Thursday, January 9, 2014

Engage the Brain, Please!

Polar Vortex (courtesy The Weather Centre)
A new year but old, old behavior.  My optimism about the future of humanity has flagged a bit.  Although it's probably not really a good idea to measure humanity's promise by looking at Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin.  What is it about Conservatives, anyway?  I swear, they seem to latch onto certain words that they shake and shake and shake like a rat terrier expecting to kill the meaning behind them or something.  Please, please tell me about examples of Liberals doing this, too!  I want to take them to task as well. So, to begin 2014 on a snarky note....

"Right on schedule, the media have to come up with a way to make it [the cold] sound like it's completely unprecedented, because they've got to find a way to attach this to the global warming agenda," Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh is talking about the term "polar vortex," a term used in meteorology for the air mass that usually stays over the North Pole.  We don't hear this term often in our weather reports because it is rare for the polar vortex to stretch down and affect our weather.  The media reported the term, it did not make it up.  Was it attached to a "global warming agenda"?  I did not hear anything in the news reports I saw or listened to that attached it to climate change.  Maybe there were news reports that did in Mr. Limbaugh's state, I don't know.

So how incredibly stupid was this of Mr. Limbaugh?  On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd call it a 10.  Clearly, he had not engaged his brain, hadn't asked more relevant questions in order to find out the true origin of the term, knows very little about the science of meteorology, and probably needs to skip commentary on the weather as a science in the future.  Of course, I understand Mr. Limbaugh is in the business of saying outrageous things for attention and to provoke extreme views, beliefs and reactions.  But that's no excuse for his monumental stupidity in this particular case.

"The plan is to allow those things that had been proposed over many years to reform a health-care system in America that certainly does need more help so that there's more competition, there's less tort reform threat, there's less trajectory of the cost increases, and those plans have been proposed over and over again," Palin said.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, in the above quote, was talking on The Today Show with Matt Lauer about her alternative to the Affordable Care Act.  This is also available in video online and on YouTube.  I honestly tried to understand what she was trying to say, and could not.  How does she expect anyone to understand her when she clearly doesn't have a precise idea of what her plan would be?

What really alarmed me, however, was when she called the ACA "socialized medicine crammed down our throats."  My jaw dropped open.  I expected Matt Lauer to ask her what she meant by "socialized medicine" but he didn't.  The original meaning of socialized medicine referred to systems  "in which the government operates health care facilities and employs health care professionals. This narrower usage would apply to the British National Health Service hospital trusts and health systems that operate in other countries as diverse as Finland, Spain, Israel, and Cuba. The United States' Veterans Health Administration, and the medical departments of the US Army, Navy, and Air Force, would also fall under this narrow definition. When used in this way, the narrow definition permits a clear distinction from single payer health insurance systems, in which the government finances health care but is not involved in care delivery."  Medicare is a single payer health insurance system.

So what was Palin's definition of "socialized medicine"?  Conservatives bandy this term around as if it is the worst possible thing that could happen to American society.  However, we already have it for our veterans,and other countries use it successfully.  I do not believe Palin herself truly understands what it is, and I wish Lauer had asked her to explain herself.

I wish, for 2014, that Conservatives would engage their brains, really use them, before they open their mouths and spew words.  They need to show that they are as intelligent and knowledgeable as they claim to be instead of demonstrating by their words and actions that they are really stupid.  Engage the brain, please!

Saturn Polar Vortex (from nasa.gov)

 Yesterday, I was part of a discussion about Limbaugh and his polar vortex rant, and a friend commented that people who are brought up in rigidly ideological belief systems tend to listen to news reports and hear only what fits into their belief system and say the rest is wrong.  Another friend commented, "It's dangerous to have an open mind.  Stuff will fall out of it." 

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