File Under “Damning With Faint Praise”

How popular a candidate is Stephen Colbert? So popular he beats…Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.

*Cough*…[sound of crickets chirping]…

Ummm, okay…but my beagle beats Paul and Kucinich! By double digits, even…I mean, come on, I like Rasmussen and all, but is this news?


72 comments to File Under “Damning With Faint Praise”

  • Andy

    Fargus, your dyslexia is showing again.

  • Ryan Bonneville

    If that means believing that military threats should be fought with the military, then yes.”

    I take it this is the crux. In no way was Iraq a military threat to the United States and in no way is Iran. That you think so against all evidence forms the kernel of our disagreement. It’s a hump we cannot get over, so my only hope is that the American public has the good sense to reject the all-war, all-the-time crowd. It mystifies me that, in barely more than 6 years, the Party I used to call my own has become the refuge of stormtroopers. Where was all this insane war-lust in the 90s? And just when exactly did we all turn into Vikings?

    That said, you completely misunderstand what populism is, how corporatism animates the GOP (no-bid contracts are the very definition of corporatism), and you’re completely unwilling to contemplate that one can be a totalitarian without being dictator-for-life. Remind me again who contemplated pushing back the New York mayoral election after 9/11. How is that anything but totalitarian?

  • Ryan Bonneville

    Two other things:

    1. I’m with Fargus on freedom. Anyone who says a right comes with a responsibility to use it wisely doesn’t understand freedom. The entire point is that you can use it however you want. We wouldn’t need to protect freedoms as rights if folks like Aaron weren’t so insistent on taking them away.

    2. Why does Andy insist on bringing up Democrats all the time? I don’t think I’ve read a single person in this thread say anything good about the Democrats. That the Republicans are execrable can be true no matter how bad the Democrats are.

  • As for Lord Kelvin, the age of the earth isn’t the only thing he was fantastically & emphatically wrong on, not withstanding his exalted Ivory Tower perch. Unfortunately, even today, many intellectual elites continue to get blindsided by their degree & pedigree of sheer brilliance.

    In my career, I am sure that I have produced as many, if not more, erroneous calculations than Lord Kelvin.

    So what?

    If I polled the graduate students in my Department, all of them would be well-familiar with Kelvin’s many correct contributions. Not 1 in 20 would even have heard of this (spectacularly) incorrect one. It is exclusively the obsession of Young Earth Creationists (who think it a vindication of something or other in their worldview), and a delightful little digression on the occasions when I’ve had to teach thermodynamics.

    In any case, putting the age of the earth at somewhere between 75,000 and several billion years is such a large margin of error as to be meaningless, other than to warrant further research and refinement of theories.

    Though it may come as a shock to you, Science happens to have progressed considerably since the mid-eighteenth century.

    You continue to assume that I believe the earth is 6K years old, when I say again and again that it really doesn’t matter how old the world is. I am agnostic on the question,…

    If you’re agnostic on the question, then you are “agnostic” about the validity of essentially all of modern Astronomy, Biology, Geology and Physics.

    Which is certainly your prerogative.

    I just happen to think 18-25 year-olds who prefer Colbert to any of the Republican candidates for President have a far more rational worldview. And on global warming — or any of the myriad of other public-policy topics on which science has important things to say — one is far more likely to get a sensible opinion out of one of them than out of someone who is “agnostic” about the validiy of nearly all of modern science.

    You previously claimed that every reasonable person knows that the earth is 2.5 billion years old…

    Umh, no. 4.5 billion years.

    Which, I think, says everything that needs to be said.

  • Andy

    Ryan. [slapping forehead] You’re a libertarian! And here I was thinking you were a leftist nutroot. Sorry.

    And I’m an independent. What interests me is less govt, less taxes, more liberty. I’m just not ready to jump into the dirty washtub with the libertarian baby.

    In that case, it would seem logical that given the two evils represented by both parties, that the lesser of the two is the GOP. I have my issues with Rudy regarding the 2nd amendment & sanctuary city. But he claims his road to damacus was on 9/11.

    That remains to be seen. In any case, as Aaron aptly justified it, any GOP, aside from Paul, is better than the best that the Dems have to offer.

    We’ll just have to disagree on waterboarding. And as I’ve stated before, it is incumbent on Congress to make waterboarding illegal, than to pass the buck and require an AG “make” law, rather than enforce it. Just as too often, they shirk their duty making other critical laws and letting the judges make the call by default. This goes entirely against the checks and balances prescribed by our founding documents.

    This is predicated upon the govt’s reserved the right to wield its sword in clearly defined cases if it is to govern effectively — even if it means taking a life. Properly executed, it will save more lives in the long run.

    Again, I say the blame for this congressional charade can be traced back to the 19th Amendment, which has created a class of princes more concerned with staying in office than representing the executive & legislative interests of their home state. Craig is but one such sorry example, there’s Stevens, Byrd, Hagel, Kennedy et al. All to often, these incumbent princes have become kingmakers with regards to the governor and legislature of their home states. We don’t need term limits, we need to repeal the 19th.

    If things continue to polarize, I’m open to secession. And if we continue down the road to social-fascism by hook and crook — ie stacking the votes with illegal aliens, surrendering our sovernity to the UN and repealing the 2nd — it may even be necessary for full-on revolution.

  • Ryan Bonneville

    Andy, there are things in your post with which I disagree (I think Hagel is the only honorable Republican in the Senate, for instance), but most of it would be getting too far into the weeds. We have outlined our points of disagreement; nothing more can be gained here.

  • Aaron and Andy, apologies for my silly mistake. I’ve made it before, and I don’t know why. Nothing sinister is intended by it, rest assured, and that oversight doesn’t change the substance of my argument. As Ryan said, the ill-defined concept of “misuse” of a right is not grounds for its being revoked. If somebody votes because of hair color or neck size, that’s their right. I might think it’s stupid, and you, AARON, might think it’s stupid, but that doesn’t mean that there’s fair ground to argue for the revocation of that right from that person. Similarly, the right of free speech doesn’t preclude stupid or ill-advised speech. Are you proposing somehow that we should put limits on free speech based on how “maturely” the right is used? What about somebody who uses their right of free speech to spout nothing but insane, idiotic conspiracy theories about the government being behind 9/11? Do I like what they’re saying? No. Do I then think that I should lobby for their right to be taken away on the grounds that it hasn’t been used “maturely”? Hell no.

    The other point that needs to be emphasized is mikebdot’s point about Colbert “voters.” The polls that show his support now are just that: polls. They’re not those people’s votes at this point, and I wouldn’t trust that they would reflect how those people would actually vote (assuming they’re all in South Carolina, and voting in their party’s primary, anyway) when it comes time to vote. Simply put, posing the question to a nationwide audience of a three-way run with Colbert in it, when he’s made no indication that he’d run outside of South Carolina, or as a third-party candidate, is nothing but fodder for folks like us to get into arguments like this.

  • Andy

    Though it may come as a shock to you, Science happens to have progressed considerably since the mid-eighteenth century.

    That’s why I said “other than to warrant further research and refinement of theories.

    I am agnostic on the question,…
    If you’re agnostic on the question, then you are “agnostic” about the validity of essentially all of modern Astronomy, Biology, Geology and Physics.

    Finish the rest of the sentence and train of thot: “, yet always interested in new discoveries. Like I said before, since no one was there at the beginning, no one can definitively state what is. We can only infer and deduce likelihoods and probabilities based on testable facts.

    In other words, my belief system won’t change if we re-establish that the earth is twice as old or whatever. Scientist say that it is 4.51 billion years old. Fine, it doesn’t negate a creator behind the genesis. I depend on science in almost every facet of life and I count on the laws to remain constant. Just because one might choose to deny the law of gravity doesn’t mean they can defy it off a 12 story bldg.

    You previously claimed that every reasonable person knows that the earth is 2.5 billion years old…

    Umh, no. 4.5 billion years.

    So I’m fat-fingered and dysleix. It still doesn’t change my premise, however, I guarantee conventional estimates will change yet again in short order as science continues to progress.

    As for GW, I’m in no hurry, time & nature will prove Goracle and his sycophants wrong.

  • Andy: Wow, “goracle”…”algorish”…and you’re the one making reference to others’ “RDS”. Looks like you have a serious case of ADS. Or GDS. Or AGDS. Take your pick.

  • Bob from Ohio


    Guantanamo. Abu Ghraib.

    That is what I thought of course. If you say some one is deranged and insane, I guess we need to need to defer to your personal experience. Since if you think Khalid Muhammed, for example, is a “political prisoner”, then deranged and insane is what you are.

    Would Bin Laden be a “poitical prisoner”?

    Speaking of deranged and insane by the way, have you apologized to Mark for calling him a murderer yet?

  • Ryan Bonneville

    Bin Laden would be a political prisoner so long as he was held without charges. Taking someone prisoner, claiming he is a threat to national security, and not bothering to offer up any evidence as to why it might be true that he is a threat is something I would classify as taking political prisoners. If these folks in Guantanamo are actual criminals or threats to security, let’s have some trials. None of this should indicate that I support the torture of any kind of prisoner, political or otherwise. Fear is no excuse for surrendering civilization to barbarism.

    I did not call Mark a murderer. I believe I called him either an apologist or an accessory. Since I consider those who have ordered American soldiers into war in Iraq to be murderers, and Mark continues to provide whatever level of cover he does for the people who give those orders (although, to be fair, it’s not much), I haven’t changed my mind on that count. This may be unsavory, but I interact daily with people who support keeping late-term abortion legal, so I’m used to the cognitive dissonance of trying to reason with people I consider morally flawed in some deep way.

  • Mikebdot wrote:

    Andy: Wow, “goracle”…”algorish”…and you’re the one making reference to others’ “RDS”. Looks like you have a serious case of ADS. Or GDS. Or AGDS. Take your pick.

    Don’t forget “cHillary”.

    Andy’s posts are rich with irony. Like

    However, it is the high value that our forebears put on education that directly led to our overall domination in the sciences, industry & economics. It is why the US is still the #1 destination for immigrants. Altho I don’t see that being sustained with the continual dumbing down to the lowest PC denominator.

    Andy’s intellectual bedfellows have worked tirelessly to dumb down the teaching of high school science in this country. And I expect that he’d be pleased as punch to include a unit on “The Flood” in the time freed-up by dropping Evolution from the curriculum.


    I guarantee conventional estimates [of the age of the earth] will change yet again in short order as science continues to progress.
    As for GW, I’m in no hurry, time & nature will prove Goracle and his sycophants wrong.

    Once it’s been established that the world is only 6000 years old, it’s pretty easy to see that the rest of the argument for GW goes out the window.

  • Bob from Ohio

    Mark doesn’t post much so it only took a few minutes to find whee Ryan said:

    Frankly, I have no interest in tolerating murderers or their accomplices.

    If you say you are only caling Mark an accomplice, that is the same as calling him a murderer. The law doesn’t make a distinction, you.

    So, going to apologize, Mr. Insane and Deranged?

  • Bob, I don’t really care if Ryan apologizes or not…he knows what he said, he knows it was wrong, and he hides behind semantics. I am neither a murderer nor an accomplice to murder, and to say that anyone who supports the war fits into these categories is the height of foolishness, similar to, say, calling the former mayor of NYC and current Republican frontrunner a fascist and ‘deranged’, as if Ryan has any competency in psychological valuations, or as if he has performed such an evaluation on the mayor.

    But this is par for the course, rhetorically speaking, these days…of what good is a word like ‘fascist’ when it can apply equally to Rudy Giuliani or Mussolini? Or ‘murderer’ when it can apply to a 39-year-old blogger who happens to support the war in Iraq or O.J. Simpson?

    The fact that Ryan indiscriminately throws around terms like these reflects poorly on him, and matters not a whit to me…but thanks for standing up for me, it’s noticed and appreciated…

  • Andy

    You guys crack me up. X Derangement Syndrome is normally associated with with equating the object of focus with a vile or inhumane characteristic. Unless of course you think “Dubya” or “Shrub” et al are also symptoms of xDS.

    Gore claims to invent the Internet and was justly mocked for it. The new improved Gore comes out and predicts the future hence “Goracle” and so on. My pet terms of endearment disparagement for these blowhards are hardly symptomatic of some derangement. To me, Hillary is cold, hence cHillary. I’ve seen and used other punned names, but they pale in comparison to typical xDS nomenclature.

    As for the question of a Creator, it’s plain to me that some have CDS, notwithstanding the fact that some of history’s greatest insights and advances came from those who believed in an entity greater than man. Any mention or supposition of a higher being just sets them off into a tizzy.

    That ecofreaks buy what Gore is selling as Science is merely evidence of eSDS.

    After all is said and done, each and every person bases their worldview on a belief system and interpret their science accordingly.

    To whit, Space Cadet Denny Kucinich believes in UFOs and reincarnation, and would use his proposed Department of Peace to reach out to the aliens in friendship. Somehow, the response I imagine that his assembled peacetroopers get will be “Gack, ack-cck, accck” before the Martians send him off to Nirvana. :)

    BTW, achievements in academia and the arts goes back a long, long way on both sides of my family tree. I’d be pleased as punch if schools would include more units on the 3 Rs, Western Civ (AKA dead white men) and Science in the time freed up by dropping touchie-feelie affirmations, diversity and multi-kulti PC crapola from the curriculum.

  • I am neither a murderer nor an accomplice to murder, and to say that anyone who supports the war fits into these categories is the height of foolishness,

    Mark knows that he and I disagree pretty strongly about the war in Iraq. But I, too, think it cheapens the discourse to call him an “accomplice to murder.” There’s plenty of blame to go around for this misbegotten f%$#up of a war. But, realistically, Mark bears very little of it.

    History will deal very harshly with this Administration and their enablers in Congress. Come January 2009, however, Mark will still be able to travel to travel freely abroad, without fear of being arrested and dragged off to the Hague.

    In a just world, the distinction between Mark and the true culprits responsible for the Iraq war would be starker than that. But at least it’s something …

  • Andy

    Shucks, man. I forgot to hyperlink the eSDS

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I got my eye on a rare pair of Grateful Dead edition skis and other goodies worth snatching on eBay.

  • It’s not even worth responding to you, Andy. You’ve obviously continued to go on believing in blatant falsehoods because they make good cudgels. There’s nothing that can be said to you.

  • Ryan Bonneville

    Mark, you are not a 39 year old blogger who HAPPENS to support the Iraq War. From the beginning, you have been an advocate for it and you continue to be so in the face of the complete and utter disaster it has become. I don’t believe I have ever seen an apology for your support for a war on premises that turned out to be completely false, nor have I seen you show anything like remorse for trusting an administration that has been so totally incompetent. In the face of all evidence to the contrary, you continue to support the Bush administration’s policies. So let’s be clear about whether your support is anything like happenstance – it isn’t.

    I think Jacques makes a good point, though, and I will apologize for calling you a murderer. I think you are wrong and I question both the thought process and the internal compass of someone who continues to support this war – or who can take a look at Giuliani and not be completely horrified by every instinct he represents – BUT you are not a murderer and you are not an accomplice to murder. In no way do I think you should go before the Hague – the same I do not believe of George Bush or Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld, who I only hope will one day answer for their crimes against humanity – and so I can’t in good conscience equate you with the criminal elements of this administration. I think you are wrong, I am baffled at your insistence on continuing to be wrong, but you are not an evil person. I apologize for saying that you are and I ask for your continued patience with my frustration.

    That said, I am sure that Giuliani is at least a deeply misguided person. I think that his instincts are fundamentally totalitarian and I am willing to contemplate that he is actually evil. You don’t think debate is well-served by throwing around terms like fascist; I don’t think debate is well-served by refusing to honestly face the moral quagmire that is the Republican Party. Nor do I think it’s sensible for that Party – which I will remind you I called home until about six months ago – to continue its arrogance and foolishness in the face of rather clear public opposition. I am not now, and will never be, a Democrat – but I stand by my earlier claim that the GOP is essentially the party of Vikings – all raping and pillaging, all the time.

  • km

    You know who else has a beagle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that …

  • Ryan, apology accepted, and we need say no more about it. You say I have not ‘apologized’ for getting the war wrong. Well, I don’t know if you want to call it an apology, but I have said, on numerous occasions, that the WMD justification for the war was obviously completely wrong and a giant blemish on our credibility, as well as an intelligence fiasco

    Yes, I believed Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction. I don’t believe I should apologize for that, per se, as I didn’t originate the allegation; I merely say I was wrong to believe that, as he clearly did not

    I have also agreed with our good friend Jacques that history will judge this war harshly. In retrospect, the decision to invade Iraq was almost certainly a mistake. I supported the decision; I don’t apologize for that, because I was going by the best available evidence at the time (to me – I realize others may have seen it differently). But I was mistaken…

    So far, I doubt we differ on much…but of course, what frustrates you about me is that I continue to support the war in spite of all the above.

    Let’s focus on the present: today, again, major media outlets reported that violence continues to decline: October saw the lowest level of military AND civilian casualties since the bombing of the mosque in February ’06. The surge has largely worked, military.

    The surge has not worked and could not work politically. The political victory must come from the Iraqis themselves, and it is certainly true that they have not taken full advantage of the space we have given them

    Nevertheless, there are many hopeful signs of progress. Large portions of the Sunnis have turned against the insurgents and al-Qaeda, and the Sadrist-fueled violence has been pretty much called off. While much of Iraq has segregated itself, there have been some efforts at building coalitions across the Sunni-Shia divide. I’m not pleased with the political progress, but I am happier with the way things stand, now, than I have been in some time.

    Who wants to be the last man to die for a mistake, you may say (and I did say the war was probably a mistake)…but that’s a nifty slogan that ignores the real need for a continued troop presence to protect the fragility of the current (relative) lull in the violence, and allow the Iraqis to continue the agonizingly slow march towards something sustainable.

    I know you, Ryan, support a damn near immediate pullout. You think I’m wreckless and immoral for wanting the troops to stay. I tell you, in all honesty, I think an immediate pullout would be wreckless and immoral, and I think it would be a further blow to our prestige and a horrible strategic decision, given the vast importance of the region to our foreign policy.

    War pushes both sides to absolute positions because of its essential ugliness and the high cost in deaths and dollars, but we must avoid the temptation to categorize those in either camp as ‘evil’ because we disagree. I have no doubt that you think your position is in the best interest of this country – so do I. One of us is wrong…but that doesn’t make either of us evil – not on the face of it…

  • peter

    Rewinding to Post 35:

    Rudy was my mayor for a number of years — I voted for him twice — so I’m pretty familiar with how he operates. He is self-righteous, petulant, petty, vindictive, unable to share the limelight (he fired a great police commissioner because he was getting too much credit), and a complete bully. However, he’s no fascist. He loves to pick a fight, and he’ll fight with scorch and burn intensity. He’s all elbows, but he’s no Joseph Stalin.

    I voted for him because the alternative (David Dinkins) was awful, and you could argue that Rudy’s traits were essential to battle all of the entrenched interests in New York and get things done. What troubles me now about him is that I think he has lost his moral compass. Consider the whole mess about his phony prostate statistics, amply noted in

    If he has something to say about health care, let him say it. Spouting phony statistics and smearing Democratic candidates without any basis in fact or reality just doesn’t cut it. You can complain all you want that politics ain’t beanbag, but I challenge you to find any example of a leading Democratic candidate doing anything remotely similar to this.

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