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Archive for the ‘stupidity’ Category

I’m one of those people whose life has spanned the transition from the paper era to the digital era. When I went to college, researching any topic required going to the library and using the card catalog and microfiche indexes to locate material. If I wanted government statistics, they were on paper in what was basically 1/4th of the bottom floor of our college library and I had to use a big paper index to find them. Making a copy for later was 5 cents per page. So basically, there was an excuse back then for someone to say something stupid — the information just wasn’t easily available.

But today? If you want to look up tort costs in healthcare, you can look up the total amount spent on medical liability insurance (approximately 0.3% of total healthcare spending), then look up tort limits and healthcare costs by state, and easily see that a) the amount spent defending and paying out on lawsuits is trivial, and b) defensive medicine isn’t really a “thing”, states with strict tort limits don’t have lower healthcare costs on average than those without. Then you can go look for the real causes of high healthcare costs, which isn’t lawsuits. Despite access to every bit of information needed to prove or disprove the assertion “tort costs causes high healthcare costs”, virtually nobody does the few mouse strokes needed to do so.

Instead, we seem to have weaponized ignorance. Ignorant memes that can easily be disproved by a few mouse strokes use social media to sweep the nation within hours of their release by Russian troll factories. Despite the fact that so much information is available, most of the American public seems disinterested in looking it up. And that surprises some people.

But not me. Because I’ve studied American history (hell, I’ve lived half a century of it). Ignorance has always been the preferred state of the average American. Few regardless of the era have cared about education. There’s a *reason* why the atom bomb was built mostly by European immigrants. Even today, close to half of our STEM workforce is foreign-born or the children of immigrants. All that technology has managed to do is allow the ignorant to confirm with each other that their ignorance is truth and anything that doesn’t agree with their ignorant opinions is fake. Science textbooks? Fake. Government statistics? Fake. Scientists? Elitist fakes. By allowing them to confirm with each other that anybody who actually knows anything is a fake, their ignorance is not only confirmed, but weaponized.

The fact that immigrants have contributed much of the intellectual advancement of America in the past century is also why the ignorant are so anti-immigrant. The last thing they want is for people smarter and harder working than they are to render them obsolete. Even if they are.

– Badtux the Ignorance-spottin’ Penguin

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Apparently he wants to get on that $100K/speech wingnut welfare rubber chicken circuit, showing up at Young Republicans conkkklaves at universities and public rallies calling for white pride and giving speeches about how the white man is oppressed, oppressed I say, oppressed by The Man. But to do that, he has to raise his profile. Like, for example, by actually filing a lawsuit against Google:

<blockquoteMore specifically, it accuses Google of singling out, mistreating and systematically punishing and terminating employees who “expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity’ or ‘social justice’…”

There’s one problem with this: California is an “at will” employment state. You have no right to a job in California. You can be fired for any reason in California other than for membership in a protected class enumerated in law. And “conservative asshole” isn’t a protected class in any law of the country.

In short, Google would have been in the right for firing him because they didn’t like his hairstyle or his shoes, because California requires no cause for firing — you can be fired for any reason, no matter how stupid, as long as it’s not because of your sexual orientation, sex, race, or religion, or the special case of “whistleblower” (which requires reporting illegal conduct to the government). Damore claims he was fired for being white or male, but chances of him proving that via discovery are virtually nil. There will be no smoking gun saying “let’s fire this guy because he’s white!”. No, the only smoking gun they’ll find is “let’s fire this guy because his opinions are an embarrassment to our company!”. Which is an entirely legal thing to do in the state of California, because employment here is a private contractual relationship between employer and employee that can be terminated by either side. The Governor Reagan era employment laws in California were written in an era where having Big Government telling a private company who they must employ or not employ would have been considered Communism and thus evil, thus basically your only remedy if you’re fired is to get another job.

But hey, this isn’t actually a real lawsuit anyhow, it’s just to raise Damore’s profile on the wingnut welfare circuit, so it doesn’t matter that a judge will take one look at that and bang “Dismissed” upon receiving Google’s “motion to dismiss for lack of cause”. That’ll give Damore just one more talking point about how he’s being oppressed, oppressed I say, by Big Liberal Meanies. I just find it amusing that Damore is whining about being fired for his opinions, when it’s perfectly legal to do so outside of a union contract or a socialist country. Amazing how Damore hates unions and socialism — both of which probably would have kept him in his cushy job at Google. Talk about reaping what you sow!

Once again, James Damore: Right wing asshole is not a protected class under California law, thus Google can decide they don’t like you so they won’t employ you. It’s called FREEDOM. Google has it. Why do you hate FREEDOM, James Damore? Oh wait, because hating FREEDOM gets you those cushy wingnut welfare speaking gigs. Alrighty, then!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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A security firm founded by Vladimir Putin’s former commanding officer in the KGB is now in charge of security for the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Russia. Part of their job is to make sure that Russian spies don’t sneak in and plant bugs. Russian. Spies. Charged with preventing Russian spies from planting bugs.

Wow. Just wow.

Trying to put The Onion out of business, folks. I mean, I had to do a double-take to make sure that I was reading the BBC and not The Onion when I read this article!

— Badtux the Flabbergasted Penguin

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Laid-off coal miners are refusing to retrain for other work because they actually believe Donald Trump’s lies about coal coming back.

It’s not. Not within the next 20 years anyhow. Coal power plants have been shut down all over the country because of the fracking industry flooding the market with cheap natural gas. Natural gas powered plants are cheaper to operate than coal powered plants and now that their fuel is cheap too, utilities are falling all over themselves to shut down ugly dirty coal powered plants, and those plants are not coming back. Hell, some of those plants were so decrepit that they had boilers with swastikas on them. Not because their owners were neo-Nazis. Rather, because their boilers were looted from the rubble of post-war Nazi Germany. Yep, we’re talking about 80 year old boilers, still hard at work generating steam to power the steam turbines at these antique power plants. Needless to say, the efficiency of these antiques is not up to modern standards…

But never underestimate the ability of human beings to be delusional. Training for some other form of work involves risk and maybe putting yourself into an intellectually uncomfortable position. If you’re training to be a health aide, for example, you’re going to have to change adult diapers and clean adult bums. That’s just part of the job. If your coal mining job is coming back, why do something so icky, right?

Of course it’s not coming back, but hey, this is the United States of Delusion, so that little factoid just doesn’t mean anything, apparently…

– Badtux the Delusions Penguin

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The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled that you have a right to drive on a public highway without a driver’s license or valid vehicle registration.

Never.

Not ever.

This is not controversial, unless you are a sovereign citizen dimwit, in which case you spew, “Thompson vs Smith! Campbell versus Walker!”

Really?

Thompson vs. Smith was a Virginia state court case in 1930. The question there was whether a police officer or judge could revoke someone’s driver’s license without cause. The Virginia Supreme Court said no — due process rights were vested in a driver’s license, and it could only be revoked for cause via due process. Thompson vs. Smith did *not* state that there was a right to drive upon a public highway without a driver’s license. Rather, it ruled that your driver’s license could not be revoked arbitrarily without cause because that violated due process rights under the Virginia constitution.

Campbell vs. Walker was a Delaware state court case in 1910 and was about whether Walker was negligent when his automobile struck Campbell’s wagon. Both vehicles had a right to be on the road in question because Delaware at the time had no licensing or registration laws, that was mentioned solely in passing while attempting to determine the question of negligence. Walker was sued to pay for Campbell’s medical bills and the wagon. The question before the court was the standards for proving negligence, not whether either party was in compliance with drivers’ licensing laws — there were none in Delaware at the time. At no time did the court rule upon the constitutionality of Delaware’s (at the time non-existent) driver’s licensing law, it was strictly a vehicle liability case and attempting to determine the evidence needed in order to prove liability in such cases.

I stand by my statement: The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled that you have a right to drive on a public highway without a driver’s license or valid vehicle registration.

Never.

Not ever.

– Badtux the “Man, these people are stupid” Penguin

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So says Mike Ditka.

15 year old Elizabeth Eckford wasn’t being oppressed as she attempted to be the first black student in Little Rock High, she was merely being alt-welcomed.

Patrick Harmon wasn’t being oppressed by being shot in the back for being black in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was alt-rewarded.

Rosa Parks wasn’t being oppressed by being arrested for sitting at the front of the bus, she was being alt-praised.

The black day care worker in Pennsylvania wasn’t being oppressed by her employer getting a bigotted letter telling them to fire her for spreading black cooties to their children, she was being alt-praised.

Four little girls killed by a KKK bomb in Birmingham, Alabama weren’t being oppressed. They were being….

Oh fuck it. Mike Ditka is a fucking dumbass who played too much without a helmet.

That is all.

– Badtux the Oppression Penguin

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58% of Trump voters say higher education is bad for the country.

Fifty. Eight. Percent.

And this surprises me not at all. The worship of ignorance is rampant in the United States. Experts who’ve spent their lives studying and researching a subject have their expertise dismissed with a few pithy talking points by a bleach blonde Fox news bimbo, and millions believe her. Millions willingly embrace bizarre conspiracy theories like NASA is running a child slave colony on Mars or shape-shifting reptilian people control our world. Even the notion that the world is flat has taken on new life in the modern United States.

It’s no wonder, then, that so many of these pro-ignorance people willingly embrace fake news. They are so ignorant that they lack the fundamental knowledge to tell the difference between fake news and real news. And furthermore, they’re proud of their ignorance. None of that sissy intellectual stuff for them, nosirree! And science might contradict the Bible, so it’s clearly out too!

It’s not some foreign enemy that’s going to destroy the United States. It is the cult of ignorance that dominates the nation, where everybody thinks they’re an expert after a couple of Google queries turn up a few web sites. There’s no way that a population so ignorant, so hateful of education, can maintain or sustain an advanced economy. No way. In the end, the United States is going to collapse from within, hollowed out like a rotten apple by the ignorance of the people charged with keeping it intact.

– Badtux the Educated Penguin

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