And what kind of idiots read just to *learn* stuff?

Someone really could turn mocking the stupidity posted on just this one blog into a full-time job, if there were money to be made in mocking nameless dingbats.

Like all right-wing echo-chambers, this one is characterized by the big three traits of confused and angry Americans: Lying, delusional belief systems, and hypocrisy. At times, though, bursts of incidental honesty provide a few cheap laughs.

It’s fine that not everyone cares to exercise for the sake of fun or health or sport. But why anyone on a blog populated by visibly unfit individuals would actually malign physical activity for the sake of activity would be a mystery if the grisly lack of self-awareness of these bloggers wasn’t already well established.

The entire post is nothing more than a quote and a picture of a random younger guy using an elliptical trainer. The first line of the quote is “Physical work without producing something is alien to my mind.”

To each her own, I guess; to me, expending the physical work of writing words without producing a single useful observation is a far more profligate waste of time, since it won’t make you fitter or leaner or sharper.

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Easter, the M. Night Shamalayan screenplay of holidays

Whatever your religious views or lack thereof, Easter is, indisputably, one bizarre holiday, at least in the U.S., which has an established penchant for contorting already strange celebrations into gauche and tasteless displays of excess and egoism.

Every year on Easter Sunday, the more devout among us declare, “He is risen!” in precise response to the fact that another year has gone by with no such thing taking place at all. Conspicuously.

The return of Jesus, by any reasonable interpretation of scripture, is long, long overdue. If he were a library book, someone would owe about $4 billion in fines by now for keeping him for roughly 20 centuries.

Consider that the whole day is centered on a failed promise subsequent to a grisly murder, complemented nowadays by nonsensically irrelevant indulgences and symbols — bad candy, rabbits, and egg hunts (that rabbits don’t even lay eggs is probably lost on a lot of American children). Easter as we know it is comparable to a hypothetical Abominable Snowman Day on which everyone jokes about all the frozen corpses littering the route to the top of Mount Everest while drinking Worcestershire sauce and taking their kids to watch stray dogs fornicate in the park.

Even if I believed in such things as people returning to life after spending three days as a corpse, I would have to look askance at the entire scheme.

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And I’m on the fence when it comes to religion

Every now and then, I come across a fifth-degree right-winger who incessantly let fly with contemptuous right-wing blather, yet for whatever reason likes to claim that he or she is in the political middle.

I’ve already given one example here recently; Ed Naile, a registered Democrat from New Hampshire, spends virtually all of his boundless free time complaining about phantom examples of vote fraud by Democrats and other leftist solecisms, such as literacy, educational attainment, resisting racism and sexism wherever possible, and not substituting firearms for the ability to achieve an erection.

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False facts determine alternate reality, or something

You have to love it when someone writes “Facts – not ideology – determine reality” on a blog populated by delusional bigots in the same post in which he rallies behind a load of bullshit about the evils of transgenderism excreted by a “medical” organization that is actually a group of conservative Christians using a convincing-sounding name (see: Center for Medical Progress) to promote ideology rather than facts.

For reference, the American College of Pediatricians was founded in 2002 and has perhaps 200 members; the American Academy of Pediatrics, on the other hand, was founded in 1930 and has a membership of approximately 64,000. Physicians in the latter group have ample reason to consider those in the former group a bunch of less-than-shrewd muckrakers and liars.

This is the worst aspect of these so-called Christian online gangs: They target the most credulous and toxic people out there. The guy who wrote this post is a mindless shitbird who would be happy to spread nastiness like this even if he knew it was ill-conceived, but in this case I’m sure that he’s merely been duped.

This, of course, is just one more example of an ineluctable aspect of faith in 21st-century America: Every day, countless people lie in order to promote Christianity, a religion that explicitly commands its followers not to lie. Does anyone else find this a little fucked up?

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A warning to dumb, ugly men everywhere

That’s not the most gracious of post titles, but I might as well try my hand at clickbait. Since I last spent a significant amount of time blogging — and it’s been a solid five years or more —  all of the cool bloggers, along with the far greater number of riotously expendable ones, have found new ways to attract site traffic. Obnoxious or contentious post titles have always been a part of the scheme, but now that there are far more blogpiles to choose from, a lot of people have upped the clickbait ante.

None of which is to say that this post isn’t about dumb, ugly men, as it assuredly is. More than that, though, it’s about irony. The sort of giddy, high-caliber irony that arises when people have no capacity whatsoever to keep themselves in check though self-appraisal. Irony in onion-like layers, complete with the potential for tears.
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Is climate change the new gay marijuana?

The most important thing about this graph (source) is that it signifies not an increase in the general public’s understanding of climate science, but a trend toward greater trust in science and scientists as a whole. The former is not vital but the latter clearly is.

65AGW

This is good news, but — and forgive me for my glass-half-shattered outlook here — it only further exposes just how foolish the many remaining holdouts are.

I have a degree in a physical science, and I try to keep current on important (or sometimes simply interesting) scientific issues. But I don’t pretend to have more than a passing knowledge of what climate scientists do in terms of information gathering and data analysis and computer modeling. What I do know for certain is that their conclusions are not whimsical or capricious or, worse yet, products of influence-peddling or part of a conspiracy aimed at making a few climate scientists rich. Yet we live in a country rife with “bloggers” who apparently think that climate-change data is the result of a few guys from NCAR sticking a ruler and a thermometer into the Antarctic ice shelf once a year and bleating “Owned, Inhofe!” as they scribble bullshit into their little notebooks. They are the ones who aren’t joking when they point at May snowfall in Colorado or a sub-freezing day in Tallahassee as proof that human-caused climate change — or hell, global warming, period — is an elaborate hoax.
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To the woman behind me in line at King Soopers (Boulder)

This is from my brief anthology of expired Craigslist “Rants and Raves” posts. The event in question did not happen, at least not exactly like this.
——–
To the woman behind me in line at King Soopers (Boulder)

Last night, at about 10 p.m. at the Table Mesa store, you were in line behind me. I think it was register 9. I was dressed in a short-sleeve plain blue button-down shirt, olive-green shorts, and Tevas, and was sporting a tan and a spiky blond haircut that belied my 41 years on the planet. In short, I looked good for my or any age. Hot, even. But I was about to trash whatever grand impressions you had to have formed at a glance in a most miserable and incontrovertible way. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Let the people decide” to eat shit

Anyone who uses the phrase “let the people decide” with regard to the vacant SCOTUS seat, like this guy does, is advertising either shameless dishonesty or a mental deficiency or a combination of these. (In this case, based as much on the author’s mini-bio as on this one essay, I suspect that both factors are at work. He refers to “the current president’s constant barrage against guns and gun ownership,” a purported salvo that seems to have passed unnoticed outside of the Dumberdome.*)

A refresher for those with infantile views of the U.S. Constitution: The U.S. President is elected by U.S. citizens, and in turn that President is tasked with nominating justices to the Supreme Court. That’s as much of a say as “the people” get to have in the nomination process. By now, all but maybe eight people in the United States know this — even the most abject Yosemite Sam Party types cannot stave off reality entirely — but that doesn’t mean that any of the right-wingers are obligated to admit it.

Another piece of fruit from the garden of obvious: If the current President were a Republican and had named another far-right judge to replace Antonin Scalia immediately after that bloated gasbag finally went to Jesus, not one of these neoconservatives in the Rick Manning camp, from Mitch McConnell on down to every blinkered hypocrite posting on shitblogs like Granite Grok, would be saying a word about what “the people” want. “People” in this case is just lazy code for “Right-wing douchebags.”

*I’ll explain this one later.

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SURVEY time! (Insane Clown Trumpkins edition)

Over the past nine or so months, we’ve all seen a disturbing progression in the U.S. presidential race  from divisive public comments to unpretentiously inflammatory “go-get-’em” rhetoric to outbreaks of real violence, all of which curiously center on a single candidate — one whose propensity for overstated, aggressive blather was well-established considerably in advance of his launching his campaign.
 
In your opinion, which of the following best applies to the immediate future of the United States?
 
A. The tumult, ugly though it’s been, has at least peaked. Donald Trump will urge the noisiest of his bellicose followers to save their antics for scheduled KKK meetings and NASCAR events, and most will grudgingly listen.
 
B. Trump, who never actually meant anything he said during those many “go-get-’em” speeches, will order the Bernie Sanders acolytes and MoveOn members who are uniquely responsible for the violence to avoid his publicly staged rallies, thereby preserving Trump’s own oft-violated First Amendment rights.
 
C. President Obama will properly apologize for dividing the country along racial lines, which has left Trump rally attendees little choice but to do things like sucker-punch black women protesters in the face. Knowing that this is just a ruse by Obama to distract people from his efforts to install ISIS operatives at every Trump rally, Trump’s fans will continue to defend themselves against grisly physical attacks from the left, usually by physically assaulting protesters so as to preempt protester shenanigans.
 
D. Trump’s opponents will capitalize on this golden opportunity to gain ground in the race for the Republican Party nomination by defying astronomical odds and somehow saying things almost as stupid as Trump himself has, thereby executing the political equivalent of booting a 19-yard Super Bowl-winning field goal 50 feet wide to the left in the waning seconds.
 
E. Trump, realizing that acknowledging any personal role in the discord would possibly alienate the hopped-up, drooling zombies who would prefer to see him campaign in a Schutzstaffel uniform, will deftly lead the walking dead astray by raising the proposed height of the never-to-be-built wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to 2,723 feet, one triumphant foot higher then the tip of the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai.

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Yes, Trump’s free-speech rights were violated when his campaign cancelled his rally

…in the same way my right to vote in November will have been violated if I swerve into a brick wall on purpose on my way to the polls and never make it there.

Look, if you really think that Trump was shafted by the happenings in Chicago the other night, please stop reading and eat a footlong strychnine sub and put yourself out of America’s misery right now, and if you know anyone else who thinks like you do, don’t be shy about sharing.

For the rest of you: It’s surreal, isn’t it? Not just the unprecedented sight of rally after presidential-campaign rally being torn apart by increasingly serious eruptions of violence, but also the response to these events by the staggeringly blinkered assholes of the United States. Despite Donald Trump consciously, vociferously, repeatedly and gleefully fomenting this bullshit — which, I hope you’ll agree, is no longer funny even in the macabre way some of Trump’s previous public fuckery was funny — there are people who not only rush to absolve Trump of any and all blame for the very series of ugly confrontations he has invited, but have the unbridled skull-fucking, dick-twisting audacity to blame Bernie Sanders or Barack Obama or both. (Did I forget to add that these craven, ruddy-necked weasels are blaming the protesters as well? I guess I see no need to state the overly obvious.)

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Unconnecting the presidential dots

In a completely unsurprising development, more than a few people are not only refusing to acknowledge Donald Trump’s role in the growing level of chaos at his rallies, but are blaming President Obama for it. This is a typical example (well, typical for a discussion not started by a caustic Trumplodyte; those are far more “colorful”).

The idea that Obama has been divisive by any measure is absurd, especially in the context of his being the first black President in history and therefore creating controversy among a great many rednecks just by getting up in the morning and drawing breath, but is at least debatable among reasonable people, although I have virtually never seen anyone give a solid example of how he’s been intentionally or unique divisive. The closest I have seen him come to perhaps jumping the gun was with the Henry Louis Gates controversy six years ago.

That anyone could say, however, that he is more divisive than Donald Trump — even before yesterday’s messes in Chicago and elsewhere, but especially with those in the mix — requires either willful denial or a complete detachment from reality. It’s as ludicrous as saying that Obama has the most ridiculous comb-over of any President or candidate for President, even worse than Homer Simpson’s. Then again, when someone starts in with the birther and closet-Muslim chatter, as occurred in the Facebook discussion I linked to, he has effectively ceded the right to be taken seriously in any political conversation.

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About that commandment…

I recently learned that, by at least one measure, New Hampshire, where I grew up, is the least religious state in the country (actually, it’s tied with Massachusetts, its neighbor to the south), and also has the lowest murder rate. A coincidence? A glance at the following table I created after reading a post on my favorite blog for heathens suggests not.

All six states in which at least 7 out of 10 people say that religion is very important in their lives are among the top 13 states in per capita murders.

Among the dozen least religious states, the only one that cracks the top 30 in murder rate is Alaska, which is 12th. Alaska and Utah are outliers here, but in opposite ways, with Utah ranking 12th in religiosity and 41st in murder rate. Perhaps Mormons and Baptists have different ways of settling interpersonal scores.

I realize that it would be facile to claim that religiosity, in particular conservative Protestantism, breeds violence. But it’s clearly far more complicated than that. For one thing, we can’t say that the people doing the killing are the ones also doing  most of the praying. One could just as easily hypothesize that in places where people are more likely to be killed by other people, they turn to faith out of fear. I don’t believe this either, but it’s not a ferociously out-to-lunch idea compared to some of the garbage floating around cyberspace.

About the only genuinely sound conclusion anyone can draw from these data is that religiosity, while probably not a cause of serious social ills, is certainly no salve for them. We’ve seen this in various other areas already — for example, states with a high proportion of believers consistently rank way up there in the rate of teen pregnancies, suggesting that the anti-contraception, sex-is-evil proselytizing popular in such states is, well, impotent.

(Sources: the Pew Research Center and the 2014 FBI Uniform Crime Report.)

Rank MURDER RELIGION Rank
State Murders/

100,000

(2014)

State % Religious
1 Louisiana 10.3 Alabama 77 1
2 Mississippi 8.6 Mississippi 77 2
3 Missouri 6.6 Tennessee 73 3
4 South Carolina 6.4 Louisiana 71 4
5 Maryland 6.1 Arkansas 70 5
6 Nevada 6.0 South Carolina 70 6
7 Delaware 5.8 West Virginia 69 7
8 Florida 5.8 Oklahoma 66 8
9 Alabama 5.7 Georgia 66 9
10 Georgia 5.7 North Carolina 65 10
11 Tennessee 5.7 Texas 64 11
12 Alaska 5.6 Utah 64 12
13 Arkansas 5.6 Kentucky 63 13
14 Michigan 5.4 Virginia 61 14
15 Illinois 5.3 Missouri 60 15
16 North Carolina 5.1 South Dakota 59 16
17 Indiana 5.0 Ohio 58 17
18 New Mexico 4.8 New Mexico 57 18
19 Pennsylvania 4.8 Iowa 55 19
20 Arizona 4.7 Kansas 55 20
21 Oklahoma 4.5 New Jersey 55 21
22 California 4.4 Indiana 54 22
23 Texas 4.4 Wyoming 54 23
24 Virginia 4.1 Florida 54 24
25 Ohio 4.0 Maryland 54 25
26 West Virginia 4.0 Nebraska 54 26
27 New Jersey 3.9 Michigan 53 27
28 Kentucky 3.6 Pennsylvania 53 28
29 Montana 3.6 Arizona 53 29
30 Kansas 3.1 North Dakota 53 30
31 New York 3.1 Delaware 52 31
32 North Dakota 3.0 Illinois 51 32
33 Nebraska 2.9 Idaho 51 33
34 Wisconsin 2.9 California 49 34
35 Colorado 2.8 Nevada 49 35
36 Wyoming 2.7 Minnesota 49 36
37 Washington 2.5 Rhode Island 49 37
38 Connecticut 2.4 Montana 48 38
39 Rhode Island 2.4 Oregon 48 39
40 South Dakota 2.3 Hawaii 47 40
41 Utah 2.3 Colorado 47 41
42 Idaho 2.0 New York 46 42
43 Massachusetts 2.0 Washington 45 43
44 Oregon 2.0 Alaska 45 44
45 Iowa 1.9 Wisconsin 45 45
46 Hawaii 1.8 Connecticut 43 46
47 Maine 1.6 Maine 34 47
48 Minnesota 1.6 Vermont 34 48
49 Vermont 1.6 New Hampshire 33 49
50 New Hampshire 0.9 Massachusetts 33 50

 

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Older, single, goofy-looking men who bash women and gays online are loaded with self-esteem

Ed-Naile-GirardAtLargeEspecially when they belong to groups like “Pro-Gun New Hampshire,” as does Ed Naile of Hillsboro, N.H., whom I mentioned here last month. Ed has continued his sabbatical from male modeling to allow himself more time to pester me whenever I’ve made appearances in the comments at Granite Grok, a far-right verbal leach field on which about 37 proud semi-literate gasbags, Ed himself among them, have posting privileges. Ed also blogs about his and others’ many fruitless attempts to catch vote thieves at an obscure site called “NH Insider,” which I can only read as “NH Inbreeder” for obvious reasons.

In due time, I will get to the heart of this post, in which I document that Ed Naile is a coward who is currently using Granite Grok to harass a a woman — someone I happen to be very close to — and is being abetted in this behavior by the almost-as-brain-dead owner of the blog. First, however, I’ll make a pointless but fun side trip into basic statistical theory. Read the rest of this entry »

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Right-wing Republicans are leading the women’s health charge

grok-logoDid you know that the political left is aiming to selectively abort as many potential black people as possible, preferably in squalid conditions, and that the chief reason for the recent unprecedented rise in abortion-clinic closings is because the Democrats who run such places refuse to conform to the ultra-high standards of women’s healthcare set by Republicans? I know that sounds weird, since liberals *also* want as many ethnic minorities casting illegal ballots as possible, and also because Republican politicians often say silly things about women and their ladyparts, but it’s true! I read it here.

Watch me get thrashed in the comments section by one of the resident geniuses. Hey, I’m a big boy, I can take a licking from my rhetorical betters and learn from it.

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Scars upon Thars

downloadWhenever I see yet one more article about Baby-Boomers vs. Gen-Xers vs. Millennials, etc., I feel like unliterally revoking someone’s Internet privileges.

First of all, most of these articles are dimly lit blog posts by Millennials, and the rest of us know just how clueless, whiny and annoying those people are.

Second, these are distinctions largely without differences. Yes, it was fair to label anyone conceived during or in the wake of WWII a “baby-boomer.” There was a distinct event that precipitated a rise in American breeding and a fairly distinct time frame in which these people, including my parents, were born. Read the rest of this entry »

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A ten-penny Naile (that’s being generous)

145557125677005Back when I blogged more often (Facebook and work projects have largely put an end to such forays into frivolity, although I, Doc Bushwell and Jim were actually paid a few bucks a month by ScienceBlogs.com just to rave about whatever we wished when the Chimp Refuge was part of that network), I occasionally mentioned a group of right-wing paranoiacs and oppressives from New Hampshire collectively operating an amusingly unsophisticated site called  Granite Grok. This crew, which at any time features maybe a dozen or so “writers,” first came to my attention when a transplant from either Texas or Oklahoma (does the distinction matter?) named Judy Paris  was babbling about the evils of homosexuality. I wrote an open letter to her here on the Chimp Refuge, but didn’t actually expect her to see it, much less respond.

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Call it the “I’m RUBBER, YOU’RE GLUE!” rebuttal

False equivalency as a rhetorical tactic of the religious right is nothing new, but it seems to be more prevalent lately. I read a story on my new pick for the most comically stupid “news” site on the Internet, LifeSiteNews.com, in which the anonymous author — supposedly a high-school kid in Canada but almost certainly one or more regular contributors to the site — complains that people calling him a bully for maligning homosexuality and same-sex marriage are actually the real bullies. Others have taken up the cry that calling bigoted homophobes “bigoted homophobes” (for lack of a clearer, more specific term) is itself bigotry and marks an unwillingness on the part of liberals to properly understand where they’re coming from.

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One of these days, the LDS will accidentally make sense

When people ask me questions like, “If you don’t believe in God, then why do you feel so threatened by God?” — and as inane as that question may sound, it’s intended to be serious, as it was when I recently tried to explain on Facebook to residents of Itawamba County, Mississippi the FFRF’s objection to Ten Commandments displays on government property — I point them toward infuriating bullshit like this.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes a bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen that would make Utah the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, citing unintended consequences that could come with use of the drug.

The state’s predominant faith is not taking a position on another measure, sponsored by Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, and Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, that would allow extracts from the plant that do not contain the psychoactive chemical THC.

“Along with others, we have expressed concern about the unintended consequences that may accompany the legalization of medical marijuana,” LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement to The Tribune. “We have expressed opposition to Senator Madsen’s bill because of that concern. We are raising no objection to the other bill that addresses this issue.”

I don’t have a problem with god-belief itself, I have a real problem with religious institutions in this country, because with no meaningful exceptions, these backward-ass money-grubbing wish-peddlers don’t just want their followers bound to idiotic rules, they want everyone else in society bound by them too.

So what are the “unintended consequences” of THC (the medical benefits of which are absolutely undeniable). Oh my three-peckered god; you mean people might get *stoned*? Next thing you know, parents addled to the bejesus on weed will be telling their kids that the only true religion was founded less than 200 years ago by a philandering sex deviant and horse thief, that dinosaur bones come from other planets, and that dark-skinned people who convert to that religion will slowly turn white.

As Hemant Mehta points out, the LDS certainly was not concerned about real consequences to real people when it agitated furiously against Proposition 8 in California. But those nonexistent ones — oh boy!

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Heres how I’d fuck with ur life if I could, LOL!

imagesAt various times, most often after a near-collision with some gawping halfwit walking or driving with his head lowered at a 90-degree angle from the anatomical position, I’ve concluded that if I were somehow given the power to eradicate all text-messaging from Earth with a snap of my fingers, I’d do it with little hesitation. Moreover, I’d do it even if the entire world knew that I was unique responsible for this tiny step toward a less fuckheaded global society.

Many millions of people would be outraged beyond measure, including, perhaps, most of the people reading this; within this aggrieved group, at least a few hundred would be angry and reckless enough to concoct and attempt to carry out a plan to literally kill me.

Assuming that I was even concerned enough about this situation to take evasive action, to I’d have to go into permanent or semi-permanent hiding like Salman Rushdie or Edward Snowden. But I wouldn’t care. I would sometimes rather be living in a remote bark part of the Blue Ridge, subsisting on grubs, bark and the occasional morsel obtained during a dumpster-diving sortie under cover of darkness, than have to confront the excoriating downsides of living in a society in which the functional illiteracy of practically every teenager and most adults is floridly put on display in concert with dangerous driving or perambulation.

You don’t have to remind me of the many unrivaled conveniences of this mode of communication. I’m aware of every one of them and have put most of them to use just as you have, sometimes being moved to hammer a closed fist repeatedly into my crotch all the while thanks to a combination of frustration, rage and shame. My answer to this is that text messages almost always originate with devices that function as telephones, which means that anything you absolutely need to convey at that moment can be spoken out loud to your target. Almost without exception, you could also send an e-mail instead, which in most cases is like sending a more considered, less idiotic and abrasive and pointless text.

“But what if I’m not always able to talk?” whine you. “What if I’m in class, or at work, or masturbating to a noisy political debate?”

Tough shit, retort I. In a real emergency, I’m sure you can stop what you’re doing and find a way to make a call or send an e-mail. Deal with it. Plan ahead better. Bring a book with you in case you get bored during the eight whole minutes you have to wait for the bus or whatever.

A somewhat more relaxed and even useful policy would be to force the phone companies charge $1 for any text messages sent and read, 75 cents of which would be donated to a charity selected by the account owner at the time he or she signs up for service. This would eliminate most ill-considered and gratuitous texts as well as increase the operating budgets of the ASPCA, the American Red Cross, and various disease-research entities. It would probably pour more money into hate groups like the KKK and the Southern Baptist Convention, but om balance it would stand as an extremely useful policy.

Oh, and Tweet this if you like it, and better yet if you don’t.

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Sanitation workers: Our job isn’t to pick up your trash

As far as I know, no garbage collectors have said any such thing. But if Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal were among their ranks, this would evidently be his position.

abc_tw_jindal_150125a-800x430In the past, I naively found it strange that an ethnic minority such as Jindal could be elected to the governorship of a Deep South state. What I forgot to keep in mind is that for all of their often-inimical relations, whites, blacks, Latinos, Muslims and others can quickly put aside their differences to unite as one god-inspired meta-organism against the ugly and irreligious creep of LGBT equality.

In this opinion piece in the N.Y. Times, Jindal says flat-out that he doesn’t care that a growing number of Americans, most likely a majority of them, disagree with him about same-sex marriage, because those people — influenced, as always, but noisy radical Hollywood liberals — have no business infringing on the right of upstanding traditional religious folks to discriminate against minorities. I am not parodizing his position; if nothing else, Jindal rarely pretends to be anything besides the sputtering prick he’s always been.

It’ll be fascinating if he runs for President (which I don’t think he will). What are the chances that the campaign of someone who repeatedly says, “I wasn’t elected to office to serve you people” can gain significant traction?

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