Never let the facts get in the way of doing what you were going to do anyway:
AP: The autopsy released Wednesday on Terri Schiavo backed her husband's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding she was severely and irreversibly brain-damaged and blind as well. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused before she collapsed.
In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the autopsy did nothing to change President Bush's position that Schiavo's feeding tube should not have been disconnected. He had signed a bill, rushed through by Congress in March, in a last-ditch effort to restore her feeding tube.
So all that argumentation, the claims about an incorrect diagnosis, the insinuations that the husband had abused her, that drugs had been used to speed her death, that she was conscious and aware and tracking motion with her eyes -- all of that, and much more, the entire basis for the right getting involved in this family (and state matter), is now shown to have been (as it seemed clear it was at the time) completely and totally untrue, but that makes not a bit of difference to Bush.
In the reality-based world, we make decisions to the best of our ability on the basis of facts, and when the facts change, or are shown to have been wrong, we alter our choices to accomodate the new circumstances. That's anethema to Bush.
Call me naive, but I always understood that "Dog bites man" isn't news -- because it's common, unexceptional and expected -- while "Man bites dog" really is news, for the exact opposite reasons. It's the exceptional, the unexpected, the unusual that is news.
The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed.
James Madison original draft for what became the First Amendment to the Constitution (6/8/1789)
I do wish they had continued to include Madison's "rights of conscience," which would have made it much more clear that the intent was both to keep the practice of religion free from government interference, and to allow every person to follow his own conscience in respect to religion, including the right not to practice any religion at all.
There's a nice little essay here by Jeff Shesol (a speechwriter for Bill Clinton) about meaning of the right-wing effort to rejigger Reagan's legacy:
Reagan's intellectual rehabilitation can go only so far. It's true that he displays none of the ostentatious anti-intellectualism so prevalent in his party, from Spiro Agnew to George W. Bush. Yet he shows no great passion for ideas, either, beyond their utility. There is no sense of struggle in his writings, no careful weighing of views, no perceptible self-doubt -- none of the typical markers of a searching mind. Reagan does not ruminate so much as proselytize. In a letter from 1977, replying to a woman who has accused him of having a ''closed mind,'' Reagan offers charm, statistics and a predictable swipe at ''projects by bureaucrats which will further erode our freedom.''
His brilliance -- as Garry Wills observed nearly two decades ago in ''Reagan's America'' -- was in his presentation of evidence and his near-perfect pitch. He understood America's hopes and fears -- and played to both. Which makes him less a great intellect than, well, a great communicator.
In any event, was Reagan's wattage ever really the issue? His critics -- and many of his closest advisers -- were less concerned about Reagan's intellectual capacity than about his lack of intellectual engagement in the Oval Office. ... Reagan snapped and crackled in the 1970's. His radio addresses of that period show a sharpness of tongue and focus that seemed to abandon him in the White House, where -- as numerous accounts have suggested -- he seemed to go a bit fuzzy, tuning out and even falling asleep in meetings. This is the Reagan whose pose at press conferences -- head cocked, eyes unfocused, lips pursed in puzzlement -- launched a thousand parodies. This is the Reagan whose inattention engendered budget chicanery, vicious staff squalls and Iran-contra. Showing him to be smarter than we thought does not explain this away.
Still, with the impending publication of Reagan's White House diaries, the legacy-building is likely to intensify -- if only because his followers are banking everything on him. In the pantheon of modern presidents, the Democrats claim Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson. The Republicans have only Reagan. Neither Ford nor Nixon commands his party's devotion, and Eisenhower, who resisted McCarthyism, has little to offer the cultural and religious conservatives who dominate the party today.
Reagan has become the Great Touchstone. Yet to be truly useful to his present-day heirs, his record has to be retouched. As president, he cut deals with Democrats; boosted taxes, public spending and the size of government; sought arms reductions with the Soviet Union; and did less than promised to regulate private behavior. Within the Reagan administration, the true believers, more often than not, lost badly at the hands of moderates.
Badly, and bitterly. When the ideologues lashed back at Reagan -- which they did frequently -- they went not for his jugular but for his frontal lobe. Reagan's arms control initiatives led Howard Phillips, the chairman of the Conservative Caucus, to call the president ''a useful idiot for Soviet propaganda'' and ''little more than the speech reader in chief.'' Reagan's departures from economic orthodoxy prompted accusations of weakness, laziness and outright ignorance. The right, now ascendant, has absolved Reagan of these sins. His legacy, too, is being corrected. His pragmatism is being written out of the picture, replaced by ideological purity. His detachment is shrugged off as a left-wing myth.
Nonbelievers may be tempted to dismiss all this as hero worship, but the legacy-building project is more than that. It is a strenuous act of self-promotion. Reagan's heirs attribute to him what they wish to see in themselves, or wish others to see in them. His redemption is their redemption. He is, as he must be, everything now -- at once the Great Oz and the man behind the curtain. [Emphasis added. - Ed]
Imagine, years from now, the amount of heavy lifting which will be necessary to redeem George W. Bush's legacy -- if, indeed, his reputation will be salvagable at all. The wingnuts had better start exercising now to get their strength up. (Or will they attempt to write Bush off as well? That would be difficult, I think, considering how closely their movement has been identified with him. Still, in light of the damage he has done, which will become increasingly clear as the years go by and the collateral effects become more apparent, they might consider trying.)
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.