Saturday, September 29, 2007

Test Your Conventional Wisdom IQ!

Think you're a savvy "news consumer?"

You're probably right, but today's newspapers and broadcast news programs (not to mention cable comedy "news" take-offs) couldn't function in tiny news "bites" if they didn't know the American public was already well-informed on a ton of facts absorbed in high school, college, and by watching the acceptance speeches at the Oscars!

Find out just how much you've learned by taking the following quiz that tests your knowledge of conventional wisdom!


1. We all know that war never solved anything. Of the following problems that wars were foolishly waged to solve, which most effectively proves the point?

a. The abolition of slavery from the United States.

b. The destruction of the Third Reich.

c. The defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

d. The defeat of the Turkish army at the Siege of Vienna in 1683.

e. None of the above.


2. We all know that the Democratic Party is historically the champion of civil rights and racial justice, while all Republicans are racists, historically responsible for slavery, segregation, and writing bigotry into the Constitution. From the following list, circle the correct party, Republican or Democratic, responsible for the racial injustice described.

a. The Democratic/Republican Party Party passed the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, depriving even free blacks accused of being runaway slaves of the right to counsel, trial by jury, and habeas corpus.

b. In 1865 77% of Congressional members of the Democratic/Republican Party voted against the 13th Amendment emancipating the slaves, while 100% of the opposing party voted in favor.

d. In 1865 the Ku Klux Klan was founded by the Democratic/Republican Party in order to violently intimidate blacks and voters of the opposing party.

e. In 1892 the Democratic/Republican Party finally gained a majority in both Houses of Congress as well as the White House, thereafter repealing the civil rights laws passed during Reconstruction, and ushering in the era of Jim Crow laws requiring literacy tests, poll taxes, segregation, etc., and successfully prevented a single civil rights law from being passed in the US until 1957.

f. During the 1950s and 60s four southern governors physically blocked execution of lawful orders to integrate public schools: Lester Maddox of Georgia, George Wallace of Alabama, Ross Barnett of Mississippi, and Orval Faubus of Arkansas; all four were members of the Democratic/Republican Party.

g. In 1964 Senators Sam Ervin, Albert Gore, Sr., and Robert Byrd led an unsuccessful filibuster trying to stop passage of the Civil Rights Act; all were members of the Democratic/Republican Party.


3. We all know that George W. Bush is the stupidest President we’ve ever had, which explains why he has so much trouble dealing with politicians and leaders clearly much smarter than he is. Of the following, which is the best example of superior intellect “putting one over” on the moron George W. Bush since he was first elected in November 2000?

a. Senator Harry Reid

b. Senator John Kerry

c. Speaker Nancy Pelosi

d. Senator Al Gore

e. Senator Chuck Schumer

f. James Carville

g. Saddam Hussein

h. Dan Rather

i. None of the above.


4. We all know that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake and has nothing to do with the war on terror because there were no Iraqi hijackers on any of the planes on 9/11. Extending this logic, in October 2001 we should not have invaded Afghanistan, which also had no hijackers on the 9/11 planes, but instead should have invaded which of the following countries?

a. Saudi Arabia

b. Egypt

c. United Arab Emirates

d. Lebanon

e. All of the above.

f. None of the above.

g. Israel


5. We all know that George W. Bush “lied us into war” because he said in 2002 and early 2003 that intelligence reports showed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and refused to either account for them or disarm, posing a growing threat to the United States and his neighbors. Of the following persons, which of them also “lied us into war” by making identical, or even stronger, statements during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq?

a. Robert Byrd

b. John Edwards

c. Hillary Clinton

d. Ted Kennedy

e. John Kerry

f. Carl Levin

g. Wesley Clark

h. All of the above

i. None of the above


6. We all know that because coalition forces found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, after Saddam enjoyed months of advanced warning that an invasion was coming, the only logical explanation for WMD not being there is that

a. Saddam shipped them elsewhere, probably Syria, for hiding and safekeeping.

b. Saddam destroyed his weapons after he threw out the inspectors in 1998, and chose not to disclose it to the UN because he didn’t mind the crippling sanctions.

c. Saddam never had any weapons, Bush just cooked the whole thing up in Crawford, Texas.

d. Shut up.


7. We all know, as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd explained to us about Cindy Sheehan, that “the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.” In regard to what other category of human experience has the New York Times ever tolerated the terms “absolute,” “moral,” and “authority” being used together except to heap scorn on those who believe such absolute values exist?

a. Sexuality

b. National defense

c. Marriage and family

d. Partial-birth abortion

e. Loyalty during wartime

f. Plagiarism

g. Unbiased reporting

h. I give up.


8. We all know that George W. Bush’s imperial presidency is a shameless power grab, and that since 9/11 his every move has been aimed at depriving all innocent Americans of more and more of their civil liberties, so that our current state is all but indistinguishable from conditions in Germany under the Third Reich. Compared with the state of your civil rights on January 20, 2001, which of the following enumerated liberties causes you the sharpest pang of loss now:

a. Freedom of speech

b. Freedom of religion

c. Freedom of assembly

d. Trial by jury

e. Right to bear arms

f. Right to vote

g. None of the above.


9. Everybody knows that the Bush administration is engaged in domestic spying and illegal wiretapping of American citizens without warrants for absolutely no reason, and that, for all intents and purposes, you and your friends aren’t just being dramatic when you complain amongst friends that “all of our phones are tapped.” Troubled as you and your friends are by the knowledge that Dick Cheney and the NSA are listening in to your conversations, by what amount, on average, would you say you and your friends have reduced your personal use of the telephone for private or casual conversations to protect your privacy?

a. 90-100%

b. 50-90%

c. 20-50%

d. 10-20%

e. 0%


10. We all know that rising gasoline prices are the result of greedy oil companies conspiring together to fix prices and gouge consumers so they can achieve “obscene” profits--all the while blaming the price rise on the “so-called law of supply and demand.” Based on your insight into the realities of economics, what is the correct non-gouging, “fair” price for a gallon of gas in today’s market?

a. $1.90

b. $1.25

c. $ .75

d. $ .15

e. Why can’t the government just give it away the way Yugo Chabez does in Venezuela?


11. Every intelligent person, and all scientists, agree that global warming is the biggest problem facing humanity today, and that if we don’t drastically change our lifestyles, our economy, our culture, and reduce our standard of living, people living in Newport and Naples in 2207 will be underwater. The most important thing you can do to insure survival of your great, great, great, great, great grandchildren is

a. Buy a hybrid car

b. Ride your bike to work

c. Purchase carbon credits

d. Get an abortion

e. Die


12. Everyone knows that you can’t hug your children with nuclear arms. In view of the fact that the president of the world’s next nuclear power, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was, during the Iran-Iraq War, an instructor of the Basiji, a mass movement of children who willingly sacrificed themselves by rolling in minefields or mounting human wave attacks, and that he still holds the Basiji up as models who would not be the least put off by embracing their own nuclear destruction if it resulted in the annihilation of Israel or destruction of the infidels, what non-belligerent and diplomatic posture should the United States adopt towards Iran’s race to get the bomb?

a. Strong sanctions, with guarantees in advance we’ll never consider war.

b. High-level international discussions to explore what we did to make Iran feel it needed the Bomb.

c. Obtain the Ayatollah’s promise that, if he won’t nuke us, we’ll just nuke Israel ourselves.

d. Unilateral disarmament.

e. Unconditional surrender.


13. We all know that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the “so-called terrorists” are not motivated by their religion, but by their frustration that 6 million Israeli Jews living in a country the size of New Jersey, have persecuted and humiliated the 300 million-plus Arabs surrounding them and waging war on them non-stop for 60 years, and that if United States would only abandon Israel and offer her up to be destroyed by her neighbors, Islam would immediately resume benevolent coexistence with the West. The history lesson most instructive to us in dealing with this problem is

a. The Oslo Accords

b. The Jacob-Esau Pact

c. The Sally Brown-Charlie Brown Football-Kicking Agreement

d. The Faustus-Mephistophilis Pact

e. The Munich Agreement

f. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

g. The Iscariot-Sanhedrin Pact


14. We all know that racism in America is just as rampant and destructive now as it was in the darkest days of Jim Crow, of the post-Reconstruction South, and even of the days of chattel slavery before the Civil War. Since everyone knows where there is no justice there is no peace, the most direct action to resolve America’s intractable racial injustices is

a. Appointing the first black Secretary of State

b. Reparations

c. Affirmative action

d. Gerrymandering

e. Another civil war

f. Dropping the armed robbery and kidnapping charges against O.J. Simpson, and the assault charges against the Jena 6.


15. We all know that the Democratic Party has a proud history of fighting for racial justice, unlike that other bigoted party full of gun nuts. For example, in the strongly Democratic southern states between 1865 and 1877, laws were passed granting economic and political opportunities to blacks, including full citizenship, and the right to vote, and even the first black Congressmen were elected from these very states. Southern Democrats went along with all of this

a. Because where there’s no justice, there’s no peace.

b. Because they wanted to keep hope alive.

c. Because diversity was a compelling government interest.

d. Because they were keeping their eyes on the prize.

e. Because Republican governors and occupying federal troops forced them to go along with it, and as soon as federal troops were withdrawn in 1877 and Democrats regained a majority, the civil rights laws were ignored, and the worst era of Jim Crow and segregation began.

Answers to the quiz will be broadcast all through this week in "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," "The View," and in all editions of the Detroit Free Press.

1 comment:

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