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Limbaugh: “I’m Not Only a Shrill Partisan Freak, I’m Also Stupid”

February 14th, 2009

Limbaugh:

In addition, [the Democrats] have reformatted the bill — they’ve made it a PDF file when they posted it. Now, for those of you that don’t use computers, basically what that means is that it cannot be keyword searched. A PDF file is essentially a picture of a page. And, so, you can read every page, but you cannot keyword search it. It’s not a text file as legislation normally is as posted on these public websites. They don’t want anybody knowing what’s in this; they want it happening as fast as possible so nobody can know what’s in it.

How dumb can this guy be? We know he uses Macs (he claims to have four “maxed-out” Mac Pros), which are even more PDF-savvy than Windows machines. And here he is claiming that you can never search a PDF. Despite the fact that opening up a PDF on a Mac means you are looking at the tool bar which prominently features a search window:

Pdftitlebar

True, if you scan a page as an image, you can’t search it for text. But the vast majority of PDFs are not scanned. Anyone who has opened more than a few PDFs in their lifetime, in fact, would expect the ability to search for text. And indeed, the specific PDF which Limbaugh was referring to was not scanned, and is easily searched for text.

In fact, publishing it as a PDF means that there is a greater ability for more people to read and search the document, as PDF files are a universal format, easily available to everyone. PDFs preserve the fonts and other formatting, making sure that you can view the document exactly as it was designed.

Not to mention that although the document in question is 575 pages long, it is not beyond the realm of possibility for people to read the document. Rush makes a point that one would have to be a speed-reader to get through the bill, without realizing that one can assign a group of people to read sections of the bill and then report on it. Surely, between the hundreds of Republican Senators and Representatives in Congress, they could scrounge up enough staffers so that one person could read only a small number of pages and report on it; a very thorough reading could be finished within an hour.

What probably happened here was that Rush was thinking of the Republican rush to ram the “Patriot” Act through Congress several years ago; he is, after all, describing a Republican tactic. The final “Patriot” Act bill, rewritten by Republicans, was introduced late at night and was put up for an immediate vote, not a next-day vote; Democratic lawmakers had no time even to have their staffs examine the bill. Right-wingers often suffer from projection issues like this–deny or defend their own dishonest tactics and then naturally assume that the opposition always will act the same way without checking to see if they actually are.

So, Limbaugh wins the Computer Illiteracy Award of the Week, in addition to a variety of other partisan, blowhard, and dimwit awards which he regularly claims.

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