Donald Trump

One Furious Scientist’s Blistering Response To An Ignorant Anti-Vaccination Meme

Addicting Info

The anti-vaccination movement, like climate-change denial, pitches opinion and folksy anecdotes against peer-reviewed science as if it were a fair fight. When a scientist came across this ridiculous anti-vaxxer meme on the internet, s/he couldn’t help but let rip with this awesome response.

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The only element of this argument I would dispute is ‘mum-led’, which smacks of sexism. This author has certainly seen a pretty even gender balance in the anti-vaccination movement, and across class and race too. The wave of anti-vaccination celebrities from Jim Carrey to Donald Trump is also un-nerving, given their public profile and ability to sway a mass audience.

While the sheer lunacy of the arguments put forth by anti-vaxxers might raise a laugh, the consequences are deadly serious. As the Washington Post reports:

Infectious diseases that we normally think of as rare in the United States are making a comeback. In recent years, pertussis — also known as whooping cough — has returned to the headlines. A measles outbreak that struck a Texas megachurch community late last summer sickened 21 people. And just recently, at least 16 people got sick during a measles outbreak in Ohio. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported 13 measles outbreaks so far in 2014 — the most since 1996.

That’s not to mention the rapidly escalating measles outbreak in Disneyland.

How did we get here?

In 1998, a rogue scientist named Andrew Wakefield released a paper which he claimed connected the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. No other scientist was ever able to match Wakefield’s findings, and in the coming years, it became known that Wakefield had a financial conflict of interest. In 2010, an ethics review board found that he had falsified the data in his report, causing an immediate retraction of his original paper and revocation of his medical license.

But the damage was done.  If Wakefield’s paper hadn’t been published by a respected medical journal such as The Lancet (which was in financial dire straits at the time and made an economic rather than scientific decision to publish) it would never have gained such legitimacy; a legitimacy which allowed mainstream media outlets to run a fear campaign against the vaccine from which we have not recovered.

The mass opposition to the paper’s findings by the scientific community was spun to make Wakefield appear the ‘Lone Truther’, versus the sinister cabal of mad scientists.

It is little wonder that anxious parents the world over are having their heads turned.  This level of noise from public figures and institutions which should know better could hardly be expected to go without consequence.  But at some point, we have to stop flapping along with careerist chicken-licken types, and make our own calm, informed choices.  It is this simple:

Refusing to vaccinate your child places them and others at risk of deadly, life-altering and entirely avoidable diseases.  Please don’t do that to them, or us.

Help us get the word out!

John Oliver presents: The enduring influence of Ayn Rand, ‘selfish *sshole’

Ayn Rand via Last Week Tonight (YouTube)

The Raw Story

On HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver presented an informational segment on the enduring influence of libertarian writer Ayn Rand on politicians and captains of industry, asking, ‘Ayn Rand: How is she still a thing?”

Noting that Rand is popular with conservatives, despite the inability by many of them to pronounce her name correctly, the narrator explains that Rand became famous for her philosophy of objectivism, “which is a nice way of saying, ‘being a selfish asshole’.”

Rand is shown in interview saying, “Why is it good to want others to be happy? You can make others happy and when and if those others mean something to you selfishly.”

Rand is noted for her two novels, Atlas Shrugged and The Foutainhead, “Stories about rapey heroes complaining about how no one appreciates their true genius.”

“Ayn Rand has always been popular with teenagers,” we are informed. “But she is supposed to be something you grow out of, like ska music or handjobs.”

The segment notes that Rand is still popular with “a certain type of adult,” using tech billionaire Mark Cuban as an example, pointing out Cuban’s “287-foot yacht is named ‘Fountainhead,’ because sometimes having a 287-foot yacht just isn’t enough to warn people you’re a douchebag.”

Partucular attention is paid to Rand’s popularity with conservative politicians and commentators such as former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and TV host Glenn Beck, noting that her views on subjects near and dear to conservative hearts — such as abortion, atheism, and love of Ronald Reagan — are in direct conflict with mainstream conservative thinking.

The segment concludes by wondering why people still love Rand when there are so many “other advocates for selfishness they could choose, like Donald Trump, or Drake, and basically anyone on Bravo.”

Watch the video below, via Crooks & Liars:

http://embed.crooksandliars.com/embed/8z054InY

Obama, Killer Comedian

President Obama at a previous WH Correspondant’s Dinner | AFP/Getty

I am so looking forward to watching tonight’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner on TV just to see the POTUS’ jokes.  In my opinion it’s the highlight of the program.

The Daily Beast

This president is the most effective of them all at using humor to destroy his enemies. Expect him to do it again on Saturday.

This Saturday night, President Obama will kill! Kill with comedy, that is, at this year’s annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Simply put: Obama is the greatest president ever in terms of using comedy. I can already hear the (faux) outrage to my comment from the right, but objectively speaking, Obama has truly redefined the way presidents use comedy.

For starters, Obama has handled the WHCD far differently than past presidents. Typically, they would offer self-deprecating jokes, such as Ronald Reagan mocking his own age and Bill Clinton poking fun at himself for being “chunky.”

And George W. Bush, a man who should be inducted to the Comedy Hall of Fame for all the material he gave comedians, even stood side by side with a Bush impersonator at the 2006 WHCD where Bush mocked his struggles to speak English and for being intellectually challenged.

Obama has changed that. True, at the WHCDs in 2009 and 2010 he gave us the traditional fare of self-deprecating jokes and playfully mocking others, such as this quip: “In the next hundred days, I will learn to go off the prompter and Joe Biden will learn to stay on the prompter.”

But then in 2011 he weaponized comedy, slicing and dicing his political rivals in the same way a comedian deals with a heckler. Let’s call this WHCD Smackdown I. I can tell you from firsthand experience that there’s nothing more effective—and satisfying—than causing a room full of people to laugh at your opponents or their views.  Sure it’s comedy, but the barbs have messages embedded in them.

For example at the 2011 dinner, Obama mocked Michele Bachmann, a leader of the birther movement, with the joke: “Michele Bachmann is here, though, I understand, and she is thinking about running for president, which is weird because I hear she was born in Canada…Yes, Michele, this is how it starts.” The joke’s goal is not only entertain, but to point out Bachmann’s propensity to simply make crap up and claim it’s real.There’s nothing more effective—and satisfying—than causing a room full of people to laugh at your opponents or their views.

While Obama also skewered others that night, “Paul Ryan couldn’t be here tonight. His budget has no room for laughter,” he saved his biggest barrage for Donald Trump. This was a short time after Obama released his birth certificate and when Trump was feigning a run for president.

After mocking “The Donald’s” birther obsession, Obama moved on to Trump’s “qualifications” to be president: “We all know about your credentials and breadth of experience…in an episode ofCelebrity Apprentice…you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.”

Since the 2012 WHCD was held in the midst of the presidential campaign, Obama’s jokes were more playful and at his own expense.

But in 2013, Obama was fresh off his re-election victory and we saw “Smackdown II.” Obama had some great zingers at the expense of Ted Cruz, Fox News, and theGOP’s efforts to reach out to minorities.

Obama gave Mitch McConnell the comedic equivalent of a body slam with this line: “Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress. ‘Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?’ they ask. Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?!” Laughs and thunderous applause followed.

He even took aim at billionaire Sheldon Adelson: “Did you know that Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million of his own money last year on negative ads? You’ve got to really dislike me to spend that kind of money…You could buy an island and call it “Nobama” for that kind of money.”

Obama’s unique use of comedy, however, is not limited to the WHCDs. He has also utilized comedy programs in a way that we never saw before. Sure, presidential candidates have appeared on late-night shows, but Obama did more. He continued as a sitting president to use comedic shows as a way to reach people who might never listen to a political speech.

For example, during the 2012 campaign he dropped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to “slow-jam the news” on the issue of student loans, which was a perfect match for Fallon’s young audience.

He also went on the Tonight Show and recently appeared on Funny or Die’sBetween Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis to talk Obamacare as the sign up deadline was approaching. (I’ve appeared at many colleges in the last two months for events and I’ve often asked students how many had watched the Between Two Ferns video? About two-thirds responded, “yes.” But when I asked, “How many would’ve watched Obama give a speech about Obamacare?” only about two or three people raised their hand.)

At this Saturday’s night WHCD, expect to see “Smackdown III.”  We will see Obama strategically and comically emasculate his political rivals.  I’d also predict some jokes about Obama’s success reaching the Affordable Care Act’s sign-up goals and ridiculing Republicans in Congress for doing nothing this year other than standing up for a rancher who refused to pay grazing fees.

The presidential candidates thinking of running in 2016 might want to take notes Saturday night. You better learn how to tell more than speeches—you better know how to deliver some cutting one-liners if you ever want to play the big room.

Donald Trump Finds His Calling as Final Judge on Stupidity

Frankly, I totally enjoy watching Donald Trump expose his ignorance…

Mediaite

During the March 26th edition of Fox’s On the RecordDonald Trump called PresidentObama’s comments about concerns over a nuke in Manhattan “absolutely the dumbest — I guess I have to say one– but maybe I can say the single dumbest statement I have ever heard a president make.”

Of course, The Donald had probably just returned from his high-rise laboratory where he gauges stupidity based on the rate at which his fingers gravitate toward Greta Van Susteren’s contact information. Sigh, it’s hard to argue with science.

But let’s give it the old college try. Here are some presidential quotes that out-dumb President Obama’s attempt to articulate his genuine fears concerning homeland security:

  • “The crotch, down where your nuts hang, is always a little too tight.” – Lyndon Johnson in a White House recording.
  • “I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat anymore broccoli.” – George H. W. Bush, begging SNL‘s Dana Carvey to combine his talents.
  • “That depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” – Bill Clinton role-playing as Descartes before the Grand Jury.

Of course, dumb comments aren’t just silly, as Trump implies. How about quotes with grave and aloof implications:

  • “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” – George W. Bush to FEMA administrator Michael D. Brown.
  • “Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.” – Herbert Hoover in an address to the Nebraska Republican congress.
  • “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” – Richard Nixon in a 1977 interview with David Frost.

Now, Trump made no distinction between countries either, saying “I don’t mean just the president of this country.” There really only needs to be one example here (with apologies to Chávez and Putin):

  • “I am still the Hitler of the time.” – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at a state funeral.

Hmmm, let’s finish off this experiment with American business moguls, shall we? Ah, what luck, we only need one for this too:

  • “I have been right about almost everything.” – Donald Trump on the March 26th edition of Fox’s On the Record.

Birther Movement Capitalizes On Loretta Fuddy’s Tragic Death

birther movement loretta fuddy

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Well, we can’t say we didn’t see this coming…

The Huffington Post

As the Obama family is likely packing for their annual vacation to Hawaii, the birther movement is pouncing on yet another conspiracy theory about the President’s Hawaii birth certificate.

On Wednesday afternoon, Loretta Fuddy, the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, died in a small, commercial plane crash off the coast of the Hawaiian island Molokai. Fuddy, who had been director of Hawaii’s health department since March 2011, was the official who verified and approved the release of President Obama’s birth certificate. Fuddy said then that the records “further prove the fact that he was born in Hawaii.

Early reports indicate that the plane, a 2002 Cessna Grand Caravan, sufferedcatastrophic engine failure. The other eight passengers on board were rescued. According to Rev. Patrick Killilea who met with the survivors, Fuddy was wearing her life jacket in the water and was holding hands with deputy director Keith Yamamoto when she let go.

Tweets, comments, and web posts from the birther movement quickly insinuated that the tragedy was no accident. Some implied that the White House was “tying up loose ends,” while others commented “that anyone with any connection to Obama or his background has a tendency to have a ‘shortened’ life span.”

And, of course, Donald Trump weighed in:

Despite the media whirlwind around the birther conspiracies, Fuddy’s life and numerous successes are being celebrated.

Just yesterday, a report published by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention, confirmed that Hawaii is the country’s healthiest state.

According to Hawaii House Speaker Joe Souki, Fuddy, 65, “was especially passionate about the most vulnerable in our communities, a champion for mothers, newborns, and early childhood care. Her warm, caring spirit for the people of Hawaii will truly be missed.”

“Our hearts are broken,” Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. “Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated, and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience.”

In August, Fuddy told Honolulu’s Midweek magazine, “I’m a child of the ’60s, the Kennedy era of ‘ask what you can do for your country’ public service and Catholic values.”

Friday Blog Roundup – 9-20-2013

John McCain takes on Putin

Late Night: Is the Pope Catholic?

Why do Republicans hate children?

Ted Cruz unmasks his own confidence game

13 Wounded as Gunmen Open Fire in Chicago Park

Obama hits the road as House Republicans vote in budget battle

Fox Panelists Agree: Successful Anti-Poverty Programs Are Useless

2014 election campaign is underway in battle for control of Congress

Putin: Gays face no discrimination in Russia, are depopulating Europe

Chris Hayes: ‘I cannot find one Republican who has anything constructive to say’

Week in one-liners: FLOTUS, Carney, Paul

I haven’t published this Politico feature in a while.  This particular one was from Friday 8-16-2013…

Michelle Obama, Jay Carney and Donald Trump are shown in a composite. | AP Photos

Politico

The top quotes in politics…

“I’m in this business to win.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reassuring Republican leaders.

“Reporting for #juryduty.” — Arizona Sen. John McCain tweeting about his afternoon in Maricopa County Superior Court.

“I think I’m too famous.” — Rush Limbaugh brushing off suggestions that he should moderate a presidential debate.

“Why does that make me not serious?” — Donald Trump defending his ongoing skepticism about the president’s birth certificate.

“I love an endorsement by Sarah Palin, what’s not to love?” — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paultouting support for “Team Rand” from the former Alaska governor.

“I want to be this really fly 80-, 90-year old.” — First Lady Michelle Obama dishing on her upcoming birthday.

“I’m kind of busy right now.” — “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson shutting down talks of a congressional run.

“Can you teach me how to do the Jackal?” — White House Press Secretary Jay Carneywelcoming West Wing star Allison Janney to Twitter.

 

Peggy Noonan: Obama Should Endorse Rodeo Clowns, Because Obamacare

The madness continues…

Mediaite

Peggy Noonan’s latest column is a peanut butter cup of concern-trolling. Noonan layers a critique of Obamacare—fair!—within a strange call for President Barack Obama to defend those involved in the Missouri State Fair rodeo clown snafu, to demonstrate his tolerance for taking criticism on things like health care. Unlike a peanut butter cup, this does not work.

Suggesting that Obamacare was “part of why people wind up making fun of the president at state fairs,” Noonan counseled:

“Let me suggest a classy Obama move that might go over well. From his Vineyard vacation spot he should have the press office issue a release saying his reaction to finding out a rodeo clown was rudely spoofing him, was, ‘So what?’ Say he loves free speech, including inevitably derision directed at him, and he does not wish for the Missouri state fair to fire the guy, and hopes those politicians (unctuously, excessively, embarrassingly) damning the clown and the crowd would pipe down and relax. This would be graceful and nice, wouldn’t it?”

“Unctuously, excessively, embarrassingly” doth protest too much. Two politicians have condemned the rodeo clown, Claire McCaskill, and a state GOP official who said “We’re better than this.” Both of them did it in under 140 characters, or less than the length it took Noonan to melodramatically deride them.

“[Obama] would never do it,” Noonan bemoaned. “He gives every sign of being a person who really believes he shouldn’t be made fun of, and if he is it’s probably racially toned, because why else would you make fun of him?”

Yes, why else would you mock him? Noonan was on the Sunday talky shows last weekend, so she may have missed Donald Trump digging up birtherism’s corpse and swinging it at a hapless Jon Karl, suggesting that five years into Obama’s presidency his nationality should still be suspect because…well, Trump doesn’t feel the need to state the reason. Who’s filling in the blanks here?

At least one fellow scribe saw a problem with Noonan’s advice:

Marbles, indeed. We actually got a press conference from the president last week*, and its main takeaway, since nobody really gives a Clapper about surveillance, is that the president is quite confident in Obamacare the Affordable Care Act, to the point of daring the GOP to run against it. Obama has no problem with taking criticism; he’s inviting it. The rodeo’s happening around him.

* More of those, please.

Real the full article HERE.

Wednesday Blog Roundup – 8-14-2013

Egypt Is Erupting Again

Booker Wins Primary Easily

Who vacationed more, Bush or Obama?

Doctors Without Borders Pulls out of Somalia

Poll: Christie, Clinton hot; Congressional leaders not

The real story of Jesse Owens and the 1936 Nazi Olympics

Russia may be 1st Olympic host to ever threaten to jail Olympians

Why Cory Booker is set to become the highest-profile Democratic senator

 Hillary Clinton calls for restoration of voter rights suppressed by Supreme Court’s Shelby decision

Donald Trump, Other Birthers Totally Peachy With Canadian Anchor Baby Ted Cruz To President Us

 

Donald Trump’s Awful Tweet About Sexual Assault In The Military

Donald Trump is as ignorant as he looks…

The Huffington Post

Donald Trump

On Tuesday, the Pentagon released a report about the rampant sexual assault taking place within the United States military. The figures the report laid out were shocking to read. From the Associated Press:

The Pentagon report says that the number of sexual assaults reported by members of the military rose from 3,192 to 3,374 in 2012, while the department estimates that as many as 26,000 service members were assaulted, based on anonymous surveys, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the report.

Politicians from President Obama on down condemned the findings. For noted military theorist Donald Trump, however, the study sent a different message:

It’s quite the classy response! Is Trump saying that men are all prone to rape? Or that women shouldn’t be allowed in the military because they’ll inevitably be assaulted? This seems like a very dark view of the world. Trump has threatened to run for president in the past, but it’s possible that he just lost the women’s vote. And men’s. And military families. And everyone, everywhere.