May 07, 2014
Consensus Watch – 05/07/2014
An ongoing series dedicated to vigorously monitoring emerging threats to The Consensus that global warming is real, caused by humans, and must be addressed at all costs. Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data.
Yesterday was a good day for The Consensus. The White House launched a new strategy for furthering its global warming agenda. Gone are the days of trying to foment hysteria by reciting dry data about the ways the planet will be affected by climate change. From now on, they are going to try to foment hysteria by reciting the ways in which you will be personally affected by climate change.
We can only speak for ourselves, but we appreciate this more individualized approach to scaremongering. It sends the message, “We care.”
As part of this effort, they created a splashy new web site that seems to take into account the effect federal “Common Core” educational standards are going to have on the population’s reading comprehension skills.
For example, they conveniently sum up each section with a “key message,” just in case you have difficulty, as many of us do, deciphering simple, short, declarative sentences:
Key Message: Stressed Infrastructure
Infrastructure will be increasingly compromised by climate-related hazards, including sea level rise, coastal flooding, and intense precipitation events.
Frankly, we are concerned that they are unnecessarily complicating the message. More in the spirit of this document might be:
Key Message: Global warming bad.
Global warming bad bad bad.
Incidentally, we are heartened to note that it looks like the people proofreading the site have already gone through Common Core:
Among the other claims are:
Key Message: Climate Risks to People
Heat waves, coastal flooding, and river flooding will pose a growing challenge to the region’s environmental, social, and economic systems. This will increase the vulnerability of the region’s residents, especially its most disadvantaged populations.
This point can’t be stressed enough: It is our most disadvantaged populations that will find themselves at a disadvantage. It’s just one of the many disadvantages of being disadvantaged.
Well, unless, you are a member of a “native community,” in which case you are probably okay given your “deep cultural history of adapting to change.”
Key Message: Native Communities
The cumulative effects of climate change in Alaska strongly affect Native communities, which are highly vulnerable to these rapid changes but have a deep cultural history of adapting to change.
Which, it should be emphasized, is not at all patronizing stereotyping. It would only be patronizing stereotyping if you said it.
Regardless, the web site is more than just shout outs to Democratic constituency groups. It also contains supporting data.
Take this chart, for example. Look at those projections! Wow! Even the lower of the two data sets suggests that temperatures are set to soar! It makes us want to go out and personally dismantle a coal plant with our bare hands.
Okay, sure, if you look really, really closely at the actual observational data as charted by the green line, the last 15+ years have experienced absolutely no warming whatsoever.
But that is probably all part of an effort to improve temperature projection qualitify.
No doubt, while this is all good news for The Consensus, challenges remain. Efforts to try to convince people that they are facing imminent peril from increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels, disappearing polar sea ice and more frequent extreme weather events, will continue to be complicated by the fact that none of these things are true.
But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is, it’s the Koch brothers’ fault.
Key Message: Koch brothers are bad.
Koch brothers are bad bad bad.
Now you have a chance to show your support for The Consensus with the Shut up, that’s why T-shirt, the perfect answer to anyone who dares to question the science behind global warming.
In addition to the T-shirt we also have a fashionable beach tote and a set of stackable mugs, so you’ll have the opportunity to show the world that you’re smart enough to know when not to ask too many questions.
And while you're at it, make sure the world knows you won't allow yourself to be bullied by facts with our extensive line of CONSENSUS WATCH MERCHANDISE!
We also have the classic Consensus Watch coffee mug, bag, and beer stein (along with assorted T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other garments): "Consensus Watch Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data" plus a complete line of "Stop raping the planet! You may, however, touch it inappropriately," items (shirts, coasters, stickers, buttons)
All proceeds raised from the sale of Consensus Watch merchandise go towards ensuring that we never run out of gin.
April 22, 2014
Addressing First World Problems Since 1970
Do you know what today is?
If you are like most Planet Moron readers, you’re probably thinking, “Tuesday, why? Did I miss a parole hearing? That’s not until Thursday.”
Also, “Wait, it’s Earth Day, isn’t it?”
Exactly. And to better help readers reacquaint themselves with this decades-long tradition, we’ve prepared a little Q&A:
Q: What is Earth Day all about?
A: Its primary purpose is to raise awareness about environmental concerns that threaten our well being.
Q: You mean, the one-third of the world’s population that cooks and keeps warm burning twigs and dung, 4.3 million of which died in 2012 from the deadly fumes and resultant air pollution?
A: What? No. Threatens us. Not someone else.
Q: What threatens us?
A: Way too many lights on at night.
Q: That’s a threat?
A: Absolutely. It’s called light pollution. That is why we should all pitch in to help and keep lights off at night for the next week.
Q: You know who’s a big proponent of keeping the lights off at night?
A: Al Gore?
Q: Close. Kim Jong Un.
A: An Earth Day champion if there ever was one!
Q: Now, what about those millions of people dying every year from air pollution?
A: Hey, they can pitch in too. They can put out their smoldering piles of twigs and dung at night.
Q: Won’t they go cold and hungry?
A: Sure, but think of the brilliant night sky view they'll have!
April 17, 2014
And Here We Thought Billionaires Spending Their Money Trying to Influence Public Policy Was “Un-American"
That ought to show them!
Of course, Mayor Bloomberg takes a slightly different approach. While the NRA seeks to educate the public in the proper use, care, and storage of firearms including practical safety tips and rules that promote responsibility and safe practices, Mr. Bloomberg believes it is more productive to scare the living hell out of you.
Of course we are being unfair. At the end of the video in which he scares the living hell out of you, he suggests you “start the conversation about responsible gun ownership in your home and community.”
Sure, the NRA conducts the Eddie Eagle gun safety program in elementary schools all across the country, and conducts hundreds of hands-on courses for adults every year but, yeah, sure, conversations are good too.
So, you click on the “ACT NOW” button at the very end of the video and are informed that,
"No, it shouldn’t!"
"Well then, let’s do that!"
"Me? Great, Let’s get going, then.”
"I want to help stop the violence? How?"
"Yeah! I’ll join the movement! Wait, the movement for what?"
It doesn’t matter. Join the damn movement.
“Where’s the rest?”
“What kind of information?”
That we need to start a conversation.
"Fine, fine, I'll go to the video on YouTube and start a conversation. "
So, let’s contrast and compare. First, the NRA’s list of things you can do to promote responsible gun ownership:
- ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
- ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
And now let’s review Michael Bloomberg’s list:
- Start a conversation.
- Act now
- Join the movement.
It’s not even close. If the NRA wants to be taken seriously about gun safety, it’s going to have to spend more time starting conversations and joining movements and less time on instructing people in the safe handling of firearms.
It’s for the children, you know.
April 15, 2014
He Hearts IRS
Virginia state Delegate and Democratic Congressional primary candidate Patrick Hope believes that in order to tackle the federal budget deficit, we need to raise taxes, but in doing so we should spare people who make less than $250,000 from this additional burden.
In other news, Virginia state Delegate and Democratic Congressional primary candidate Patrick Hope makes less than $250,000.
If you are like most Planet Moron readers, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “That reminds me, isn’t today April 15th? All this talk about taxes rings a bell for some reason, like I should be doing something…”
Also, “Well, most people make less than $250,000.”
Yes, but Patrick Hope makes $231,197 a year.
However we’re not suggesting that this is anything other than a coincidence. The difference between some fat cat making $250,000 a year, and a regular working man like Patrick Hope bringing home $231,197 a year is significant. It’s like the difference between riding around in a Mercedes, and riding around in a slightly less expensive Mercedes. It’s the difference between being able to afford a 12-day Mediterranean cruise and a 10-day Mediterranean cruise.
Hey, those hot shot SOBs who make a little bit more than Delegate Hope can afford to skip Barcelona, okay, and slum it in Athens and Cyprus like the rest of us common folks who have to work for a living. As health care lobbyists.
Hope believes he’s hit on a winning formula, pointing out that raising taxes on people who make more money than he does,
“Solves our revenue problem very simply, by bringing in more revenue.”
Well, more, more revenue.
That’s how you can tell you have a revenue problem. When you bring in more revenue than you ever have before in the history of the country and are still running huge deficits.
March 10, 2014
Innocence of the Law is no Excuse
As if parents with school-age children don’t have enough to worry about already, what with whether or not their children are eating enough vegetables from the red-orange subgroups, or ensuring that they participate in as little physical activity as possible, now we have a scourge Planet Moron has been following for some time:
Some might dismiss the threat posed by imaginary weapons, however they’re not taking fully into account the many pretend deaths that could result if schools didn’t act quickly and decisively to neutralize the non-existent threat.
Take for example, the boy caught red-handed with an imaginary bow and arrow.
Look, you could put out a make-believe eye with that thing.
If only the trouble ended there. The problem with letting little things, like not having a bow and arrow, pass without the proper disciplinary action, is that things can quickly escalate into children believing that they can get away with not having even deadlier weapons.
And that’s how we end up with the boy with the finger gun.
First of all, as any young boy will tell you, finger guns have a nearly inexhaustible supply of pretend ammo, limited only by the ability to say “bang,” quite possibly putting the finger gun in violation of magazine ammo limits.
And second, finger guns are the gateway weapon to other harmless non-firearms, such as the miniature gun-shaped key chain charm.
Don’t let its diminutive size fool you. It may be small, but it’s just as not deadly as the finger gun.
Perhaps it’s the times we live in, but it doesn’t stop there, either. Yes, now we have:
Keep in mind that the only difference between a make-believe bomb and the real thing, is that a make-believe bomb doesn’t actually exist. And that is simply a difference without a distinction. Other than the distinction that it’s not real.
And so, when it comes to education, we here at Planet Moron fully support zero tolerance for anyone found in possession of things they are not actually in possession of, and that the punishment meted out should be as severe as if they had actually done something wrong.
Hey, a little compassion and common sense here, people.
March 05, 2014
“AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!” He Explained
There have been some concerns raised lately regarding the safety of a common food additive called azodicarbonamide, or “ADA,” which is used mostly to soften the texture of baked goods. While recognized as safe by the FDA, some people have cited research calling this into question, pointing out that ADA breaks down into urethane, which can be toxic.
If you are like most Planet Moron Readers, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Unless they’re adding it to gin, cigarettes, or despair, it doesn’t really affect me.”
Also, “I could see how that could be something worth looking into, but certainly nothing go get hysterical about.”
And that’s the problem. You’re not going to get frenzied headlines over an obscure substance that has for decades been used widely in food with little obvious ill effect.
But that’s a problem that’s easily resolved. All you have to do is point out that ADA is also used in industrial applications such as in the production of foamed plastics as a blowing agent. What good does knowing that do you?
And just like that, we have ourselves a national health crisis.
Now, if someone wants to argue with you, noting that bread without ADA still has urethane, you can point out that they are eating yoga mats. And when they add that the mere act of toasting a slice of ADA-free bread produces far more urethane, you can say they might as well be toasting a yoga mat, and how about some butter for that yoga mat, you yoga mat eater
Also, yoga mat.
See how much easier non-sequiturs make having what would otherwise be a boring debate over scientific merit?
Intrigued by the potential for creating wholly pointless hysteria, Planet Moron launched an extensive investigation that included wandering around our kitchen in pajamas, and has uncovered disturbing evidence that our food, the food you feed your family, the food you provide to your innocent, trusting, children, contains substances that are also used in totally unrelated products that sound scary.
For example, there’s calcium carbonate. That sounds kind of chemically. It can be used as a preservative and also as a color retainer on such foods as organic apples.
You know what else calcium carbonate can be used for? Filler in unplasticized polyvinyl chloride drain pipe!
That’s right, when you’re eating an organic apple, you’re basically sucking on a drain pipe.
And it gets even worse. Take this common bottle of salad dressing.
Looks benign enough, and eating salads is healthy! Well, take a closer look.
That salad dressing of yours contains vinegar. You know what else has vinegar? Yeah, that’s right. Forget Wishbone, think Windex.
How does dumping a bottle of Italian window cleaner all over your greens sound, huh? Clearly we must act now to see to it that this powerful industrial detergent is removed from all salad dressings.
Well, all this talk of food has made us hungry. A nice big bowl of aircraft-de-icing fluid sounds just about right.
February 28, 2014
You Should Only Have Rights if You’re Right
Our old friend, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, has identified what is possibly the single biggest peril facing America, one that, according to Mr. Bittman,
“Poses greater threats to our existence than any communicable disease you can name.”
What is this hazard that stalks us?
Or, as he prefers, “rights,” because the only rights that are truly legitimate are those rights that are exercised in a fashion that would be agreeable to Mark Bittman.
And therein lies the problem. As it turns out, you’re simply a victim of the “the corporate consumption complex,” in which “companies engineer hyperprocessed foods in ways precisely geared to most appeal to our tastes.”
Yes, that’s right, companies continue to insist on producing products that will appeal to you.
How. Dare. They.
But the products they sell don’t appeal to Mark Bittman, of course. Unlike you, he’s not a complete imbecile who cannot possibly be trusted with the “right” to choose what is best for him. That imbecile would be you, what with your tiny mind, poor education, and non-New-York-Times editorial job.
Why, you might even work with your hands. <shudder>
And, according to Mr. Bittman, it’s not just food, it’s all manner of industries selling things “in ways that will cause premature mortality.”
Sure, you may think you are capable of weighing the tradeoffs and risks associated with certain products and endeavors based on your own values system, priorities, and personal circumstances but the problem with that is you are not taking into account Mark Bittman’s values system, priorities, and personal circumstances when making your decision.
And really, isn’t that more important? After all, he’s written books! Well, cookbooks.
Incidentally, here is a brief list of things that can bring on premature mortality:
- Any job other than potato farming.
- Any sport other than swimming.
- Any city other than Fishers Indiana.
We are aghast that anyone would risk their life doing anything other than swimming at their potato farm in Fishers Indiana.
It’s like you people don’t care if you live or die.
So, what can we do about people exercising their “right” to make decisions different from Mark Bittman? According to Mr. Bittman, it’s all spelled out in the book, “Lethal but Legal,” by Nicholas Freudenberg. We’ll be exploring this book in the near future, but rest assured, the solution involves doing something about those “rights” of yours.
The current occupants of the White House share a similar concern regarding your seeming inability to choose the same things that they would, particularly Michelle Obama who has worked tirelessly to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic that doesn’t exist. However, they believe they have hit on a possible answer:
As they see it, one of the main problems with people eating more than people in the White House think they should, is that nutritional labels are obscuring the number of calories food contains by cleverly hiding it next to the word “calories.”
It’s a brain tickler all right.
The new label at least partly solves this problem by making the number bigger in a way that just screams, “Hey, look over here! Big number! Big! Pay attention to the big number. Big scary number.
The proposed label also changes some of the nutritional content provided since studies have demonstrated that it is healthier for people to ignore how much vitamin D is in their food rather than ignoring how much vitamin A there is.
They also add the category “added sugar,” because as everyone knows, sugar that has been added is worse, possibly due to contamination by cooties.
And finally, we’ll leave you with the White House exercise video that is sweeping the nation:
Thus demonstrating that if you run limply for one minute in your dress shoes once a week, you just might one day develop a nearly complete inability to stretch your quads.
December 12, 2013
We Have Them Right Where They Want Us
This week, fiscally conservative budget cutter Congressman Paul Ryan managed to reach an historic agreement with his liberal Senate colleague, Patty Murray, in which spending will be cut, the deficit will be reduced, and taxes held steady.
How did he accomplish this monumental feat?
By agreeing to a deal in which spending will be raised, the deficit enlarged, and taxes increased.
William Shatner’s got nothing on this guy.
Interestingly, Congressman Ryan, who as we mentioned before, is a fiscally conservative budget cutter, points out that his budget deal actually reduces spending AND the deficit. Well, not now. Next year and the year after discretionary spending increases by over $60 billion. But just you wait, once 2022 rolls around, we’ll be rolling in spending cuts.
The fiscally conservative budget cutter also asserts that his plan does not raise taxes, only “user fees,” which unlike taxes, is spelled completely differently.
Some might point out that increasing user fees on, for example, airline passengers, so as to offset increased defense and domestic spending that has nothing whatsoever to do with airlines could possibly be considered a hidden tax.
In the words of fiscally conservative budget cutter John Boehner, those people are “ridiculous.”
There is the question of why a deal had to be done at all. Had the sequester cuts simply been left in place, discretionary spending would have gone down in 2014 and 2015 rather than going up under Congressman Ryan’s budget cutting-ish plan.
But that would have meant the Pentagon would have had to get by on $500 billion dollars next year as opposed to $520 billion.
What if we once again find ourselves in a position where we have to bomb a country that hasn’t attacked us? What then? Are you going to be the one to tell those brave young men and women in uniform, “I’m sorry, but you won’t be required to place yourself in mortal danger not defending the United States?" Well, are you?
We didn’t think so.
Now all we can do is hope they can successfully sneak it through Congress in 36 hours before anyone can think about it.
After all, taking into account your supporters' opinions can be so… messy.
November 11, 2013
Standing up For Principal, er, Principle
Powerful business interests want to turn the tide against Tea Party-like upstarts within the Republican Party and return the GOP back to its traditional roots:
Doling out special favors to powerful business interests.
The problem is that radical Tea Party Republicans are spending far too much time trying to ward off fiscal catastrophe when that time could be better spent enriching powerful business interests at the expense of everyone else.
For example, according to CNBC:
“Call it the wrath of establishment Republicans and corporate America, always considered the best of friends. Since the Republican takeover of the House in 2010, they've watched the GOP insurgents slow a transportation bill and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, block a treaty governing the high seas and stand in the way of comprehensive immigration legislation.”
This is surely a dystopian future these radical fiscal conservatives paint, one in which lucrative transportation bills for which we have no money receive additional scrutiny. One in which private businesses have to finance their own imports and exports at market rates without the benefit of your money. One in which Congress refuses to surrender United States sovereignty to unnamed foreign courts. And one in which businesses are denied immediate access to abundant sources of dirt-cheap labor.
Let’s face it. We owe it to our children to ensure that they never have to live in a world in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is not fully funded. Or do you want to be the one who has to look into your young child’s eyes and tell her that it was you who allowed it to happen. That it was you who stood by and did nothing while others saw to it that the marketing and promotion of potatoes was left only to the people who grew and sold potatoes.
Just tell her you’re a monster now and get it over with.
To ensure a future in which government exists to reward the powerful, old-line establishment Republicans and their business allies are planning to support candidates that are not radical extremist Tea Partiers.
Such as South Dakota where an open Senate primary is allowing challengers from the right to go up against Mike Rounds, a well-known former governor who has refused to sign a no-new-taxes pledge.
No new taxes pledge? What if a private business needs a sweetheart deal? Where is the money supposed to come from? Aside from China, we mean. It is absolutely essential that we elect moderate Republicans to ensure not only that business interests have a friend in Washington, but to make sure that taxes can still be raised, just not raised as much as those dastardly Democrats would! Not significantly less, but less.
Okay, sometimes less, and sometimes more, such as when old-school conservative governor Bob McDonnell signed into law the largest tax increase in Virginia history, but it was for a traditionally conservative reason:
Powerful business interests supported it.
And that’s why the Republican Party has to, as former representative Steve LaTourette, put it so eloquently, “beat the snot” out Tea Party Republicans.
Steve LaTourette believes strongly that Republicans should be a lot more like Steve LaTourette, and so has started a new PAC dedicated to seeing to it that that happens.
Hey, that ought to fire up the base! Finally, someone willing to forgo principle, so he can stand up for principal.
As LaTourette pointed out:
“40, 42 House members have effectively denied the Republican Party the power of the majority."
You know another way to deny the Republican Party the power of the majority?
Lose the majority.
October 29, 2013
If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You’re Wrong
There has been a growing controversy this week as millions of people are discovering that they are losing the health insurance they like as Obamacare regulations take hold. Many are confused, since President Obama had promised on repeated occasions that, if “you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.”
In fact, he specifically said, “Let me repeat this. Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”
Sure, at first glance, it appears as if The President was being less than completely truthful about Obamacare, but fortunately, the problem isn’t with the law. As White House advisor Valerie Jarrett explains, the problem is that insurance companies are following the law.
FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.
Those SOBs will stop at nothing to comply with the law, even if it mean you can’t keep your existing health plan. What's their excuse, "I was just following orders?" Let's see, where have we heard that before? Oh yeah.
Okay, sure, so the Administration knew that you would lose the plan that you liked, and even wrote the regulations to make sure of it, but did you ever consider the possibility that when the The President said you would get to keep to your health care plan, he might not have been talking about you specifically? Maybe he was talking to someone else in the room, perhaps Valerie Jarrett.
What, if you were sitting next to a couple at dinner and the woman said, I love you, would you immediately assume she meant you as well? (Note: She doesn’t. BTDT.)
And besides, the issue isn’t really whether or not you like your plan, it’s whether or not you’re too stupid to want a better, more expensive plan. For example, let’s say there has never been any history of mental illness in your family and you show no signs whatsoever in yourself, so you decided you don’t want to have to pay for mental health benefits.
Well, that just proves your crazy, and probably should be required to pay for mental health benefits.
Think of it as the Catch-22 of Obamacare.
And then there’s the pediatric dental care that 55-year-old single men have been living without for far too long.
We’re fortunate that President Obama is around to tell us what we need.
So, to review, President Obama did not lie when he said if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. After all, Vulcans can’t lie. They can, however exaggerate.
So, he exaggerated.