Rick Santorum and the Anti Kitten-Burning Coalition

Burning kittens is wrong. It is cruel, it is illegal and it is, quite simply, evil. No one should burn kittens.

I am, unambiguously and without qualification, opposed to burning kittens. I am also confident that you are opposed to this too. And that latter point is why I cannot join the Anti Kitten-Burning Coalition.

The AKBC, again, is on the correct side of this issue. Its members, quite rightly, are vehemently opposed to something to which they ought to be vehemently opposed. But that isn’t what motivates them. What drives them, their central organizing principle, is the notion that they represent a beleaguered and controversial minority view. They imagine that their stance against burning kittens — sweet, adorable, innocent kittens — is something that separates and distinguishes them from most other people. They imagine that their opposition to burning kittens is a brave and exceptional stance that elevates them above most other people.

In other words, the central concern of the Anti Kitten-Burning Coalition is not a defense of kittens, but an accusation against most other people. They are not driven by their opposition to kitten-burning, but by their opposition to a make-believe faction of other people whom they imagine favor kitten-burning. That this vast bloc of pro kitten-burning people cannot be found and does not exist does nothing to dampen their enthusiastic campaign against these supposed monstrously cruel others. It is a delusion, but the AKBC enjoys this delusion.

This delusion gives their lives meaning and purpose. It makes their lives more exciting. And it enables them to bask in the idea that they are good and righteous people — or at least the possibility that they are better than some imagined faction of monstrously cruel other people.

This delusion has become a central defining trait of American politics. Imaginary monsters — other people who are imagined to favor kitten-burning or other monstrous cruelties — are a greater focus of American politics than jobs, taxes, highways and bridges, or environmental protection. Millions of votes are mobilized and cast based on the imaginary fear of an imaginary faction of kitten-burning monsters.

Here, for example, is Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, describing a nightmare of monstrous cruelty that he imagines is now taking place in the Netherlands:

“In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly,” Santorum said. “And the bracelet is: ‘Do not euthanize me.’ Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized — 10 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands — half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness.”

The happy truth, of course, is that this is all complete nonsense. Nothing like this is happening in the Netherlands. No such bracelets exist. Santorum’s nightmare is entirely false — it’s a fabricated delusion based on a fantasy apparently invented out of whole cloth by the Louisiana Right to Life Federation.

If you had any doubt about that, if you had for a moment perhaps feared that Santorum was telling the truth, then you will be pleased and relieved to learn that he was not. You will be happy to learn that Dutch hospitals are not killing off the terrified elderly because, rightly and understandably, you prefer to live in a world in which such horrible things are not happening.

That’s the difference between you and Sen. Santorum. You both agree that the scenario he described would be a Very Bad Thing. But for you that means you don’t want it to be true while for him that’s reason to wish it were. He believed this story and promoted this story because he wanted to believe it was true. He needed to believe it was true.

Rick Santorum wishes that he lived in a world in which horrible things like this were really happening. If you confront him with the facts and the evidence proving that his Netherlands nightmare is only the figment of a fevered imagination he would not be relieved to learn that this wasn’t true. He’d be defensive and angry, denying those facts and that evidence because he prefers the horrible fantasy.

Why? Why would anyone want such a thing to be true? Why would someone invent monsters and cling, desperately, to the idea of such monsters? Aren’t there enough real problems in the world demanding our attention?

I’ve been studying the Anti Kitten-Burning Coalition in its various incarnations for a long time now, and I have a few theories in answer to those questions.

1. It’s exciting to believe in imaginary monsters.

Santorum wants to imagine himself doing battle with Dutch death panels for the same reason that I spent hours as a teenager fighting dragons, trolls, goblins and orcs. It’s exciting to pretend that you’re a brave hero struggling against the forces of evil. That’s fine when you know it’s just a game — an imaginary fantasy conducted with graph-paper and multi-sided dice. But it’s a problem when you lose the ability to distinguish between the fantasy role-playing game and real life.

2. A fiendish foil for self-righteousness.

Being good is hard. If I compare myself to Jesus or Harriet Tubman or St. Francis or Dorothy Day then I can’t help but see a vast amount of room for improvement on my part. But if, instead, I compare myself to Hannibal Lecter, then I come out looking pretty good. If I compare myself to Hannibal Lecter, then I can tell myself that I am a saint and a hero and not just someone largely indistinct from everyone else, stumbling along in a self-absorbed routine of quiet desperation. It doesn’t matter that Lecter is a fictional character who doesn’t really exist, not when he’s so very useful as a point of contrast that allows me to bask in my own self-righteousness. Am I really a righteous saint and hero? Compared to Hannibal Lecter, to the kitten-burners and the Satanic baby-killers, you bet I am.

3. If the monsters don’t exist, the theory isn’t true.

The Big Theory presents an if-then equation to explain how society works. The theory offers a defense of something — “traditional morality,” sectarian privilege, patriarchy, ethnic superiority, cultural exceptionalism, nationalism, etc. — and says that if that something is not defended, then monstrous consequences will ensue. The absence of such monstrous consequences thus disproves the theory, undermining its defense of whatever it is the theorist is defending.

And so monsters must be invented. And anyone who denies the reality of these unreal monsters must be condemned as an enemy of traditional morality, or of the sect, the ethnic group, the culture, the nation, etc.

4. Imaginary monsters give our fears a face.

We’re afraid. We’re afraid of difference, of financial insecurity, of forces beyond our control, of death. Our fears are amorphous, unsettling and overwhelming. We can’t get a handle on them. So we give them a name and a face and thus can pretend that we’re up against something we can fight. Instead of the amorphous fear of something in the dark, we can pretend that it’s a werewolf in the woods. A werewolf is scary too, but now we have something to do. OK, yes, technically there’s still no such thing as werewolves, but if we pretend there are, then we can take decisive action. We can start making silver bullets. We can start locking up those neighbors we suspect might secretly be werewolves. The monsters may be imaginary, but at least they’re specific.

 

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  • Anonymous

    2. A fiendish foil for self-righteousness.
    Being good is hard.
    If I compare myself to Jesus or Harriet Tubman or St. Francis or
    Dorothy Day then I can’t help but see a vast amount of room for
    improvement on my part. But if, instead, I compare myself to Hannibal
    Lecter, then I come out looking pretty good. If I compare myself to
    Hannibal Lecter, then I can tell myself that I am a saint and a hero and
    not just someone largely indistinct from everyone else, stumbling along
    in a self-absorbed routine of quiet desperation. It doesn’t matter that
    Lecter is a fictional character who doesn’t really exist, not when he’s
    so very useful as a point of contrast that allows me to bask in my own
    self-righteousness. Am I really a righteous saint and hero? Compared to
    Hannibal Lecter, to the kitten-burners and the Satanic baby-killers, you bet I am.

    That’s kinda funny, because Rick Santorum does that for me.

    Of course, that anger is toxic and unpleasant and kind of ruins my day, so I’d really prefer if he just stopped saying terrible, terrible things about rape survivors and the separation of church and state and the Netherlands and etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Eng/100000651362623 Peter Eng

    Morilore, the difference is that you’re comparing yourself to a real person.  Rick Santorum can’t say, “Well, I’m better than Jack the Ripper” and be happy.  No, he has to invent Death Panels and Baby-Killing Pro-Choice Feminazis as his comparisons.

  • THE Magpie

    One of my cats had to be euthanized just before Christmas, which sparked a longish conversation between my daughter and I about euthanasia for humans.  She is for it, and has stated that if she was indeed dying from some disease and there was no cure, and the pain could not be controlled, she would want the option. She is young, but she is also pragmatic. She has lost two grandparents in the last five years, both from cancer, and has seen how they suffered.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     As a friend of mine once commented, after a certain point we generally consider it inhumane to let a cat or dog we know to be incurably injured or ill continue to suffer instead of painlessly euthanizing it.  But come parties consider it inhumane NOT to let a human continue to suffer when in the same position.  It’s sort of weird when you think about it.

  • Anonymous

    It just occurred to me while I read that fact-checker article on euthanasia that the most liberal positions on euthanasia are analogous to the (mainstream liberal) view on abortion that was advocated in the 1960s: Euthanasia / abortion shouldn’t be available on demand (that would lead to abuse), but, if it is really wanted, the person’s case should be given to a panel of doctors and they should decide whether or not it’s legal to perform the procedure.

  • http://mmycomments.blogspot.com/ mmy


    If you confront him with the facts and the evidence proving that his Netherlands nightmare is only the figment of a fevered imagination he would not be relieved to learn that this wasn’t true. He’d be defensive and angry, denying those facts and that evidence because he prefers the horrible fantasy.

    Count me as one of the many Canadians living in the United States who tried to debunk claims that “up here” in the land of socialized medicine† we had to parade out seniors before death panels.

    The fact that I was a) a Canadian and b) had elderly parents who would be the first, according to such claims, to be deep sixed if such panels had existed made no dent at all on the continued claims that they existed.

    Nor were people happy to learn that such panels did not exist.

    † No, it isn’t really socialized medicine. It is a series of provincial single-payer systems. I know that but even that simple fact across seemed insuperably difficult.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    To be fair, I think that “government-administered single-payer system,” whether at the national or the state/provincial level, *is* what most people who use the phrase “socialized medicine” mean by that phrase.

  • http://mmycomments.blogspot.com/ mmy


    To be fair, I think that “government-administered single-payer system,” whether at the national or the state/provincial level, *is* what most people who use the phrase “socialized medicine” mean by that phrase.

    Well, and speaking only from my own experience, most Americans seem to be unaware of the difference between the NHS (UK) and single-payer (as in Canada) or the health care system in France.

    And, also in my experience, most Americans I talked to about it thought that the Canadian system was either like an HMO (where one went, was billed and then sent the bill in to be approved or denied) or they imagined that all the doctors in Canada were hired by the government and paid directly by the government.

    Or, confusingly, they managed to think both at the same time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ainsworthmk Melinda Ainsworth

    Yes, most of us silly Americans will make statements without bothering to find out actual facts. Thankfully, not all of us fit that bill.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Thankfully, not all of us fit that bill.

    Yes, that’s what “most” means.

  • rizzo

    “That’s the difference between you and Sen. Santorum.”
    Well, that and I’m not an idiot.  He’s like a child, and all this attention is just egging him on.  Wouldn’t mind seeing him and Mitt split the party at the convention though.

  • Anonymous

    Part of it is also goes back to the carefully cultivated distrust in…well, any institution telling the truth.  It makes it much easier to believe there are death panels in the Netherlands when your media not only doesn’t correct that mistake, but actively implies that anyone not a Republican American or certain types of Israeli are degenerates who only care about hedonism and abortions,. Which ties into the whole conservative Christianity thing.

    It’s really magnificent, how all these different lies and half truths feed into and support each other.  It’s like a whole ecosystem of hate and stupid. . 

  • Anonymous

    It’s a thing of such terrible beauty isn’t it?

    Like Barad-dûr.

  • Anonymous

    Way to show off your international diplomacy skills, Santorum.  Making false, and slanderous, statements about foreign countries is a great way to gain their respect. /sarcasm

    I can not describe how much I would like to see the government of the Netherlands call Santorum out on his BS. 

    And, seriously, what is so wrong with giving people who are suffering from incurable illnesses the ability to end their lives in a controlled and painless manner should they choose to do so?

  • http://mmycomments.blogspot.com/ mmy


    And, seriously, what is so wrong with giving people who are suffering from incurable illnesses the ability to end their lives in a controlled and painless manner should they choose to do so?

    Because it acknowledges that those people own their own bodies. 

    And once that has been acknowledge a number of other things seems to follow rather automatically.

    This is something about which I feel rather strongly since I am 

    TRIGGER WARNING: Death of a parent

    one of those people who sat by the side of a parent who chose “no extraordinary measures” and therefore have some knowledge/opinions that are based on going through it — and going through it in a non-American venue.

    DNR doesn’t always mean “dying right away.” It can mean, as it did in the case of my parent, turning down painful surgery which might somewhat extend life but that extended life would be lived in pain and with minimal quality. The operating room was booked and ready in case my parent made the choice to have the surgery. My parent made the decision not to have the operation and lived some weeks before dying.† Those weeks were spent with zir loved ones at zir side. Reduction of pain and discomfort was the primary goal of the medical personnel. 

    In the eyes of the hospital personnel my parent owned zir body and was given the dignity and respect of making the final determination as to the treatment zie wanted.

    † Further, because my parent was hospitalized in a system where zie knew that zir choice would not cost zir family a cent–that choice was not made out of a fear of financial consequences. If my parent had wanted to “fight” death for months and through a series of operations it would have cost our family no more than the cost of zir decision not to “fight” death.

  • Anonymous

     Santorum don’t care about no stinkin’ diplomacy. That might involve thinking that other people are … you know, PEOPLE. That everyone who disagrees with him are not demons in disguise.

  • Anonymous

    I think that when Santorum or other political figures go full AKBC they are reacting (as reactionaries do) to the general public not being terrified by what they are terrified by. So they concoct these delusional and elaborate slippery slopes to both justify their own fear and convince others that they’ve been right to be scared all along. “The government wants you to have access to contraception!” crickets “Pre-natal care is a gateway to abortion!” raised eyebrows “Um, well, let’s see, how about…the Dutch murder old people! See, the government is scary! French Revolution! Man-on-dog sex! College is a liberal conspriracy to make your kids listen to Phish!”

  • FangsFirst

     

    “College is a liberal conspriracy to make your kids listen to Phish!”

    …I think I’m opposed to college now :S

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Eng/100000651362623 Peter Eng

    “Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!”
    “Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…”
    “The dead rising from the grave!”
    “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”

    (I’ve just quoted Ghostbusters in a relatively serious way.  I am so weird.)

  • Anonymous

    Way, WAY off topic, I realize, but this hardly the first time I’ve run into a reference to “multi-sided dice” lately.

    Pardon, but aren’t ALL dice “multi-sided”?  Or is there some obscure corner of the gaming world where people are rolling dice made out of Möbius strips?  This inquiring mind wants to know!

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Pardon, but aren’t ALL dice “multi-sided”?  Or is there some obscure corner of the gaming world where people are rolling dice made out of Möbius strips?

    Outside of an obscure corner of the gaming world, dice are all six-sided. The land of polyhedrons beyond the humble cube is rare to most of the muggles out there, who think that Yahtzee is exotic because you roll six dice instead of two.

    When I say “dice”, most English speakers assume I mean “six-sided dice”. When I say “multi-sided dice” or “polyhedral dice”, then people think of the wierd “D&D dice”.

    (Oh, and there is an ancient section of the gaming world where “dice” are actually paper chits in a bag!)

  • Anonymous

     I had some electronic dice that were kind of cool … about 30 years ago. I’m sure there’s an app for that now, but way back when, I had a gadget that looked kind of like a remote with a double line of little lights. You set the number of ‘sides’ for the die, press a button and it would ‘roll’ them for you. I think it might have been called a Dragon Bone. Anyone remember this?

  • Brandi

    @ohiolibrarian: Saw ads for those in Dragon Magazine when I was a kid. Wanted one but couldn’t afford it…

  • Michael Cule

    Yes, the Dragon Bone. I recall seeing one only once but they did look cool.

    And of course there’s an app for it. Several types: one of them on IPod Touch got a lot of use earlier this evening when I left my dice bag at home (Bad Michael!).

    I believe it can be set to create dice of any number of sides even ones that don’t exist as natural solids. (D23 anyone?)

  • Anonymous

     I spent the entire summer of 1978 in a futile quest for a set of “real” dice to go with my Holmes Basic Set, which came with the dreaded chits. Eventually we just played the game with 3d6 until we found a set.

  • rizzo

     Of course they are, but it’s a term generally used to refer to any non d6(that’s a 6 sided die for all you not nerds out there)

  • Anonymous

    “Pardon, but aren’t ALL dice “multi-sided”?  Or is there some obscure
    corner of the gaming world where people are rolling dice made out of
    Möbius strips?  This inquiring mind wants to know!”

    Back in Ye Olden Dayes before 1975 or so, when Dungeons and Dragons began its march toward cultural dominance (eventually getting, oh, 5% or so of the way there before collapsing in exhaustion) the only dice available were the standard six-sided variety.  Then D&D and its innumerable imitators (which in many cases vastly improved on the original)(and yes, I am oversimplifying the history by ignoring, for example, Chainmail) came out, requiring the use of dice in the shape of all five Platonic solids.  The dodecahedron was the most important, as a pair of different colors, each numbered 0 to 9 twice, are used to generate random numbers from 1 to 100, working well with percentage tables.  Indeed, in retrospect a better design would probably have used only percentile dice, but the others were cool (for some deeply nerdy value of “cool”).  Obtaining the dice presented a problem for us early adopters, but somewhere I still have my first set from 1976. 

    So in any case, and to actually address your question, yes, all dice are multi-sided:  even the boring old D6.  “Non-standard” would have been more accurate.  For whatever reason, “multi-sided” is what caught on.  One possible explanation is that it is the collection which is multiple:  that is, a collection of dice of multiple numbers of sides, with this concept getting reduced to the dice themselves.

  • Dave W.

     That should be the icosahedron (20-sided, each corner has 5 equilateral triangles coming together) that makes the percentile dice, not the dodecahedron (12-sided, each corner has 3 pentagons coming together).

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking that an icosahedral die had to be what was meant.  And though I don’t know what the deal is with the colors, you can combine an icosahedral die and a regular cubic die to get a random 2-digit decimal number simply by tossing out any results with a 6 on the regular die.

    FWIW, I’m familiar with D&D dice; it just amused me that the terminology apparently being used to distinguish them from regular 6-sided dice didn’t actually do that.

    And thinking of the spherical die that Michael Cule brought up, I’d tend to regard a sphere as a polyhedron with infinitely many sides, since if you have some sort of bound on the relative difference between the areas of different sides, then as the number of sides goes to infinity, the polyhedron converges on being spherical. 

    Yeah, lots of us geeks of various sorts here.  Some are mathematicians, some are carpenter’s wives.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    Normally two ten-sided dice are used in place of a d100. They do manufacture d100s, though. They’re a little smaller than a baseball, and they do not reliably sit still. They’re largely novelties, not incredibly useful for actual gameplay.

  • Brandi

    @Triplanetary: d100s do make superb cat toys, though– and may even keep them from trying to roll your other dice during a game.

  • Richard Hershberger

     Right you are.  The mind is the first thing to go.  Well, for a proper D&D-playing nerd the body was never there to begin with, so it never really had the opportunity to go…

  • Anonymous

    Indeed, in retrospect a better design would probably have used only percentile dice, but the others were cool (for some deeply nerdy value of “cool”).

    There are some RPGs (most notably the Warhammer 40K RPGs by Fantasy Flight Games) that use percentile dice for non-combat rolls and d10s for everything else.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Pardon, but aren’t ALL dice “multi-sided”?  Or is there some obscure corner of the gaming world where people are rolling dice made out of Möbius strips?  This inquiring mind wants to know!
    Once upon a time Ernő Rubik made a puzzle.  It was called the Rubik’s cube for it was a cube.  (The prototype was a truncated cube, but that is neither here nor there.)

    There never really was a name for the kind of puzzle it was*, and that presented some oddities when trying to describe what came after.  The 14 sided cube and the 26 sided cube are the first ones that come to my mind.  In either case the name made a certain amount of sense when you saw how it came about** but the name was still impossible.  If it has a number of sides other than 6 it isn’t a cube.

    In other cases the names didn’t make sense at all.  A “12 sided cube” might be used to refer to dodecahedral puzzle that was built off a strictly dodecahedral design, no cube anywhere near it, but since it was the case that the Rubik’s puzzles were called cubes so too were these ones.  Even though the Rubik’s cubes were called cubes because they actually happened to be cubes.

    Of course math was never all that strong in the whole Rubik’s thing anyway.  The advertising was billions of combinations.  Ok, that’s true.  43 quintillion is billions, it’s 43 billion billion.  Kind of an understatement though.  Like saying there are tens of people on earth.  Except more misleading.

    And then you end up with stuff like this thing that I made, which is known as a “Fully Functional Extended Cuboctahedron”.  It is neither a cuboctahedron, nor one that has been extended.  It is fully functional, but the only reason that that needs to be said is that it used to be the case that extended was a term that explicitly meant “not fully functional.”

    The story goes like this.  The “extended cube” was made by gluing a layer of cubies (the little cubes that a Rubik’s cube is made up of) onto each side of a standard cube.  Thus producing a shape that was not cubic, and a puzzle that was not fully functional.  (The added layers were simply glued on, they could not turn.)

    Then one day someone figured that they could do the same thing but instead of adding standard layers to the sides they’d add layers from the outside of a cubeoctahedron puzzle (also known as the misnamed “14 sided cube” mentioned above) they did that, did a little extra work (the corners from the original standard cube the stuff was being glued onto needed to be cut down somewhat) and the “extended cuboctahedron” which is neither shaped like a cubeoctaherdon nor a cuboctohedron that has been extended, was born.

    Then I decided it was about time we make one of those where the outer layers could turn, and created my puzzle which has the same thing involving not matching the shape, and the added inaccuracy of not really being extended.  The “Fully Functional” is the only think in the title that is actually accurate.

    But, at least within the right circles, people know what I mean when I say it.  And thus saying it is a lot easier than trying to figure out an accurate terminology to describe it.

    So, I guess the takeaway from this is, it’s not just dice.  Inaccurate yet useful terminology is applied to other polyhedra as well.

    * It’s a sequential move puzzle, but there are many sequential move puzzles that are clearly not the same type of puzzle.  It’s a twisty puzzle, but not every puzzle that involves twisting is really a Rubik’s cube like puzzle.  And given that Rubik is a brand name now (and the name of a brand that includes some things that are nothing like the cube, no less) using Rubik in the name of a generic class of puzzles doesn’t really work that well either.

    **  Both were straightforward modifications of a simple Rubik’s cube mechanism into a different shape.  The “cube” in the name referred to the original puzzle, or in the case of the 14 sided thing which was actually mass produced and thus not a modification, the design on which the puzzle was based.  The “14/26 sided” referred to the final shape.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    I think that “multi-sided dice” is gamer shorthand for “dice with multiple numbers of sides,” as opposed to “dice all of which have six sides.”

    Edit: there sure are a lot of us around here. I do want to nitpick something rrhersh said: the dodecahedron is actually the little-used 12-sided die, probably the one least often rolled, at least in the latest incarnations of D&D (and its offshoot, Pathfinder RPG). The percentile dice have ten sides, and are the only standard RPG dice that actually *aren’t* platonic solids.

  • Richard Hershberger

     “the dodecahedron is actually the little-used 12-sided die,”

    D’oh!  Right you are.  But back when men were men and giants strode the earth, we didn’t use no stinkin’ non-Platonic ten-sided dice.  We used twenty-sided dice, i.e. (and I just looked this up to get the spelling) icosahedrons. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Simeon-Beresford/1642490035 Simeon Beresford

    The non-platonic Ten sided dice are a new development  originally icoshedrons were used.

  • Brandi

    There *are* spherical dice out there.

    http://mightyjunior.com/system/pictures/0000/7598/round_dice_1-6_lg_thumb.jpg

    Mostly, “multi-sided” is a convenient if not perfectly correct shorthand for dice that aren’t the standard six-sided one (D&D dice).

  • Anonymous

    Your question is going to have me giggling all afternoon. Often, it would have caused my pedant reflexes to kick in, but I think a quiet “woosh”, is what is called for. Or an inventive tale of a game that is played with a pair of linked Möbius dice. 

  • FangsFirst

     Gah! A Pogo reference! I must always call these out.
    Because I use Pogo characters when going incognito around the web…

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    ESCHER: The Roleplaying Game. System would use dMobiuses, dTesseracts, and dInfinities. Published adventures would include the VERY adults-only module “(Pi) girls, (i) cups”.

  • Tricksterson

    I…must…have…this…game!

  • FangsFirst
  • Pastanaut

    I suspect that in first-drafts authors who use that term say “d20” or “d12” but on the second look they think that they will alienate people who are not familiar with gaming terminology, and settle on “multi-sided” as an alternative without really thinking about the point that you make.

  • Anonymous

    So where are the people actively calling him out on his bullshit?  Where’s the articles in the NYTimes and the Atlantic and elsewhere saying ‘Santorum said this … but he’s wrong.’  Where are the TV news hosts who are asking his representatives, ‘Why did he say something that is provably not true?’  Where a sane rational version of Joe Wilson to stand up in the middle of one of these claims and say ‘YOU LIE’?  Gods dammit, I realize this is American politics but where the hell is the accountability?!

    Attention NYTimes editor who had the gall to ask if journalists should factcheck: FUCK YES, YOU BOZO, and this is why!

  • Anonymous

     Fact check … just don’t use Politifact to do it. Since they appear to have a little problem with the definition of “fact”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ainsworthmk Melinda Ainsworth

    Not to sound paranoid, but Rupert Murdoch and his ilk own too much of the media in the USA and they are not on the side of the angels.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    4. Imaginary monsters give our fears a face.

    I can’t state my support for this item enough. Not just a face for our fears, but a course of action, something we can do in the face of fear.

    Human beings, psychologically, don’t do well when we feel powerless, or helpless. Having control, or at least the illusion of control, is powerfully calming and re-assuring. Werewolves may not be real, but the silver bullets you have a in drawer are. I can’t find any of those pro-kitten-burners, but I can at least write a check to the Kitten Flamability Defense Fund of America, and that’s how I can fight this fight!

    Gas prices are set to rise because massively wealthy speculators are attempting to manipulate the market. (some speculate this is revenge for Obama blocking the tar sands pipeline) What can I do if gas prices rise to $5/gallon? I can’t fight these massive companies; they’ve actually shown that with this round of manipulation. Production is up, consumpiton is down, and gas prices are rising anyway! In the face of this, I feel helpless. So when Mr. Frothy Mix comes along and tells me I can pick up a rifle and fight the good fight, I feel better, less helpless. It’s a hell of a way to exploit people, using a seductive illusion like that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ainsworthmk Melinda Ainsworth

    I believe you are absolutely spot-on. This really *is* an actual conspiracy, so I’m not delusional to have noticed it. I’m just better informed than most of the people who fall for this crap, and as are the other people on this thread, more intelligent than most of them. Only the ignorant believe. The others are just using them, leading them like sheep to shearing for the price of their wool.

  • Lizzy L

    Rick Santorum really said this? And people believed him?

    Face/palm Head/desk /boggle/ WTF?

    Just when I think I can’t possibly be surprised by anything these d***heads say/believe, they prove me wrong. I do wonder though: does Santorum truly believe this? Or is it simply something convenient to say in the course of his campaign, a montrosity designed to create outrage and fear?

    Not that it matters.

  • Lizzy L

    Sorry — monstrosity. Better brain cells, please.

  • Michael Cule

    Not all dice are multi-sided: some joker produced a perfectly round dice that none the less woould roll between 1 and 6 fairly reliably. I think Fred is referring (carelessly: careless Fred!) to the many varieties of polyhedral dice (not just cubes but all sorts) used in (some) fantasy role-playing games.

    Be that as it may, the issue here would be that Mr Santorum, in order to make this allegation has to be either

    a) very gullible
    b) very careless or
    c) a deliberate liar.

    There are no more explanations I can see and none of those explanations make him a man who should be trusted to run a whelk stall let alone head the Executive Branch of the US Federal government. 

    Is there any way they can spin this to make it look good? Other than stuffing their fingers in their ears and going laaa-laaa? Or looking huffy that anyone could DARE challenge the suitability of their candidate?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ainsworthmk Melinda Ainsworth

    Too many of the people in this country are eating it up while singing la-la-la. They are scared. They are scared because of the economic situation caused by the collusion of the rotating group of con men through Congress, big business, lobbying firms, and the government agencies that are supposed to regulate big business. They are scared of the immigrants who are going to “take their jobs.” Sociologically this all makes perfect sense if you look at similar economic meltdowns and the responses of the majority historically. They are acting like terrified sheep and the GOP/Tea Party/Catholic Bishops/fundamentalist leaders are the wolves waiting to eat them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

     Next Santorum will warn us about this chilling documentary he watched called Logan’s Run.

  • Anonymous

    Next Santorum will warn us about this chilling documentary he watched called Logan’s Run.

    And the “objective” press would let it slide because pointing out that there’s no such place as the City of Domes and that “this shit is made up” would be “taking sides.”

    On the other hand, I’d love to see Santorum questioned so forcefully on this and other issues until he’s reduced to creepily moaning, “There is no Sanctuary!”

  • Tricksterson

    Santorum’s more like the computer.  Logan gives it the truth, which isn’t the answer it wants so it assumes he must be wrong.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    Reason 5: Rick Santorum doesn’t want to fix the real problems. He has no desire to address “jobs, taxes, highways and bridges, or environmental protection.” Okay, so why should Rick Santorum have a job in government? Why, to protect us from the death panels, of course! And if he happens to enrich a bunch of corporations in the process of protecting us from the death panels, that’s just the glorious free market at work.

    This applies to the entire GOP, needless to say.

  • http://mmycomments.blogspot.com/ mmy


    Rick Santorum doesn’t want to fix the real problems

    I would agree that Santorum does’t want to fix the things that most of us see as the real problems but I do think that he want to fix the things he thinks are the real problems. I believe that Santorum genuinely believes that there should not be a wall between church and state (and therefore he needs to fix it) and I think Santorum genuinely believes that women should go from father to husband and therefore all these laws and regulations that encourage women to enter the workforce should be repealed.

    I think it is reasonable to argue that some of those backing Santorum (financially and otherwise) are using Santorum in order to further their own ends–but I think it oversimplifies Santorum to write him off as simply trying to enrich corporations.

  • Lori

    I believe that Santorum genuinely believes that there should not be a wall between church and state (and therefore he needs to fix it) and I think Santorum genuinely believes that women should go from father to husband and therefore all these laws and regulations that encourage women to enter the workforce should be repealed.I think it is reasonable to argue that some of those backing Santorum (financially and otherwise) are using Santorum in order to further their own ends–but I think it oversimplifies Santorum to write him off as simply trying to enrich corporations.   

     

    I definitely agree with this. I absolutely believe that Santorum is sincere in his longing for theocracy and that his mysogny is genuine. Some of his supporters agree with him on those points, others are hoping to use him for personal gain.

    It’s the real problems, like unemployment and foreign policy, where he has neither the interest nor the capacity to be part of the solution.   

  • http://www.facebook.com/ainsworthmk Melinda Ainsworth

    People are not simple, they are complex. Rick Santorum, though it pains me greatly to admit it, is human and therefore complex. People like Santorum see the world through the giant simplifying lens an Abrahamic religion which casts the illusion of a world that is completely black and white. Any doctrine which tries to simplify the world to black/white and/or good/evil distorts reality to an absurd length and is completely dysfunctional. I don’t care what religion anyone is or what they choose to worship, but these people assuredly want to control me and people like me, which includes anyone not in their special God club. Simple ideas for simple people, and I don’t mean that in a good way. This type of thinking appeals to people who have difficulty thinking in complex ways, and these people are aware of the possible threat posed by people who are able to think in a complex way. They resent us completely and fear us absolutely. They notice that many people with power think in a more complex way and this confirms their belief that they need to fear knowledge, education, and ideas. However, in my opinion, these people are choosing to see the world that way, and therefore I don’t give them a pass when they start trampling over the rights of other people and loudly proclaiming they are the victims. Victim hood appeals to them and they play that card every chance they get. They are not the victims, but continually victimize every group they fear. That constitutes intellectual dishonesty, which they either know if they are intelligent, or are unable to understand if they are not.

  • Lori

    I think it’s  true that Santorum doesn’t want to address the real problems we’re facing. His ideology really doesn’t allow it. However, it’s also true that he doesn’t remotely have the ability to address them and on some level he must know that. When you know you don’t have the chops to deal with reality but you still want to be president in the worst way you’ve got to do something to keep folks distracted from your short-comings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ainsworthmk Melinda Ainsworth

    I believe you are correct in thinking Ricky unfit for the job, however, I believe he is smart enough and lacking enough in moral character to use fear and outrage in an attempt to manipulate the voting public and if anyone can’t see that, I don’t think they are really paying attention. Look at his voting record, his pronouncements that are on record, and the amount of money he has made since being in Congress, and tell me after that what you believe, if you like. 

  • Anonymous

    I’d like people to think that I was a brave, good person. I’ve had the usual saving-puppies-and-orphans-from-an-erupting-volcano type of fantasies but I can state with 99.9%* confidence that in real life I’d be wringing my hands and wailing, “Somebody DO SOMETHING!” But I’d have more sense than to tell a barefaced lie about saving puppies etc. because I would be discovered as a Lying Liar Who Lies in about three seconds. Why indeed aren’t the supposedly liberal media all over this?

    * The other 0.1% is just in case the adrenalin kicks in. You never know.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    But I’d have more sense than to tell a barefaced lie about saving puppies etc. because I would be discovered as a Lying Liar Who Lies in about three seconds.

    but that’s the beauty of the AKBC myths. You don’t have to paint yourself as being awesome, you just have to paint yourself as someone who opposes those awful kitten-burners. And that’s easy!

  • Anonymous

    “but that’s the beauty of the AKBC myths. You don’t have to paint yourself as being awesome, you just have to paint yourself as someone who opposes those awful kitten-burners. And that’s easy!”

    Even better, you paint yourself as being incredibly brave and persecuted, because the kitten-burners control our society, and oppress and condemn all anti-kitten burning people, or even those who do not themselves burn kittens!

  • Anonymous

    The irony is that in chasing these imaginary monsters, Santorum & Co. become more monstrous in turn.
    If he could, he’d outlaw not just abortion but contraception, condemning millions of women to agony, to death, to carrying the burden of unwanted and unneeded children. 

    And it’s not just Rick. Thanks to the imaginary Islamic Super-Terrorist, Americans are perfectly comfortable with Guantanamo and the drone bombings all across the Middle East. We put up with Iraq for eight years because of the Islamic Super-Terrorists, and now we’re gearing up for a war with Iran to prevent the creation of Islamic Nuclear Super-Terrorists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ainsworthmk Melinda Ainsworth

    Make no mistake, these “Christian” fundamentalists are praying for the end of the world and doing everything in their power to bring it about as soon as possible. They want climate change, war, terrorism, an evil leader (as they style President Obama–666), the rebuilding of the second temple, and the end of days. They believe their special God club will really come into their own then. They do not value or respect people of other faiths because their own religion is the one one that is “right,” as well as their country, their culture, their group, their family, and people with their sexual mores. No one is as “equal” as they are. They are a serious and credible threat to the freedom and safety of every person on the planet in my opinion.

  • http://twitter.com/Afuckwad A fuckwad

    Am I allowed to say words like ‘eliminationist’ here or is that too inflammatory for this here forum

    anyway the phrase ‘real america’ is a two-word summation of the seeds of a dictatorship of eliminationism, and things have only become more and more extreme from there

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think ‘eliminationist’ is too inflammatory.  In fact I don’t think it’s inflammatory enough.  When someone calls Ann Coulter ‘eliminationist’ I want her to stand up and desperately defend her rhetoric for trying 25% of the country as traitors; because to me it’s a kind of a goddamn big deal to call for the execution of your countrymen.

  • Anonymous

     “eliminationism” is perfectly cromulent to this forum..’)

  • http://twitter.com/Afuckwad A fuckwad

    Also, I think the OP fails to address what I think is the central psychological process that underlies this whole ‘deal’. The fallout of Sarah Palin’s comments re Paul Revere illustrated it perfectly, though the recent shit with Komen did a good job of it as well (especially the disgraced woman’s resignation letter).

    These people are completely incapable of publicly admitting that they are wrong. About anything. Because they believe that showing any sort of public weakness or vulnerability is the worst possible thing. They believe that you never ever admit that there’s anything wrong with you.

    So for them, and the people that think like them, confront the fact that the world is not perfect, all the negative energy must be turned outward onto others. The facts don’t matter; what matters is the emotional truth that Other People are the cause of everything wrong, and Other People are the source of all evil and fuckedupness. They are psychologically incapable of admitting to weakness or that their side might be incorrect in some fashion, because they are above all else afraid to look weak, to anyone. So they’re always looking for someone to blame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Simeon-Beresford/1642490035 Simeon Beresford

    “These people are completely incapable of publicly admitting that they are wrong. About anything. Because they believe that showing any sort of public weakness or vulnerability is the worst possible thing. They believe that you never ever admit that there’s anything wrong with you.” 
    Which is why Santorum said it was wrong to apologies for accidentally burning copies of  the Koran recently.
     personally i believe that a gentleman never insults someone accidentally.

     Thus I  rarely apologise for deliberate acts but am happy to apologise for accidental ones. 
    Santorum however does not believe in apologising for his errors,”

  • Ayn Marx 666

     I take it as part of the pathology that mistakes ‘butch’ for ‘tough’—see ‘flight-suit, Presidential wearing of’ and ‘Torture, kudos for from highly-placed barbarians’.

  • Guest-again

    ‘…but I think it oversimplifies Santorum to write him off as simply trying to enrich corporations.’
    Well, it depends on whether you consider the Vatican a theocratic relic still hoping for world domination or a corporation with incredible cash flow and truly stunning assets.

    I find it so amusing that Santorum has all but declared that a former German Hitler Youth (technically accurate, though it is not the same as calling the current pope a Nazi) celibate theocrat who has apparently fabulous taste in slippers will be in charge of Santorum’s policy making. And to think, back in the time Kennedy was getting elected, he was careful to emphasize that such a scenario was just the delusion of anti-Catholic bigots.

    Of course, Kennedy did get elected – Santorum can rely on prayer to have a chance, but really, that is all he has going for him in November, if the Republicans, the fading party of WASPs and rising party of fundamentalists, finally decide to pick him as a candidate. Though who knows – that the Republicans are deciding between a Mormon, two Catholics, and a flat out racist shows that they are diversifying in ways that prove that traditional affirmative action ideals are better than whatever it is the Republicans are attempting. 

  • Anonymous

    “And to think, back in the time Kennedy was getting elected, he was careful to emphasize that such a scenario was just the delusion of anti-Catholic bigots.”

    Don’t get Santorum started on Kennedy. Here he is explaining why JFK’s famous speech “makes you throw up”:

    Because the first line, first substantive line in the speech says, “I believe in America where the separation of church and state is absolute.” I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.[…]
     
    Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate. Go on and read the speech. I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.[…]

    What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up and it should make every American who is seen from the president, someone who is now trying to tell people of faith that you will do what the government says, we are going to impose our values on you, not that you can’t come to the public square and argue against it, but now we’re going to turn around and say we’re going to impose our values from the government on people of faith, which of course is the next logical step when people of faith, at least according to John Kennedy, have no role in the public square.

    It is amazing how Santorum can get “only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case” from “I want a Chief Executive whose public acts are responsible to all groups and obligated to none.” Not amazing. Dishonest is the word I was looking for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ainsworthmk Melinda Ainsworth

    I concur absolutely and thank you for stating it. I believe he is blatantly intellectually dishonest.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s interesting how the elements of childrens’ fantasy tales map rather neatly into Republican politics. Children are well-known to imagine themselves bravely fighting the monsters of the tales they read, or having great adventures in Whateverland. I used to imagine myself in Enid Blyton’s worlds, for example, or that I had my own Wishing-Chair, or that I might be in Narnia, or even solving mysteries with the Hardy Boys.

    But none of that was real, and pretending it was would have been more than a little silly.

    Yet Republicans have somehow managed to convince grown adults that Fantasyland thinking is perfectly acceptable as a substitute for dealing with actual problems.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    This is an ancient game in many ways; the insistence that hierarchal morality is the only possible morality and the only alternative to the most savage Lovecraftian chaos.  It isn’t particular to the modern US culture war, disheartening as that never-ending nonsense can be to US liberals.  Though in some ways the AKBC may be considered the dark side of American individualism, a side effect of every American child being encouraged to think of themselves as heroic by nature of birth and full of epic promise and import.  In other words it may be considered to be the right wing version of that evil self-esteem thing they go on about from time to time.  

    Fred’s fourth point is a very important one because it is the most dangerous aspect of this mindset.  The desire to believe that pain and danger come mainly in the tangible form of evil people is a Huge part of our obsession with being ‘tough on crime.’  And in some quarters the obsession with foreign enemies real potential or imagined.  

    This mindset is dangerous because it leads a belief that basic mortal vulnerability is in itself proof of a failure to be strong against ‘Them’.  That attaining safety is a simple matter of fighting and punishing hard enough and long enough until nothing can hurt you and that only cowardly fools who would betray us to exposure would deny this.  Not to be a moral drama queen about it myself, but the AKBC can easily be fuel for fascism, as those of us who lived through early 00’s America may well remember.  

  • Anonymous

     I recently was down in rural parts of Ohio for a funeral and I found it disturbing how fearful all those people seemed to be. Most of the men talked about break-ins and how they would so have shot those people (most of whom were, of course, local) if they could have been there when the sheriff caught them. Someone was house-sitting because they knew that robbers would break in if people were out at a funeral. You got the impression that all these guys sat around with their shotguns and rifles in their white-knuckled clutch just waiting for bad guys to show up.

    Kind of belies that whole small town friendliness and honesty stereotype.

  • Lori

     

    Kind of belies that whole small town friendliness and honesty stereotype.

    I suspect rural Ohio is pretty similar to the semi-rural part of Indiana
    where I’m living and there are two issues at work. Part of it is definitely people externalizing their general anxiety and imagining something to shoot. That’s not all of it though. The other issue is that small town friendliness and
    honesty are simply no match for 5+ years of grinding recession with no
    end in sight.

    I know one of the local sheriff’s here and he was just
    commenting the other day about how things have changed, especially in the last year or so.
    Crime is genuinely up here. It used to be that if you worked the night shift in the winter you
    would often go your whole shift without taking a single call. Now they have
    multiple calls every night. Domestic disturbance calls are way up, many of them totally terrifying because they involve alcohol or drugs and firearms. The county used to deal with a couple runaways a month, now there’s one nearly every day. Other drug-related issues (mostly meth) and drunken fights of all sorts have increased and so have break-ins. We’ve had 2 armed bank robberies in less than a year after not having any in the previous 5 or so.

    Folks are poor and desperate and getting poorer and more
    desperate. Worse, they’re starting to think things are never going to get better and that there’s no hope for them. When you put people in that position and leave them there eventually the social fabric is going to fray.

    Anyone who thinks that the response to the recession has been even close to adequate needs to come on out and pay us a visit. Anyone who does, and who has any sense at all, is going to get a least a little scared. There’s a limit to how long things can go like this until the shit really hits the fan. Desperate, hopeless and armed is not a good combo.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I remember reading somewhere that during the Depression DV cases spiked and while not commonly reported, men would leave their wives far more often than in the 1920s.

  • Amaryllis

     Folks are poor and desperate and getting poorer and more desperate.
    Worse, they’re starting to think things are never going to get better
    and that there’s no hope for them. When you put people in that position
    and leave them there eventually the social fabric is going to fray.

    Have you seen this article?

    One of the books reviewed in James Gilligan’s Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others, in which he analyzes U.S. rates of violent deaths, deaths by murder or suicide, since 1900.

    He found that for all but fourteen of the 107 years, his combined
    homicide-suicide rate fell when Democrats were president and rose under
    Republican administrations. (Eisenhower and Carter accounted for twelve
    of the fourteen exceptional years.) Gilligan’s most specific
    surmise is that these linkages result largely from unemployment, which
    tends to rise under Republican presidents. An inability to find a job, he says, is the foremost driver of feelings
    of shame and worthlessness. …Gilligan, a professor of psychiatry at NYU,
    conjectures that “[these deaths] are the tip of the iceberg…underneath which are
    many times more people who suffer grievously from these stresses but do
    not respond to them by killing others or themselves.”

    He considers another explanation. Republicans muster their majorities
    from just above the median, pitting “members of the lower middle class
    against the very poorest lower class.” So when they take power, they are
    basically telling Americans who are first to be fired that they no
    longer count. What I take Gilligan to be saying is that those who are
    subject to the humiliations of being poor at least sense that when a
    Democrat is in the White House someone there cares more than would be
    the case if there were a Republican.

    Caveat: I haven’t read the book myself, and I’m sure there are questions that could be asked about methodology and underlying assumptions. Still, it’s an interesting pattern, isn’t it?

    We’ll have to see if the Obama years end up being another exception, if the severity of the recession outlasts whatever feeble hope still exists. As you say, there are large parts of the country where it’s not looking good.

  • Amaryllis

     Ugh, sorry about the formatting there. And Disqus is being uncooperative about letting me edit.

  • Mau de Katt

    We’ll have to see if the Obama years end up being another exception, if
    the severity of the recession outlasts whatever feeble hope still
    exists. 

    It will, if the Republicans and 1%-er powermongers have their way.  They’re doing everything they possibly can in the political, social, and monetary realms to tank his presidency.  

  • Mrs Grimble

    Right now, the Patheos sidebar is showing me an ad saying “Immigrate to the USA!”
    Um…. NO.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K


     I think Santorum genuinely believes that women should go from father to husband and therefore all these laws and regulations that encourage women to enter the workforce should be repealed.

    Should “encourage” change to “allow”?  ;)  

    The wink is because women have always worked. Pre-industrial revolution they primarily worked in brewing, agriculture, textiles, and service industries. Their income may have legally belonged to their father/husband, they may have been legally or practically been banned from some fields, but they worked. Actually banning women from the workplace may be somewhere in right-wingers’ brains, but I doubt the results would be what they think – or result in a sustainable society.  Even The Handmaid’s Tale had women workers (assigned by the government and paid in room and board, but workers). 

  • P J Evans

     The war they love to talk about so much as ‘saving democracy’ (WW2) was full of women working in factories and labs and other non-traditional places. They’re trying very very hard to ignore what their mothers and grandmothers (and, for the youngest, possibly their great-grandmothers) did for several years.

  • Ayn Marx 666

     I have read paleo-conservatives whose main beef with WWII was less the loss of life—such _like_ “manly virtue” and consider war a good purgative of effeminate ‘civilisation’, and I’m sure Robert Howard would have agreed—than the social changes it helped to promote, everything from improved legal rights for African-Americans to more women at work to looser sexual morés to better gay rights.

  • Tricksterson

    What they really mean is “allow women to work for themselves, decide what work they want to do and, horror of horrors! keep the results of the labor and decide what they want to do it themselves”.  you know, like free people.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    I remember a conversation I once read on an Internet forum where someone insisted that she’d be dead in the UK because she has a medical condition that sometimes requires immediate medical attention.  She’d heard that they have long waits for treatment in the UK and somehow seriously thought that meant that if someone comes into the emergency room bleeding to death or having a heart attack or whatnot, then they would schedule that person for an appointment 3 months down the road and then stand around watching them die. 

    Really.  She really thought that.

    The flip side is that one the same forum I read conversations with British members who were clearly just as uneducated about the American health care system… but in the direction of not being able to believe it was as effed up as it actually is.  “‘I know you have uninsured adults, but the government pays for health care for children if their parents can’t afford it, right?  You don’t let CHILDREN go uninsured.  Er… do you?”  “Wait… you mean people there can actually go BANKRUPT because of medical expenses?  I will never complain about the NHS again.”  And so on.

  • Anonymous

    I went to England for a year as a graduate student in my early twenties.

    The conversation I had with the lady at the consulate about buying health insurance should probably be bronzed. She kept explaining that I would be covered by NHS, and I kept saying “I’m not a British citizen. I can still be on NHS? What paperwork will I have to do? How much will it cost? No, wait, you don’t understand, I don’t mean emergency care. But I’m not a British citizen, you do understand, right? I’ll have to pay to go on NHS, right?”

    She finally talked me to a standstill, and I went and told my parents that I wasn’t going to have to pay for anything because I would be covered by NHS. Automatically. In full. Without paying anything.

    So my father went and called them back, because obviously I had misunderstood, and the poor woman had to have the whole conversation with him all over again.

    It troubles me that, as an American, I actually have found my encounters with the Third World more explicable than the ones I’ve had with Europe. I UNDERSTAND ‘you don’t get shit unless you have money’. I DON’T understand ‘the government pays for that’.

  • Hawker40

    I received a email from a conservative relative claiming that if Steven Hawking had to depend on the British Health System, he’d be dead today and that would be a tragedy, and Thank God that as a American Steven Hawking had access to the world’s best healthcare…

    He absolutely refused to believe me when I told him that Sir Stephen Hawking, CH CBE FRS FRSA, Professor of Mathmatics at Cambridge, had been born in London and was a British citizen from birth.

  • Anonymous

    It’s the voice synthesizer. It’s got an American accent. If we heard Hawking speak without it, it would be more evident that he’s a Brit.

  • Anonymous

    It’s the voice synthesizer. It’s got an American accent. If we heard
    Hawking speak without it, it would be more evident that he’s a Brit.

    I love the story – though I can’t cite it, I’m afraid – that originally, he hated the voice synthesiser, but it was the only one they had. Later, the nebulous ‘they’ approached him with a voice synthesiser that could replicate a British accent… and he wasn’t interested, because by then he’d gotten used to his voice.

    There’s something exceptionally charming about that.

  • Lori

    I love the story – though I can’t cite it, I’m afraid – that originally, he hated the voice synthesiser, but it was the only one they had. Later, the nebulous ‘they’ approached him with a voice synthesiser that could replicate a British accent… and he wasn’t interested, because by then he’d gotten used to his voice.

    There’s something exceptionally charming about that.  

    The voice is so important to Hawking that there’s a tech whose job it is to preserve it, exactly as is, in the face of obsolete equipment and Hawking’s increasing physical limitations.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2012/01/03/the-man-who-takes-care-of-stephen-hawkings-voice-speaks/

  • Catherine

    The more I watch the Santorum/Romney/Gingrich/monkey-man show, the less I am prepared to think that any of them is actually electable.  Whatever people say, women want birth control, even the “pro-life” ones mostly want birth control.
    Surely, what you have over there is a stage set for someone to step in, some one relatively normal, a man (naturally) whom the not-actually-brain-dead Repubs can feel OK about voting for.
    Jeb Bush anyone?

  • Ayn Marx 666

     The Republicans actually believe that the slightly left-tinged corporatist Obama is some kind of radical Leftist…honestly.  As such, they believe that he got into office only by a combination of deception, cheating, and crisis.

    Some even believe their right flank is firmly in the mainstream of American thought…the only evidence I can see therefor is the stated dislike of people for moderate, corporatist, insurance reform (‘Obamacare’)—but, much as in a joke about a young boy who ‘hated kreplach’, they don’t seem to have any trouble with any of its ingredients, it’s just that the whole has been reified into an object of hate, a snarl-word.

    So, either because they believe a radical has already been elected and/or baecause they don’t think their own radical, they believe that they have no need to moderate themselves, just to hang tight, play dirty, and wait for a crisis.

  • Anonymous

    I have multiple things on my mind.

    first my browser has some kind of glitch what makes reading slacktivist Very annoying.

    second
    I know of dutch christian who was taken to the hospital because she felt ill and it turns out she only had a short time to life and she could chose between a chemotherapy what could slow down the tumors but not cure her or not curing and die earlier without terrible pain.
    She decided to do the latter she only had a VERY short time to make her affairs in order if she would have taken the chemocure her life would have been a bit longer but she would have been in terrible pain and have been drugged.

    So she decided to spend the short time with her family, comforted by the fact that she believed that Jesus already conquered death  for her and that she didn’t have to fear it.

    I have to say that Santorum and fellow conservatives are showing a pathological fear of death and by fearing and running away from it they have become dehumanized, they have become the very thing they hate.

    And as somebody from the Netherlands I have to say that Santorum’s stupidity is really amusing weren’t it for the horrible consequences.

    and last I  ^&&^%$#$ hate my browser.

  • Alicia

    “‘I know you have uninsured adults, but the government pays for health
    care for children if their parents can’t afford it, right?  You don’t
    let CHILDREN go uninsured.  Er… do you?”  “Wait… you mean people
    there can actually go BANKRUPT because of medical expenses?  I will
    never complain about the NHS again.”  And so on.

    To be fair, we do have the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to do that first thing. It’s still a travesty in general but we at least managed to address that. In 1997.

    He
    absolutely refused to believe me when I told him that Sir Stephen
    Hawking, CH CBE FRS FRSA, Professor of Mathmatics at Cambridge, had been
    born in London and was a British citizen from birth.

    Well, the Communist wizards who run Britain are doing excellent work with necromancy these days.

  • Anonymous

    To be fair, we do have the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to do that first thing. It’s still a travesty in general but we at least managed to address that. In 1997. 

    I’m going to reiterate a point I made a few weeks back: If we wanted to offer universal health insurance, we should have started with the children, not the elderly.

    Given benefits, a lot of elderly people will decide they’ve earned them. Give children benefits and you can teach them that they need to pay their country back once they become adults.

  • WingedBeast

    I want to present Option #6.  (Somebody else already handled 5.)

    6.  No need to research.  That’s just how your worldview worked.

    We’re not ones to question our own worldview mid-sentence.  We state our views and we state what we believe.  Some of us, some of us with some humility before reality, state what we believe in terms of our own fallibility.

    IIRC=If I recall correctly.  YMMV=Your Mileage May vary.

    We’re a fallible species in general.  But, there are places where admitting fallibility is both internally and externally viewed as a failing, as though to say that you’re not as sure as those who claim that they could not be mistaken.

    So, if you act as though you may not be mistaken.  The natural reality that would extend from Rick Santorum’s reality would be that somewhere, in some place where healthcare is paid for by the state it must be also controlled by the state and, therefore, they must be killing old people.

    To Rick Santorum, it has to be happening in one of those nationalized health care nations.  He just picked one out at random that wasn’t England.

  • Mau de Katt

    “And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They
    go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget
    purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there
    with sickness.”

    The ironic thing about Santorum’s quote is that, if the Teabaggers and Neocons do gain/regain power, and if they do get everything running in this country exactly the way they want it, this IS what would happen.  (Remember the Teabaggers actually cheering that “just let ’em die” approach to dealing with the non-insured?)  If they ever get total control, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they did find a way to euthanize anyone who couldn’t afford care, especially if they were on the wrong side of the political/religious/social/racial spectrum.  (After all, eliminating those Evil Godless Kitten-burners is What Jesus Would Want.)

    I’ve pretty much decided that the way to determine what the modern-day Repugs really would do to this country is what they are accusing the Liberals/Democrats/Non-RTCs/anyone-who-isn’t-themselves of wanting to do.  Just like it’s been shown that the way to determine what a Republican politician or Conservative Fundagelical Pastor has been getting up to is to see what they’ve been accusing the other side of doing, or have been frenetically speaking out/preaching against.

  • Anonymous

    ” I spent hours as a teenager fighting dragons, trolls, goblins and orcs.” Me too… as a “teenager”, last week… for the past 30 years… ;)

  • friendly reader

    I cannot believe these words are about to be typed by my fingers, but to be fair to Rick Santorum, I do think he cares about things other than his theocratic issues. He has proposed a number of policies to try to encourage manufacturing jobs to return to America, which is part of why he’s gotten a boost in Rustbelt states like Michigan and Ohio. I don’t think his policies will work, but I do think he genuinely wants to address them.

    Either the media doesn’t cover these issues because they aren’t as horrifying/controversial, or he doesn’t talk about them as much because he knows he’ll get free attention from his other issues. The man has no budget for advertising (certainly compared to Romney) and taking on the role of the persecuted righteous man gets the religious right press jumping to cover him.

    But this isn’t to say that he doesn’t 100% believe the theocratic stuff he says (he totally does); he just knows that the current right-wing audience will pay more attention if he focuses on that rather than on manufacturing jobs. Santorum may come across as more natural than Romney, but he knows how to play the game.

  • friendly reader

    …It’s also quite likely he believes his theocratic issues > manufacturing jobs… after all, so long as Satan is attacking America, our economy will never recover! I can’t decide whether it’s more gracious to believe that or to believe he’s a media manipulator… oh the choices you leave me with, Santorum!

  • Anonymous

    On a side note, one of my brothers accidentally set a cat’s whiskers on fire. Man did that stink…

  • Bificommander

    In case you’re curious, yes, the Dutch media is aware of Sanatorum’s quote. So far the political reaction has been lackluster. The left wing opposition has requested the forgein affairs department at least brings it up, but no such luck so far. Partly, this is because the right wing government feels our economic ties and being invited to summits is more important.

    But I think the fact that this government needs the support of the SGP in the senate (Basically the leftover voice of when the Netherlands was deeply calvinist. These guys are the oldest political party in the Netherlands and never seem to have changed their original election program except to add a few new technological and sociological advancements to the list of things that are sinfull) and ESPECIALLY the PVV in both the senate and congress. The PVV is the living proof that you having fundie Christian roots or voters is not a requirment to run a far right, conspiracy theory driven, racist political party that loudly proclaims its support for the common man while defending tooth and nail the tax breaks that benefit the extremely wealthy individuals.

    So yeah, we don’t have much ground to mock the American people’s tastes, considering some of the wackjobs we voted into parlement.

  • MulderTheHypotenuse

    The problem I’ve always had about railing against the Anti-Kitten-Burning Coalition is that, inevitably, the people in question are portrayed as willfully denying what they know to be true in order to spread a false agenda.

    And that’s great. They probably are, you know? But then when they turn around and make the exact same claim at us – that we secretly believe in the weird PMD god of LaHayeism, but that we stubbornly act otherwise – it has a distressingly familiar ring.

    I suppose the difference lies in choosing to believe what your eyes and ears tell you as opposed to choosing to believe what an idiosyncratic interpretation of some ancient text tells you, but it’s still the same claim made from both sides. Any argument one levels in their direction can have its exact language mined and used to attack back.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    I actually remember on another forum I was on, someone posted a video of a girl throwing a bunch of puppies in a river.

    A ferocious debate then erupted, with the common consent being that real rural men didn’t have a problem with it, and it was only city-dwelling cowards that thought killing puppies was wrong.

  • arc

    I always find these sort of things tough to think about.

    The Enlightenment rationalist autonomy individualist side of me agrees with Fred when he lays blame at people’s feet for pretending to believe in stuff.  I mean, there’s a certain way of thinking about it were it’s obvious that these days, there’s no excuse to believe rubbish like this.

    How likely do you think it is that the Netherlands really is killing off the useless elderly with great gusto? Even if you think they’re a bunch of tight-fisted doped-up loveless dutch prostitutes and johns (jans?) who are just itching for an excuse to off their oma, and/or you think your source is trustworthy, you might think the probability is as high as 80%, in which case there’s still a 20% chance of it being a goddamned lie, so take 5 minutes out and google it!  Once upon a time these things might be difficult to ascertain (you might have to learn Dutch and order a Dutch newspaper or get a dutch pen-pal or something), but no longer.

    But the empiricist causality sociothingy side of me thinks that this surely has a psych-sociological explanation.  This is hardly the first time this sort of thing has happened, and I think Fred’s points 1 and 4 are particularly apropos.  Other people have already illustrated better than I can the difficulty – often desperateness – of people’s situations.  Many people were living life close to the edge even before the recession – I can’t remember the statistics, but there were substantial numbers of people spending a lot of their weekly income on paying off interest for this and that.  People get told the world and a life both fulfilling and prosperous is theirs if only they work a bit, but then end up working three pointless jobs for peanuts in a desperate attempt to keep the bank and credit-card company at bay.  I guess it’s emotionally clear that something’s very much awry, and the likes of Santorum manage to redirect it onto evil liberals and the Dutch.

    Also, you’ve got a media that loves to paint a picture of a world filled with monsters (making it easy for Santorum to play the same game), and it seems to me most people end up ill-equipped with the necessary skills to distinguish fantasy from reality, so I think the education system’s surely playing its part, too.

    From this perspective people are very much the victims of circumstance, not the authors of their own dream-world.

    I’d like to know more about how this kind of displacement happens, though.

  • Ayn Marx 666

     Don’t you know?  They have an whole game-show dedicated to involuntary euthanasia:
        “Hello, and welcome to [audience joins in] ‘Off—Your—OMAAAAA’.”

    Thanks for the felicitous turn-of-phrase.

    It has been suggested that the mædia paint a world full of monsters so that the world of the commercials will look all the more inviting by contrast—fewer ‘fnords’ in them result in the association of consumption with reduced anxiety.

  • arc

    also, using non-Platonic solids is sacrilege and an abomination! Desist immediately, or our graeco-roman civilization will collapse into debauchery and plasticine.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    The entirety of the White Wolf line uses d10s EXCLUSIVELY. Not that this isn’t a point in your favour. 

  • arc

    also, also, personally I always feel a bit inadequate when I compare myself to Hannibal Lecter – I don’t have his refined senses, ear for music, publication record, problem-solving ability, resolve, etc…

    Maybe I should see someone about this… 

  • Anonymous

    As I recall, one of the novels shows Lecter as being kind to animals too ~ arranging the rescue of two starving dogs from a sadistic owner after feeding them morsels of said owner. Oh dear.

  • Ayn Marx 666

     …and he can give you the finger twice, all at once.

  • Tricksterson

    Mr. Santorum:
    Aristotle was not Belgian
    The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for him self!”
    The London Underground is not a political movement.
    These are facts.  I looked them up

  • Ayn Marx 666

    Many times when I heard a Tea Partier speak, I thought,
    —You…ape!
    –Apes don’t read the Constitution!!!
    —They do, Otto…they just don’t understand it.

  • esteban

    why do israelis get mentioned? because they are the easiest scapegoat for the new paranpoia about Jews which you can see in that leftwing Santorum Chavez of Venezuela. why not get hot and bothered about north korea or even china…the paranoid hate fillled need for scapegoats is alas universal. i loathe the present repugnican candidates but paranoia and viciousness are everythere…and of course is directed at the most vulnerable targets, gays and Jews, but not the totalllly virtuous chineese…aas WH Auden said, the human heart is as crooked as a corkscrew

  • esteban

    pardon the typos! i do think we sceptics should be sceptical about scepticism altho santorum and chavez of venezuela, for instance, do seem worthy of honest horror. I am an agnostic who loves the great art and literature inspired by spirituality. I have friends on both sides of the existential divide….alas, both sides are unjust and paranoid, especially about Jews and gays. Everyone loves modern china tho, pretty much dismissing the 50 million people killled by mao and the near slave labor that gives us our lovely so intelligent cell phones. granted self hatred can also be a cop out but we should at least struggle against the special interests of our ignorance. it is very hard not to be unjust.

  • http://twitter.com/Afuckwad A fuckwad

    For anyone who enjoyed my post about these people never admitting to weakness, check out this article!

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/28/damn-i-just-want-some-jam/#ixzz1njJFB

    His idea is, if you are on welfare, you must buy what he wants you to buy, where he wants you to buy it, be publicly embarrassed and marked as being dependent on him, and your budget will be ‘just enough’ so that you learn to ‘stretch a budget’. In exchange, you will be tested for drugs (including tobacco) and you’re not allowed to vote. Also, the article’s lead is blatantly race-baiting as shit!

    For many or most of these people, everything is about power and domination of the weak. It’s honestly that simple.

  • P J Evans

    These are also people who believe that they have the responsibility of approving or disapproving what people buy with food stamps, or with actual money when they’re getting other stuff with food stamps.

  • Ayn Marx 666

     Well, if the poor can’t be productive like he is (ahem), they’d better earn their keep in public humiliation.  See also:  the “Abominable Fancy”.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s like we learned nothing from the 1930s. They had all those same damn humiliating asinne rules for municpal “relief” in those days.

    In some parts of North America, for example, women had to actually show their ribs to prove they weren’t eating too much. (>_<)

  • Anonymous-Sam

    hidden_urchin: Because some Christians have taken the belief that all life is sacred and there are no extenuating circumstances whatsoever to allow for the death of any being who isn’t under the kingdoms over which God gave man dominion. Same reason goes for parents who insist on keeping infants with severe anencephaly alive on life-support — infants who would die naturally in a matter of hours after birth and who are utterly incapable of consciousness as we know it, much less a happy and comfortable life. Their faith requires suffering in this life as well as in the next.

    mmy: Out of curiosity, was the person to which you refer a hermaphrodite, or are you concealing their gender?

    B: Yeah, I have conversations like that all the time. I always wind up explaining we can’t even get curative medicine, much less preventive medicine.

    friendly reader: Yeah, but it didn’t stop me from cringing when I read that 37.9% of people in my former state of Michigan had voted for him. I finally had to unsub my parents from my Facebook updates because they can’t stop going on about how Obama is the Antichrist and we need to vote for someone, anyone, to get him out of office. Believe me, there are lesser evils!

    Bificommander: Like Hasan Küçük and his “Let’s criminalize the possession of dogs!” call? (Incidentally, men like this lead me to, with increasing discomfort, weigh which option frightens me worse: A stark-mad Christian dictator lord, or a stark-mad Muslim dictator lord.)

  • Ayn Marx 666

    Rick Santorum spits on your concern for the respect of other nations…what meaning can the approval of a bunch of heathens, sissies, socialists, and just plain non-Americans mean to any good son of this soil?

    To think otherwise—for example, to act as if any good American needed any kind of respect to the opinion of Mankind—is to go against all that ‘patriot’ has come to mean.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://i.imgur.com/v0zp5.jpg

    I wonder if Santorum ever needs his luggage lifted, if you know what I mean.

  • Tonio

    Perhaps people like Santorum can’t honestly tell the difference between squick and moral revulsion.

  • Ayn Marx 666

    See Haidt, Jonathan’s work on the moral pillars of liberal and conservative thought in America.  Liberals are heavily into autonomy and nurturance, but conservatives—though some value autonomy, some don’t—place more emphasis on Purity and Authority.

    Purity codes in particular blur the line between squick and moral revulsion:  I wasn’t even brought up kosher, but once as a child I was told I’d been eating pork and I suddenly felt _nauseous_.  You learn these codes from the same people who educate you into not eating garbage and fæces; you learn codes of sexual conduct from the same people who tell you not to touch hot burners or walk on glass bare-shod. 

  • BackTo 1400 Censored

    So, about which leg  wishful thinking hangs…

    How about facts and the evidence proving that pig farts, factories not owned by USA and even (gasp) trucks DO NOT threaten to turn the Earth into Venus?
    For example – take a look at a little report by Gerlich & Tscheuschner. It’s all over Internet.
    Do these “news” make you feel relieved, or so angry you could resort to childish name-calling?
    Just curious.


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