Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dumber than Frogs

Woman arrested for
growing marijuana plant,
because it was “cute.”

You have no doubt all heard the story about frogs and hot water, in one variant or another. That is, if you try to put a frog in boiling water it will immediately jump out, but if you put the frog in cold water and slowly heat it towards boiling the frog will be too dumb to know the difference and will allow itself to be boiled to death. This is, of course, not true. Frogs are not entirely stupid and when the temperature of the water gets uncomfortable they will certainly attempt to escape. Alas, I have concluded this is not true of humans. Here we are at this very moment subject to global warming that will almost surely have terrible consequences for some, if not all, humans. There is no doubt this rise in temperature is happening, the glaciers and the ice caps are melting, annual temperatures reflect these changes, virtually all scientists from all over the world agree, and we are just sitting here in the pot arguing about whether we are going to be cooked or not. Pat Buchanan, a well-known Republican spokesman, when informed of the possible changes that might occur, simply replied in the usual unintelligent Republican manner, “I don’t believe it.” And of course there is the inimitable and brain-dead Senator sent to us by the good voters of Oklahoma, James Inhofe, who, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, insists global warming is a myth and in fact we are in for a period of cooling. Former Vice President Al Gore, who has been warning us about this for a long time, is now ridiculed and spurned by those with a vested interest in no change (killing the messenger). With frog-brains like these at work, and our Congress unwilling to take any serious meaningful action, I can only conclude that we are dumber than frogs. Who would have thunk it?

Global warming is not the only area in which we are apparently dumber than frogs. There is always Afghanistan, a “war” that everyone now knows cannot be “won,” in a place known as “the graveyard of empires,” that costs us billions of dollars everyone knows we can’t afford, that increasingly takes the lives of our military personnel, a place we are not wanted and claim not to want to be, but continue on endlessly anyway. Indeed, Congress just passed another 33 billion dollar contribution to this completely whacky, futile, stupid, unnecessary, losing enterprise. Why are we doing this? Because we are losing and cannot admit we are losing. We continue, apparently hoping that somehow it will all go away someday. I wonder if frogs, too, indulge in magical thinking?

The above two examples are not the end of our dumber-than-frog behavior. Consider the fact that we are almost surely on the road to national bankruptcy as we continue to borrow and spend at an accelerated pace. Sensible people worry about this and would like to reduce our deficit. Do they think we should do this by (1)calling all the (military) “outs in free” from wherever they are all unnecessarily and needlessly parked around the world to protect our imaginary empire and keep our allies from having to spend any money on their own defense, (2) reducing our unbelievably bloated Pentagon military budget that exceeds all the rest of the world combined, (3) return to taxing the obscenely wealthy and unconscionable corporate profits and doing away with massive and undeserved tax breaks they have been receiving for years, or (4) reducing a lot of unnecessary pork-barrel spending, cutting back on buying foreign oil, doing away with profligate Congressional expenses and other cost-cutting measures.

The answers are no, no, no, and no. They are proposing to reduce the deficit by doing away with social security, Medicare and Medicaid, cutting back on spending for our schools and education, cutting food stamps for the poor, taking away unemployment benefits from the truly needy, letting our infrastructure continue to deteriorate, and repealing health care. I submit that even frogs are not that dumb.

Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

Ida Lupino was known as “the poor man’s Bette Davis.”

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