Santorum’s Nazi problem

When Dana Milbank decides to get serious (not that he has to lose his sense of humor in the process), he’s actually quite worth reading.  Here’s the heart of an excellent takedown of Rick Santorum and his absurdly simplistic worldview:

In explaining why his remark over the weekend wasn’t linking Obama to Hitler, Santorum said that “the World War II metaphor is one I’ve used a hundred times.” This is not an exaggeration — and that’s Santorum’s problem.

Nazi comparisons are the most extreme form of political speech; once one ties his political opponents to the most deplorable chapter in human history, all reasoned argument ceases.

Yet this is where Santorum exists, in a place of binary extremes of good and evil, where his political foe isn’t just wrong but adheres to a “phony theology” not found in the Bible. His frequent tendency to go from zero to Nazi over ordinary political disagreements is typical of the emotional appeal he has to conservative primary voters, but it also shows why he’s outside the bounds major political parties have applied to their past presidential nominees…

The problem is Santorum is such a stranger to democratic give-and-take that he thinks it’s okay to label everybody else as Nazis.

The good news is that while this inane and absurdly over-the-top approach may work with Republican primary voters, there’s every reason to believe it makes him a horrible general election candidate.

Alcohol doesn’t kill brain cells

Well, at least not many.  My 12-year old son, David, is fascinated by alcohol on an entirely intellectual level.  He just cannot understand why anybody would want to intentionally consume something that impairs cognitive function and is literally poison, in high doses.  Not to mention that whole “alchohol kills brain cells” thing.  So, oddly enough, I realized that I don’t actually know the real story on this question and its pretty obvious that you can have a lot of alcohol (and yes, I’m thinking of some friends of mine here) and have your brain be seemingly none the worse for wear.  Thanks to the internet, the answer to this was ready at hand.  It’s basically a myth that alcohol kills brain cells:

But are a few drinks on the weekend, or even the occasional long drinking session, enough to kill brain cells? What about binge drinking or the frequent, sustained drinking of alcoholics?

Not so much. Even in alcoholics, alcohol use doesn’t actually result in the death of brain cells. It can, however, damage the ends of neurons, which are called dendrites. This results in problems conveying messages between the neurons. The cell itself isn’t damaged, but the way that it communicates with others is altered. According to researchers such as Roberta J. Pentney, professor of anatomy and cell biology at the University at Buffalo, this damage is mostly reversible.

Alright then, drink up!

Photo of the day

Post had a story about wildlife photographers increasingly trying to use their photographic efforts for conservation.  This image was my favorite from the accompanying gallery:

Photograph by Brian Skerry of an Oceanic whitetip shark, the Bahamas, 2005.

Brian Skerry / National Geographic


Communist, feminist, lesbian girl scouts, oh my!

Here’s the thing, I’m plenty sure there are Democrats who believe/say things as absolutely idiotic as this Republican state legislator in Indiana. However, idiots like this don’t actually seem to get elected to office when they are Democrats.  Meanwhile, Republicans seem to think that crackpots like this are public servant material if they say “big government is bad, boogedy, boogedy!”  enough:

An Indiana lawmaker has decided not to support a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts because he feels the group is a “radicalized organization” that “sexualizes” young girls and promotes homosexuality.

In a letter sent to Indiana lawmakers obtained by theJournal Gazette, Rep. Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne)said he plans to pull his two daughters out of their Indiana Girl Scout troop because information he found online about how the organization allegedly operates. One source he mentions is conservative “news” site World Net Daily.

The Associated Press reports:

… Morris said he found online allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, encourage sex and allow transgender females to join. He also wrote that the fact that first lady Michelle Obama is honorary president should give lawmakers pause before they endorse the Girl Scouts.

Morris goes on to say those considered role models by the Girl Scouts are all “feminists, lesbians, or Communists”

The dead horse

Yeah, it’s beating a dead horse, but as long as Republicans are going to keep insisting on living in the fantasyland where the stimulus made things worse, it is a horse worth beating.  Via Ezra:

The latest Chicago Booth poll of economists focuses on the 2009 stimulus. The first question asked whether the stimulus increased employment by the end of 2010. Eighty percent of the polled economists agreed. Four percent disagreed. Two percent were uncertain.

The second question asked whether, over the long run, the benefits would outweigh the long-term costs (like paying down the extra debt). Forty-six percent agreed. Twelve percent disagreed. Twenty-seven percent were uncertain.

The remainder in each case came from economists who didn’t answer the question.

The stimulus worked.  Just deal.

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