Archive for July 25th, 2012
Gizmodo has an interesting and troubling article from Jesus Diaz, reporting on a recent study by Mark Rober from NASA. Rober put rubber alternating rubber animals – a turtle, a snake and a tarantula – on the shoulder of a road. Out of the traffic lane, mind you; on the shoulder. And kept track of what passing drivers did.
6% – Six Percent! – of the drivers swerved out of their lanes, onto the shoulder, to run over the rubber animals.
[Is WC the only one who immediately thought of Anthony Burgess's novel, A Clockwork Orange, and the protagonist, who drives back from a night's orgy of violence, "driving over small, squealing animals"?]
But here’s the punchline. Of the 6% who went out of the way to drive over and kill the animals, 89% were driving sport utility vehicles, SUVs. Bezoomny.
RPOT, of course, is the Republican Party of Texas. It has adopted a new platform. And it is a doozy. As an insight into Neocon thinking, it is priceless. But you may need antacid tablets after a few of its 22 pages. To spare you unnecessary nausea, here are some of the choicer bits.
We oppose the teaching of . . . critical thinking skills and similar programs. (p. 12)
WC had always suspected this was the real neocon agenda. We just can’t have people thinking critically about the pablum being fed to them, apparently. It’s great to see them ‘fessing up to it. Cue the 1984 Apple Computer commercial.
We urge Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights. (p.5)
See, this is what happens when you oppose critical thinking. You oppose abortion, right? How will you get rid of the Constitutional right to abortion under Roe v. Wade if you take away the SCOTUS’s jurisdiction? And exactly how do you propose to “withhold jurisdiction” if the U.S. Constitution is holy writ?
We support legislation requiring labor unions to obtain consent of the union member before that member’s dues can be used for political purposes. (p. 5)
WC will agree with you on this but only if you agree that corporations have to obtain the consent of all their shareholders before corporate income can be used for political campaigns. Why should corporations be treated differently? It’s that failure to teach critical thinking again…
We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized. (p.5)
Why not just insert a plank in your platform supporting a return Jim Crow laws instead.
We support eliminating bureaucratic prohibitions on corporal discipline and home schooling in foster homes. (p. 10)
Wouldn’t you love to know what this plank is doing here? And WC suspects the RPOT may mean “corporeal,” unless it needs to punish low level officers of the armed forces.
All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves or their minor children without penalty for refusing a vaccine. We oppose any effort by any authority to mandate such vaccines or any medical database that would contain personal records of citizens without their consent. (p. 11)
WC will help by translating this one: every parent has the right to let their child suffer and die from poliomyelitis, rubella, pertussis and a host of other diseases. See how it all keeps coming back to the business of critical thinking?
We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. (p. 12)
No real scientist objects to teaching all sides of any scientific theory. But every real scientist objects to the teaching of superstition as a “scientific theory.” And it’s “data are produced,” not “is.” The Texas educational system may need improvement.
We support school choice and believe that quality education is best achieved by encouraging parental involvement, protecting parental rights, and maximizing local independent school district control. (p. 12)
Until such time as all texts are required to be approved by the SBOE, each ISD that uses non-SBOE approved instructional materials must verify them as factually and historically correct. Also the ISD board must hold a public hearing on such materials, protect citizen’s right of petition and require compliance with TEC and legislative intent. Local ISD boards must maintain the same standards as the SBOE. (p.13)
Well, which is it? Local control or statewide control? No wonder the Texas educational system has problems.
We support abolishing all federal agencies whose activities are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution; including the Departments of Education and Energy. (p. 16)
Damn, there goes the U.S. Air Force. Bummer. There were seven Air Force bases in Texas, too. And farm subsidies!
We oppose any government support of special interest organizations, such as ACORN and the ACLU. (p. 17)
So you oppose income tax and property tax breaks for churches? All those United Ways in Texas shouldn’t be exempt from taxation? WC wonders if this plank has been thought through.
Abolishing property taxes
Shifting the tax burden to a consumption-based tax (p. 18)
WC notes you want a strong economy. Did you know 70% of the U.S. economy is based upon consumer consumption? Gosh, WC wonders what will happen if there is a tax on consumption? Do you think it might have an impact upon consumption? Would that mean consumers had less to spend? Would that have an impact on the economy, do you think? Oh, wait. WC had forgotten. You officially don’t think.
We believe the Minimum Wage Law should be repealed. (p. 19)
Our founding fathers warned us of the dangers of allowing central bankers to control our currency because inflation equals taxation without representation. We support the return to the time tested precious metal standard for the U.S. dollar. (p. 20)
We support the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations and the removal of U.N. headquarters from U.S. soil. (p. 20)
WC had kind of wondered where the surviving members of the John Birch Society had ended up. In Texas, apparently. WC hasn’t seen this old chestnut since the Commies burned down that giant billboard on I-5 outside of Salem, Oregon.
WC will summarize the rest of this extraordinary document this way: it calls for a return to the United States pre-FDR, approximately the time Herbert Hoover put the U.S. in the Great Depression. Jim Crow, isolationist, segregationist Texas. All the RPOT left out was the lynching. The United States of 80 years ago, with polio and tuberculosis wards. Remarkable. And the majority of Texas – a famously Red state – really think this way. Appalling.