Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Worst of the Year

John Hawkins of Right Wing News presents his annual list of the 40 most obnoxious quotes of the year just ended. Actually "obnoxious" is not an appropriate adjective for some of them. Some are indeed obnoxious, some are even vile, but others are merely dumb or stupid. Others are rather frightening. It's hard to believe the viciousness and hatred that's out there.

Anyway, here are three of my favorites from the "dumb" category:
"My fear is that the whole island [of Guam] will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize." -- Democrat congressman Hank Johnson

"We have to pass the [Health Care Reform] bill so you can find out what is in it." -- Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

"As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the “capital of the free world. But it seems to me that this great city (Brussels), which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title." --Vice-President Joe Biden
Here are four that are exceptionally vile:
"I am starting to think that any parent who takes their kids to Catholic churches from now on should lose custody. Taking your kid where you know sex offenders hang out is inexcusable!!!" -- Roseanne Barr

"The medical term for Down Syndrome is Trisomy-21 or Trisomy-g. It is often shortened in medical slang to Tri-g. Is it not perfectly possible that the very name given to this poor child, being reared by Bristol, is another form of mockery of his condition, along with the "retarded baby" tag? And does the way in which this poor child was hauled around the country on a book tour, being dragged out in front of flash photographs in the middle of the night, barely clothed, suggest someone who actually cares for children with special needs, or rather sees them as a way to keep the spotlight on her?" -- Andrew Sullivan

Well, keep it up boys, just keep it up, um except for one thing: you rat bastards are going to cause another Murrah federal building explosion, you are. And then - what is Beck - maybe at that point Beck will do the honorable thing and blow his brains out. Maybe at that point, Limbaugh will do the honorable thing and just gobble up enough - enough Viagra that he becomes absolutely rigid and keels over dead. Maybe then O'Reilly will just drink a vat of the poison he spews out on America every night and choke to death! Because that's what's gonna happen, that's what they are pushing these right-wing, nut case, fringe, militia jerk-wads to doing! -- Mike Malloy

"I know how the "tea party" people feel - the anger, venom and bile that many of them showed during the recent House vote on health-care reform. I know because I want to spit on them, take one of their "Obama Plan White Slavery" signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads." -- The Washington Post's Courtland Milloy
And here are a few that should make every American clutch tightly their copy of the Constitution because if these people have their way the document will be as irrelevant as the Articles of Confederation:
"There's a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to FOX and to MSNBC: 'Out. Off. End. Goodbye.' It would be a big favor to political discourse; our ability to do our work here in Congress, and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and more importantly, in their future." -- Democrat senator Jay Rockefeller

"I tell you what, if I lived in Massachusetts I'd try to vote 10 times [against Republican candidate Scott Brown]. I don't know if they'd let me or not, but I'd try to. Yeah, that's right. I'd cheat to keep these bastards out. I would. 'Cause that's exactly what they are." -- Ed Schultz

"The proper channels have failed. It's time for mass civil disobedience to cut off the financial oxygen from denial and skepticism. If you're one of those who believe that this is not just necessary but also possible, speak to us. Let's talk about what that mass civil disobedience is going to look like. If you're one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this: We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many, but you be few." -- Greenpeace, on their blog
These are the people, sadly, who want to decide how the rest of us should live.

Read the rest of the quotes at the link. For those of a historical bent Hawkins also offers links to similar collections from previous years.

I know it's premature, but the absolute nonsense that was written and spoken by those who, in the wake of the awful tragedy in Arizona, wanted to twist it to their political advantage will surely provide Hawkins with a wealth of material to draw upon next year. Two of my favorites to make the list are former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, who attributed the shooting to attempts to repeal Obamacare, and Congressman James Clyburn who tied the shooting to the Republicans' decision to open the current session of Congress by reading the Constitution.

I know you find it hard to believe that our elected officials could be such dunderheads, but you can check it out here.

Saving Leonardo

Nancy Pearcy is a scholar and writer who has authored several books on science, culture and faith, and has recently come out with yet another volume on the topic of how worldview influences culture. The book is titled Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning, and in it Pearcy outlines how the historical shift in worldview in the West from Christian theism to modern materialism and post-modern nihilism expresses itself in our culture, particularly philosophy, literature, film, and art.

Her overarching theme is the corrosive effect materialism has had on the way artists and thinkers view life and the world. To paraphrase Daniel Dennett this modern view of life is a universal acid that eats away at and destroys everything it touches. The loss of transcendence in Western civilization has been accompanied by a loss of beauty, coherence, and hope in music, painting, and film. When people no longer have anything to believe in the fruits of their imagination reflect only emptiness and despair. Pearcy traces this descent into hopelessness with impressive scholarship.

There are parts of Saving Leonardo that plod a little, but it's beautifully produced with color prints of the paintings she discusses and is so packed with information and insight that the serious reader will be well-rewarded, even if he or she doesn't agree with everything Pearcy says. It would make an excellent gift for anyone, particularly students, interested in the close relationship between the religious assumptions of those who create culture and the art and thought they produce.

Earth from Space

Jason passes along a link to some spectacular photos of earth taken from space. The eight pics appear in the Mail Online. Here's one of the Chinese cities Beijing (upper left) and Tianjun at night:

Check out the rest at the link.