Lots Of Bills Have Lots Of Pages

October 29, 2009

House Minority Leader John Boehner is whining about the length of the latest healthcare reform bill. It’s too long, he says. I agree it’s long, but to assume that all bills that long must, by definition, be “bad,” is not logical.

The truth of the matter, as Slate explains, is that lots of bills are long. The length of many of them is because pork is thrown in, in order to encourage members to vote for it. “Omnibus spending bills,” which are nearly an annual ritual in Congress, typically number well over 1,000 pages.

Sorry Mr Boehner, but the length of this bill has nothing to do with whether or not it’s good or bad.

Concentrating on one aspect of this bill while ignoring the rest is hypertrivia. Opposing the bill because Democrats authored it, is partisanism. Whining about yet another version of a healthcare bill — which has been worked on in Congress in one way or another since January, with none of it going anywhere — is hyperreacting. Appealing to people’s fears of “bureaucracy” … which is not evidenced in the number of pages in the bill, especially if those pages are more Congressional pork than anything else … is emotivism. Let’s grow up, Mr Boehner, and stop being maturity-deprived.

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Bracelet Brouhaha

September 28, 2008

If it’s not American-flag lapel pins, it’s bracelets bearing the names of deceased soldiers. Unbelievably, a conflict is brewing over whether or not Barack Obama has permission to wear such a bracelet. As ABC’s Jake Tapper reports, it was given to him by the soldier’s mother. But the soldier’s father (who divorced the mother) is a McCain fan and has apparently decided that Obama doesn’t have permission to wear it.

Exactly where his right to give or deny such permission — aside from the emotional hook of being the soldier’s father — is not exactly clear. Maybe I missed the law that was passed giving fathers of deceased soldiers this permission?

At any rate, the mother is apparently waffling … she gave Obama the bracelet, then later said he shouldn’t wear it, but then was happy he had it at last Friday’s debate.

There’s a lot here I confess not to understand … beginning with the relevance to being president, of whether or not one has “permission” to wear bracelets of this type, not to mention exactly who is entitled to grant it and under what conditions s/he can do so. When you get right down to it, what do bracelets have to do with the Oval Office? Answer: Absolutely nothing whatsoever!

While this probably means a great deal to the two parents (and one of them is confused about it), it really has nothing to do with who should be president, and should play no part in the election.

But it does … because Americans have been fooled into thinking that sentimentality means something. It doesn’t and never will, but most refuse to understand it. Thus the two parties will keep pulling the wool over Americans’ eyes and prevent them from making a bona fide, rational choice based on the facts.


It’s All About … the Cars?

September 21, 2008

Here is a shining example of hypertrivia. The major criterion for the presidency, according to Newsweek, has become … how many cars the candidate owns.

You read that right, the number of cars they own.


Wow … Ya Think?

September 17, 2008

You know, up until now I wasn’t quite sure what was going on in this election. Really. It was all a mystery. But Gov. Kathleen Sibelius of Kansas finally figured it all out, and was happy to explain it for us ignoramuses who didn’t know:

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius publicly considered the possibility that Sen. Barack Obama’s race might be a factor in this year’s presidential election during an appearance here Tuesday.

“Have any of you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American?” Sebelius asked in response to a question about why the election is so close. “That may be a factor. All the code language, all that doesn’t show up in the polls. And that may be a factor for some people.”

I really must congratulate the Governor for arriving at this determination and then informing us. I honestly had no idea, until now, that Sen. Barack Obama was an African-American! I simply hadn’t known! How wonderful of the Gov. to inform me!

OK, end of sarcasm.

Please. This is getting old already. Yes, Obama is African-American. Yes, some whites will not vote for him because of that. So yes, it does make a little bit of difference.

But if you think this election is about Sen. Obama’s race, guess again. The same issues would matter, regardless of who the Democratic party chose as its nominee!

This is an example of two tactics: First, hypertriviality (i.e. making a big deal out of something minor), and second, emotivism (i.e. dismissing as a racist anyone who won’t vote for Obama). Sorry, Kathleen, I ain’t taking that bait.


Limbaugh Vs. Obama

September 17, 2008

Here’s the latest dust-up going on between Sen. Barack Obama and Rush Limbaugh, the Right-wing mouthpiece:

Rush Limbaugh, featured in a new, Spanish-language Barack Obama ad, says the commercial distorts his past statements and amounts to “race-baiting” by the Democratic nominee.

Let’s be honest here, the initial salvo in this particular fracas — Obama’s ad which targets Limbaugh — is ridiculous on its face, because … you guessed it! … Obama isn’t running against Limbaugh!

Yes, that means Obama is guilty of associafying.

Limbaugh is, of course, hyperreacting in response, which is no better.

The whole thing is hypertrivia anyway because old quotes taken from Limbaugh’s show really tell us nothing about Sen. John McCain, do they?

Note: My “definitions” page explains what I mean by the terms “associafying,” “hyperreacting,” and “hypertrivia.”