Dude. Shut up.

Daniel Pipes, who publishes a right-leaning blog on Middle Eastern affairs, pointed to a “surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants.” While allowing that “they are all attractive” — Pipes, a former board member of the U.S. Institute for Peace, posted pictures of several — he said that their victories “make me suspect an odd form of affirmative action.”

Great. Does this guy have any idea what happens when “right wingers” spew pabulum like this in the name of the conservative movement? Liberal leaning news outlets like Yahoo! are more than happy to use their megaphone to announce to the world how stupid conservatives are and then point to said ignorance as exhibit A. This stuff drives the “principled center” camp nuts. Ultimately, when important issues come up – like a presidential election for example – fence sitting voters go “Gee, at least this Barack Obama guy isn’t associated with those wackos who think Muslims are infiltrating America’s beauty pageants.”

I wish we could turn these guys off. Speaking of right wingers who are slaughtering the cause with their careless commentary:

“What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,’” Rand said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.”

OK, he’s right about the ridiculous boot threat. The media lets that one fly just like they let everything fly when it comes from the left. If someone in Bush’s administration had made a statement like that, it would have been the talk of punditdom for the next three weeks. See “Wanted Dead or Alive” – and Bush was threatening actual terrorists, not private industry. Unfortunately, the right wing is held to a different standard. Rand Paul just learned that with his Civil Rights Act pirouette. The more troubling comment though is this one:

“And I think it’s part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it’s always got to be somebody’s fault instead of the fact that maybe sometimes accidents happen,” Paul said.

His instinct is right here but instinct isn’t enough. You need to pay attention to the facts, which Paul seems to have missed. I agree we spend too much time blaming each other. The moment this happened, the President and his cronies instantly started pointing fingers and threatening private industry – which is their stock knee jerk reaction whenever they smell a chance to make populist hay with voters. Blame capitalists, blame oil companies, blame free markets, blame banks, blame Bush, threaten regulations, etc. This initial rain dance was wrong but nobody will remember it in the long run because BP’s behavior was catastrophically negligent.

It would be impossible to underestimate the damage BP has caused. To steal a phrase from Old Spice, this is a bajillion times worse than global warming. For one thing, the spill is real. It’s actually happening. And it certainly wasn’t some innocent mistake. BP executives made a conscious decision to cut corners so they could save a buck. They decided that a failsafe mechanism – which was not intended to permit them to cut corners and wasn’t even properly maintained – was enough to skip a vital safety measure. Eleven people were killed as a result and the Gulf of Mexico is maybe catastrophically damaged for who knows how far into the future.

The fishing industry, the tourism industry, the credibility of the oil industry and the desperate need we have to continue drilling: all have been severely damaged by BP’s extraordinary stupidity. Whatever you think of birds and turtles covered in oil, this could wind up being devastating to humans too. Rand Paul’s comments – just like Sarah Palin and her death panels – demonstrate either ignorance of or callousness toward the actual facts. Either way, this is not the kind of carelessness we need in our national politicians.