Rand Paul is stupid

I’ve said it before, I’ll surely say it again, you don’t have to be the least bit intelligent to be  US Senator (or an opthamologist, apparently).  Via Steve Benen:

A Senate subcommittee held a hearing this week on funding the existing Older Americans Act, including a $2 billion investment to prevent senior hunger. The panel, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), explored how the government can actually save money through these investments.

It’s really not that complicated. By spending money to prevent hunger and malnutrition among the elderly, Americans can save on health care and nursing home costs.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), labeled “America’s Dumbest Senator” by some, was flabbergasted. “It’s curious that only in Washington can you spend $2 billion and claim that you’re saving money,” he said. “The idea or notion that spending money in Washington somehow is saving money really flies past most of the taxpayers.”

The video of the exchange is well worth watching. (via Oliver Willis)

I think Sanders and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) made this pretty clear, but I’m nevertheless fascinated by the ways in which the right is completely unfamiliar with notion of “penny wise, pound foolish.”

Agreed.  It really is amazing that Republicans talk so much about how spending money is horrible they seem to have completely over-dosed on their own Kool-aid and are unable to recognize the very basic principle of investing in the short-term to save in the long-term.  As Howard Dean would say, Yaaaarggghhhh!!

Tea party and gay marriage

You know you are a liberal when… your facebook feed is 90% filled up by positive commentary on NY’s gay marriage law.  Am I wrong for not being excited?  All well and good, but part of me doesn’t like how this issue has become almost the sine qua non of liberalism when there are so many issues that strike me as more important.  Nonetheless, important step for equality, etc., yeah, I get all that.

Second point– not to suggest that a single photo is proof of anything, but really, nobody should be doubting that “The Tea Party” is anything other than intense, very conservative Republicans.  That’s it.  It’s not some broader populist movement, it’s certainly not libertarian, and it’s sure not bipartisan.  The fact that The Tea Party is out protesting the gay marriage vote tells you what you need to know about the Tea Party, i.e., it’s really just conservative Republicans.


Deadly animals

This is pretty cool– a Smithsonian magazine feature on the 10 deadliest animals of our evolutionary history.  #1: Lions, tigers, and leopards.  As the article says,

If you live in a developed country, odds are you are going to die of a heart attack, stroke, cancer or an accident. But it was not always this way. For most of our evolutionary history as primates, one of the most common causes of death, perhaps the most common cause, was, well, being eaten.

Reminds of two excellent books on the topic: Monster of God by David Quammen profiles four species which still kill humans more than you’d think.  Quammen focuses on these remaining man-eating, desperately-endangered, alpha predators left in the wild: the lions of India, crocodiles of Australia, Carpathian Bears of Romania, and the Siberian Tiger of Russia.  It’s great stuff.

Also, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War by Barbara Ehrenreich.  Ehrenreich presents a compelling thesis that humans’ tendency towards war and ritualized violence developed from early humans, biological and cultural evolutionary responses to predation.  Ehrenreich firmly rejects the now discounted “man the hunter” hypothesis and argues that much of human culture is explained by humans difficult transition from prey animal to predator.  Great stuff.

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