Friday, February 20, 2009

Full Monty

Well, I guess I do have another thing to say, and it's at the center of the crisis in which our country finds itself. Watching the situation unfold, and the responses to it, it strikes me that it's almost as if the Republican party has deliberately and systematically destroyed every aspect of our ability to right the ship. I'd not (quite) go so far as to say that was their intent. But it doesn't matter: whatever the reason, their fingerprints are on every single failure, the causes of the fall, and the prevention of recovery. To me, it's undeniable.

For years we've heard from the Republican party that government is the enemy, that it must not be trusted. And for the past eight years, they proved it, beyond doubt. That's the first, and maybe the most central nail. Meanwhile, they've said that our most important business is business, that there's no higher goal than to unburden all business from the constraints of regulation and taxation. Making vast wealth at the top of society should be our over-riding ethic and the sole purpose of government; for then it will trickle down to the rest of us. That that is the central economic philosophy has been stated by virtually every Republican at least since Ronald Reagan. And finally, with the rise of fundamentalist religious influence in the party, there's been the steady erosion of intellectualism. Derided as elitist, overtly denigrated as unBiblical, the process of scientific inquiry has been equated with everything evil. Quite literally, we are losing the ability to think and to reason critically. Reduced by their own actions to a regional and furiously ideological party, few Republicans remain in Congress willing or able to compromise or coöperate, much less to think beyond their reflexive inculcations.

Whether the first were simply unhappy consequences of empty ideology, or part of a cynical attempt to plunder the country, I can't speculate. But the last -- the attempted replacement of education with indoctrination, the clear disdain for scientific method (which is our most powerful tool for evaluating and advancing understanding of our world) -- that, I'm quite sure, has been entirely deliberate: the less educated a populace, the more easily manipulated to vote against its own interest. And what more perfect example of mass manipulation is there than organized religion? How better to prevent questions than to substitute religion for reason in our schools, carefully eliminating the ability to assemble and judge information?

Meanwhile, as all this was taking place, there has been the rise of right-wing media, changing the very nature of civil discourse and honest opposition into a screaming and hate-filled force of destruction. Once again, I mean that quite literally. Nor do I believe it's accidental. The concerted efforts of talk-radio and Fox News to cheer-lead the craziest of the right wing and to destroy all credibility of the left, using distortion and lies as easily as they empty their colons, can't be accidental. There is no line of civility that can't be crossed, no untruth that can't be told. The insanity spewing forth, after only a month of Obama's presidency, ought to be frightening to anyone who thinks our problems are serious enough to require all oars in the water. Honest criticism, putting forth other ideas: simply not in their lexicon. How do people with talent for talking but with no actual ideas and zero command of facts become influential spokespeople, favor curried by politicians? There simply are no counterparts on the left: even Olbermann feels the need to have facts on his side.

So, to use a worn-out cliché, we have a perfect storm of failure. We're foundering on the resulting rocks of Republican reactionaries. Gone is the ethic of shared sacrifice, of common purpose; replaced by a desire for wealth and things. Gone is confidence that businesses are trustworthy, or that government is a proper source of support. In steep decline are the engines of creativity that come from critical thinking. And all the while, the right wing scream machine absolutely demands that we remain poles apart. From the right there is literally no ability to flex; so successfully have they been propagandized, there's not even a thought that these are unique times calling for unique solutions, and unique cooperation. The only arrows in the quiver are polemics, and tired ones at that. And it's left us wounded; the party of "values" has convinced us that money is the over-riding objective, that it's every man for himself.

It's hard to believe it's come to this. There was a time -- many times -- when this country faced huge crises and faced them with a measure of unity, with common effort, with a sense that we could do anything if we did it together. I think that's literally impossible now. To listen to the venom spewed by Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter; to hear Alan Keyes speak from his crazed world and all but call for Obama's assassination in the name of saving our country, is to have the end well in sight. To read of the innovations in energy being developed in India and China, to witness China, still flush with cash, on a buying spree around the world, is to see the US slipping into irrelevance.

Maybe it's okay. Maybe the world is better off not relying on US any more, for innovation, for moral clarity, for competence of any sort. Okay or not, it is the way it is and will be for a long time. Maybe forever. Barack Obama can only do so much. He can hit the right notes, make the right calls; but if enough people are too ideologically hidebound to hear it, if they prefer to listen to falsehoods in order to cleave to discredited beliefs, if the foundations for recovery have been brought down by years of narrow politics, it won't matter.

If it weren't so sad to see, there'd be humor: it's Pythonesque. Insisting the parrot isn't dead, that the knight isn't mortally wounded, the Republicans say the same things they've been saying for decades, as if they haven't failed, as if they haven't brought us to where we are (and no, ss, it doesn't wash to claim George tried to warn us of the mortgage problems: he bragged continually about the rise of homeownership under his watch, fuelled by disregarding the actual warnings delivered, among others, by Barack Obama four years ago). All they have is to insist Obama is a communist, that he isn't really president, that government spending is always wrong, no matter how unique the economic challenge, no matter that there's no other source of spending left. Run up all the debt you want in tax breaks for wealthy people, bail out big business; cry moral depravity if you lend a hand to the poor in the worst of times. While their media lead them happily over the brink.

Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay had a vision of a permanent majority, fueled by religious fervor, abetted by ignorance, distracted by a coördinated and dishonest media effort. Certain they could bamboozle enough people, they set about doing it. And it worked. Their followers are no more able to reassess the data than they are to relinquish their faith that they're right, against all evidence.

They got something permanent, all right: unprecedented and wide-ranging destruction of everything we need to find our way back. Nice work.


  1. You're so close, Sid.

    Come to the Dark Side! ;)

  2. What do you mean "We" Paleface? So Sid, you're tellin me after a career as a prolific Surgeon/Author you're not a Millionaire?(defined as net worth> $1,000,000. Heck, I'm almost a double Millionaire even with the shitty market, and I'm not even Board Certified or take money from Drug Companies... Hope you keep up the Mental Calisthentics, I want you totally cogent when Sara's sworn in January 20th, 2013...


  3. Sid: Understand depression and anger. Keep up the fight though, we need to stay close if we are to have any chance at all. Read Joe Bageant. BTW, spent 8 years in Puddletown. Went to law school, stayed on a while, once was introduced to a woman there who was some distant relative of yours. She used to spend a lot of time around City Hall as I recall.


    Arthur Dent

  4. Frank, just when I think you can't possibly make a comment more off point than usual you up and prove me wrong. Your comment:mine = buffalo:toothpaste.

  5. Actually, Sid, Drackman was exactly on point. The only think that animates that soulless viper is the Benjamins. He literally has nothing else to live for, or think about. A poor parody of a character out of Dickens.

  6. Here in the Land of Corrupt Governors, Alan Keyes was the Republican Senatorial candidate in 2004, after various sordid matters caused the other candidates to disqualify themselves. There was plenty of AK's live lunacy around here - this collar county is a Republican stronghold. He was off the wall before Barack Obama was elected as the junior Senator from IL; maybe he's ticked off that he didn't become the first black President. Or maybe he and Pastor Wright ought to get together and yell crazy things at each other.

  7. I usually try to avoid seeing what Rush has to spittle about anything (Drackman is enough for me, unavoidable alas if one wants to see what the comments are, but he's mostly just comic relief)but could not resist your link. Good grief. Words fail.

    Thanks for the right kind of anger.

  8. Sid. As a very recent surgery patient (whole colon, three weeks ago, Crohn's, moving gingerly) I'm looking forward to or at least wishing for a resumption of your surgery blog, or better yet perhaps for you, for you to announce your second book. I devoured the first one in most of one sitting, and when you talked about UCSF in there, I remember looking out from the 11th floor window of the hospital there (they're tearing the old building down now and replacing it with one that makes the earthquake code), and looking UP at the treetops on the higher hill just over yonder. They quite surprised me. I was there for a genetics study I'd volunteered for.

    I grew up in DC and was in high school during Watergate and Nixon's running of the Vietnam War, and remember when so many people thought it would all be the end of our country and our constitution. Didn't happen. We picked ourselves up and muddled on. I think, now, with a good, honest, decent, and bright man at our helm, we will pull out of the current mess and will do well in the end.

    Look out the windows, and remember the trees are taller yet than where things seem right now.

  9. Krugman pointed out just today that one of the tenets of movement conservatism might be crumbling:

    Though I am loathe to attach too much significance to Monty Python, perhaps you would profit from watching this one as well:

    Frank Drackman -- You needn't capitalize common nouns, and it is reasonable to assume that your audience knows what is a millionaire.

    So you're a doctor? Would you go under the knife of someone who had a thin and dubious qualifications? I'll never understand how you all can understand some qualifications, but when it comes to president you want a "cowboy" who used to be cheerleader or a "hockey mom" who spends tens of thousands on clothes.

    Sam Spade

  10. I respectfully disagree. Did you watch that youtube with the republicans warning the dems about fanny and freddie in 2004?

    I left the link address for you in the other post and it's up in my blog.

    I also feel you lump all conservative people together and that is no more true than me saying all liberals are the same. Thankfully..that is not true. Both sides have lunatic fringe.

    And I know you perceive people of faith to thought processes... but because you don't understand doesn't mean their views are wrong.

    Olberman has the least amount of credibility with me and he is just nasty.

    I have never heard a conservative commentator even come close to calling for Obama's assassination...God Forbid!

    I did not know that Obama warned about the housing crisis -freddie/fannie..4 years ago. What did he say?

    So..Obama went against Barney Frank and other dems who vehemently defended these programs that have brought financial ruin upon so many and continues to do so, and Dems took the republicans to task for calling attention to the problems?

    This will annoy you but it gave me a glimmer of hope... a republican congressman from Texas commented that for the people unhappy with the stimulus the republicans back in and they will eliminate the remaining part of the bill. I guess 60% of it will still not have taken effect when the next elections come up.

    Why are you talking about religious fervor? I haven't heard any of the conservative talking heads talking about God. Oh wait..Chris Beck mentioned him last night. But Dr S... George Washington and Abraham Lincoln believed, had a STRONG faith in God and God was very much a guiding force in their lives. Obama says he believes in God. Just that alone...should give you pause with your faith in Obama. I like knowing he is a man of faith. But I feel like you automatically judge people of faith as having lesser intellects.

    God tells us we ARE to help the poor.

    Conservatives are concerned that the more you give people the less incentive they have to achieve.

    My understanding is that the dems have now reversed welfare reform and where it was set up so that people were expected to work for welfare eligibility..that has now been lifted and not only that but states will be rewarded for the more people that are on the program in their state.

    There are people that need the help and there are able bodied abusers. And it has become generational. For some..the welfare lifestyle is all they have known.

    I am a conservative.

    I know what it is like to be poor. Between 12 -14...I spent many winter nights without electricity, no heat and no food and hardly any clothes. I know what it is like to be cold ... hungry ... afraid ...and ashamed. And I went without in the warmer weather too.

    My mother didn't know we qualified for assistance. She was also a proud person to so I don't know that she would have anyway. She didn't tell her brothers. When one dropped down unexpectedly and saw how we were living... they took me in and helped get my mother back on her feet.

    I learned compassion through that experience.

    And when my hospital coworkers judged the MDCD people...I never have. Yes..the abusers were pretty obvious, but then there were people who work hard but still needed help, or were thrown into dire circumstances, needed temporary assistance... and thank God for these programs. There has to be checks and balances though because sadly...people will and do take advantage.

    I am a conservative who has a strong faith in God who believes in helping your fellow man whenever possible. You should NOT turn your back on the poor. THAT would be evil.

    People are railing against the greed and having to pay for people who weren't responsible in paying their bills, who bought houses beyond their means.

    We bought a house that we knew we could afford. As a matter of fact... I said..i didn't want to be a slave to our mortgage because I wanted to be a stay at home mom and so we bought a smaller home. We knew we would lose out house if we didn't pay our mtg. You pay your mtg and insurances before you eat breakfast. You HAVE to be responsible that way.

    But it seems people are being rewarded for bad, irresponsible behavior and that is what people are mad at.

  11. Oh, I've thought for some time that what the Repugs have done to our country is deliberate. Nobody can lie so blatantly without deliberate intent. And I look around at what's happening to our society and remind myself that societies change, change is pain, and pain sucks.

    But I also remind myself that everywhere I go, I meet good decent honest people who are an asset to this country, and I tell myself that in whatever form the country finds itself, there will still be people of integrity and honor and compassion. I'm convinced we'll find a new balance.

    And, Sid, I wanted to reply to your previous post: of course you must do what you want about blogging, but I think you underrate yourself. Maybe other people are saying much the same thing, but our country is in serious trouble, and we need good information and serious discussion about options in order to make the best decisions possible, and we need it in as many venues as possible, so that as many people as possible can be reached. This is the place where you get to say exactly what you want, and you are intelligent and well-read and logical. I would hate to see you stop.


  12. Umm Don't Y'all know Y'all Won? Pretty Big to, I'd hate to have seen Y'all back in December 2000.
    And Norman, is that you? We like Vipers in the South, and if you didn't go to a Government School,you might even remember an early American Flag where one was prominantly featured...Nothing to live for? Braves just signed Glavine, I saw Neil Diamond a few months ago, and the new Star Trek (with Winona Ryder) opens in 76 days!!! And I've got 2 beautiful's Sid who sounds like he's about to open a vein,


  13. Alison: I had many Crohn's patients, and they were generally a happy group after surgery; when it gets to that point, most people feel significantly better after resection. I know what an ordeal it is and how frustrating the disease is. I wish you well.

    Seaspray: well, I suppose we each pick and choose our points of reference. Obama wrote a letter to Bernanke and Paulson before he was running. But it's sort of beside the point. My point is about Congressional Republicans (not all R's, just the ones they like to elect.) It's hard to argue they're not all the same when they all voted no.

    As to religion: because I disagree doesn't mean I don't understand. And it's also hard to argue that a person who denies evolution, or claims that the earth is 12,000 years old, understands scientific method. And, by extrapolation, knows how to evaluate data. I don't have a problem with those who believe in god. I do have a problem when their form of cogitation enters public policy.

    I do not consider people of faith people of lesser intellect. In fact, if you've read what I've written, I've marveled at the logical lacunae in very intelligent people. I do think, however, that many people of faith have a highly-connected inability to reason. Because to reason is to question, and to question is to subject oneself to doubt, and to doubt is -- for them -- to suffer too much.

    You haven't heard conservative politicians mention god? Yikes.

    Ann Coulter specifically called for the assassination of a Supreme Court Justice. People yelled "kill him" about Obama at Palin rallies, and she said nothing. Alan Keyes said "he must be stopped," or our country will cease to exist. I don't like Olbermann's style, either. But he's not nearly as awful as O'Reilly or Limbaugh, who separate themselves from fact like an oil spill in Bristol Bay.

    Arguing that our problems came about because of poor people not meeting their obligations is shameful. They did not force the banks into creating all sorts of complicated schemes for making outrageous and risky money. They didn't bring down Iceland. It's the greed at the top, in the form of trillions of dollars, not the gullibility at the bottom by people enticed into borrowing more than they could afford. Republicans, with their family values and personal responsibility, excuse the excess and unconscionable greed at the top and point to the folks at the bottom in some sort of self-righteous ignorance. They're "mad" at the victims and continue to argue for deregulation of the thieves.

    The Texan doesn't annoy me. It's clearly the Republican strategy. If the stimulus fails, they'll deserve to be elected. If it helps, they'll look like idiots. High stakes, high risk. For now, it seems like a decision that the only way to regain power is to hope for -- and work for!! -- the near destruction of our country. If that floats your boat, so be it.

    Frank: when you can narrow your vision to within three feet or so, as you are clearly able to do, it's much easier not to care.

  14. Once again, the tired trope that pointing out the failures (including the failure to do anything more about it than "warn," ie trying to have it both ways) is merely some sort of blind hatred. It's been done, it's stupid, it's childish, it's wrong, and it's nothing but a pathetic attempt to dismiss criticism. It deserves no further response.

    Other than to point out that your comment is entirely unrelated to the point I was making. Big surprise.

  15. "Would you go under the knife of someone who had a thin and dubious qualifications?"

    This would describe BO pretty well, inspite of him writing two important books. Perhaps some resume lines we're unaware of?

    "Ann Coulter specifically called for the assassination of a Supreme Court Justice. People yelled "kill him" about Obama at Palin rallies, and she said nothing. Alan Keyes said "he must be stopped," or our country will cease to exist."

    Yaw. A couple of old wive's tales proven false many times. "He must be stopped"? This is somehow a crime? Ever seen some of the Bush hatred?

  16. Wow. You sound just like this woman:

  17. Dr S -I think pointing that stuff out is important because the dems were in bed with Fannie and Freddie.

    Why they didn't yell louder from the rooftops is beyond me.

    But Barney and company... they ARE the ones you can thank for your falling stocks..we all can.

    I think anonymous 7:04 was responding to your saying "(and no, ss, it doesn't wash to claim George tried to warn us of the mortgage problems: he bragged continually about the rise of homeownership under his watch, fuelled by disregarding the actual warnings delivered, among others, by Barack Obama four years ago)."

    I wish those videos were aired during the election. Maybe they will be for the one in 2 years.

  18. Coulter

    "kill him"

    Keyes In the full context, it's pretty scary, especially given the folks who supported him, and those at Palin's rallies, and those who listen to Coulter's hatred.

    Republican books call liberals "the party of death." Liberal books call Limbaugh a "big fat idiot." Difference?

  19. Sound like Garafalo? First of all I didn't call them assholes. Second, who pays attention to her? The difference is that the R party is full of people who are way worse and who are the acknowledged spokespeople to whom the rest pledge fealty. Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, etc. The comparison is no comparison.

  20. SS: you say "ARE" as if that's all it takes to be right. The whole congress failed w/r/t Fannie/Freddie. But which party is the one that argues for deregulation? Which one installed overseers who didn't believe in oversight? Which president and candidates kept saying the economy was strong? Which treasury sec allowed the TARP money to be spent with no control and no effectiveness? Which president ran up trillions of debt that underlie the problem and limit our ability to deal with it? Which Fed chairman said there was nothing wrong with CDSs?

  21. Sid,

    Are you accepting the HuffPo as a true reporting organization?

    Did they report the Secret Service report?

  22. "Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."

    Did you miss this:

  23. "Party of death"

    Well, yes.

    Unless of course, the baby lives. Then Obama will kill it later.

  24. You don't have to pay attention to her. But you sound just like her. Her arguments. Her tone. Her logic.

    And not in a good way. It must be like a mirror for you.

  25. Sam Spade: "Would you go under the knife of someone who had a thin and dubious qualifications?"

    Anonymous: "This would describe BO pretty well, inspite of him writing two important books. Perhaps some resume lines we're unaware of?"

    Obama was being interviewed in the newspaper while still a student. He was president of Harvard Law Review, probably the highest honor in the nation for law students. He was an effective community organizer, a constitutional law lecturer, state legislator, and US senator.

    Bush was a failed student, failed serviceman, a drunk playboy well into adulthood, failed in running two businesses and, surprise surprise, again failed as president. Who would have guessed? Palin's resume would be laughable if it weren't so alarming that you imbeciles earnestly want her to be president.

    As with Bush, you see her as possessing a sublime rightness which you can't easily explain, a "gut" or "moral compass". What's ironic is that your party ostensibly champions personal initiative and merit. Bush and Palin are entirely unaccomplished. Bill Clinton and Obama are self-made men yet you loathe them.

    --Sam Spade

  26. anonymous: as usual, you drag the thread off point. And argue by stating such things as "her logic, her tone.." Show me. Address my main points. (And if you do, you might consider doing it in a single comment. It's okay to have thoughts in sequence in the same message.)

    And it's a little self-defeating to counter my arguments by saying they've been disproved, and then to parrot an entirely discredited smear about Obama and abortion.

  27. Typical. When you're proven wrong, suddenly the whole thing is off-topic and ignored.

    Obama's vote is his vote. (He didn't even just vote "present", as he did so often.) Abortion is important to him, as it is to the Deathocrats.

    You: " liberals are much more inclined to allow for opposing views."

    Garafalo: "You cannot be well adjusted, open-minded, pluralistic, enlightened and be a republican."

    You: "I sort of understand why it is that we deny -- or fail to recognize -- our own narrowness. We're led around by our brains, obedient and blinkered."

    Garafalo: "It’s not even nutty. It really is neuroscience. I truly believe that it has something to do with their limbic brain. I really believe that some people’s limbic brain dominates more than others. Our limbic brain controls all our emotions and it causes us to be irrational."

    You: "She is indeed grandly unqualified, and poorly informed. Divisive, hateful, dishonest"

    Garafalo: "She said Palin is "small-minded and mean-spirited"

    Tone: this is pretty obvious! Maybe she's a little more nuanced, is all.

  28. See, the problem is when things are true, it's okay to agree with them. That's unfamiliar territory, to be sure, for many on the right.

    My point about the brain is not a silly one; nor was it, in my case, directed at one party over another (a nuance that seems to have slipped by you.) There's science behind it, and studies to which I've previously referred showing predictable differences in how the "liberal" and "conservative" brains work, and how they process facts. Argue the science, if you have data.

    Likewise, saying Palin was unqualified and ran a campaign based on divisiveness and fomenting hatred is not a matter of opinion. In fact, it was recognized by many on the right as well, those few who remain who are able to see things that are in front of them. Not including Congressional leaders and media heroes, about whom I was writing. Also a nuance that seems to have been too fine a point for you.

  29. "is not a matter of opinion"

    You're really kidding now, right? I realize we won't agree on the answer, but these things are value judgments.

    And you sound more and more like her.

  30. Nope. That's like saying "teach the controversy" w/r/t intelligent design. It's factual to quote Palin. It's factual to observe the crowd reaction. If I say the sun is shining and you say it's dark, it's not a matter of opinion. One of us is wrong. In this case, unsurprisingly, it's you.

    And, at the risk of repeating myself, some people would consider responding to my post by addressing its content. Unless you have something to say that addresses my perfect storm premise, or disproves the idea that in unique circumstance the Rs continue to propose nothing new, but only that which has demonstrably failed, under Reagan, under Bush, then consider this repartee over.

  31. I am glad to see that Obama did call attention to it..although following the link and comments below that letter were ALSO enlightening and while he deserves credit for that letter what he omitted is interesting.

    "Only his left eye sees the future.
    Excerpt: Sen. Obama was prescient in the current mortgage problem. I'd be more impressed if it had happened in March 2005, or even 2006. But it's still worth noting.Also worth noting is what he leaves out of his assessment of the..." Anyone can follow the rest of the comments.

    Dr S..this is a point that we have to agree to disagree on..because from my perspective...there are many reasons why I would don't understand faith... or how it relates to intellectually sound reasoning... or why some people of faith view things as they do. I know you think you do and I can appreciate where your coming from. But I also can see that you are blinded to some things... by choice. I know you would say the same of me. And so we will have to let this one go because I could never deny the existence of God and spiritual things/influences in this life because My faith opens my spiritual eyes and I understand. Conversely..your seeming lack of faith (I certainly don't know your heart)tells you that people of faith are misguided.

    There are so many things you have said that do not apply to myself or other people of faith I know. If you did would not have said them.

    Regarding carbon dating and all that... I am on board with you and many people of faith are. is not fair to lump everyone in together because of the scriptural interpretations of some.

    Our legal system is based on the Judeo -Christian ethic.

    Our forefathers..FOUNDERS of this country did incorporate God into their considerations. They believed freedom was a *God* given right and so on. Sounds like public policy to me.

    "I do think, however, that many people of faith have a highly-connected inability to reason. Because to reason is to question, and to question is to subject oneself to doubt, and to doubt is -- for them -- to suffer too much."

    I so very much take issue with this statement. I would use that to describe a far left liberal though. I am half teasing and half sincere with my statement here. :)

    But seriously... we were created (I know..right there you disagree) and you know..I am speaking from my perspective..which I know you perceive to be erroneous...or at least that is my impression based on my interpretations of what you have written regarding faith vs science..which by the way...I believe they can blend)not to be automatons.. but free willed, questioning, reasoning, thinking human beings.

    Paul in the new testament (highly educated prominent Jewish scholar for his day, originally Saul -responsible for killing 5,000 Christians before his Damascus road experience)states in scripture that we are to question and NOT follow everything that comes along.

    All people of faith are not lemmings blindly accepting/denying their origins/raison d'etre ....although I have wondered about the masses of Obama supporters who couldn't articulate WHY he should be president other than "hope and change". ? I am not saying that to be fresh... but pointing out that regardless of the will have the masses *blindly* following something.

    If you haven't done it as yet...and if you feel so inclined...get a modern translation..preferably something with Jewish/Greek translations and read the things he(Paul) has written. He is responsible for most of the New Testament.

    You said, "People yelled "kill him" about Obama at Palin rallies,"

    Secret service denied that and the person who yelled behead him or something like that was a reporter. And you know how decent McCain was about all that and defended Obama.

    Regarding hate mongering...*liberal left -President Bush -Sarah Palin -vile, vile things*, But I know that is not the decent liberal people. I don't lump everyone together. I am discerning.

    Ann Coulter and Keith Olberman are equals in viciousness at opposite ends of the spectrum. I can handle her better because she says somethings that are true... but I do not condone the cruel stuff. I do not.

    I am agree with Keith's perspectives... but would also not be as cruel.

    I am not a mean person and I do not like mean, hurtful things when they are said by anyone.

    They are hardly the beacons of light to represent their political parties.

    They both have great hair though. ;)

    I have to come back to your saying this:"I do think, however, that many people of faith have a highly-connected inability to reason. Because to reason is to question, and to question is to subject oneself to doubt, and to doubt is -- for them -- to suffer too much."

    I am so analytical...that I analyze the analysis of the 1st analysis. Anyone who knows me...knows that I ask questions. Ask my urologist. :) That being said...there are a heck of a lot more people significantly more educated than I am who embrace faith and its viability in the science arena. Think of your fellow colleagues. Same science background/medical training as you and yet they arrive at different conclusions. Why?

    You surely don't thing your Colleagues who believe in the existence of God are any less intelligent or capable of reasoning then you are? Could it be that these medical colleagues have an insight into something you have shut the door on?

    Faith is for anyone who sincerely wants that understanding. You don't have to compromise your scientific beliefs to accept the existence of God. That is an individual choice.

    O'Reilly is annoying... but...I have seen him come down hard on republican decisions. I actually have begun to watch him when I can... and he has been fair. (still annoying though)And he really did give a fair interview to Obama and tougher than anyone else. Obama himself said it was a fair interview.

    He was really tough on Barney Frank and that man deserved it.

    Rush...I do like him. I told you I don't listen to his show much but a lot of what he says makes sense. Do I agree with everything? NO! But I am very grateful he is on the air.

    *I grew up in an era where conservatives did not have a voice... and I am so grateful they do.*

    (BTW -if they try to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine...I am going to flip!)

    You said, "the near destruction of our country. If that floats your boat, so be it."

    Of course I WANT it to be successful! I don't believe that all the porkulus added in there is the way to go.

    Dr S... I don't want people to keep losing their jobs, homes and all the negative things going on. My son's networking is dependent on the success of other companies who will need their services. I want to be able to get a job, loans and pay our bills.

    I want everyone to be blessed with the benefits of a strong economy... and if President Obama pulls this off then I will be so very happy!!

    Of course I want it to be successful!

    It just seems there is no end to the money needing to be printed. They are giving away all this money and the stocks are still falling.

    And I really think President Obama needs to stop being so negative! Yes..we are in a crisis. Yes it is serious. No..we don't know the final outcomes. But he needs to get a little more positive because I think his negative words are adding fuel to this runaway train of gloom and doom. And I know it's a balancing act.

    I am sickened and disgusted at the corruption, dishonesty, disingenuousness in high places and at the opposite end of the spectrum. (It still boggles my mind that a man who didn't pay his taxes is the head of the IRS who would never hire him because of his dishonesty! What message do we send to people there?)I already wrote about the CEOs that have given themselves bonuses, bought chandeliers, had lavish parties, and trips, etc. is disgusting and I questioned why they are allowed to do that with OUR money. ??

    **Your saying this really does bother me though Dr S... because I have explained my feelings:

    "Arguing that our problems came about because of poor people not meeting their obligations is shameful. They did not force the banks into creating all sorts of complicated schemes for making outrageous and risky money. They didn't bring down Iceland. It's the greed at the top, in the form of trillions of dollars, not the gullibility at the bottom by people enticed into borrowing more than they could afford. Republicans, with their family values and personal responsibility, excuse the excess and unconscionable greed at the top and point to the folks at the bottom in some sort of self-righteous ignorance. They're "mad" at the victims and continue to argue for deregulation of the thieves."

    I am *not* ASHAMED of what I said.

    Did I not just comment about my KNOWING first hand what it is like to be POOR and that I DON"T judge people on MDCD, etc.? (See my previous comment in this post)

    But... When we were 1st married we SAVED to by a house and we had to have a certain percentage down..which we went over and put MORE than we needed to. WE SACRIFICED and went without decent furniture, etc.. because we kept our eyes on the goal. It has always been understood that if we don't make the monthly payments on anything we took a loan out for...that it would be taken away.

    We had an obligation to be financially responsible with our loans and we always have been.

    A concept many people of all socioeconomic levels have difficulty grasping that of living within their means. We have fallen prey to it at times too. well I husband never has. And I have made mistakes... but NEVER with the loans.

    My heart goes out to poor people who sincerely want to improve their quality of life and be a proud homeowner. And I applaud efforts of people who would see the need to give them a leg to speak.

    A dear friend of mine was abandoned by her husband and left with 2 little girls. he didn't pay the mtg as agreed and she lost the house. She HAD to go on public assistance, charity care, etc.. She took advantage of the women's empowerment program, got her associate's degree...payed for by the state, went to job fair classes, etc and after a few years... became totally independent, got a good job and even managed to buy *her own* home again through a mtg assistance program. Thank God these programs are out there. that is what they are supposed to do. She is now giving back into the system that helped her. Has been for 14 years.

    Anyone could fall into a financial crisis at anytime during their lives. We never know.

    *I am completely sympathetic/empathetic to the plight of poor people.*

    Even worse off are the people who fall in between the cracks. the people who make to much to qualify for assistance yet really are at poverty level.

    I am not blaming poor people. I would not do that.

    But I DO believe there has to be financial accountability and responsibility.

    It is a fact...that the welfare system has created generational financial dependence.

    My elderly mother has been on MDCR/MDCD for 20 yrs and she lived in a HUD subsidized building. She worked hard all her life. Was N-E-V-E-R the frequent flier abuser of the ED or her Dr.

    And yes...even with that... we have helped her financially too. I stated previously in these comments..I KNOW what it is like to be poor and need a break and I have known people who were/are struggling financially and my own mother is in that category.

    So..with all due respect Dr. S..please don't tell me I should be ashamed for blaming poor people for this mess. I am sympathetic/empathetic to poor people. I have already written this many times, I hold Barney Frank, the CEOs and a whole host of greedy people responsible...FIRST and FOREMOST because if THEY hadn't been so CORRUPT and made these loans in the 1st place...we would NOT be in this mess.

    Then.... I absolutely DO hold anyone..poor or rich who knowingly takes out a loan..that is too much for them to handle and will end up in foreclosure.

    Like I said...we shopped for homes within our means. I would loved to have gotten something larger, but we were financially responsible and did not greedily try to get more than we could afford. that is the difference.

    But...I most definitely hold the professionals making these loans MORE responsible.
    Off topic... I love to hear President Obama speak. I like the authority in his voice.

    I am relieved that he hasn't just set the Guantanamo prisoners free and they will still be detained. I am relieved that he is not willing to open any investigations into the Bush cabinet, etc.

    I am glad to see he has stepped up troop presence in Afghanistan.

    I am concerned that he has cut the budget for the F22s..our best fighter planes.

    I DO wish him every success... if that means our country and people will be all the better for it.

    Just because I disagree with things... does not mean I want the "destruction" of my country and that certainly would not "float my boat"!

    I am a Christian, conservative American who loves her country and wants every American President to be a success for the good of our wonderful country and her people... regardless of political parties involved.

    I think both political parties have forgotten that they are supposed to be working for the people and not the lobbyists and their own political agendas.

  32. Ah, Sid, you've hit the big time and attracted some trolls.

    The favorite trope amongst the Republican mouth-breathers nowadays is playing the "hate" card.

    We think their policies are crap and say so, and say why. We think they've elected some very corrupt (DeLay) and stupid (Bush) politicians, and point out why why we think so. We demonstrate pretty conclusively that Sarah Palin is unqualified for high office (well, to be honest, she pretty much did that all by herself), and suddenly they discover a passion for women's rights.

    Because, really, it's all about Hate. We just THOUGHT it was about looking closely at the Repubs' record in office, tracking trends in the economy, and making a considered judgment about how well or poorly the majority of Americans fare under the two parties' contrasting philosophies of governance.

    I've got to admit, I understand their attraction to the Hate trope. If my party had failed as spectacularly as has the GOP, in both domestic and foreign policy, maybe I'd be looking for some such fig leaf to cover the emperor's nudity.

    Then again, maybe I'd make a reasoned judgment that maybe, just maybe, I should abandon the cover story and take a long, hard look at my party. And then decide that, since the GOP's policies have indeed failed spectacularly, and its power structure has chosen to present candidates of quite remarkable stupidity, I as a rational person might want to, you know, TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

  33. Seaspray: the most important point you make is the one about the fairness doctrine. It says it all: Rush keeps harping on it, so do Coulter, Hannity, and the people you so admire. And all the while, the Democrats have made it clear -- and Obama has explicitly stated -- they have no interest in reviving it. So it's the perfect metaphor for what I criticize in most (not all) Republicans and most (not all) people of faith: continuing in a discredited belief, resistant to facts that contradict it, cleaving to those who reinforce what you prefer to believe over what is in fact true and verifiable.

    And making up the rest.

    For them it works just fine, which is, of course, the whole point. But for the world they've created and the rest of us living in it, not so much.

  34. OUCH! The most important point I made was the Fairness Doctrine?

    You really do what you accuse conservatives of doing, but you don't see it. And I am not trying to be fresh all.(You know I would not do that to you or your guests) But with all the eloquent writing you do here...*I feel* like you are pretty closed minded. That doesn't mean I am right.. but is how I feel.

    I know that is how you see conservatives. Misguided and closed minded.

    And no one party is always right. I think they would call that a totalitarian government. ;)

    We need BOTH wings to fly the eagle. We need checks and balances.

    Dr S: I heard the interviews with dems as far back as last summer. When questioned they did answer in ways that was supportive of the idea.

    In hearing their comments..I had the feeling that a possible foundation was being set. I arrived at that conclusion based on hearing or watching the person's response when asked about reviving it.

    The only name that comes to mind right now is Chuck Schumer. He also linked conservative radio to PORN for crying out loud.

    Free speech.. and he can say what he wants.. but it was a ludicrous and insulting comment.

    And it is not just people of faith with conservative values. There are conservative athiests, agnostics, etc.

    It isn't a prerequisite to believe in God to be a conservative.

    And there are plenty people of faith on the liberal side too.

    The only thing about me..and I am not saying I am right...but rather it is a sincere question on my part... well no..better not get into it here.

    Well suffice it to know..that I see one inconsistency with ...

    But otherwise...of course Liberals believe in God too. Conservatives don't have a corner on God.

    Ha ha! He is an equal opportunity guy. :)

    Back to the fairness doctrine.. I heard for myself what truly sounded like building a base for supporting the Fairness Doctrine by other liberals. And btw..of course some liberals would be perfectly happy if Fox disappeared today.

    But...I looked up Obama and Fairness Doctrine and as of February 09... he does not support it's reinstatement. I will take him at his word.

    That is a relief!

    Here is an interesting little tidbit if you didn't already know it.

    Alan Colmes sister-in-law is conservative Monica Crowley. Her sister is a liberal too. They must have some interesting holiday conversations. :)

    I really like Alan too.

    And Sean and Alan are good friends.

    I think it is entirely possible to love the person but not the policies.

    No one person is always right and no one person is always wrong and not everyone can be lumped into one category. There are variables.

    Dr S, I do NOT always ( one ALWAYS or NEVER does something:)agree with the conservative talking heads. Sometimes I loathe the humor.

    But that is me... because I will never make fun of a person's looks..something that is them.

    That being said...SNL..while ever so liberal with their hilarious! So is the Cobert Report and that other comedian on before him. :)

    Sorry -digressed a bit. :)

    P.S. Have you seen Bongi's post "Orchestrator"? Awesome!

    Come back to Surgeon'sblog...please.?

  35. Seaspray: see what happens if you stop taking the word of Rush for everything? You find out some facts. Nice, isn't it? It gives you a little hint at what it's like to be a liberal. Scales. Eyes. That sort of thing.

  36. There you go again Dr S!

    I am NOT a Rush groupie!

    I just explained in previous comment that BOTH sides do it.

    And..I keep telling you I do not agree/believe everything I hear from BOTH sides.

    And I will admit if I was wrong.. and be relieved by the way... because I am not a *I HAVE to be right* partisan voter. I really do want what is best for all of us.. whether it is Bush, Obama, Palin, Clinton, etc.

    There is something I am observing/experiencing. I am seeing that if it is an opposing view..regardless of facts behind gets dismissed as erroneous drivel... when it is not.

    Conservatives don't own the market on scaled over eyes.

    I am not saying my next statement to be preachy.. but to make a point that was made 2000 years ago... because it is apparently the human condition to turn a blind eye of convenience or to judge others without being aware of one's own actions.

    Jesus said that we should get the log out of our own eye before we try to get the spec out of our brothers. So true!

    I am guilty of that. I would think most people are from time to time.

  37. "That being said...there are a heck of a lot more people significantly more educated than I am who embrace faith and its viability in the science arena. "

    Thank you for that. It made my day. But then, being forcefully reminded that most of the few remaining in the GOP base are imbeciles does tend to cheer me up.


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