You already know the basic story: Republicans didn’t let Georgetown student Sandra Fluke testify at their committee hearing on religious liberty vs. reproductive rights, resulting in that famous all-men-at-the-table photo.
So Democrats held their own hearing where Fluke did testify. Rush Limbaugh responded by attacking her for several days as a “slut” and a “prostitute” and suggesting that she post sex videos on the Internet.
She’s having sex so frequently that she can’t afford all the birth-control pills that she needs. That’s what she’s saying.
When the producer asked: “What do you make of Rush Limbaugh’s comments?” I said that his choice of words was crude but that I certainly understood and sympathized with the point he was making.
I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.
So Rush and everybody else on the Right agrees that “slut” is an over-reaction to Fluke’s testimony, but they stand by “the point he was making”.
You’ve probably heard all that. But this point isn’t getting nearly enough attention: Rush’s attack on Fluke was fundamentally false from end to end. She was not talking about her sex life. She was not asking for a government subsidy. (Georgetown’s health plan is paid for by the students.) She was exposing the negative impact of Georgetown’s policy on the health of its female students.
This controversy isn’t about using bad words, it’s about telling vicious lies to silence an opponent’s legitimate point. Rush has not apologized for that or even admitted doing it. That’s what the conservative media is defending and Republican politicians won’t denounce.
Watch Fluke’s opening statement and see if you can find any connection between what she said and what Limbaugh said about her.
Rick Santorum’s recent attack on JFK was not only inaccurate and politically odd (how does dissing the first Catholic president rally the Catholic votes Santorum needs?), it was yet another example of the fuzzy thinking that surrounds the corporate personhood issue. Santorum seems unable to distinguish religious institutions from religious people.
Here’s what Kennedy said in his famous 1960 campaign speech to a conference of Baptist ministers:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote
In other words, the Church and the State are separate institutions. Having authority in one does not give you authority in the other.
But this is how Santorum explained why reading Kennedy’s speech makes him “want to throw up”:
To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live in that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?
In other words, he interprets Kennedy’s words to mean that the Church and the State must consist of different people; if you’re active in the Church you must be passive in the State, and vice versa.
But the conflict that nauseates Santorum goes away once you understand that institutions are not people. Individuals can be active in both religion and in politics, and we can still maintain Jefferson’s “wall of separation” between the institution of the Church and the institution of the State.
The Santorums reinforce all the worst stereotypes about homeschooling parents. But they aren’t all like that, as this first-person account by Stumblegoat makes clear.
Things everybody should understand about the price of gas:
- America may have plenty of untapped natural gas and coal, but that’s not going to do you any good if your car runs on gasoline.
- The price of gasoline depends on the price of oil.
- Oil is a world market.
- Gas prices were low when Obama became president because a worldwide recession had depressed demand.
- New oil production in America will change the world price of oil exactly as much (or as little) as new production in Nigeria or Kuwait or anyplace else.
- American oil production has gone up since Obama took office, reversing a long-term downward trend.
- No conceivable increase in American oil production will make a sizable dent in the world market.
- Anything that took Iran’s oil off the market (like a war) would make oil prices skyrocket.
Therefore: “Drill, baby, drill” is not an answer to the high price of gas, but reaching some kind of peaceful settlement with Iran would help.
Derek Thompson reviews a lot of reasons, but finally comes around to the one that makes sense to me: We don’t live in a long-term-planning world any more. The whole idea of a 30-year mortgage sounds absurd in an era where nobody has the faintest idea what their life will be like in ten years.
Kevin Drum has an interesting graph. If you break the federal budget up into Medicare, Social Security, and Everything Else, then graph it as a percentage of GDP, Everything Else is lower than it was 50 years ago and is still decreasing. Remember that the next time somebody starts talking about “out-of-control government spending”.
We don’t have a generalized spending problem. We’ve got an aging population and healthcare costs that are increasing too fast. Solve that and everything else falls into place.
The traditional theory said that the poor were less ethical than the rich. In “My Fair Lady“, Pickering asks Eliza’s father “Have you no morals, man?” and Mr. Doolittle replies: “No, no, I can’t afford ’em, gov’ner. Neither could you if you was as poor as me.”
“Occupying privileged positions in society has this natural psychological effect of insulating you from others,” said psychologist Paul Piff of the University of California, Berkeley. “You’re less likely to perceive the impact your behavior has on others. As a result, at least in this paper, you’re more likely to break the rules.”