Saturday, February 25, 2012

In which the pond contemplates K. Rudd, Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin (again) and seeks relief in a plate of Pal food and Jon Stewart ...

(Above: click to enlarge, and more First Dog, and the rest of the cartoon here, and if you hit a paywall, sometimes you have to pay for an alternative view of the world).

The pond would like to become a KR-free zone, but of course as soon as it mentions that desire, in a peculiar and reflexive way, it is necessary to mention KR, and so the pond is immediately plunged into the KR maelstrom.

Even worse, it means the pond's adopted peculiar K. Rudd speech patterns of the third person kind:

"It wasn't K Rudd who made a pre-election commitment on a carbon tax. It wasn't K Rudd who made a particular commitment to (independent Andrew Wilkie) on the question of poker machines," he said.
"It wasn't K Rudd who had anything to do with the East Timor solution or the Malaysian solution (to asylum seeker arrivals). (here)

Rest assured the pond made no pre-caucus commitment to K. Rudd. It wasn't the pond who mentioned K. Rudd in the context of the second coming of the Messiah. It wasn't the pond's fault on the question of K. Rudd making himself available to save the world. The pond simply hasn't had anything to do with the K. Rudd solution. K. Rudd does it all by himself.

The pond - which has more than a passing familiarity with madness - have you ever thought what it means to think of oneself as a pond? - must confess to a deep suspicion and concern for anyone in the public eye who routinely evokes, or even invokes, the third person.

Truth to tell, it's very much of a piece with the behind the scenes information that spills out like a lanced boil in Laurie Oakes' The World According to Rudd: an insider's guide:

There is a section on “the culture of blame and fear throughout the government”, claiming that Rudd’s angry treatment of staff and public servants was very calculated.

“We all knew of advisers being ‘put in the freezer’ for crossing their boss. It was childish to watch - he would refuse to look at them in meetings and simply ignore anything they said until they gave up and quit or made amends.

“In this way he ensured he got obedience, but at the cost, of course, of getting proper ad

Yes, the pond knows that sort of mental mind-set, indeed might even have heard of a few who experienced it. And while all the talk is of populism and polls and a K. Rudd poll-driven revival are doing the rounds, this is an eye-catcher:

“His most common put-down of officials and his own policy wonks was ‘That’s a fine idea, but how do I explain it on Today Tonight?’.

And if you take Oakes at his word, that the document was written a long time before the current fracas began to unfold, this is a winner:

“There was the PM’s terrifying flirtation with a referendum on the referral of state health powers to the Commonwealth. It took months to persuade him that, with the opposition and very likely at least WA opposed, such a referendum would certainly fail and not only be a terrible political defeat but also clarify the health powers for good and in the Commonwealth’s distinct disfavour.”

And the paper concludes: “By the end, what did for him was the mounting impossibility of conveying any kind of sensible advice to him through the thicket of his impossible daily schedule and an obvious personal physical exhaustion”

Ah yes, the good old days. You might have taken this yabber in July 2009 as bluff ...

Kevin Rudd says he wants to co-operate with the states to reform the health system - but if necessary is prepared to override their objections with a referendum. (here)

... but it seems K. Rudd took it for real.

Oh there'll be a fine time on the pond if K. Rudd returns, and the Murdoch press can return to the job of hounding him to oblivion, as they did so well in the last months of his premiership.

Oh the good old days.

Enough of K. Rudd already. Other siren songs call, and who could produce a stranger sounding siren than Rick Santorum?

Of late people have been ferreting through his past thought bubbles, and this bubble was strangely compelling:

One of the issues that I always got hammered for was the issue of evolution. I was the guy who actually put words in the No Child Left Behind Act, which was our big education bill that passed back in 2001 or 2002 that reformed the education system. Well, I had an amendment, it’s a great story, I had this language, because what’s taught in our school system as a result of liberal academia, is evolution is an incontrovertible fact. There is no suspicion of it. It is decided science that cannot be questioned. There cannot be any doubts about it. If you have any questions or doubts, it’s trying to inject religion into the science classroom. So it is above reproach.

I obviously don’t feel that way. I think there are a lot of problems with the theory of evolution, and do believe that it is used to promote to a worldview that is anti-theist, that is atheist. (here)

A lot of problems with the theory of evolution? It's an atheist creed? As opposed to a well-heeled scientific theory? This after the time when even the Pope (in the form of John Paul II) could write:

Today, almost half a century after publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.

The Santorum method of fear and doubt and loathing is precisely the technique that creationists have deployed as a way of getting religion into science classrooms:

... it’s a two-sentence or three-sentence amendment that talks about…that we should teach about the controversy, the academic freedom. Basically, it was an academic-freedom amendment, that people should be allowed to teach the controversy.

Teach the controversy? Well it's not really controversial that dinosaurs walked the earth with humans. Steven Spielberg proved that ...

What follows is Santorum explaining how clever his wording is, and how he fooled everybody, and persuaded the Democrats to fall in line with him:

Finally, Kennedy comes over to me and lays the amendment there and says, “Okay. We can’t figure it out.” I said, “What do you mean?” “We can’t figure out where abortion is in here.” I said, “What do you mean abortion?” He said, “You said your amendment is about abortion.”

“No.” I said. “I said my amendment is about life. It’s about teaching the origins of life, and that you should have academic freedom in the classroom when you’re teaching about life.” Pause.
Barbara Boxer gets up and questions me on this abortion thing, and I said, “Look. It has nothing to do with abortion. Barbara, you’re for academic freedom, aren’t you? You don’t want people to have teach one thing. You want people to teach the controversies?”

“Absolutely. Oh, academic freedom!”

So the amendment comes down, and it gets passed 91-6. Something like that. And the six who voted against it were all Republicans who didn’t want us to be messing around with curriculum in the classroom. They were against any kind of amendment having to do with curriculum.

And so it passes. The next day the Washington Post prints this story talking to the biology teachers of America, and they just go ballistic. Kennedy says, “I was tricked. I was fooled. I’m against this. I can assure you that this will never come out of conference. This is terrible that he did this.”

And to his credit, the guy that held the conference, he was chairman of the education committee, he made sure that the conference would not come out without this language was John Boehner (Senator from Ohio). Jon Boehner is the one who held it, and we have it in. As a result, all across the country people had to redo their education standards, and this issue has caused firestorm everywhere. So, little things.

A firestorm everywhere? Ignorance and stupidity triumphant? Overturning science in the name of abortion a little thing? The theory of evolution suspect when even a monkey's uncle and the Pope have given it the nod?

And then came the bizarre sight of Santorum defending his thoughts on Satan, and Sarah Palin jumping into the fray:

"They will attack any conservatives who boldly proclaims their faith and talks about there is good in the world and there's evil in the world and that's what Rick Santorum was talking about," she said. "And this was a speech that he gave back in 2008, where he named evil as Satan. And for these lame-stream media characters to get all wee-weed up about that, first you have to ask yourself, 'Have they ever attended a Sunday school class even? Have they never heard of this terminology before?' And that's why they got so, you know, just whacked out about the speech."

Whacked out? Wee-weed up? Sunday school as a guide to political discourse?And to think she might have been a heart beat away from the presidency ...

And to think brazenly and nakedly Santorum is running for the presidency of the still (if failing) most powerful country in the world, and people are giving attention and paying heed ...

Still feeling that man love for Sarah, lame-stream media guru Tim Blair? Still feeling that woman love for Palin, lame-stream Murdoch hack Janet Albrechtsen? Thought about Santorum as your new go to for ignorance and wee weed humbug?

Every so often, the pond pauses to reflect - KR style - that while Australia is fucked in many ways, it isn't as comprehensively as fucked as the United States, and won't be so until someone like Pastor Danny can be running for PM, and being given credibility and plenty of air time for whacky, off the wall religious fundamentalism worthy of an Iranian fundamentalist. More fundamentalist than your average, reasonably well educated Pope ...

On the other hand, the United States does have Jon Stewart, and last week he delivered the most scathing take down of men, Republicans and their desire to fiddle with women's bodies as he's ever done in using comedy as a community service.

And it turned out that Stewart and Saturday Night Live had an impact, as explained in Nitty-gritty knocked Va. abortion bill off the fast track.

Sadly there can't be any link to Stewart's piece - damn you Foxtel, damn you to hell - but where in Australia are the comedians up to the job as the current circus unfolds?

The best we can do on a Saturday is read Mike Carlton sending up Christopher "the Poodle" Pyne, falling upon the Gonski report on education like a poodle puppy at a plate of Pal. (here)

Oh okay, and there's First Dog, always ready with a plate of Pal, and a few others to make up the list. It's a start, but it's not good enough, not while there's so much third person jibber jabber doing the rounds ...

(Below: you had to watch it to marvel at the way controlled rage could turn into bitter comedy).


  1. Dear Loon Pond, you can link to the Daily Show clip here

  2. Thanks anon, nice to know there's a way around the geo limiting via England. What a hoot. A chorus of Rule Britannia please ...


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