Is America the Greatest Country in the World? A Rant.

Is America the Greatest Country in the World? A Rant. October 21, 2015

America greatest countryYou might have seen a popular clip from the television series The Newsroom where Will McAvoy (played by Jeff Daniels) is the anchor and managing editor of a news show. In the clip, McAvoy is part of a panel in front of a live audience.

McAvoy takes nothing seriously at first, but things get real at 1:36 in the video. Then at 2:30, in response to a softball question, “Why is America the greatest country in the world?” he says,

There’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force, and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.

McAvoy dismisses the pleasing answer and instead follows the evidence.

Inspired by this stream-of-consciousness speech, here’s the unhinged rant I’d like to hear from one of the politicians in the presidential race. There must be one who’s fed up with the status quo. To someone in a crowded political field who wants to go out with a bang, let me give you the first draft of your goodbye speech. If you can’t change the world by getting elected, maybe you can help improve the discourse about the challenges America faces.

“When I consider those stats, I see government as a big part of the problem. There’s no backbone, no willingness to make the tough call and take the heat. Politicians fiddle while Rome burns. Take climate change—yes, reducing our carbon footprint is difficult, but aren’t we adults here? Can’t politicians do what’s right? Do their job? Make the tough decisions?

“The scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change is plain enough, but there are political benefits to ignoring responsibility and leaving the mess for someone else. But put aside any controversy. Suppose it were real, and all the evidence pointed there. Would political and business leaders then be ready to take the tough steps necessary to improve society? Of course not! Defiance on this issue would look just like it does today. ‘Lack of evidence’ is a smokescreen.

“There are 39 members of the House Science and Technology Committee. How many reject the scientific consensus on climate change, evolution, or the Big Bang? How many presidential candidates do? What I find incredible is that when political leaders reject science, they aren’t shy about it. They publicly and proudly reject the consensus in a scientific field they don’t understand.

“Imagine what their political forebears in the wake of Sputnik would have said. Science delivered—indeed, it took us to the moon twelve years later. We followed science then, but we can pick and choose now? Let me suggest that competitive pressure from other countries, eager to capitalize on America’s poor educational statistics that I mentioned, creates every bit as much of a Sputnik moment right now. We don’t have the luxury of appeasing science-averse special interests.

“Remember what JFK said about putting a man on the moon: ‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.’ What is our Apollo program? Are there no more big projects to tackle? Do we no longer have the stomach for that kind of national challenge?

“After 9/11, an outraged America turned to President Bush, and we would’ve followed him anywhere. For example, he could’ve said that this attack highlighted our energy dependence on the Middle East, so we needed an Apollo Project for energy independence—practical solar power, safer nuclear power, maybe even fusion power. And while we’re at it, recreate the world’s energy industry with America in the middle of it again. But no, we had a few trillion dollars lying around, so we spent it on a war. Opportunity missed.

“Conservatives hate big government, unless it’s an intrusive government that tells you who you can’t marry and what religious slogans to have in public buildings. They hate government spending, unless it’s on things they like, like the military or anything in their district.

“My conservative friends, I’ve got to comment on your priorities. You seriously put opposition to same-sex marriage near the top of your list? You’re standing in the way of marriage, two people who love each other. I can’t imagine a worse target to put in your crosshairs from a PR standpoint. What’s next—grandma and apple pie? Hate fags in private if you must, but you really need to think about how this looks to the rest of society.

“And just so I piss off everyone, let me note traditionally liberal nuttery like a mindless rejection of nuclear power and GMOs, fear of vaccines, and coddling of college students. You remember college, the place where you’re supposed to be challenged? Students at many colleges are encouraged to be thin skinned and easily offended. Being uncomfortable and off-balance sometimes is part of the learning process.

“Limiting offensive speech can be another liberal tendency. So a religious group is feeling put upon by frank criticism—tough. Ditto anyone who is offended by a religious sermon. I energetically support free speech for pastors saying that fags are evil and atheists deserve hell, because I use the same free speech right to argue how idiotic their position is.

“Today we find ourselves in another interminable presidential campaign cycle. It’s a tedious and expensive chess game where candidates try to avoid saying anything interesting that might come back to bite them. Last time, this process cost $2 billion. I’m sure any of us could’ve found smarter ways to spend 95 percent of that.

“Yet again, candidates will crawl over one another to show America how pious they are. Some will brag about how they pray before major decisions or choose the Bible over science when they conflict. What’s the problem with America’s politicians? In science, religious belief decreases with competence, but we’re to believe that every one of the 535 members of Congress are theists? Congratulations, Christianity—you’ve subverted Article 6 of the Constitution and imposed a de facto religious test for public office.

“To see how Congress likes to spend its time, there was a 2002 ruling declaring ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. In protest, the House assembled on the steps of the Capitol to publicly say the Pledge and loudly accentuate the ‘under God’ bit. Take that, First Amendment! Another example: we had a motto that fit America beautifully, E Pluribus Unum, but Congress replaced that with the one-size-fits-all ‘In God We Trust.’ I’ll bet that made God’s day.

“Congress always seems to be able to fit Christianity into its agenda. On the list of goodies religion has been given, the one that annoys me the most is closed financial records. The American public makes a contract with nonprofit organizations—we give you nonprofit status, and you open your books to prove that you spent the money wisely. That’s true for every charity in America except churches, and about $100 billion annually goes into religion’s black box. Want to find out if CARE or the Red Cross spend their donations wisely? You can find their IRS 990 form online in about 30 seconds, but don’t try the same thing with a church.

“You might say that churches fund soup kitchens and other good works. Sure, but how much is this? Maybe ten percent of their income? Call churches ‘charities’ if you want, but these are charities with 90 percent overhead. Compare that to 10 percent for a well-run charity. Christians, don’t you see how bad this makes you look? You’re okay with God knowing what your churches do with their money, but you’re embarrassed to show the rest of us who are picking up the slack for your tax-free status. Christians should be shouting loudest to remove this perk.

“And let’s compare churches’ $10 billion a year of good works to what happens when society helps people. Federal programs for food, medical care, disability, and retirement spend about 1.5 trillion dollars annually. Government support for public schools and college is another half-trillion dollars. As a society, we do much good, and churches’ contribution is small change.

“Christianity in America has become more of a problem than a solution, though it wasn’t always so. Christians will point with justified pride to schools and hospitals built by churches or religious orders. The Social Gospel movement from a century ago pushed for corrections of many social ills—poverty and wealth inequality, alcoholism, poor schools, child labor, racism, poor living conditions, and more. Christians point to Rev. Martin Luther King’s work on civil rights and William Wilberforce’s Christianity-inspired work on ending slavery. But today, we hear about the Prosperity Gospel, not the Social Gospel.

“Can you imagine—Christians at the forefront of social improvement? They’re sometimes on the generous side of social issues today, but the headlines go to the conservative heel draggers.

“To see Christianity’s impact on society, consider some statistics: 46 percent of Americans believe in some form of the Genesis creation story, 22 percent think that the world will end in their lifetime, 77 percent believe in angels, and 57 percent of Republicans want Christianity as the national religion.

“This is the twenty-first century, my friends. When you open your mental drawbridge to allow in Christian wishful thinking, consider what other crazy stuff comes in as well. It also distorts our priorities, and the time spent wringing our hands over same-sex marriage or fighting to keep a Christian monument on public property is time we’re not spending on actual problems—international competitiveness, infrastructure like roads and bridges, campaign finance reform, improved education and health care, and so on.

“Christian morality is Bronze Age morality, which serves us poorly today. Christians scour the Bible for passages to support what they already believe. They might keep the verses against homosexuality, say, but reject those supporting racism, slavery, rape, and genocide. Christians celebrate faith, just about the least reliable route to the truth. And they’ll pray, thinking they’ve achieved some good, rather than actually doing something about a problem.

“We can agree to disagree—you have the right to believe in the supernatural, but know that in this country, the Constitution calls the shots, not God. Elected officials answer to the law, the Constitution, and their constituents. If you want to answer to a supernatural power that’s higher still, don’t run for public office. The Constitution defines a secular public square, and we’re stuck with it. Creationism and prayer stay out of public schools, and ‘In God We Trust’ stays out of the city council chambers. Though many Christians are determined not to see this, keeping religion out of government helps them as well as atheists.

“America the greatest country? There was a study comparing 17 Western countries, America included, on 25 social metrics—suicide, lifespan, divorce, teen births, alcohol consumption, life satisfaction, and so on. We were dead last for more than half of those 25. But who cares when we were number one in God belief, prayer, belief in heaven and hell, and in rejection of evolution!

“Remember this next time some conservative politician or pundit tells you that society is going downhill because of lack of God belief. No, God belief is inversely correlated with social health.

“Another way society is broken is in income disparity. I love capitalism, but c’mon—there’s a limit. To get a condensed introduction to this, look up ‘Gini coefficient.’ It’s a single value that captures an economy’s income inequality. It was constant for decades, but it shows that income inequality has become steadily worse for the last thirty years.

“Another look at income disparity is the pay of top company’s CEOs. Americans think CEOs make 30 times more than the average worker. In fact, it’s 350 times more, and that’s a far higher disparity than in any other country.

“Conservative politicians have gotten Christians protecting the status quo. Machiavelli would be proud, but is this really the society that Jesus would be pleased to see? Would Jesus be standing in the way of expanded health care? Would he be pro guns and pro death penalty? Would he be more concerned about abortion, or would he be more concerned about the 10 million children under five who die in the Third World every year? Perhaps you’ve forgotten the Jesus we’re talking about—he’s the one who said, ‘What you have done to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you have done to me.’

“Christians, politicians are leading you around by the nose. They assure you that the sky is falling so you’ll rally around, but they have no incentive to solve problems. Solved problems mean no reason for voters to support them. Think for yourself.

“Look, I don’t have the solutions. As with Cassandra, no one would much care if I did. But let me suggest some of the problems: religion that doesn’t know its place and politicians who don’t know their jobs.

“Does someone have to sacrifice their political career by doing their job? Making the tough call? Big deal—in decades past, Americans sacrificed their lives. Do the right thing. Make a decision you can look back on with pride. Maybe America will surprise you and actually pay attention. A politician doing the right thing, and damn the consequences? That would be noteworthy.”

Image credit: Beverly, flickr, CC

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • busterggi

    ” aren’t we adults here?”

    No and that’s the biggest impediment.

    • L.Long

      I 2nd this! You stated the real problem right there. An adult takes responsibility for himself and makes the tough GOOD decisions!! We do NOT have that in the USA! There are so many that worry about stone age book o’BS instead of what is right here and NOW!! They worry about a 1% loose in profits rather then the welfare of grandkids!!

    • abb3w

      It might be more the difference between “adult” and “mature”.

  • Sol III

    Well said!

  • MNb

    Oh, I love to contradict this, especially because BobS once accused me of chauvinist bragging (yes, I have a long memory).

    In some respects the USA is the greatest country of the world indeed. Compare the aftermath of WW-1 (Versailles) with the aftermath of WW-2. If many Europeans (and also Stalin) had got it their way Germany would have suffered even more than in 1918.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Black_Tulip

    Also I am always baffled how fast political changes go after a long time of stagnation – gay marriage being the most recent example. Let’s not forget either that the USA is the first white country having a coloured president (well, perhaps after Peru) . In The Netherlands for instance live 2 million non-western allochtones out of 17 million inhabitants. The chance is zero that one of them will become prime-minister during say this 21st Century and the monarch having a non-white marriage partner is simply unthinkable.
    The last point I want to mention is that the USA are one of the world leaders (with Germany, I think, among perhaps a few others) regarding research of renewable energy sources.

    • 10 years ago, everyone in the US would’ve also said that the chance of a black president here was zero. (Candidate Obama even received pushback from African-American groups who felt that his African-American roots weren’t substantial enough.) Perhaps the Netherlands will surprise you.

      I’d never heard of Black Tulip–thanks.

    • where do I send my check? jk, loved your comment.

    • jh

      According to wikipedia, the cold war 1947 – 1991. the end of WWII – 1944/45.
      I wonder how much of this was to protect american interests and how much of it was genuine “let’s behave like adults”.

      hell – we didn’t even enter the war early enough to make a significant impact. We basically went – okay, we got caught selling arms to the allies, pearl harbor, let’s fight. In contrast, Russia had lost millions of it’s citizens. Imagine what it would have been like if we had gone in 2 years earlier.

      BTW – I’m still waiting for a female president. After all, blacks are a minority population. Women are 50% of the population. Even places like Pakistan have had a female leader.

  • RichardSRussell

    In solidarity with Bob’s efforts to piss off the left as well as the right, I add my own contribution with A Christmas Tree of Craziness, underlining the fact that irrationality is no respecter of political leanings. And certainly not the other way around, either.

    • An excellent list! I’d forgotten about this one. I’ve added GMO fear to the post.

  • Matt Woodling

    People always link to the shortened version of that scene in The Newsroom. The long version is so much more effective.

    https://youtu.be/q49NOyJ8fNA

  • Robert, not Bob

    When people say the US is the “greatest country”, don’t they just mean the most powerful? Most of those indices are about suffering, which conservative types don’t give a flying fuck about anyway.

    • I would hope that “greatest” would include the scientific and medical gifts the U.S. has given the world, the example of the first secular constitution, foreign aid, fighting in wars that has made a positive impact.

      The frustration I was trying to convey in the imaginary rant is that America is pretty good but political and religious squabbles are getting in the way. I suppose it’s a statement of how cushy things are that we can afford that.

      • Robert, not Bob

        I just meant what the kind of people who tend to say that corny line probably mean by it.

  • LadyOfBooks

    To add my bit…America can’t be the greatest country in the world because it isn’t a country. It is 2 or 3 (depending on who you ask) continents in which the U.S.A. is only one of many countries. Yes, it sucks that we don’t have a name, but we have got to stop calling ourselves Americans like we are the only ones who have the right to the name.

    Edit: for clarity.

    • Aram

      You’re Statians! 😉

      • LadyOfBooks

        I like that, I may just have to steal it. 😀

        • Aram

          Pronounced with two hard ‘Ts’ I’m thinking 🙂

      • Quintin van Zuijlen

        That might not sit well with the inhabitants of St. Eustatius.

        • Aram

          I take your point, but in fact they’re Dutch.

        • Quintin van Zuijlen

          Well yes, they are, but being from a place they call “Statia” they are also Statians, or so I presume they would think of themselves. I hoped you would have made this connection yourself, perhaps with some searching. Regardless, St. Eustatius being of special historical importance to the history of the US, I think it’s fair to consult the people of Statia before adopting a demonym ambiguously referring also to them as referring to the citizens of the United States of America, for whom “Americans” isn’t perhaps any less ambiguous but at least congruent with international practice.

        • Aram

          Um…yeah, of course I got the reference, but found absolutely no evidence that they call themselves Statians. Also I didn’t think you were actually taking this so seriously. My mistake. Pretty sure Statian will not be adopted by the States any time soon. You can breathe easy. Cheerio now.

        • MNb

          “absolutely no evidence”
          I did, in less than five minutes:

          http://statianews.com/?p=6370

          Just googled Statia news.
          Given the fact that English is the native language on Statia and the economy depends on American tourism I doubt if they would mind that much being adopted by the USA. Currency already is the USD.

          http://www.statiatourism.com/essential_facts.htm

        • Aram

          Congratulations. Though it does seem ‘Statia child’ is the preferred title in that very odd letter. (Also, you’re Dutch so you had an unfair advantage 😉

          Oh, and no doubt your second part is correct. Statian it is! 🙂

        • MNb

          Preferred by you?

        • Aram

          I mis-wrote. I meant ‘Child of Statia’, written 12 times as opposed to Statian written only once in the title. EDIT: Looking through more articles I see Statians is indeed the correct term for residents on the island. You win at Googling.

        • Aram

          ps just curious, how close (patriotically, emotionally, culturally etc) to the Netherlands is St Eustatius?

        • MNb

          About as close as Tierra del Fuego.

        • Aram

          Ah, so.

  • Aram

    Excellent rant (though unsure on your use of the word ‘fag’).

    • I was using it in the context of how the homophobes use it. I was trying to use their vocabulary.

      Over the top?

      • Aram

        I figured that you were from the context (and because of who you are). I think the second time you use it is fairly clear you’re using their vocab, but the first time is a bit too ambiguous and could arguably be you saying the word of your own volition (to an outsider).

      • Todd Heath

        As a gay man I approve of the use of the word fag in the way you used it.

  • MNb

    Totally off topic: quantum entanglement has been demonstrated in Delft, The Netherlands.

    http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/6700/Wetenschap/article/detail/4168137/2015/10/21/Delft-bewijst-ongelijk-Einstein.dhtml

    Einsteinian causality is buried next to the grave of Newtonian causality.
    In between we can find the Cosmological Argument.

    • Also totally off topic: Lawrence Krauss wrote an interesting article (paywall) on the centennial of General Relativity on Einstein’s mistakes.

      I heard an interview with Krauss, and he said that Einstein get more set in his ways as he got older. He became less open minded (that whole rejection of QM, for example) as he aged, unfortunately. I suppose there’s a lesson in there for all of us.

      • MNb

        The Gutkind letter suggests it was more stubbornness than insolvency. I cannot help relating it to his previous “God doesn’t play dice”.

  • kenneth epps

    If I ever run for office, I’ll hire you to write speeches. 🙂

    • Thanks! My talent may only be in giving the frank assessment rather than the more appropriate political tap dance. Maybe I should just do farewell, tell-all speeches.

      • TheNuszAbides

        Speechwriting 501: Pulling the Plug

  • Kodie
  • Nick Presepe

    I don’t consider America to ever have been a great nation even though I think it has the potential to be. Since it’s creation and prior to it is has hurt just about every group of people one can imagine. It has never been truly welcoming of immigrants and although great achievements have come out of it, religious nut jobs always find a way to control their listeners and pit them against the people who are trying to enhance the one world we can actually prove exist.

    • I agree that the life of immigrants hasn’t been easy, but if we’re comparing countries, the question becomes: where have things been better? America now is pretty much nothing but former immigrants. At least it didn’t participate in Europe’s colonization spree.

      If your point is that America has a lot in the negative column, I agree.

      • Nick Presepe

        You’re right, in europe an elsewhere there is a certain dislike of immigrants but I don’t know if currently it equates to how mainstream America sees them. The immigranta here dislike the new immigrants an so on. American imperialism globally sort of is another from of colonization though in terms of the power dynamic.

      • Donalbain

        The USA did not participate in Europe’s colonization spree? There are quite a few dead Natives who would disagree with THAT bullshit.

  • JBSchmidt

    Aww, the self loathing American liberal. Just another victim. Like a baby with colic, crying about everything and nothing at the same time. ‘My country sucks and its all your fault.’

    You have had for almost 8yrs a very left of center president. For the first 2 years of his presidency he had FULL control of the government. For the next 4yrs he had 2/3 control. Now for the final 2yrs he is down to 1/3. Liberals are like Cubs fans still blaming a goat for their failures. They failed to produce when they had a chance at everything and as that passed them by they turn towards straw men (or straw goat I guess) as their enemy.

    If only those Bible thumping, gun toting, states rights morons would see the shear brilliance of your ideology, we would have the European utopian dream right here in the US. Look at the other socialist countries; they have eliminated the poor, they have raging economies with no unemployment, they have put a significant dent in global warming and they have no crime. All this thanks to liberal policies and the elimination of Christians.

    Yawn.

    • adam

      ..

    • MNb

      “a very left of center president”
      BWAHAHAHAHA!
      Hint: never ever go living in a European country. According to every single European standard Obama is right of centre, while Bernie Sanders is moderately left.

      “Look at the other socialist countries; they have eliminated the poor, they have raging economies with no unemployment, they have put a significant dent in global warming and they have no crime. All this thanks to liberal policies and the elimination of Christians.”
      Another hint: don’t try to be sarcastic. It backfires. See, those countries in Europe that have realized what you call an utopian dream indeed are active in combatting global warning and have significantly lower crime rates. That’s not thanks to liberal policies though – liberal policies are right wing in Europe. It’s thanks to social-democrat policies – the stuff Bernie Sanders advocates.
      But of course you don’t want to have nothing of it. You love your higher crime rates and climate problems, because it makes Judgment Day come closer and you hardly can’t wait.

    • Compuholic

      Since other commenter have responded to pretty much everything else, I’ll just comment on this:

      Aww, the self loathing American liberal. […]Like a baby with colic, crying about everything and nothing at the same time.

      Not solely a feature of Americans but to every self-aware person. It is an urge to do better instead of simply declaring you are The Best™

      You should try it sometime…

    • You have had for almost 8yrs a very left of center president.

      Oh? I hadn’t noticed. The Right has managed to shift things so that Reagan now looks liberal.

      For the first 2 years of his presidency he had FULL control of the government.

      And his mistake was in trying to reach compromise. Liberals should learn from the Right: when you have control, ram through all your projects, damn the opposition. And when you don’t, become the Party of No and stop the government from doing anything.

      we would have the European utopian dream right here in the US

      They do spank us in social metrics, I’m afraid. Maybe there’s something in that socialism after all.

      All this thanks to liberal policies and the elimination of Christians.

      Who wants to eliminate Christians? Perhaps you need to get out of the echo chamber.

      • rascal barquecat

        As I mention in my reply to JBSchmidt above, there is the niggling little fact that, no, Obama did not have 2 years full control of the government. What he managed to accomplish in spite of that and in the face of a concerted effort to block anything he proposed is rather impressive. (Although I’m still more than a little miffed that he didn’t overhaul our profit-from-pain health-care system by ramming through single-payer, or at least put down his foot and demand the ACA have a public option and not have parts of it be up for the states to accept or decline.)

        • Yes, single payer would’ve been nice. Insurance companies inserted as middlemen doesn’t help.

    • Deven Kale

      Barack Obama left of center? Don’t make me laugh. Just look at this graph of the presidential candidates positions in 2012, and this one from 2008. Barack Obama started off center-right during the 2008 election, but then moved right drastically in the next 4 years.

      What does this mean? Experts on the candidates take a test (that you can take yourself) and answer the questions in the ways the candidates would be most likely to answer them. The website then generates their position on the graph based on those answers. Obviously it’s not going to be perfect because the candidates probably wouldn’t answer every question the exact same way, but it does give a general impression of where they would be.

      The questionnaire has recieved a bit of criticism that the way it’s worded actually puts people further left than they really are, but if all you’re looking for is a comparison of the relative positions of each candidate, it still serves it’s purpose well.

    • rascal barquecat

      That old myth again:“For the first 2 years of his presidency he had FULL control of the government.”

      For all the media hype, Obama and the Democrats had only four incomplete months, not even close to two years, of a possible super-majority.

      It took 8 months after the elections to finally have Al Franken sworn in and there was only a short 6 weeks or so that they actually had 60 nominally Democratic-esque seated Senators (well, 57, 2, and 1*).
      Senator AL Franken wasn’t seated until July, by which time Senator Ted Kennedy was far too ill to vote and died August 25th during the nearly month long August/Labor Day recess. His interim successor, Senator Paul Kirk, wasn’t seated until late September.

      From September to winter break, 92 year old Senator Robert Byrd was often ill, never quite recovering from being hospitalized with staph infection back in June, then there were the holidays, and the Senate winter recess starting mid December, after which nothing was acted upon until after Republican Senator Scott Brown was sworn in on February 4th.

      *Technically, the two Independents just merely caucus with the Democrats and one of those Independents was Republican-Lite Arlen Specter who only switched sides over the stimulus package. Then there’s Joseph Lieberman, “Independent Democrat” in name only who was a featured speaker at the REPUBLICAN Convention.

      So, yes, for a very short while, about 4 months, there were 60 seats that did not have an “R” sitting in them, but they didn’t really have 60 solid “D”s in them either.

  • Jim Baerg

    I’m impressed at how almost totally correct that was.

    My only quibble is “safer nuclear power”. It is already safer than all the other energy sources.

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

    Making nuclear *cheaper* without compromising the high safety standards should be a high priority goal.

    • Yeah, maybe what nuclear power needs is not a technological project to improve it but a PR project to improve its image.

      I’m frustrated with the occasional discussion I have with an anti-nuclear liberal who goes on and on about potential nuclear problems. OK, I say, those need to be addressed (and I usually question how bad the problem is). The remarkable thing is that they never acknowledge how much the status quo sucks, and your stats point that out.

      • Aram

        I recently came to the same conclusions on nuclear. It’s such a boogeyman on the left until you, you know, actually read up on it. Even the waste is mostly re-used these days and I think it may well be our only hope in getting over the ‘hump’ between now and majority renewable power. Especially if they figure out uranium from seawater to a workable level.

        • MNb

          “actually read up on it”
          Have done so. See above.

          “mostly re-used”
          Mostly is the key word. Have fun with 10 000 years of radioactive waste that’s still left.

        • If you’re curious about the new nuclear technology, I suggest reading up on the Fast Flux reactor, which is actually about 40 years old. It was inherently failsafe (you couldn’t make it melt down if you tried), and it consumed its nuclear waste as fuel.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_Flux_Test_Facility

        • MNb

          Weird. When a christian pulls this off your typical reaction is “no, you explain me in simple words” – in this case how the Fast Flux reactor guarantees there will be no radioactive waste at all.
          Hence I like this one:

          “permanently reduces the risks associated with long term storage”

          Key word: reduces. The risk is still there. And no PR campaign is going to eliminate it.
          So my question remains: what are you going to do with the radioactive waste that still is responsible for that reduced risk?
          Perhaps finding a solution for this one – and for the devastating mining – would win more hearts than a PR campaign I already went through in the 70’s. Confirming what I just wrote (“mostly”) is not good enough.
          See, combining the duration of any amount of radioactive waste with Murphy’s Law results in only one possible conclusion: something terrible will happen. Of course chances are very small that you and I will live long enough to see it happen, but that doesn’t mean nuclear energy is any better than what we do now.

        • Aram
        • Aram
        • in this case how the Fast Flux reactor guarantees there will be no radioactive waste at all.

          No one claims that.

          Key word: reduces. The risk is still there.

          Yes.

          So my question remains: what are you going to do with the radioactive waste that still is responsible for that reduced risk?

          You’re looking at this problem in a vacuum. I understand your concern to be: Even a greatly reduced nuclear waste stream is still a problem. Yep. But we should be looking at all the problems with nuclear vs. all the problems with the fossil fuel status quo.

          I mentioned earlier how frustrating it is to get into a conversation with an anti-nuclear person who ticks off all the problems with nuclear, all of which I acknowledge. And then they think they’ve made an argument. “Nuclear is bad” is no argument. “Nuclear is worse than the alternatives” would be an argument.

          How bad nuclear is isn’t the issue. How bad (or good) it is relative to the fossil fuel status quo is the issue.

          Perhaps finding a solution for this one – and for the devastating mining – would win more hearts than a PR campaign I already went through in the 70’s.

          There’s a hysteria-based PR campaign against nuclear now. Maybe we should focus on the facts and not PR.

          See, combining the duration of any amount of radioactive waste with Murphy’s Law results in only one possible conclusion: something terrible will happen.

          Something terrible is happening with the status quo—energy dependence on the Middle East, CO2 and climate change, air and water pollution. You know the list as well as I do.

      • LadyOfBooks

        “I’m frustrated with the occasional discussion I have with an anti-nuclear liberal who goes on and on about potential nuclear problems.”
        Hello….
        My name is Kendra. I am a born and bred Nevadan and I am vehemently against nuclear power. We could have a discussion, but I should warn you, I have an ace up my sleeve. Two words, Yucca Mountain. Now, you could give me all of your arguments, and I could give you all my counter arguments, but at the end of the day Nevada said NO by the law and by the numbers.
        I don’t think we should continue to use nuclear until we can figure out what to do with the waste. I personally feel that renewable (solar, wind, hydro, steam, etc.) is where we should be putting our energy, but the initiatives keep getting blocked in congress because there is too much money in the status quo (fossil fuels, nuclear).

        • What we should do with nuclear waste is to not put it in Yucca Mountain.

          The “spent fuel” that comes out of a conventional reactor still contains 99% of its nuclear energy. It’s “waste” if you want to call it that, but let’s call it “fuel” instead. There are reactor designs that consume almost all of it, leaving very little to worry about afterwards.

          Renewables are great as far as they go. Consider hydro, though. Where would you want to build more dams? The trend in WA state is to decommission dams for the benefit of fish.

        • LadyOfBooks

          Yes, but what about hydro without dams. I support the decommissioning and deconstruction of dams, however, freeflow underwater turbines may be the wave of the future. There are ways to live in cooperation with nature and still get our energy needs met, we just need to be creative.

        • economical green power would be great.

        • LadyOfBooks

          Sorry, only picked up on the last half of your comment. I agree that only using 1% of the fuel then calling it waste is “wasteful”. I would support nuclear designs that use most, if not all, of the fuel just leaving a pile of inert dirt behind. However, I have been told (though I can’t find it in a quick internet search) that it is illegal in the U.S. to recycle “used” nuclear fuel. Also, uranium is not a renewable resource, so I still feel that we should be concentrating on the renewable energy sources (though they do have their problems).

        • Recycling fuel is what’s done now. The U235 is largely gone, so they chemically separate it to get any remaining uranium, and then that goes back into the pipeline for new fuel.

          There’s nothing illegal about leaving the fuel in there to continue burning up. It sounds like you’re well aware that the long halflife problem (“100,000 years until that waste is safe!”) is only a problem when that material is outside the reactor. Keep in it, and it gets converted within years.

          Yes, uranium is not renewable. However, there’s loads of U238 that can be easily turned into plutonium, which is useable as fuel. (You know about spent uranium used for bullets? That’s U238.)

        • MNb

          You are deluding yourself if you think you can get rid of radioactive waste. No matter how often you reuse it, you’ll have to store it somewhere. Within the reactor is not an answer – nuclear power plants last a bit shorter than 100 000 years.

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nuclear-power-plant-aging-reactor-replacement-/

          “Keep in it, and it gets converted within years.”

          This is simply silly. You’ll still have radioactive waste in a plant that lasts less than 100 years. Then what?

        • We are apparently talking past each other. Radioactive material X that would be dangerous for 100,000 years outside of a reactor would be converted into daughter products within weeks or years within the reactor.

          You do see what I’m saying, right? I’m not talking about storing things on the reactor premises. I’m talking about U235 turning into some radioactive daughter product and then having that turn into something else, etc. fairly quickly, all inside the hot part of the reactor.

        • MNb

          Reusing “spent uranium” has a nice by-product: plutonium. What are you going to do with it? Building nuclear weapons?

        • Huh?? That’s the fuel. Spent uranium becomes plutonium; plutonium is fuel.

          There’s a clever reactor design called the Travelling Wave Reactor. The way I picture it is like a cigarette make of spent uranium. You put a layer of fissile uranium on the end, and then put all the rods together. They make heat, and in the process, turn the spent uranium into plutonium in place. The rods are slowly moved in (like a burning log) so that the plutonium-rich section begins to create power as the fissile uranium is used up, and so on.

          To be clear, this is just one design, and I don’t offer it as the solution to the world’s problems.

        • XCellKen

          And solar only works when the sun is shining. And wind only works when the wind is blowing. Plus those big turbines are built far from the cities they serve. It costs $$$ to store all of that energy, and then transmit it to the cities

        • There’s a clever design for a gigantic liquid metal stationary battery for storing wind or solar energy at the source so it can be transmitted later. It is like the cells used in the Hall process for aluminum refining, just that it can be reversed to extract the electricity as needed.

      • MNb

        What nuclear power needs is a safe way to store radioactive waste.

        http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/midwest/ct-st-louis-underground-fire-20151010-story.html

        No PR project is going to remedy that one.

        What nuclear power also needs is a decent way to mine uranium. Unless you favor ruining the environment like this, of course.

        http://wikimobi.nl/wiki/images/8/8c/Uranium_mijn.png

        The status quo may suck, but getting frustrated because you fail to point out how that actually improves it doesn’t look like a good remedy to me.

        • What nuclear power needs is a safe way to store radioactive waste.

          Or not make the waste in the first place. There are reactor designs that pretty much do that.

          What nuclear power also needs is a decent way to mine uranium. Unless you favor ruining the environment like this, of course.

          I would’ve thought that the existing fissile uranium plus the spent uranium means lots of fuel for a long time. I’ll admit that I don’t know what “long time” is, but I would’ve a century or more at current consumption rates.

          Is there a reason why that open-pit mine is worse than any others? Strip mining coal, for example, ain’t pretty. And obviously, a coal mine this big would produce a teeny amount of equivalent electricity compared to nuclear.

          The status quo may suck, but getting frustrated because you fail to point out how that actually improves it doesn’t look like a good remedy to me.

          Frustrated? Who’s frustrated?

          There’s a concern here that I’m missing. Please restate.

        • MNb

          “Or not make the waste in the first place. There are reactor designs that pretty much do that.”
          Pretty much. Not totally. And as long as not having nuclear power plants is the only way not to make any radioactive waste at all you have a problem you’re trying to neglect.

          “Is there a reason why that open-pit mine is worse than any others? Strip mining coal, for example, ain’t pretty.”
          So your argument is “coal mining sucks, let’s make things a bit worse yet with uranium mining?” You should make that the core of your PR campaign – which then of course will totally backfire.

          “Who’s frustrated?”
          You. You wrote it yourself with

          “I’m frustrated with …..”

          Suffering from convenient memory lapses again? You have tried to pull that off on me before, at least twice. Looks like you get blinded when you’re over enthusiastic about something. Are you again going to make me repeat the same facts? Sorry, won’t cooperate this time either.

          Better try to address the issues with nuclear energy. That’s harder of course than sucking some weak arguments out of your thumb. The concern of safety of nuclear plants has been excellently addressed. Now the rest and you’ll win me over.
          But your silly tricks won’t.

          Or not. Because you already have won; nuclear energy is a finished game. It happens and will continue to happen, as one view on France will teach. Nothing what I think, say and write will change that. Sure, the anti-lobby may postpone it a bit, but that won’t change anything in the long run.
          But that’s not a justification to look away from the problems like you do.
          Tell me what you’re going to do with radioactive waste (which hasn’t been eliminated according to that Wikipedia link you provided yourself either; your usual looking away won’t do) and tell me what you’re going to do with uranium mines ruining the environment (downplaying won’t do either) and I’ll pay attention. Until then I’m going to neglect you, because you’re going to get boring again.

        • So your argument is “coal mining sucks, let’s make things a bit worse yet with uranium mining?”

          ?? No, it’s: let’s mine uranium rather than coal.

          Are you unaware of the environmental problems with Canada’s oil sands extraction project? They’re making a lot of oil that had been considered inaccessible, but at a big environmental cost. The same is true with oil shale in the U.S. And fracking. These certainly give a nice boost to America’s oil reserves, but it’s not like there’s no environmental cost.

          I’ve been to Wyoming and seen strip mining for coal. This is quite different from mining a single location for uranium. The coal seams go on for miles, and so does the mining. Or look into mountaintop removal in the Appalachians—West Virginia, say.

          This is why I say that the status quo sucks. The question is: would the risk and the environmental damage be worse or better with nuclear?

          You have tried to pull that off on me before, at least twice.

          Sounds like I’m being accused of something non-trivial. Tell me more.

          you already have won; nuclear energy is a finished game. It happens and will continue to happen, as one view on France will teach.

          Nuclear energy is a lost game, as one view in Germany will teach. Their stated plan is to close all nuclear plants by 2022.

          Or perhaps the truth is more nuanced, with the question being decided different ways in different countries.

          Sure, the anti-lobby may postpone it a bit, but that won’t change anything in the long run.

          Nuclear energy provides about 20% of the electricity in the US. The anti-nuclear lobby has been quite successful in poisoning the well so that no utility wants to go through the hassle of getting approval for a new plant.

          But that’s not a justification to look away from the problems like you do.

          What problems am I avoiding?

        • Aram

          Regarding mining uranium, the technology is improving daily on extracting uranium from seawater.

        • MNb

          And you think that will stop the mining? How naive.

        • Aram

          If you think we can switch immediately to renewable energy without using nuclear as a bridge to get us through the shift, it would seem you are being naive. And yes, if extracting uranium from seawater becomes more economically feasible than open-pit mining, no doubt it would make mining uranium redundant.

        • MNb

          “If you think …..”
          If.
          I don’t.
          You make a hasty assumption.

          “if extracting uranium from seawater becomes …..”
          If.
          If my father had been king I would have sat on his throne now.
          I preferred to wait until my father actually had been crowned, which never happened. You would have preferred to be premature.

        • Aram

          Your argument here sounds rather like the arguments people have against wind and solar power.

        • Aram

          Key word ‘if’ (as you pointed out). Hence no assumption. So what do you think will bridge the shift? EDIT: without releasing more climate change causing CO2 I mean.

        • Opus_1983

          Actually, new reactor designs use spent fuel as… new fuel. What is still seen as waste today, will be the fuel of the future.
          And
          nuclear waste is not the only poisonous substance that needs storage.
          It is just that no one cares about the rest. And this rest is in part
          more poisonous and it is produced in larger quantities.

          You are
          kinda right about Uranium mining with one important caveat: Uranium
          minings is not inherently more damaging to the environment than any
          other way of mining. Your picture of an Uranium mine could also be from
          an iron mine, a coal mine or a copper mine. But there are literally
          hundreds more iron mines than uranium mines in the world.
          Yet, no one objects against, say, the construction of buildings, because the iron needed to produce steel is mined so dirty.

  • L.Long

    No! It AINT! It is fast going from a great country and descending into the TSA (the Theocratic States of America). About the only thing that separates us from the mideast is the difference in the delusional BS ((which ain’t that much) and not as much killing (yet).

  • The only reason our country is great is because of our respect for God, the problem with our country is that the president does not pray to God for guidance on the problems that face 21st century America..

    • Deven Kale

      G. W. Bush claimed he prayed regularly, and things got worse under his term rather than better. We’re still recovering from the financial disaster he caused (or allowed to happen, however you want to look at it). If praying is so great for improving a country, you’ll need to be able to explain that one away pretty damn quick.

      • When the Pope met with the Bush, he gave him a list of ideas on how to improve our country. Bush didn’t use one of them.

        • Deven Kale

          So you’re Catholic? That would explain a lot.

        • Exactly, we need a Catholic in the oval office – a practicing one.

        • JFK was Catholic.

        • he didn’t finish his term.

        • ??

          You declared that we needed a Catholic president. We had one. Now your challenge is to show that JFK did great things to bolster your point.

          If Kennedy’s presidency doesn’t register as a significant uptick on whatever scale or metric you have in your head, then your argument is shit. Again.

        • one can not judge how effective Kennedy would be since he didn’t complete his term – that’s not fair.

        • adam

          “one can not judge how effective Jesus would be since he didn’t complete his term – that’s not fair.”

          But he was still a failure…

          Hardly anyone listens to him….

        • Ah–got it. He was in office for 3 years. You can’t squeeze a scrap of data out of that. But if he’d been in for 4 years, you’d have ample evidence to support your thesis.

          How maddening for you.

        • Kodie

          Greg lives and breathes up his own ass.

        • adam

          “a Catholic in the oval office – a practicing one.”

          Depends on what they are practicing…

        • MNb

          A nice list of practicing catholics in charge:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jozef_Tiso
          https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Franco
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusto_Pinochet
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Rafael_Videla

          Now I have voted on Dutch catholics myself.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_Party_of_Radicals

          My point is just that “catholicism” is not the decisive feature for a good politician – except for stupid fake lawyers like you.

        • XCellKen

          I have an online Dominatrix who has a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Neuroscience, who also doubles as, among other things, a porno actress. She indulges my masochism. Oh yeah, I also attended Catholic School for seven years, and was oftentimes at the receiving end of extreme nun violence. Hmmm ???

        • Deven Kale

          lol wow, just being Catholic doesn’t really explain that, but thanks for the explanation anyway!

        • XCellKen

          No, it doesn’t. The dozen or so older girls who literally kicked my ass until I puked when I was five, witnessed by 400 drunks, also had something to do with it

        • XCellKen

          Nuns beat me daily for seven years. I can’t enjoy sex unless women are beating me. What don’t you understand ?

        • So where does that leave your original point? Deven’s challenge remains.

          You said: “the problem with our country is that the president does not pray to God for guidance on the problems that face 21st century America.” GW Bush bragged that he prayed. Didn’t do shit.

        • adam

          “When the Pope met with the Bush, he gave him a list of ideas on how to improve our country. Bush didn’t use one of them.”

          I think Bush was interested in other things besides shielding pedophiles.

    • Dys

      You really are just a gullible rube, aren’t you?

      • Actually, I more astute in the area of politics than I care to admit. I actually knew William F. Buckley.

        • Aram

          Is that supposed to be a good thing?

        • it was for William F. Buckley.

        • Aram

          Is that a joke? Like he was lucky to meet you.

        • William F. Buckley was an amazingly conservative thinker, and practicing catholic – he helped me with my conservative thinking, I helped him with my prayers.

        • Aram

          You mean the casual racist. All right then.

          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/William_F._Buckley

        • you mean like Jefferson? Thomas not George, just in case you weren’t sure.

        • Aram

          Yeah, like that. I’m not an American, Greg. I don’t have any hero worship of Jefferson in me. Of course your guy only died in 2008. Jefferson at least has the excuse of dying much longer ago.

        • I loved, Jeffferson, a lawyer, god fearing, left handed (like me), a widow at 27 and never married again, – a true romantic – yeah, my hero.

        • Aram

          Loved having sex with his slaves. Yeah, stellar guy.

        • Aram

          I get that Jefferson was one of the founders of your nation and did a lot a great things. But he also kept slaves and had children with them, proven by DNA evidence. What left-handed has to do with anything…and the word is widower since he was, I believe, a male.

        • XCellKen

          Don’t forget, he also had red hair and green eyes

        • Jefferson had a little brown sugar on the side. You could say that marriage was unnecessary or impossible.

        • Dys

          Perhaps God-fearing…but certainly not the Christian one. Classical deism didn’t exactly go for that stuff.

        • enlighten me, which one was it?

        • Dys

          Nature’s God. Go read up on classical deism. Jefferson admired the principles of Jesus, but rejected the claims of his divinity, as well as pretty much all of the miracle claims. He was more discerning (and less gullible) than you.

          And he really didn’t like the God described in the OT, characterizing him as “a being of terrific character,
          cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.”

        • Nature’s God? Dys, oh my goodness, have you read the declaration of independence?

        • Dys

          Yep. Have you? Because it doesn’t refer to the Christian god.

          Once you shed the arrogance of thinking that any reference to God necessarily refers to the Christian one, you can get a much more accurate picture of history.

          Jefferson also called Paul the first corrupter of Christianity, and didn’t have many nice things to say about the NT authors in general. In reference to his decision to construct his own bible by slicing passages out of printed bibles, Jefferson said this:

          “Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence: and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I separate therefore the gold from the dross; restore to him the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.These palpable interpolations and falsifications of his doctrines led me to try to sift them apart.”

          While it is true that at various points Jefferson did describe himself as a Christian, he meant it only in the sense that he agreed with many of the moral precepts of Jesus. Too many apologists latch on to his self-description and run off to brag “ooh ooh, he said he was a Christian” without understanding anything about the man.

        • Dys, ok, I ‘ll look into this.

        • Kodie

          To Greg: in other words, if Jefferson were on this blog, he would have kicked your fucking ass for being such a dope all the time, eloquently.

          And you still wouldn’t think you had anything to learn from anyone.

        • Whoa–great point. The Declaration of Independence was written by a completely different set of people, many centuries removed, from those who wrote the Constitution. No chance that ideas from one could’ve infected the worldview of the other.

          (Or … perhaps not.)

        • Kodie

          Be careful – Greg was once claiming Albert Einstein was close enough to Catholic for his needs. You’re not going to put him off of Jefferson with such a strict difference in beliefs.

        • Dys

          Greg was once claiming Albert Einstein was close enough to Catholic for his needs.

          The scary thing is that while I wish you were making this up, I have a strong suspicion you’re not.

        • Kodie

          Nobody needs to try to make Greg look worse than he makes himself look.

          Sorry.

        • MNb

          I can confirm Kodie doesn’t – I just had forgotten. It’s simply impossible to keep track of all Greg’s stupidities. Really, he even managed to interpret the famous Gutkind letter as a confirmation that Einstein was …. well, whatever Greg at the moment claimed he was. It went something like “in the letter Einstein wrote he was a jew, hence he believed in God, hence he was a near enough catholic”.

        • Jew, Catholic–whatever. They’re basically identical in God’s eyes.

        • Well, sure, at least since the mid-20th century, when the reference to perfidious (“perfidis“) Jews was finally dropped from the Catholic Good Friday liturgy.

        • And now we find that he was Wm. F. Buckley’s right-hand man. Or confidante. Or rentboy.

        • Aram

          Surely such a well-educated feller such as yourself has heard of the Jefferson Bible.

        • MNb

          Ah, shit, Aram underneath beat me to it.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible

        • Jefferson? He’s our hero!*

          Of course there’s his “wall of separation” letter to the Danbury Baptists. But he also used the phrase “pious frauds” when discussing efforts to declare that Christianity was part of the common law. And Dys provides other examples of Jefferson’s religious nonconformity.

          Indeed, Jefferson’s rejection of Christian orthodoxy was notorious enough to be a potential political liability. During the presidential campaign in 1800, critics referred to him as a “confirmed infidel” and “howling atheist.” Jefferson and his supporters felt they had to put significant effort into countering these “calumnies” (an archaic but splendid word deserving of a comeback, in my opinion) in the press.

          * See standard slaveowner/womanizer disclaimer.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Paine packed better punches, but hmm, strangely enough he never got himself into positions as powerful as Jefferson’s …

        • XCellKen

          Who needs a wife when you can have your way with the underaged slave ?

        • 90Lew90

          You should have had that left hand tied behind your back and been made to write with the one God intended you to use, helped along by a hulk of a priest with a lump of 2×4 to remind you not to make mistakes. Just like the good ol’ days.

        • Life having bad sprinkled in with the good, only makes the good that much more wonderful – isn’t God a genius?

        • 90Lew90

          Bit of the Oscar Wilde about you there Greg. He couldn’t have put it better himself. Cough.

        • if you keep dishing these comments to me, you can’t pretend to be shocked when my responses are not unlike the “Campfire Scene” in the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles.

        • 90Lew90

          Oh that wouldn’t shock me. That would be true to form.

        • What captures the wit and wisdom of Greg? I wouldn’t have thought of a big pile of farts but yeah, I see that now.

        • I don’t know whether the scene from Blazing Saddles would capture my wit and wisdom, but I do know it is regarded as a very funny scene in movie history, and you know, our conversations are usually very serious and can get very intense, and the world, this country and our government can make one very depressed, I do know if you find something to laugh about every once in a while, well I might just be saving your life.

        • Kodie

          Greg, you’re not clever at all, and you’re painful to listen to when you try to make any kind of humor. Fuck off and just keep fucking off.

        • Kodie

          Your arrogance has no limits!!!!! Do you love to be hated, troll, or do you imagine that everyone’s just having a lot of fun because you’re here? Ban this useless piece of crap.

        • Hold on, now. Greg might’ve just saved my life!

          Greg is no less a hero than if he’d pushed me out of the way of an oncoming bus.

        • Kodie

          Greg doesn’t even know you’re being sarcastic. He thinks him being here is a good thing for us.

        • 90Lew90

          It’s called slapstick Greg. It captures the level of both your wit and your wisdom perfectly. Utter silliness. Good for a laugh. Someone smack Greg in the face with a frying pan for me.

        • Kodie

          Slapstick is funny – Greg is a chore. Greg is the farts without the laughs, and he would still blame it on the horse.

        • Greg is like Roger Rabbit, and life for him is like babysitting Baby Herman. Luckily he lives in a society that can protect him. Imagine Greg, with his ability to weigh evidence, in the Stone Age.

        • 90Lew90

          I see a lot of scars, possibly a piece of ear missing, on a very nervous and diffident little caveman. Catching that stoat was his proudest moment…

        • Kodie

          I see his tribe mates send him on a snipe hunt to a dangerous bear cave so they can finally get some hunting done. Unfortunately, he returns after several weeks, sees the dudes crouched, stalking a lion, and from far off, shouts out, “Hey, it’s me! There’s a lion over there, watch out!!” The lion mauls 4 of them, and he claims that he saved the rest of their lives, followed by a shitty reference to some joke he read on the wall of a cave. They start to bash his head in for being so useless, but he continues to crack jokes and believing he is the most popular guy in the tribe.

        • 90Lew90

          That’s pretty violent slapstick!

        • Kodie

          I wasn’t trying to be funny. Greg makes this blog unfun and I don’t want to be here.

        • MNb

          Remember those good old pie fight scenes? Greg is always at the receiving end.

        • Up your game, Greg. Stick to solid evidence and good arguments. Drop the irrelevant cultural references and attempts at humor. When you make a mistake, own it so you can move on.

          You’re becoming more trouble than you’re worth.

        • MR

          Oh,my, this was worth taking a sneak peek break from vacation. Where is the up vote multiplier?

        • adam

          “Life having bad sprinkled in with the good, only makes the good that much more wonderful – isn’t God a genius?”

          No, it is an idiot

          A monsterous idiot at that:

        • let’s put it this way, neither one of those men would be electable today.

        • Aram

          Looking at the support Trump is getting I’m not so sure about that, but I can appreciate that you wouldn’t want either of them to be elected today. Good on ya.

        • I’m just a realist.

        • adam

          ‘I’m just a liar.’

          FTFY

        • Kodie

          You live 100% of the time in fantasy land, I don’t think anyone would call you a realist.

        • 90Lew90

          He’s had more college courses than you’ve had fights in Congress.

        • He’s won more Nobel Peace prizes than breakfasts you’ve eaten.

        • 90Lew90

          He’s “better than uh slice uh bread” (to quote a redneck I once saw on Jerry Springer).

        • don’t worry, whoever gets in, they don’t change the office, the office changes them.

        • Yeah, life is tough for a Christian politician. Heck, they’re basically unelectable in the US.

        • Deven Kale

          No we don’t get the idea. You could just as easily have helped him with his finances as tickle his prostate. You might want to let us know what you actually helped him with.

        • The point is he was an intellectual and is father of modern conservative politics and I learned a lot from him. Politics is part of my DNA and I’ve forgotten more about the fights that went on in Congress than you have ever learned in your college courses.

        • Deven Kale

          I’m simply stating that if you don’t explain why him meeting you was so good for him, people will make assumptions. Some of those assumptions will be sexual in nature, as it’s a common assumption about the politically Conservative, especially Catholics. It’s truly in your best interest for having any credibility here to actually substantiate your claim.

          edit: oops, I forgot to remove a word.

        • aah, the Kennedys… right, please don’t besmirch Camelot. all the speculation about Marilyn Monroe- never happened.

        • adam

          Dont tell us you blew the Kennedys as well…..

        • Aram

          Are you honestly this dumb? Never happened because you say it never happened? What the hell, man. Even Robert was getting it on with Marilyn.

        • MNb

          “Are you honestly this dumb?”
          No, he is dumber.

        • Kodie

          So much dumber.

        • Kodie

          Greg is categorically in denial about unpleasant things. And also actual things.

        • Aram

          You’ve gotta wonder if he’s just a sad and lonely troll. But I can’t imagine any troll could be as dedicated as he is.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s likely this is something of an escape for him – i wouldn’t want to harp on the one very significant trouble within his family he’s mentioned – but ‘dedicated’ really doesn’t stick – he may rattle off enough lame one-liners to waste a few persons’ time, but he’ll vanish for weeks whenever anyone starts getting an inkling of an impression that we might be able to wring an honest and/or intelligent volley out of him.

        • Aram

          You may well be right. So it goes on the internet.

        • Kodie

          You’ve never demonstrated being anything other than a blowhard know-nothing who loves to change the subject when he fucks it all up — and you’re always fucking it up.

          It’s clear you didn’t get anything from the article, and you just want to win friends tooting your own fucking horn. Sounds like wet farts, but that’s your style.

        • 90Lew90

          Yeah, but he’s forgotten more about his DNA than you’ve had college courses on wet farts. And stuff.

        • Kodie

          Greg is an idolater who worships himself. He never knew a thing about DNA to forget. I think living in a dorm qualifies as a course in wet farts.

        • And he’s made more wet fart jokes to Wm. F. Buckley than you have base pairs in your DNA.

        • 90Lew90

          They used to be known as Buckshot and Hotshot, but Greg didn’t get the reference to his wet farts.

        • no, seriously, my memory is fading, especially those pertaining to your responses

        • But don’t forget that he apologized when he made that mistake about Elijah being the last person (rather than prophet) of God.

          Kidding! Greg would never apologize about anything. His strategy is to hope that people forget with time.

        • I’m wise enough to know when the argument has reached an impasse.

        • Are you doing shit just to make sure you have something to say to the priest when it comes time for confession?

          There’s no impasse here. The ball’s been hit over the net. This is your opportunity to humble yourself (aren’t Christians good at that?) and admit that you made a mistake (and that, too?). You said Elijah was the last person to believe, when you meant that he was the last prophet.

          What is it with men and those three little words, “I was wrong”?

        • Kodie

          You’re too stupid to know you’re wrong, and you’re too stupid to keep your mouth shut when you’re just blurting shit out that invariably turns out to be wrong. When you’re called on this shit, it’s not your “wisdom” that there is an impasse, it’s your arrogant stubbornness. I think let the argument go – Greg was wrong and everyone knows it but Greg. Greg’s vote is worthless.

        • when one has his head high in the clouds of intellectualism,
          it is good to have a friend with his feet firmly rooted on the ground and a connection with God – like the Eagles song – “Peaceful Easy Feeling”.

        • Greg sitteth at the right hand of power.

        • stop it, the grin you’re putting on my face from your comments here and above, I ‘m sure will not wash off.

        • It probably will once you respond honestly to the challenges raised against you.

        • yeah, how can I be happy when you’ll be sad

        • Well, who’s got big balls today?

          I’m sure we’ll all be impressed with your arguments this time.

        • Kodie

          Bob, you are asking for the impossible. Has Greg ever been honest? Has he ever stopped smiling, despite heaps of warranted abuse piled upon him? Is he at all worthwhile?

        • Tobias 27772

          How long does it take you guys to recognize the obvious troll

        • MNb

          I recognized Greg a loooonnnggg time ago.
          How long does it take you to recognize that some folks have fun with this particular troll?

        • problem is Tobias was talking about adam.

        • famous last words of one who has no response

        • And you’ve been there countless times, so you oughta know.

        • Kodie

          No, Greg just changes the subject.

        • He does, but he does it in a sweet and winsome way. He’ll quote a song or tell some wacky joke that misfires but still warms the heart and makes me think, “What a fucktard you are, you waste of space!”

        • Kodie

          He’s trying to win souls for Jesus by getting chummy. He thinks he’s succeeding. He knows fuck-all about the bible, Christianity, etc. He thinks someone is going to like him for knowing pop culture and think, I like that guy, I’ll listen to him, maybe there is something to this Jesus story after all, since someone who quotes movies at inappropriate times and doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking might know what he’s talking about!

          It’s a pathetic tactic, and I wish he would just get it through his skull. He’s so dumb, I don’t think anyone is dumber. Most dumb Christians at least know their talking points inside and out and don’t try to insist they’re popular around here when clearly no one likes Greg, and nobody gets a valuable discussion from Greg. If someone needs to take out their daily aggressions in a safe way, come here, punch the living shit out of Greg. I don’t find it even amusing at all anymore.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i think i’ve begun to recognize that sort of heart-warming in recent years – kind of “dammit, i’ve been eating too much [insert arteriosclerotic agent here]”, except there’s really nothing tasty about Greg.

        • Kodie

          Greg’s just using another tactic he fails at – being cool, popular, just like you only Christian. He doesn’t have any arguments, so he tries to appeal through illustrating biblical teachings through pop cultural references, like a youth pastor might. Nothing heart-warming about Greg. I might need a new set of eyeballs eventually, for all the wear rolling them has had, but my heart is the same temperature as always.

        • Kodie

          Greg, you’re a fucking idiot. You know, some people are capable of taking a look around, like Tobias, and getting an idea, such as, you’ve been incapable of taking any fucking pointers and learning a fucking goddamned thing. We’re not learning anything from you, since you’re always wrong, and refuse to admit when you’re fucking WRONG. What can anyone say to you at this point? YOU”RE A FUCKING TROLL. I don’t know how you imagine these discussions are going for everyone here, but since you can’t fucking get a clue, at least Tobias has a clue – you’re a troll. You’re full of nonsense and time-wasting bullshit, with no substance. You suck all the potential substance out of every fucking topic. You don’t even have any relevance as a Christian, discussion-wise. There is no response to you. You’re a vapid, dumb shit who doesn’t seem to have a single social skill to validate his presence anywhere.

          Take a fucking hint – you suck. Everyone can see that you suck, and you don’t take any idea to improve yourself or just fucking go.

        • MNb

          “We’re not learning anything from you”
          I learned from Greg that stupidity can be bottomless.

        • Kodie

          I knew that already.

        • adam

          Greg shitteth at the right hand of power.

          FTFY

        • Better. I appreciate that.

        • adam

          “I helped him with, well you get the idea.”

          Yeah, I think I do

        • knowing you adam, you definitely don’t know

        • adam

          knowing you Greg, you would definitely LIE…

        • 90Lew90

          Your little black dress?

        • no, Moses’ sneakers

        • MNb

          with sharpening his pencils?

        • Yeah, I bet meeting you was the highlight of his year.

        • 90Lew90

          “I more astute in the area of politics than I care to admit.”

          “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”

        • fish? politics is for the birds.

        • Donalbain

          “The central question that emerges-and it is not
          a parliamentary question or a question that is
          answered by merely consulting a catalogue of the
          rights of American citizens, born Equal-is whether
          the White community in the South is entitled to take
          such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically
          and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate
          numerically? The sobering answer is Yes
          -the White community is so entitled ”

          How fascinating that you BOAST about knowing such a vile racist piece of shit as Buckley.

    • Adorable! Sometimes I just want to pinch your cheek.

      Also naive. And dangerous. Not the ideas that should be in the head of an adult who votes.

      You should be able to rank the health (or greatness) of a country based on how Christian they are. Have you produced such a chart?

    • XCellKen

      How would you know if Obama has been praying? Been peeping in his bedroom window again ?

      • Deven Kale

        Doesn’t matter how often he prays, cuz he’s a Muslim. /s

        • XCellKen

          A KENYAN Muslim !!!

        • I think “Kenyan Muslim reptoid” is the official category.

  • XCellKen

    I’m new to this blog. I’m assuming Greg is the Right Wing troll here? Albeit a friendly one ?

    • Kodie

      Greg isn’t friendly.

    • He’s a Catholic doofus who claims to be a lawyer (though his explanation of legal issues is below average).

      Not to be confused with Greg G., another commenter who’s away from his desk for a bit but is very knowledgeable and contributes quite a bit to the conversation. By contrast, Greg doesn’t contribute.

    • MNb

      In addition to Kodie underneath: Greg pretends to be friendly, but behind his politeness he’s a bigger SoB than many a misbehaving troll.

  • Aram

    I think we all need to stop responding to Greg, seriously. Whether he’s truly so delusional or just an overly dedicated lonely troll, the comment sections on here have been reduced to a farce of discussion for far too long.
    My two cents.

    • MNb

      My one cent (a Surinamese one, so nearly worthless) is that I think him very funny very often. So sorry, I won’t join you. However you may ask BobS to ban him. His standard is very high (or very low, if you prefer that point of view), but he has banned some very few commenters before. “By contrast, Greg doesn’t contribute” underneath is promising for such an endeavour.

      • Aram

        I don’t suggest banning him, and if you get a kick out of his comments then go to town. It’s just I for one can only enjoy laughing at the village idiot for so long before it gets redundant. But far be it from me to hamper your fun.
        Carry on.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think Greg’s stupidity very funny, I don’t find when he tries to “lighten it up a bit” and evade the subject by clumsily repeating some line from a movie funny – it’s painful, and I don’t find his inability to respond funnier either. I no longer find it fun and much more of a chore to even make fun of him and insult him, even when there is a good reason to do so. He’s a worthless poster and possibly worthless human. Sometimes, he goes away for a while, but someone keeps reviving him by bumping old posts and responding to them.

  • 178th in infant mortality – what?

  • I’m not convinced that the nostalgia (following the rant) in the video clip is justified.

    • Fair enough, but I like it. The point IMO is that instead of just saying, “You think America is great? Well actually, it sucks!” he wants to point to what he’d like to see more of, times when America was undeniably great.

      You could argue that the points aren’t well grounded, but from the standpoint of making a compelling speech, I think it works.

      • times when America was undeniably great.

        “Undeniably” seems to be assuming the conclusion.

        from the standpoint of making a compelling speech, I think it works.

        Well sure. I’m just asking if that part of the speech was true.

        Honestly, I am asking. I was kind of hoping someone would say, “look, here’s why it was justified,” and give some references. OTOH, history was one of my weaker subjects, and that would probably be an enormous series of discussions…

        • “Undeniably” seems to be assuming the conclusion.

          My conclusion is that America is not so great now.

          Honestly, I am asking. I was kind of hoping someone would say, “look, here’s why it was justified,” and give some references.

          IMO, this isn’t something that can be handled 100% objectively. It’s like today—the religious right sees America going to hell, while the left sees a focus on SSM and immigrant rights as a great thing.

          America in the past was a lot more racist, for example, so it wasn’t like it was Paradise. But in terms of big projects (Hoover Dam, Empire State Building, Golden Gate bridge—all projects from the 30s), the focus is now on the nouveau riche countries like China and Dubai.

  • 90Lew90

    Opal Covey for President!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji9JesT0Kuw
    Bad things will happen…!

  • voxvot

    Bob, bob, bob….that speech is total nonsense. It simply gives a list of criteria,, applies them to ONE nation, America, and then decides that America is not the best country in the world (and I’m not American), and decides that graded against EVERY country in the WORLD, America cannot be said to be dominant in every criteria…no, really?

    Cuba outscores America on literacy, do you really think that makes a dictatorship a better country than America? I have been to Cuba, you literally cannot buy tampons or toilet paper in that country.

    America may not be dominant in every sphere but it’s greatness lies not in full spectrum dominance, but rather in that fact that it is not catastrophically deficient in any area.

    The inflow of migrants from the whole world is the greatest testament to America,s greatness, remember, I said greatness not perfection. I’m not, as I’ve said, an American, but the world would be a far worse place without you guys, and I mean that more seriously than anything I’ve said about God.