Wingnut Week In Review: No Vaccine For Stupid

Terrance Heath

This week, conservatives’ anti-science agenda blew up in their faces, Republican Aaron Schock landed in hot water for his interior design choices, and Bobby Jindal got an enlightening makeover.

No Vaccine For Stupid

It started innocently enough. Asked about a recent measles outbreak during a visit to London, New Jersey governor Chris Christie responded by backing parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) weighed in, and — apparently channeling Michele Bachmann — said that vaccinations cause “profound mental disorders.” The usual anti-science wingnuttery ensued.

Conservatives tried to “teach the controversy,” but this time it didn’t work.

An Office Fit For A …

Of all the rumors going around about Rep. Aaron Shrock (R-Ill.), there’s one we can definitely confirm. He doesn’t like to talk about it, but Rep. Aaron Shock is such a big fan of the hit PBS show “Downton Abbey,” that he had his Capitol Hill office decorated in the style of the “red room” on the show.

Washington Post writer Ben Terris created “a bit of a crisis” when he popped by Schock’s office to check things out. Then Schock’s interior decorator — Annie Brahler, of the (you can’t make the stuff up) Euro Trash design firm — invited him in to see the rest of the place. When Terris started snapping pictures, Schock’s communications director Benjamin Cole halted the tour, and later tried to pressure Terris into deleting the photographs and ditching the story.

Schock may have an ethical crisis on his hands. Brahler did the redesign for free, which may violate an old House rule prohibiting members from accepting “gifts of services, training, transportation, lodging, and meals,” valued at more than $50. Indeed, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed an ethics complaint against Schock for taking the free interior design work. Rep. Schock has offered to pay the decorator for her work, probably to avoid an ethics inquiry.

The real question here is, why would a guy who voted to defund PBS decorate his office in the style of a PBS show?

Benjamin Cole is now Rep. Schock’s former communications director. The spotlight on his boss also uncovered some of Cole’s racist Facebook posts

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The National Zoo was closed that week, due to the federal government shutdown that Schock voted for, inspiring Cole to compare Blacks to zoo animals.

In another post, Cole suggested a mosque should be built on White House grounds, for the president.

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Cole resigned following the revelation of his racially-charged comments. The question is, would anyone hire a communications director dumb enough to post stuff like that on social media? Probably. Some right-wing outfit will gladly put Cole on the payroll.

UPDATE: It just keeps getting better. Colby Itkowitz, at WaPo, uncovered that Benjamin Cole was once featured in a film about “saving” the Jews. Filmed in 1999, the hour-long documentary about the Southern Baptists efforts to convert Jews never aired, but it was posted to YouTube. It’s now posted here for your viewing pleasure.

Will The Real Piyush “Bobby” Jindal Please Stand Up?

This is a portrait of Louisiana’s Republican governor, Piyush Jindal, painted by a constituent. (Piyush is Jindal’s real first name, but he was nicknamed “Bobby” as a child — after the youngest son in “The Brady Bunch.”) On loan from the constituent, it hung in the governor’s office.

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This is Piyush “Bobby” Jindal’s official portrait as governor.

This is Piyush “Bobby” Jindal.

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Got a problem with that? Bobby Jindal says you’re a “race-baiter” if you do. Jindal is a big fan of forced “assimilation” for brown-skinned immigrants entering the U.S., but this is taking things a bit too far. It’s one thing to demand that people shed their cultural identity. It’s a whole other thing to expect them to shed some melanin, too.

Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttery this week:

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