False Equivalencies: Why Glenn Beck Pretended to Be Upset Obama “Ate a Dog”

Glenn Beck is SIMPLY APPALLED, people. Obama, when he was a small child, living in a country that does not have the same taboo about eating dogs that we do, was given dog to eat by his adult caretaker. Well then, Beck, I guess you have to stop calling President Obama a Muslim then since it is forbidden by their faith.

Man, the conservatives really had to dig deep to counter Romney’s callous treatment of the family dog. Ever hear of “two wrongs don’t make a right”?

Or, more accurately, that the offending passage from one of Obama’s books that they are attempting to color as “just as bad” does not elaborate on whether Obama knew he was eating dog beforehand (I was fed donkey and snake AND rabbit without knowing that was what it was before I ate it), does not mention that it is common in the country where he was raised (even if it is gross to Western sensibilities), and involves, at best, being a passive bystander and consumer of an anonymous and nameless livestock animal raised for meat like a cow or chicken or pig.

Compare that to what Mitt Romney admits he did as an adult: he was an actively responsible party mistreating a living animal with a name (Seamus) who was already elevated to the status of house pet by strapping him for hours atop the family car, and then he did nothing to remedy the situation after the supposedly beloved companion animal / four-legged family member expressed discomfort, fear, and distress by, well, crapping himself.

So now we’re comparing what Obama did as a child to an anonymous animal, when he had no choice but to do eat what his adult guardian told him to do, to what Romney did as an adult to a family pet, when he had several options he could have chosen at any time, such as putting his luggage atop the car and the dog inside it. What, was he more concerned that a suitcase might fall off than the dog carrier? To repeat: Obama was a child who was FED dog by his caregiver (how much choice did YOU have in deciding the dinner menu at your home when you were a kid?), while Romney was an adult who freely chose how to treat the family dog and to ignore the poor animal’s obvious distress.

In short, weaksauce all around. But would you expect anything else?

You know, I remember Matt Drudge spamming the entire USENET with his screeds, not bothering to check if it was wanted or appropriate.

Back in the day, self-promotion and advertising of any sort were LOATHED and resisted. There were newsgroups (sort of like forums) which existed as separate little “islands” of discussion devoted to a narrow-focus subject, and people resented–especially when access was via a slow dial-up modem), and EVEN MORE when they got on USENET via the first paynets–reading something off-topic.

Most people using USENET had access to approximately 5,000 newsgroups of varying degrees of popularity. Drudge would spam his long and 99.8% off-topic and self-indulgent / self-promotional “reports” to every single newsgroup he had access to, and would ignore everyone raising hell about it (SO RUDE). He did not participate in discussions that I EVER saw. He was out to talk about what he wanted to talk about, and to hell with you or if it was an appropriate venue or even if anyone else was interested even tangentially in his posts.

If there was any justice, he would eventually have gotten tired of spamming the world and being hated by nearly everyone with USENET access globally and would have gone away (or, when the Internet finally had a GUI, he would have made a ranty Angelfire or Geocities webpage with spinny skulls, under construction animations, rainbow-hued horizontal dividers and GIFs of Reagan with a halo and Clinton with devil horns…maybe an ASCII cow or Bart Simpson picture). Unfortunately for us all, he was leaked documents about the Lewinsky scandal, probably because he was a self-important global spammer who ignored all criticism in his lust for blathering about how much conservetism rocks and liberals all suck to EVERY DAMN BODY’S NEWSGROUPS, he posted THAT all over the damn place, and, voila, the little asshole has never stopped being self-important, spreading gossip and mostly unsubstantiated dross, and trying to just shout louder than anyone else, without regard for anyone who might find him tedious, wrong, annoying, etc.

So, there you go.

I’m not upset that he busted Clinton and Lewinsky, for what that is worth. Someone else would have. I’m just annoyed that he has ended up being REWARDED for being a giant hateful conservatard asshole with no social skills or courtesy for others.

Seriously, there is no justice in this world.

One of my conservative friends (who was VERY irritated that I reminded him that the Heritage Foundation was responsible for the part of Obamacare he had been ranting about most) treated me to this false equivalency:

  1. Windmills for wind power kill birds.
  2. Birds fly into the windmills and die.
  3. Lots of them.
  4. Ergo, windmill blades killing birds is JUST AS BAD as drilling for oil and having a pipe burst and spill oil everywhere. (“Take that, liberals! How you like us now! You bird-murderers!”)

Yes, indeed. Birds fly into stuff. That is, of course, exactly equivalent to BP getting away pretty much scot-free with dumping tens of thousands of gallons of biohazardous material into the Gulf, killing dozens if not hundreds of species (including birds; heck, if you want to be utilitarian, including fish and shrimp that humans eat) and then trying not to actually pay any of the damages without being arm-twisted.

Man.

I did not even bother to get into a discussion about it. Because birds flying into windmills is EXACTLY THE SAME THING as probably permanent damage to not just birds but also a lot of sea life and HUMAN BEINGS in the area. And wind power is just evil, anyway, because Republicans are wary of it. No big money in wind power. So it has to be EEEEEVIL and bad.

Seriously. As columnist Dave Barry used to say, I am not making this up.

(Birds fly into wind power windmill blades: BAN WIND FARMS.
Birds also fly into jet engines on places. BAN PLANES.
Birds also fly into house and business windows. BAN WINDOWS.)

Both political parties have their flawed cheerleaders, though.

Nick Kerton says, “The bad thing about [Joe] Scarborough isn’t that he’s a harsh conservative, but that he constantly says he’s a “centrist”. His fucking theme song is Stuck In The Middle With You. Scarborough is obvious, though. Chris Matthews is a bit conservative leaning as well, while Al Sharpton tends to paint atheists unfairly when religious issues come up — in one segment he explicitly suggested that social justice could be an EXCLUSIVELY religious value. But CNN…argh. When they’re not saying the Dems just need to give more to the rabid dogs, they’re spending half an hour explaining how an exit poll works.”

I agree with all three criticisms. Joe is mostly an economic conservative. Chris gets very hawkish and sort of, hmm, fratty and he never met a boring sport analogy he didn’t love to rant at length about. Al is still recovering from the Tawana Brawley Hoax and his mild animus towards any atheist or agnostic folks.

While we are at it, I like Keith Olbermann (and his affection for James Thurber is charming), but he’s kind of a douchenugget off-camera.

The false equivalencies are thoroughly annoying, whichever side does it, though. There is something to be said for comparing apples to apples, rather than apples to kumquats, Ford Pintos, or monkeywrenches.

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The World’s Dumbest Dog

My childhood pet was a beagle, and I am starting to suspect that beagles tend to be functionally retarded at the best of times. Adorable, big brown eyes, eager to please, total doggie derps with not two brain cells to knock together inside their empty little heads, beagles may be the canine world’s Inbred Jeds. At least they are sweet-tempered beasts.

Charlie Brown’s dog, Snoopy, was a beagle. Everything you learned about Snoopy is a damn lie. Snoopy is portrayed as being creative, smart and clever. I know Snoopy is imaginary because he is a comic strip character, but still, it is false advertising. I can count the number of beagles I have met on one hand (with fingers to spare) that showed any sign of intelligence.

Brandy, our family dog when I was small, was the least smart of them all. Now, Brandy was sweet, and loving, but her total lack of smarts used to drive us crazy. I actually saw her walk into a wall, look at it accusingly, as if to complain that it shouldn’t have jumped out in front of her like it just did, back up, and then promptly walk right back into it again. This is a dog with normal eyesight who wasn’t senile. She was just that mentally challenged.

Brandy was also fucking LOUD. Hounds have a special kind of bark-howl that non-hound-owners are unfamiliar with. Brandy would greet us enthusiastically with ear-piercing howls of joy whenever we came home. Alas, she was so incredibly dim that she interpreted someone leaving the room and coming right back as a signal to cue Joyous Homecoming Arias.

When the family moved into an apartment complex, we were so used to Brandy’s enthusiastic and high-decibel greeting style that we were shocked when neighbors started pounding on our door, trembling with outrage, and threatening to tell the ASPCA that we were beating our dog. We’d have to spend an annoying length of time explaining that no, we did no such thing, we loved the fucking dog, though sometimes we wondered why, and if the neighbor seemed the least bit dubious, we’d only have to open the door and go back inside, neighbor by our sides, to cue Brandy’s bark-howls of ecstasy. We’d be twenty feet away and she’d still be howling like an air raid siren and about to wet herself with delight. No one ever complained twice.

We tried for five years to train the dog. The only command she mastered semi-successfully was coming when called. She didn’t always put two and two together and realize we were actually talking to her, but if you made eye contact, she would lumber over most of the time for some petting and ear-rubbing. The dog was just retarded beyond belief. I have owned smarter gerbils, and a typical gerbil has a brain the size of a frozen English pea.

Beagles, like most hounds, live to eat. In addition to being a typical beagle with an insatiable appetite, Brandy was incredibly lazy. You didn’t take Brandy for a walk, you took her for a slow drag, or an even slower inch by inch inspection of every blade of grass in the yard. My brother and I would try to think of things for the dog to do that might induce her to get some exercise. We’d walk her up and down staircases, up and down off curbs, and around and around the neighborhood, and she’d eat anything she could get into her mouth while trudging along half-heartedly behind us.

She was too stupid to play fetch. You’d throw a ball, and she’d decide that it ceased to exist once it flew over her head, and would just sit there, stupidly, wondering what we were going on about. We tried to get her to fetch sticks. If she managed to clue in that we wanted her to go get the stick, she’d occasionally manage to find it by accident a half hour later, and settle in for a mid-day snack and eat it. Every scrap.

By the time the dog was a year old, it was obvious that she wasn’t plump from puppy fat, she was just fat. By the time she was two, she looked like two beagles glued together. By the time she was five, she was a barrel supported by four tiny furry toothpicks. We were baffled. The dog was on diet dog food, exercised, and she still ballooned in size. The Goodyear Mutt. Meanwhile, the cat didn’t seem to ever gain much weight. Clever detective work revealed that the dog was just bright enough to wait until there were no human witnesses before eating the cat’s food and then her own.

We started to feed the cat on top of the clothes dryer in the utility room. The dog started to eat the plastic dishes and aluminum pot pie pans her food and water were served in. We switched to ceramic, and she managed to break and eat chunks of those, too. We finally moved on to thick metal bowls, and she was thwarted, but only for a while. She found other things to eat.

I could write a book about the bizarre things the dog managed to consume. We always considered it a miracle that she didn’t ever eat our cat. Socks was a lot smarter than Brandy, however, and that may have been what saved her.

(On an ironic note, I was in first grade when we got the animals, and, being an advanced reader, I’d already read a lot of Beverly Cleary books. Socks was named after the book (what else) “Socks”. Brandy was originally going to be called “Ribsy”, after a dog in another Cleary book, but my mother loudly vetoed that idea and named her (I suspect) after a particularly wet top-40 song she had once liked about a fine girl who would be a good wife, if only her cheatin’ tramp of a sailor boyfriend could stop dicking around and leave the Navy (or whatever) once and for all and settle down.

Calling this dog “Ribsy” would have been the equivalent of calling a really big, tall, fat guy “Tiny,” or referring to George W. Bush as “Einstein.”)

fat beagle photo found at lemoney92.blogspot.com

This is not Brandy. Brandy was even fatter.

First of all, Brandy was a coprophage. Many dogs are. She was a dedicated coprophage, though, and would harass the cat while she was in mid-poop, just to get those delicious cat brownies in the cat box. On the plus side, we didn’t have to change the cat box very often. Brandy would not only eat the poop, she’d eat most of the pee-soaked litter. During shedding season, we never had a problem with fur getting on anything, because the dog licked all the shedding fur off of herself and the cat.

One fine day the dog found a box of crayons, one of those enormous 128-color boxes, the largest size Crayola made. It had been left unattended for ten minutes while the child coloring with the crayons went to the bathroom. When the budding artist (me) returned, the crayons were gone. Accusations of sibling theft flew back and forth, a brawl broke out, every corner of the house was ransacked, parents were prevailed upon to restore order (and the crayons), all to no avail. This huge box of crayons was just gone.

The next day, and for the next several days, the dog’s crap came out in a rainbow of colors. Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue, she could shit a rainbow, shit a rainbow, shit a rainbow, too. On day five, the crayon sharpener that had been built into the box emerged, jauntily perched atop a perfect sky-blue-pink turd swirl. The mystery of the missing crayons had been solved.

The dog discovered that my mother used old-fashioned Kotex pads, and wrapped them in toilet paper and put them into a straw wastebasket. Used Kotex pads were apparently a delicacy, because the dog ate them, ate the other things in the wastebasket, and half of the wastebasket itself. More than once.

The dog ate a dead lightbulb.

The dog ate the air fern my mom had been fussing over that sat in a prominent place in the living room that you would never believe a fat dog could reach.

The dog ate entire rolls of toilet paper plus the toilet tube and the toilet roll spindle.

The dog ate bottles of lotion, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste.

The dog ate several fuzzy bathmats.

The dog ate stinky “OdorEaters” insoles and orthopedic arch-supporting cookies our of shoes, if for some odd reason she chose not to just go ahead and devour the entire shoe.

The dog pried up chunks out of the wooden parquet floor and ate them.

The dog ate two rubber doormats made out of recycled tires.

The dog ate toilet cakes and the little plastic baskets they dangled down from.

The dog once ate a metal Hot Wheels firetruck. It was never seen again.

The dog ate several hundred pot pie tin pans that we used to feed the cat, as occasionally one would get nudged to the edge of the clothes dryer.

The dog ate toothbrushes, hair brushes, and entire tubes of lipstick (which emerged whole, cap still on, days later).

Our dryer never had a chance to eat our socks, the dog would eat them first. Brandy was also fond of underwear, pants, shorts, t-shirts, and anything else that she could scavenge out of the laundry hamper.

The dog ate most of the Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, plastic toy vehicles, stuffed animals, Barbies and books she could find.

The dog pretty much ate everything that wasn’t nailed down, and then started in on the nailed-down stuff, too.

It was after it was estimated that the dog had eaten approximately $5,000 worth of household goods, clothing and toys that my parents decided to confine the dog in the kitchen at night. The dog ate two square feet of linoleum, chewed up and ate several baby gates, ate the legs of the kitchen table, ate several legs of the kitchen chairs, dragged the new wall-to-wall carpet under the babygate and ate a hole three feet wide and two feet long out of the carpet and underliner, and ate knobs off the cabinets.

Again, the vets could not find any physical ailment to explain the voraciousness, and just said that “all hounds do that.” I don’t know…I’ve known a lot of hounds, and they do eat whatever they can, but they tend to prefer actual food items.

Please note that I’m only giving you the highlights, here. The dog ate things that no one would ever believe could be eaten, and she did it on a nearly daily basis. We weren’t untidy people, and some of the things this four-legged furry Jell-o mold managed to find, acquire, and then eat had to have involved doggie teleportation or telekinesis.

The most infamous episode of inappropriate eating occurred during a posh cocktail party my parents were throwing. My mom slaved for hours making a huge sherry-infused cheeseball, rolling it in sliced nuts, and baking it in the oven so it was approximately 500 degrees Fahrenheit right before the guests arrived. She popped a maraschino cherry on top, stuck it on a cutting board with crackers and toast points, and as she set it onto the coffee table, the doorbell rang.

As my mother let the first guests in, everyone heard agonized yelps coming from the den. Everyone ran to see what the horrible noises were, and there was the dog, eating six pounds of piping hot molten cheese, and crying out in pain because it was burning her mouth, throat and stomach, and the dog was too stupid to figure out that perhaps eating a boiling hot cheeseball was a bad idea and to STOP.

Her craps that week became an epic event for all the neighborhood kids to point at and marvel over, so prodigious was their size and length. She was pooping dachshund-sized landmines everywhere for days. I don’t mean poops equivalent to poops a dachshund might poop, I mean poops that just needed legs, a collar and a tail to be mistaken for actual dachshunds. How her butthole didn’t go on strike, I don’t know. It is a mystery. It was a hot topic of discussion even at the neighborhood bus top–”those kids’ beagle made the biggest poos in the world, it might be a Guinness Book World Record-sized poo, the poos were almost as big as the dog, but that dog might well win a record for being the fattest dog ever to roll into a backyard to drop a load”…you get the idea.

How the dog managed to fit six pounds of cheese into her belly was a mystery to me, as she also ate four pairs of pants (crotches, mostly), one sock, a left shoe (all but the heel), six pairs of underwear (including elastic), and the covers and most of the chapters from two textbooks (which had foolishly been left on top of my bed) the same night.

It was at this point that I threw my hands up and disowned the dog.

Just to prove that ignorance is bliss and only the good die young, this dog lived a looooooong, loooooong time, eating new and bizarre inedible things of greater size and strangeness, and finally ended up dying peacefully of old age. Not once did her crazy eating habits cause her any gastrointestinal dismay.

I may sound like a bitch, but even though I loved the dog, I don’t miss her one bit. I no longer worry that when I come home, something expensive will have vanished into Brandy’s voracious and indestructible maw. Really, I am just too poor to pay for all the inevitable vet bills.

Rest in peace, Brandy.