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Science — or sigh-ence

BY BEAU ELLIOT | JANUARY 24, 2012 7:20 AM

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As we all know (well, at least those of us who have a glancing acquaintanceship with science), the Republican candidates for Obama catcher know nothing about science — or, at least, they profess to disdain science in order to get elected.

(Sort of an odd position to take in the Information Age, but, oh, well.)

Which says miles — many thousands of miles — about their perceived electorate. (Take Jon Huntsman, who, in an unguarded moment, revealed that he knew a bit about science and global climate change; he surged to the front of the GOP pack. Right? Right? Do we even remember Jon what's-his-name?)

Or, in the case of Mitt Romney, who seems to be obsessed with Europeans recently, that distance would be many thousands of kilometers. Those sneaky Europeans and their sneaky kilometers — how did they get into Mitt's brain? (And how did they find the way in?)

(Don't try this at home — it takes way too much time and far too many meters. Pretty soon, the meter man comes around, wondering why you have so many hundreds of thousands of meters in your home. There's no easy explanation. Just trust me on this one.)

There's no global climate change, Republicans profess, hands patriotically on their hearts. Well, at least not climate change caused by humans going about the business of freedom. (Who knew freedom was a business? Does it have a dot.com address?)

For the GOP, climate change is caused, if it exists at all, by Sun spots. It's caused, if it exists, by an over-abundance of mosquitoes in West Africa beating their wings faster than normal simultaneously. It's caused, if it exists, by blue donkeys, and we all know how they vote. Hee-haw.

And, as it turns out, Republicans don't know arithmetic, either. Take Iowa (which we might as well do, since we live here). Not even a month ago (but who's counting?), Mitt famously won the Iowa caucuses by a whopping eight votes, then won the New Hampshire primary, becoming the first Republican to do so. On to the White House for Mitt, most pundits agreed.

Well, maybe not, pundits (who are called that because they're good with puns). Iowa Republicans redid the math — which, technically, would be arithmetic, but who's counting? — and it turned out that Mitt didn't win Iowa, Rick Santorum did, by a whopping 34 votes. (With eight precincts not being counted because, well, somewhere in the wilds of Iowa, there's a black hole that swallowed them up. Not to dabble in science or anything.)

Well, OK, no science, no arithmetic. Conservatives are at least consistent, right? Sure.

Well, except in the case of Juan Williams.

You remember him. NPR sparked outraged enormous outrage when when it pushed him out not all that long ago after Williams made some untoward comments about Muslims — people dressed in "Muslim garb" — airplane passengers. The sort of comments that, if you were to substitute the words "African-American passengers" for "Muslim passengers," you would land yourself in the pot of lava-hot boiling public indignation. If it is indeed lava-hot. If there is indeed some creature named public indignation.

(I should point out that Juan Williams is an African American, in the same manner in which I am not.)

Did I say Williams' firing "sparked outraged support"? It was more a full-throated tsunami of conservative indignation — NPR was emblematic of the elitist liberal establishment that ruthlessly oppresses poor conservatives, etc., and then some more etcs.

Imagine my astonishment, then, when Williams, working for that famous liberal outfit Fox News, questioned Newt Gingrich about the overtones, ethnic or otherwise, of calling President Obama the "food-stamp" president. Gingrich snapped back, attacking Williams for asking the question with the pedal-to-the-metal indignation he is famous for. The conservative audience went wild with enthusiasm.

So Williams went from a conservatives darling to the symbol of the hated liberal media.

Go science.


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