nothing and the Declaration does so grant rights.

Spelling-Challenged Sign Makers

From severely spelling-challenged sign makers to those who believe the Constitution guarantees the right to deprive non-Christians of their citizenship, we’ve become a nation of supreme nincompoops.

This many stupid people, this many unable to verify the easily verifiable people, led by those who are equally ignorant cannot be simple happenstance. It is willful ignorance. It is the kind of ignorance you couldn’t break with a 12-megaton bomb. It is the ignorance of the tree stump or can of peas. If you looked up the word “imbecile” in the dictionary, you would see a picture of someone like Akin, Robertson, or Bachmann.

These people, some with college degrees, believe a degree makes you an dangerous elitist unqualified to speak about education. Yet, they are quite loud in their own educational theories.

They hold forth about how education is impossible without pitching biology or anthropology in favor of a theory that men and dinosaurs once roamed the Earth side-by-side. They see nothing wrong with removing verifiable historical facts from history curricula and replacing them with half-truths better suited to their ignorance of history. They see nothing wrong, because they believe what they spout.

Clearly Akin has to go, and he will just as soon as the RNC can slip some free weights around his neck. But let’s not forget why he has to go. It isn’t because he’s an ideologue. It isn’t because his apologies are about as sincere as Hitler’s promise not to invade the Poland. It isn’t because he is anti-abortion or had a slip of the tongue.

It is because he is truly, unexaggeratedly stupid…stupid in the largest, most perfect sense of the word in which he believes every ignorant syllable he uttered.

Forgive them Lord for they know exactly what they do…they are stupid.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor

Bringing Up Baby: Is Marissa Mayers Being Set Up for Failure?

7:15 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

When Yahoo announced the appointment of Marissa Mayers as their new CEO, news outfits generally handled the story in one of three ways: This was a typical CEO appointment – nothing special other than Mayers taking on an almost impossible task. This was a typical appointment in which they mentioned her pregnancy, but as secondary item. Thirdly, the lede was her pregnancy and the business aspects were of secondary importance.

However, I was appalled to read the articles that handled her pregnancy as The Big Story. While the pregnancy may be important to the business decision, it is hardly the most important part. She’s as well qualified as anyone despite considerably less experience than many male candidates. She hasn’t done anything yet so it is impossible to tell how well she’ll do, but bully for her if she wants to try. I hope she does turn things around. She deserves major props if she does.

For years, women have rightfully worked to install women in positions of corporate power. However, along with this power comes the reality that when women or men reach those heights, they are expected to perform regardless of the challenges in their personal lives or gender. Perhaps not a fair thing, but an aspect to the jobs nevertheless.

Titanic Runs Into Giant Glass Cliff, Was It Really There?

As I pondered the nature of these views, I began to read stories about the notion of a glass cliff on which women are disproportionally recruited to helm lost causes. Several things troubled me about this notion.

Yahoo is a sinking ship, probably beyond hope. Mayers must save the Titanic as it’s stern rises into the air and slips slowly under the waves. This is a setup to fail, regardless of gender.

Plus a woman, as well as an even longer string of men, have captained the ship before and couldn’t right the leaky tub. Carol Bartz was fired, messily, because she couldn’t save the company. But to be fair, male CEOs are subject to messy firings all the time so I’m not sure I see the gender distinction here. They didn’t set her up; she took on a lost cause and, well, lost.

I’m also not sure Mayers is any more walking over a glass cliff than a male CEO in the same position. Personally, I think anyone who would take on the losing job of trying to save the floundering company is a bit daft, male or female. Yet, I know of no male CEO with the luxury of pre-blaming a gender bias for a failure that will probably happen anyway.

BTW, no one put the pen in Mayer’s hand and a gun to her head (if you’ll excuse the imagery) to accept the job. If there is a glass cliff Mayer, not the Yahoo board, put her on the precipice. She knows full well what she’s getting into. If not, she REALLY isn’t qualified.

This isn’t simply a Yahoo issue either. Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO, came into a company that was recoverable and in relatively good, though dented, shape. She made a string of bad decisions that resulted in a smoking hole from which the company still hasn’t recovered. HP fired her and should have. This wasn’t a female failure, it was a failure. There was no cliff involved except the one she built for herself.

Fiorina went on to run for Senate in CA – against a woman, Barbara Boxer. She lost partly because of Boxer’s long and relatively popular service. But she also ran one of the weirdest political campaigns ever. Who can forget “Carlyfornia”, demon sheep, and goofy cracks about Boxer’s hair? In a female vs. female race, there is no argument that a man or a glass cliff had anything to do with it. She failed on her own merits, or rather, mistakes…womo a womo.

Mitt Romney in Pearls?

Fiorina isn’t the only female CEO cum failed politician. Meg Whitman voluntarily stepped down as eBay CEO. At the time, the prevailing opinion was that she performed wonderfully when the company essentially had no real competition, but when things heated up she too made some questionable decisions. Speculation suggests she saw the end coming and jumped ship before getting the ax. That’s not unusual CEO behavior. A male CEO now runs the company and struggles to turn it around yet no one wonders if he’s on a glass cliff.

Whitman went on to run for CA governor losing to Jerry Brown. She too ran a poor campaign, often refusing to talk to or ejecting media at campaign stops. She also toted some heavy personal baggage including an incident of abusing and not paying a maid and shoving an eBay employee. Slap Meg’s sensible pantsuit and famous string of pearls on Mitt Romney and you have a Republican transvestite. Whitman built her own campaign of her own free will and acted poorly on her own. Like Mitt, she was perfectly capable of ruining things on her own, just as maleman Mitt does – no cliff involved.

Women are severely disadvantaged in many areas. And anyone with a sense of fairness should aid them in gaining what is rightfully theirs. However, many women have a disturbing tendency to blame men for every disadvantage.

It’s perfectly acceptable for some women to remark on the stupidity and incompetence of men while eviscerating men who complain about it. They complain about poor gender stereotypes in the media while cheering and laughing about men being portrayed almost 100% of the time as idiots on TV and commercials, but grouse, rightfully, about the same treatment of women. The list of slights is long and often ignored.

Inequality going either way is wrong. You can’t have it both ways, especially not by advancing specious theories that are hard to support. Let’s, men and women, work together to address the inequalities. As they say, “united we stand, divided we fall”.

And there’s no better way to divide than to blame each other for everything.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor

No One WANTS an Abortion

10:34 am in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

I’m not a woman nor do I pretend to know what it feels like to be one. However, I’m fairly certain that when a woman finds out she is pregnant she doesn’t say, “Gee, I think I’ll have an abortion. I’ll invite my girlfriends. Maybe grab a salad and spend a little time at the spa before we go for drinks. It’ll be fun.”

Sign: Stop the War on Women!

Photo: Timothy Krause / Flickr.

Despite what some would have you believe, no one wants an abortion. It isn’t a cavalier decision or a comfortable experience. Myriad are the ways women come to that awful decision. It may not be compatible with what you would do or lack careful consideration of all the options, but it isn’t yours and it isn’t easy.

Homelessness is a Terrible Thing to Endure

Perhaps Mom simply can’t afford it. Not in the sense she’ll have to forgo girls-night-out, but in the sense there won’t be enough food to feed or house the child. No matter how much a mother loves a baby, homelessness is a terrible thing for a child to endure.

Some may tragically find their baby severely handicapped or otherwise non-viable. Those mothers may be honest enough to admit they don’t have the wherewithal to cope. The toll could be severely emotional for mother and child or it could be practical. She may lack health insurance for stupefyingly huge medical bills or be insured by an outfit that pays only a token portion of the bill.

Still others may be victims of rape or incest, carrying a baby for which they may not have the most motherly of feelings or be in a situation where they and the baby are at risk of harm from their attackers. A situation where the woman is beaten so badly as to lose the baby ends up the same – an abortion with no good done for the mother, the baby, or society.

Those who oppose abortion often do it for religious reasons or harbor fantasies about other coping mechanisms. They often oppose sex education under the impression that teaching someone to put on a condom automatically enrages their hormones enough to go out and use it. That is a case of “Just Say Yes”.

Some suggest adoption and that may sometimes be viable. However, for some babies adoptions just transfer the child from frying pan to fire. Handicapped and minority babes have notoriously low adoption rates and they may spend much of their childhoods in foster homes that prepare them for nothing more than deprivation and a life of crime, on the dole, or worse. But for some, adoption isn’t an option. Mothers whose lives are at risk may never make it through a pregnancy to put the baby up for adoption.

There’s a Reason They Call It Planned Parenthood

Read the rest of this entry →

Is the Le Leche League Anti-Male?

1:10 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

When my daughter was an infant I took her to many places without Mom. Grocery stores, restaurants, and even to my auto mechanic to name a few. It was not a rare occurrence for women I’d never seen before to quiz me on where Mom was. Most implied that I was incompetent to handle a child and it was dangerous for me to be out and about without my wife’s supervision. A few didn’t imply, they were angrily emphatic about my child rearing qualifications.

My daughter is 22 now, so that was a long time ago. However, recent events suggest men are being marginalized in the childbirth and rearing arena just the same. Many women are adamant that men have absolutely no input into a decision to abort. True, the final decision should always be the woman’s – it is, after all, she who will bear the child. But, the pregnancy wouldn’t have occurred without the man and he deserves a chance to make his point, though not necessarily the final decision, too.

Many women would reduce men’s roll in pregnancy to nothing more than walking sperm factories, without a right to express their concerns and input. Not only are men discouraged from being involved in inception and pregnancy, that discrimination is seeping into child rearing as well, even if a collection of Congressional boneheads set up a meeting where only men testified about something widely viewed as a “women’s issue”. But while the Congress-o-Weenies were stupid, they were correct about one thing. It isn’t simply a woman’s issue. Men are affected – perhaps not in the same way, but affected – too.

Weepu WeepsThe anti-child rearing attitude is spreading beyond such things as women being routinely awarded child custody in divorces simply by virtue of their sex – sometimes regardless of who could best take care of the child. It’s gone to how Dads interact with their children.

Recently, New Zealand rugby player Piri Weepu was excoriated by the Le Leche League for have the temerity to feed his infant daughter during an anti-smoking advertisement. The league demanded the offending scene be removed because they viewed it as an anti-breastfeeding message instead of an anti-smoking message.

The guy was simply being a good father and doing something completely innocent and normal. Apparently no one questions that…except the league. The New Zealand Health Ministry’s chief adviser, Pat Tuohy, admitted as much. “Piri by all accounts is a great dad and a terrific guy. Probably of all of the people who’ve been damaged he’s probably had the hardest time in all this because he’s just been doing what any dad would do in his situation and good on him.”

It seems that a Dad bonding with his young child, as mothers do when they breastfeed, is a no no. Here is a man helping raise his child rather than exhibiting the sort of bad behavior many absentee  Dads unfortunately show and for which women and many men roundly criticize them. He is being lumped with men who don’t behave well because he is a man.

Luckily, there is a movement to reinstate the deleted scenes, showing that at least some people are able to see an injustice when they see it, but that sort of groundswell doesn’t oten happen for a non-celebrity Dad.

Pregnancy Isn’t Easy for Dad’s EitherPregnancy and child rearing aren’t easy on Mom or Dad. Mom gets lots of physical pain and potential issues like post-partum depression to deal with. Men are often marginalized to the point of invisibility, even while sharing some of the non-physical issues of women and while also carrying their own. To make matters worse Moms often help perpetuate that notion.

I admire the efforts of single parents. Child-rearing is tough work even when parents work together. It is manifold alone. It seems that Dads who help, who choose to participate fully in their childrens’ lives, aren’t appreciated when they do.

We can’t have it both ways.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!