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Good grief, some people just cannot be reasoned with, and presenting facts simply causes them to jump to another line of attack. I believe this phenomenon, known as the Gish Gallop, is the hallmark of the dishonest and intellectually corrupt debater.

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What a diamond of a mind she must have - finishing high school at age 7, pursuing a graduate degree at 13. Hard to even imagine.

In a country where many girls are still discouraged from going to school, Sushma Verma is having anything but a typical childhood.

The 13-year-old girl from a poor family in north India has enrolled in a master's degree in microbiology, after her father sold his land to pay for some of his daughter's tuition in the hope of catapulting her into India's growing middle class.

Verma finished high school at 7 and earned an undergraduate degree at age 13 — milestones she said were possible only with the sacrifices and encouragement of her uneducated and impoverished parents.

It's a whole family of go-getters, it seems:
Sushma — a skinny, poised girl with shoulder-length hair — is not the first high-achiever in her family. Her older brother graduated from high school at 9, and in 2007 became one of India's youngest computer science graduates at 14.
Source: ABC News/Associated Press
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Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 08:15 PM PDT

"My dad performed abortions."

by Swampfoot

My friend posted a Pledge of Allegiance-related rant on his facebook wall recently (pointing out that "under god" was not added until the 1950s), and an old high school classmate, now a teabagger (portrayed as brown in the screenshot linked below), waded into the discussion armed only with Hannity talking points. He spoke with great admiration towards my late father (who was a physician) and at one point tried telling me my dad would not have approved of "killing babies". That was when I blew his Hannity-addled mind.

Link to a screenshot of the discussion

My remarks are in the darker shade of blue.

It is quite remarkable how his ideology led to his making assumptions, and then to a complete breakdown of debate, followed by issuing threatening physical challenges.

This is probably 30 to 40 percent of America out there, and it's damned depressing.

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UK's The Guardian newspaper has published a new nugget of information from Edward Snowden:

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in an interview on Saturday and then again Tuesday afternoon, vehemently denied media claims that he gave classified information to the governments of China or Russia. He also denied assertions that one or both governments had succeeded in "draining the contents of his laptops". "I never gave any information to either government, and they never took anything from my laptops," he said.

The extraordinary claim that China had drained the contents of Snowden's laptops first appeared in the New York Times in a June 24 article. The paper published the claim with no evidence and without any attribution to any identified sources.

Unless there is a good reason to believe Snowden is a liar, this puts the often-wrong NYT in an interesting position, but as we remember from Judy Miller, this will probably do their credibility no harm whatsoever.

If the media is going to make a claim that information was transferred from Snowden to other governments, they are going to have to provide evidence for that claim. The burden of proof is on the claimant.

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Someone slowed down the audio on a Paula Deen appearance on the Oprah show a couple years ago, the results are simply pants-wettingly funny, and maybe a bit frightening.


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Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM PST

New Rules: A Proposal for Sanity

by Swampfoot

Click for a larger image.

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Dennis Miller has been scraping the bottom of the slime barrel ever since he decided to declare his fealty to the right-wing hate establishment. Apparently on Jay Leno's show back on August 27th, 2012, Miller felt the need to smear as a "stripper chick" the courageous Sacheen Littlefeather, 39 years after her brave and poised speech at the 1973 Academy Awards, where she refused on Marlon Brando's behalf to accept the Oscar for The Godfather, citing the awful portrayals of Aboriginal Americans in the film industry.

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Here's a screenshot. You might need to click on it to enlarge it to a readable size.

This woman (a former high school classmate), represented by the red colors, responded to my posting (I'm in blue) of a pro-Obamacare graphic. Sadly, it seems she would rather accept the fact of gender discrimination in medicine than acknowledge anything good Obama has done for women.

Then when I post an article which shows that women are charged more money for non-maternal and non-sexually-related procedures - in other words, illnesses that both men and women get, she blunders on without reading it, resigning herself to paying more just for being female. Sigh.

She has clearly been brainwashed by FoxNews and hate radio propaganda, and never seems to substantively address any of the facts I posted. It's as though me, a U.S. citizen who's lived in Canada for 15 years, should accept outright lies and misinformation she spouts about the healthcare system in Canada, while ignoring my own dismal experiences with the U.S. system (where I spent the first 30 years of my life).

Eventually she stops engaging altogether. Too much cognitive dissonance, maybe?

Here's another link to the screenshot.

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I made this tonight in Photoshop, but it seems unlikely that I'm the first to come up with it. Feel free to take it and spread it around, I disavow any claim to copyright.

The above version is one of Flickr's smaller sizes for the thumbnail. The full size version, 3000x1200 pixels, suitable for printing at 10 inches wide by 4 inches high, at 300 dpi, is here.

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This guy (a former high school classmate), represented by the brown postings, responded to my posting (I'm in green) of Romney's emergency room remarks.

I ended up screenshotting this exchange and reassembling it as an image, because copying and pasting the text was going to be a formatting nightmare. You may have to click once on the image to enlarge it, if you're using Firefox. My apologies to those who cannot read the text content of the image with their browser.

It was one of the more bizarre entanglements I've had on FB, due mainly to the guy's complete avoidance of engaging on substance, and later his self-loathing psychopathy against the poor. From his own description of his financial state, he would benefit more than most from Progressive social policies, but cannot seem to make the connection. I can't tell if he's being deliberately contrary for entertainment's sake, or if he has a conception of compassion being a form of weakness.

There is also a constant attempt to appear "balanced" by claiming equal antipathy towards both candidates (the old "they're all the same" syndrome) but he only responds when he has something to say against Obama.

This kind of bitterness is out there, and it's really amazing how blind to solutions it makes a person.

Link to a screenshot of the exchange.

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The hits just keep on coming. The secret video of Romney's fundraiser is a seemingly bottomless pit of hate and paranoia:

Romney: I have—I have some good news for you. It's not impossible. Now, the reason I say that is for instance, the New York Times had a poll last week, the New York Times and NBC, and I was leading by two points among women. All right. Now, the president came out and said this is an outrageous poll, they don't know what they were doing—by the way, the polls at this stage make no difference at all—but the point is, women are open to supporting me. They like the president [unintelligible], but they're disappointed. They're disappointed with the jobs they're seeing for their kids, they're disappointed with their own economic standing right now. So we can capture women's votes, we're having a much harder time with Hispanic voters. And if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting bloc has in the past, why we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.
Good grief.

I'm looking forward every day to some new hilarity from Mitt, and he's not disappointing me.

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Every major election that has happened in the last 10 years seems to have had the same disturbing phenomenon - robotic calls made en masse, claiming to be from one politician, but obviously orchestrated by their opponent. Fakes.

The very obvious purpose of these calls are to deceive, annoy, or harass the voter into anger and inaction against the purported politician or party who claims to be calling. They may claim the polling place has changed, or they may simply call ten times in short succession with the same message, tying up the homeowner's line, and even preventing outgoing calls. This will absolutely enrage people, and they'll tell their friends. They are always done so close to election day (often the day of the election or the day before) that literally nothing can be done to remedy the assault in time to blunt its effects.

What has been done this time around to neutralize these kind of phony campaigns? Has a national reporting hotline been set up? Can the telcos have a killswitch ready for outfits that make these calls, shutting them down almost immediately, before any damage is done?

I wish there was something that could be organized to stop this inevitable phenomenon.

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