One dude in a Che t-shirt was enough to scare the entire Democratic party and most of the so-called liberal media away from the anti-war movement prior to the Iraq War.
One dude in a Che t-shirt was enough to scare the entire Democratic party and most of the so-called liberal media away from the anti-war movement prior to the Iraq War.
Remember when Pat Buchanan was a fanatical anti-communist and Russophobe? That guy would have been suspicious of Vladimir Putin because of his background as a KGB man. But Pat's rabid homophobia finds him in bed with the rabidly macho Russian President:
Leno and Obama were referring to a new Russian law prohibiting "homosexual propaganda." Moscow is also warning foreigners, including visitors to the winter Olympics in Sochi, that propagandizing for gay rights can get them two weeks in detention. No kiss-ins allowed.
"Medieval," howled the Washington Post. "Mr. Putin's war" on gays and lesbians is "part and parcel of his lapse into xenophobia, religious chauvinism and general intolerance."
Monday's New York Times has a front-page story -- "Gays in Russia Find No Haven, Despite Support From the West" -- featuring photos of roughed-up protesters.
Our moral and cultural elites have put Putin on notice: Get in step with us on homosexual rights -- or we may just boycott your Sochi games.
What this reveals is the distance America has traveled, morally and culturally, in a few short years, and our amnesia about who we Americans once were, and what it is we once believed.
Putin is trying to re-establish the Orthodox Church as the moral compass of the nation it had been for 1,000 years before Russia fell captive to the atheistic and pagan ideology of Marxism.
"The adoption of Christianity," declared Putin, "became a turning point in the fate of our fatherland, made it an inseparable part of the Christian civilization and helped turn it into one of the largest world powers."
Anyone ever heard anything like that from the Post, the Times or Barack Hussein Obama?
Buchanan finally got a shot in at the commies there but, of course, gays were locked up in mental institutions in the old Soviet Union. It's fascinating to see Putin, who is nostalgic for the good old days of the USSR ,cast as a tribune of Christianity. Of course, how could Pat not like someone who's as into killing Muslims as Vlad?
The main reason Pat and Vlad have become unlikely bedfellows is that they both desperately want to turn back the clock to an allegedly simpler time. You know, when men were men and the Russian Orthodox church supported serfdom because it was the natural order of things. Some moral compass.
God, can we please stop treating Fox News’ Megyn Kelly like she’s some kind of goddamned hero or something?
So this is where we are? A female Fox News anchor calls her misogynist colleagues’ views about gender roles a bunch of sexist bullshit -- which they are -- and we’re supposed to cheer for her? Give me a fucking break.
Megyn Kelly is your typical Fox News hack. Like every other conservative out there, she only manages to find her spine (and voice) when something personally affects her. Jon Stewart called her out on this BS the last time she pulled her “I am woman, hear me roar” schtick; that was waaay back in 2011 when she lashed out at radio host Mike Gallagher for calling maternity leave a racket. Yes, good for her. But I also remember Megyn Kelly piling on during the whole Sandra Fluke flap. I guess Kelly doesn't need to worry about her brith control co-pay.
What initially pissed me off about the video of Kelly taking on Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs was the way she prefaced her statements with, “I’m not a feminist but ...” God I hate that dodge. You're a woman in broadcast news and you're not a feminist? Well why the hell not? What the hell is wrong with being a feminist, anyway? Anyone who prefaces a statement with "I'm not a feminist but ..." is telling me they’ve bought into the whole right-wing framing of the word: “feminazi,” "man-hater," "ugly shoes," and the rest of the ugly baggage they've tried to saddle feminists with.
Also: if you’re calling bullshit on your male colleagues’ sexist remarks? Then yeah, you’re a feminist. So stop pretending you're not.
But you know what, I was wrong. Megyn Kelly is no feminist. She’s just another self-centered conservative narcissist who only speaks up when she feels personally insulted. She's no hero to women. She had no problem following Fox News' marching orders during Republicans' pre-election War On Women. And a part of me wonders if this whole Erick Erickson-Lou Dobbs-Megyn Kelly thing wasn't staged and scripted from the get-go in the first place.
So stop telling me Megyn Kelly is some kind of "feminist wonderwoman." She's not. She'll be back attacking women for the Republican Party as soon as her handlers give her the word.
TPM ran a swell piece about the cover art of the NRA's house organ (LaPierre is their swinging dick) America's 1st Freedom. They were all pretty inflammatory from a lefty-commie-pinko-hippie-peacenik perspective but this one is my favorite:
The New Black Panthers are coming to mau-mau your ass everyone. Btw, this qualifies as subtle from the NRA's perspective. That black gloved fist is gonna grab your gun and we all know who's wearing it, the Kenyan Marxist dude.
This cover was published right before the election, and before Obama came out of the closet on gun control. He hadn't done much gun grabbing up until then but truth and the NRA aren't on speaking terms. However, paranoia and the gun lobby are old pals. I believe they hang out together at shooting ranges, throw back some brewskis (Coors probably) and fire at pictures of Rachel Maddow, Dianne Feinstein and Eric Holder.
The culture and political wars of the Sixties may be diminishing but they're still being waged as long as LaPierre and his henchmen have any say in it. They haven't noticed that they've lost on cultural issues since they have a stranglehold on Congress gun control-wise or is that a gun pointed at its head? You decide.
The post title is, of course, pinched from the classic Stephen Stills song. It's one of those Sixties songs that has aged very well indeed, and it still applies to our current situation in a way that most hippie dippy anthems do not. Paranoia still strikes deep:
Tucker Carlson's Internet Kavalcade of Krayzeee seems poised to take over Breitbart’s Propaganda & Donut Den for this year’s Crimes Against Journalism Award. But really, there are so many nominees this year, how can one choose?
The conservative media’s latest liberal-smearing scoop that ended up being an exploding cigar was the Daily Caller’s career-killing revelation -- with video! -- that Sen. Robert Menendez had sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. Sadly for Tucker Carlson, it all appears to be a big, fat lie:
An escort who appeared on a video claiming Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) paid her for sex has told Dominican Republic police that she was instead paid to make up the claims in a tape recording and has never met or seen the senator before, according to court documents and two people briefed on her claim.
The woman identified a lawyer who approached her and a friend to make the videotape, according to affidavits obtained by the Post. That man has in turn identified another lawyer who gave him a script for the tape and paid him to find women to fabricate the claims, the affidavits say.
The escort was one of two women who taped videos that seems to support a tipster’s allegations that Menendez had patronized prostitutes while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.
This is some serious ratfucking here, like, criminal ratfucking. Slander and libel-lawsuit-generating ratfucking. Now who would do such a thing? Why Bob Menendez? Is it the Latino surname? Is this some kind of New Jersey politics thing? WTF? Who are the anonymous "Republican operatives" ABC names? As they say, more shall be revealed.
I must say, conservatives appear to have that touch of merde these days; all of their attempts to smear figures on the left seem to be backfiring worse than a 1970s gas guzzler.
There was the Tennessee Republican Party's attempt to smear Memphis-area Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen over his Tweets to his daughter, followed by the infamous Chuck Hagel "Friends Of Hamas" smear, and Bob Woodward's "the White House threatened me" lie.
What a difference a few failed hot scoops make. The right-wing is notorious for fabricating scandals (let's not forget Breitbart's Shirley Sherrod/ACORN/Muslim NPR crap). Seems like not too long ago the mainstream media would have jumped all over stuff like Menendez's prostie-gate. At least this time when the WaPo was finally pulled into covering the story they didn't parrot the conservative talking point but did their own investigative work.
Looks like some lessons have been learned.
For these prices, I'd have said Walmart was not in any way sticky, George W. Bush was the best president we ever had, and ferrets are filthy animals who should be banned from all homes and crack vans.
Sure, sure, those are opinions I hold anyway, and the money would just be a nice bonus to support my work. If somebody showed up with a huge check, I'd never question it.
1776 will not commence again, because that would require that you give up your job that you hate and your family you don't like very much and your fucking recliner and your Bugles filled with spray cheese and actually DO SOMETHING, and if you were capable of improving the world in any miniscule way you wouldn't be such an angry fucking insect in the first place, and you wouldn't need to use the prospective deaths of others to yob off in front of the world on national television to make yourself sound important. Fuck you.
God, can all these people just get back to me when there's a meeting I actually need to be at? At least ten times a day somebody within earshot of me wishes armed revolution would commence over something or other, and is this me getting old, that I've been on this planet long enough to remember EVERY TIME that we are always promising that THIS is gonna be the big one and it never fucking is? How 9/11 was going to make us better people (SO FUCKING GROSS) and how we were gonna be serious again, how the wars were going to teach us not to be so susceptible to bullshit, how Obama's election would end racism forever, how this time, today, this morning, it was all gonna change?
(And it never goddamn does, and I don't even care that it doesn't. I care that we keep saying stupid shit. I care that we keep making promises we can't keep, instead of getting up every day and picking up the laundry off the bathroom floor for once. The big promises DAMAGE us, they ruin us with their hopelessness, because they make us think ALL promises are hopeless, and ALL change is impossible, and all progress is a forlorn dream with no chance of coming true.)
So now the gun nuts are going to rise, huh? No they're not. Not en masse. Not in a wave that will remake this nation. Not to throw off the yoke of oppression or to protect "freedom" (Hey fuckos, you want to shoot shit for a living and defend freedom? The recruiting office is right there.) or even to keep the rusty hunting rifle Granny kept for shootin' varmints. A few people will cause untold amounts of carnage because bullshit merchants like this guy keep yelling, and the majority of people will go on about their lives.
Grumbling, sure. Resentful, sure. Just like every other Tuesday in the entire universe ever, because we have made these kinds of declarations before, and I'll believe in the next leader of the Last Free Republic when he puts down the remote and does something, anything other than talk about what he's gonna do someday, this time, for real.
If you haven't heard Kathleen McFarland's conversation last year with Gen. Petraeus, you simply must. I'm serious, stop what you're doing and give it a listen.
Here's the Clif's Notes edition: a recording of a conversation last year between Fox News national security analyst Kathleen T. McFarland and Gen. Petraeus has surfaced. In it, McFarland passes on an important message to Petraeus from NewsCorp Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes: run, Petraeus, run! Run for the Republican nomination for president! Ailes would quit Fox to be his campaign manager, Murdoch would bankroll the campaign, and everyone at Fox News would be his campaign's "in house."
I suggest you listen to the recording or read the transcript. It's pretty amazing stuff.
My jaw first dropped to the floor when I heard this (the "him" is Roger Ailes):
So what I’m supposed to say directly from him to you, through me, is first of all, is there anything Fox is doing, right or wrong, that you want to tell us to do differently?
Isn't that cozy! Please, Gen. Petraeus, tell us what you love and hate about our news coverage so we can fix it! The true hallmark of an impartial journalist is when he or she asks a powerful person they cover whether the network needs to change how it reports the news. /sarcasm
Hilariously, Petraeus then indicated he'd noticed a decided anti-war shift in Fox's news coverage, which he understood completely because of course the network needs to remain anti-Obama, and it's Obama's war now. But still ... careful, now!
Keep in mind, we're only about 20 seconds into the recording.
There's a lot of hilarity in here. I loved when Petraeus used the term "the Three Amigos" for John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham. I just about died. And then there's the strategizing about 2016 -- five years away, and they want Petraeus to run because the scuttlebut is that he's the only serious threat to Obama's re-election in 2012 and a Democratic win in 2016. If the Dems win in 2016, the Republicans wouldn't be able to undo everything Obama had done, see. Makes all of that "one-term president" stuff seem so much more urgent, doesn't it?
It's major crack for a political junkie like me, but I have to keep reminding myself of one important factor: this is a person connected to a cable news network saying this stuff, reportedly passing on information from the owner of that network and the chairman of its news division. This level of political puppetry is just astonishing. Can you imagine Anderson Cooper or Tom Brokaw having this kind of a conversation? I certainly can't imagine a legitimate so-called liberal media outlet doing this:
Q: I know Roger, he’s done okay, but . . . no, I think the one who’s bankrolling it is the big boss.
Petraeus: That might be it.
Q: Okay. The big boss is bankrolling it. Roger’s going to run it. And the rest of us are going to be your in-house.
Petraeus: Yeah, right. Okay.
Q: We’re all set. . . .
Look at how Republican presidential candidates are made. Lots of sausage. Rupert bankrolling it. And Fox News as the candidate's "in-house." And that means Fox News' advertisers are paying for it.
The WaPo buried the lede. The news wasn't that Fox News tried to get Gen. Petraeus to run. It's that they were going to bankroll it, and a supposedly impartial news outlet was going to be the candidates' propaganda outfit. Didn't author Tom Ricks just get slammed for having the audacity to call Fox News "an arm of the Republican Party"? Indeed.
You know what I find interesting? That Eric Cantor sat on that info he had about the General's affair before the election. Maybe this is why. Knowing how tight Republican politicians are wtih Fox News, I wonder if a NewsCorp muckety-muck told Cantor to make that information go away because Petraeus was the GOP's big hope for 2016. And then that big ol' dope of an FBI agent wouldn't shut his trap. Man, this is a Steven Soderbergh movie if I ever saw one.
Now, I know what y'all are going to say. You're going to yawn and tell me, "Fox News is a partisan propaganda organ for the RNC? What next, water is wet?" Sure but that's not the point. Of course we DFH lefty types have known this for years. What I find fascinating is that other people are saying it. It's like they're tired of the bullshit or something.
After the Ricks incident, Eric Boehlert wrote:
What's telling is that Ricks' claim about Fox operating as a wing of the Republican Party barely caused a media stir. While the comments have been widely covered, no one in the press is leaping to defend the channel or criticize Ricks. Even conservative bloggers and pundits haven't really bothered to push back on Ricks' central claim that the top-rated cable "news" channel works in tandem with a political party.
That's what I noticed, too. But I want it to cause a media stir, I really do. I want the AARP to know that when they advertise on Fox News they're giving money to an as-yet unnamed Republican Party candidate who will probably run against everything they stand for. And I want the rest of the media to give up the pretense that what they do is in any way the same as what Fox News people do.
I've often wondered why the legitimate news media tolerated Fox; after all, if you're a doctor and you've got a bunch of quacks sullying the reputation of your profession, wouldn't you speak out? I just didn't understand why, say, White House pool reporters tolerated the Fox press release pushers in their midst. Some even came to their defense (*cough*cough*JAKE TAPPER*cough*cough). And I find it really strange that all of this is coming out now, just after an election in which everyone seemed to agree that Republicans lost because they live in a Fox News-created information vacuum.
Have you heard the latest? Republicans have decided that the LAMEstream LIEberal media is in the tank for NObama because there's no way those polls showing the Kenyan usurper in the lead could possibly be right, so they've developed their own polls which -- shocker! -- show Mitt Romney with an insurmountable lead. I know, what are the odds, right?
Isn't that just typical? Whenever reality contradicts conservative ideology, it's always the reality that's wrong, and the conservative solution is always to create their own version of whatever so-called "liberal" thing vexes them at the moment. It must be exhausting creating your own alternate reality: your own news network, your own Bible, your own science and history, and on, and on. Expensive, too. But there you have it.
Last week Mistermix over at Balloon Juice observed:
...the Romney campaign is what you get when your incubator is Fox News.
Y'know, I'd never seen it stated quite so bluntly before. I smacked my forehead and went, "Duh! Of course!" And so I'd like to take this moment to thank Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch and Rush Limbaugh and all the rest for effectively killing the Republican Party as we know it. By creating this alternate reality hermetically sealed against anything dangerous like, y'know, facts, they've effectively cut themselves off from any political party's oxygen supply: reality.
Jonathan Bernstein put it better than I ever could:
The truth is that Romney is constantly constrained by what conservatives want him to do and by what they believe. Furthermore, what they want is generally unpopular, and what they believe is far too often simply cut off from the reality that the rest of the nation lives in.
So Romney cannot have a coherent foreign policy because what his voters want to hear is that Barack Obama sympathizes with terrorists. Most Americans, meanwhile, think of Obama as the guy who took out bin Laden. Romney cannot have a sensible tax policy because conservatives insist that he promote large, self-funding tax cuts for the rich. Most of the nation, however, supports raising taxes on the rich, and reality insists that cutting taxes also reduces revenues. Also, Romney didn’t invent the 47 percent nonsense; whether he truly believes it or not, he was simply parroting back what his voters have been hearing for years from Rush Limbaugh and others like him.
Somewhere back in the 80s and 90s a bunch of conservatives got together in a smoke-filled room and decided if they didn't like what the "LIEberal establishment" was doing in the news media, the entertainment media, at the nation's universities and science laboratories, economic policy think tanks, etc., they'd use their vast wealth to make their own. That was deemed such a good idea that over the years it's grown to some ludicrous extremes like Andy Schlafly's Conservative Bible Project, for example. Or, think the AARP is too liberal with their Medicare-loving, Social Security-supporting enabling of life on the taxpayer teet? Welcome to AMAC, the right-wing version. Or the 60 Plus Association. Or, um, the ASA.
Anything deemed "liberal" by conservatives now has its right-wing counterpart, catering exclusively to right-wingers. The results have been predictable: a core group of intractable true believers increasingly cut off from the rest of the electorate.
Ghettos are never a good idea, but when a political movement willfully and intentionally separates itself from the people at large -- the very people it needs to reach if it's going to continue to exist -- it has become irrelevant.
Nashville's Gibson Guitars finally admitted it violated the Lacey Act when it imported endangered wood. They will pay $350,000 in fines and penalties, forfeit their claim to endangered wood seized by the Feds, and hopefully go and sin no more.
What I really want is for Republicans to be held accountable for their baseless claim that CEO Henry Juszkiewicz was targeted by the Obama Administration because he donated to Republicans. It was a completely crazy (and baseless) allegation that got picked up by Fox and went around the wingnut wurlitzer, the kind of stuff Teanuts just want to believe is true. Apparently the federal government is just too inept and incompetent to do anything but take out petty vendettas on a local businessman who, it turned out, donated a paltry $2,000 to local Democratic congressman Jim Cooper. Woopsies.
Juszkiewicz, of course, never bothered to correct anyone. Indeed, he seemed to relish in his useful idiocy for the Republican cause, whining in the press and showing up at Tea Party rallies to let everyone know how oppressed he was. He's always been one of Nashville's more unstable characters. Gibson Guitars is a notorious revolving door of overworked and underpaid employees at all levels; word on the street is that a disgruntled employee, tired of Juszkiewicz's craziness, turned the company in to the Feds. Didn't hear that on Fox News, didja?
I wrote about the case here last year. When the Feds raided Gibson Guitars' Nashville warehouse, it was the perfect opportunity for Republicans to grandstand about "oppressive environmental laws hurting job creators," blahbeddy blah. Congress Critter Marsha Blackburn (R-Wingnuttia) held rallies, and the House Energy & Commerce Committee issued this ridiculous statement sarcastically accusing the Obama Administration of capriciously defending "the signature legislative accomplishment of President McKinley" at the expensive of modern American job creators. Oh, it was a delightful spectacle of political theater, especially in Tennessee. There was even a petition filed over at Change.org by a Tea Party group, full of Republican lies and distortions about the case. This is when I knew never to trust those stupid Change.org petitions, by the way.
Anyway, Juszkiewicz seems to have been abandoned by his Republican friends. The "poster boy" for the American job creator unfairly hurt by big, mean ol' Obama is going to be out over $500,000 when it's all said and done. And you just know that $50,000 he has to donate to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to promote conservation of endangered trees has gotta hurt.
Now that this case is closed and Juszkiewicz is paying his fines, I wonder how Republicans are going to spin it? Will they continue to trot it out as a case of environmental laws hurting "job creators"? Probably. Facts have never stood in the way of a good Republican talking point before.
Okay, Newsweek? Y'all are doing it wrong. Michael Tomasky, you are doing it wrong. This, right here, is doing it wrong:
Okay, look, I get the whole "we're trying to create a buzz" thing. I get that when you put President Obama on the cover with a rainbow halo and call him our "first gay president" or choose the photo of Michele Bachmann where her eyes look super-crazy you're doing it for the shock value. Just like Time put the lady with the titty-sucking 12 year old or whatever he was on the cover. Let's "start a conversation," let's be "controversial," let's "go viral." Yeah I get it, y'all are desperate for the links and the Tweets and the Face-space hoo-hah and all that but Jeebus on a fucking Saltine get your damn meme right when you pull this stupid crap.
Look, no one and I mean no one thinks Romney is a wimp. The meme, the fear, the slam, the 411 on Romney is that he is a bully. Not a wimp. A fucking bully who led a gang of miscreants to forcibly cut the hair of a fellow student, who used to dress up as a police officer and pull people over just for shits and giggles. Someone described as "soulless." A craven opportunist who will say and do anything to get elected because, as we are constantly reminded, it's "his turn."
Where did this "wimp" crap come from? This tells me you guys aren't even paying attention to the kabuki discourse in which you hope to triumph. You get a -2 from the Tennessee judge in the Media Depravity competition.
That is all.
There was less laughter — although plenty of picture-taking — of an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library” parked outside Missoula’s Hilton Garden Inn, where the convention took place.
Nothing on the outhouse indicated who was responsible for it, although it made an appearance in the Memorial Day parade in Corvallis in Ravalli County.
The outhouse was painted to look as though it had been riddled by bullets.
Inside, a fake birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama made reference to the disproven controversy over the president’s origins. It was stamped “Bull----.” A graffito advised “For a Good Time call 800-Michelle (crossed out), Hillary (crossed out) and Pelosi (circled in red.)”
State GOP Chairman Will Deschamps of Missoula said he didn’t know who’d brought the outhouse, but dismissed it as “a sideshow.” “It’s not something I’m going to agonize over,” he said. “Some of that stuff is not real good taste. We do have a president of the United States, and we have to honor that.”
Well, at least they didn't have watermelon rinds and chicken bones inside the outhouse. Using wingnut logic that proves it's not racist, right? Hey, at least they recognize the hotness of FLOTUS...
Guess I'll have to give up my plan to move to Montana (Montany to Gus McCrae of Lonesome Dove fame) to be a dental floss tycoon. I'm probably too old anyhoo:
Btw, this is the *first* time I've seen this clip from the Roxy & Elsewhere recording/filming. There's a lot of tuning to begin with but it's worth waiting for.
Oh see, now I never would have thought this was our exact problem, but David Brooks schools me otherwise:
Maybe before we can build great monuments to leaders we have to relearn the art of following. Democratic followership is also built on a series of paradoxes: that we are all created equal but that we also elevate those who are extraordinary; that we choose our leaders but also have to defer to them and trust their discretion; that we’re proud individuals but only really thrive as a group, organized and led by just authority.
I don’t know if America has a leadership problem; it certainly has a followership problem. Vast majorities of Americans don’t trust their institutions. That’s not mostly because our institutions perform much worse than they did in 1925 and 1955, when they were widely trusted. It’s mostly because more people are cynical and like to pretend that they are better than everything else around them. Vanity has more to do with rising distrust than anything else.
I guess we all imagined those massive institutional failures of the past 10-15 years, like the failure of our intellgence community to keep the homeland safe, the failure of our government to keep us out of unnecessary wars, the failure of our banking institutions to protect us from financial ruin, or the failure of our media to adequately inform us about the important stuff. Or how about the failure of our very political system to "elevate those who are extraordinary" in the first place.
Stupid plebes. Why can't you just go back to your small little lives in Iowa or Tennessee or wherever the fuck you people come from and just bake a pie? Leave all the important stuff to us important people with the important lives. If you need to know about something, we'll be sure to let you know in the New York Times and Washington Post. Until then, go watch "Dancing With The Stars" and "American Idol." When we need you we'll call.
You know, there's been a rash of this stuff lately. I think we the people have hit a nerve with our betters. Power isn't dead, Sally Quinn. You just don't have it anymore. We don't need to stop advertiser boycotts, Sean Hannity and Ed Schultz, you need to stop being misogynist assholes.
We don't need to shut up. We need to make more noise. This is the great democratization of the public discourse and it seems some people don't like it. Trying to see the downside here. Nope, can't find it.
As a part of their endless campaign to "otherize" President Obama, Republicans are fond of talking about his radical Marxist Socialist "European" policies. They rarely let the facts get in the way of their propagandizing, European politics have been drifting rightward in the last decade and Center Left governments have been defeated and replaced by conservative governments that are well to the Right of previous ones. Jacques Chirac was smack dab in the middle of the political spectrum but Sarko is flapping mostly his right wing and rather woefully at that.
Neo-Thatcherite economic policies are in place throughout the continent and enforced by the EU and the big kahuna of Europe: German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Austerity is in vogue and it's led to rioting in Greece and a double dip recession elsewhere.
I seem to recall that Mitt Haircut, Speaker Boner and their Koch owned teabagger fellow travelers are for spending cuts and balanced budgets that will never exist because of their tax cut mania. In short, they're for painful austerity for everyone but the 1%. Nothing has changed in that regard.
Something else that will not change is the Republicans trash talking Europe for the benefit of their moronic nativist base. Europe is full of furriners and furriners are all Socialists except for when they're not. Hell, most Americans are convinced that the current Canadian government is left wing instead of having a neo-Reaganite PM in Stephen Harper. One would think the Goopers would celebrate Canada's misfortune but they'd rather have a straw man to light afire. It's what they do.
Austerity, however, may be on the decline in Europe since Sarko seems to be on the verge of losing the French Presidency to the mild socialism of Francois Hollande. That will end the Merkozy reign of terror but the Germans still carry the big stick in the EU. Uh oh, I'm soundng like Joe Biden right now...
For more on the economics of European austerity read this piece by Robert Reich.
The next time Mittbot spews idiotic comments about Obama's "Euro-socialism," remember who's the real European. He can stick that in in his Otherizer and blend it...
All right - excuse me for getting out of my box, but I don't see this anywhere else on the interwebz. It made me choke on my ham, onion, and jalapeno omelette.
The MTP bobbleheads had the surrogates for Romney and Perry on this morning, and the subject turned to the M-word:
(Gregory) There’s this issue of”Governor Romney is a Mormon”, this has become an issue in the campaign, pastor Robery Jeffress introduced Rick Perry and said the following:
(Jefferson) “So we want a candidate who s a good, moral person? Or do we want a candidate who is a born-again follower of the lord Jesus Christ? Mitt Romney is a good, moral person – but he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity, yet it’s always been considered historically to be a cult by evangelical Christians,”
(Gregory) Has Governor Perry satisfactorily distanced himself from this pastor in Governor Romney’s mind?
(Pawlenty) Well, in my view, David, it’s disappointing that Governor Perry and others who didn’t denounce pastor Jeffress and those comments more directly, We have a country where we don’t have prohibitions on a particular church attendance for public office. In fact, it’s prohibited in the U.S. Constitution.
(Gregory) Governor Jindal, are you disappointed in Governor Perry? Have you told him he should more formally denounce…
(Jindal) I don’t think it’s for any of us to judge somebody else’s religious views, their relationship with God. The Bible is very clear, that’s up to God, not us. (…) It’s not for any of us to judge somebody’s faith, relationship to God, I think that would be inappropriate. The Bible is very clear, that’s not our role.
Pawlenty says that religious tests are against the Constitution, and Jindal says the answers are RIGHT THERE IN THE BIBLE!!!
Even Perry has to be doing a facepalm over this one.
Everyone here loses (warning, SUPER-annoying auto-play ads and video at the link, because the Internet is killing journalism):
LOS ANGELES — Former Vice President Dick Cheney isn’t picking sides in the battle for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, but in a remarkably candid interview with ABC News in Los Angeles, he had blunt words about the current field of GOP candidates.
Cheney accused Rick Perry of using “over-the-top” rhetoric, chided Michele Bachmann for overpromising on the campaign trail and said that Jon Huntsman’s views on Afghanistan hew too closely to President Obama’s.
Wow, it's almost like Cheney thinks they'd do a worse job than he did! And you know what? It's entirely possibly they WOULD.
Everything about this story makes me want to set my eyeballs on fire. DICK CHENEY is giving advice to future politicians, which is kind of like the Manson family taking over for Dr. Phil. On the surface it sounds horrifying, and then you think about it a little and your brain pretty much empties both barrels into itself.
Governor Deadeyes has noted that people are in “full campaign mode,” thanks to the nine recall elections that will be happening this summer. If the phone calls I’ve been getting lately are any indication, he’s finally right about something.
In the past week, I’ve received at least four phone calls polling me about recalls. I say “at least” because several times, I’ve found that someone has called me from an “unknown number” or was a “private caller.” Nothing like stealth and secrecy to really make me feel the warm glow of open-door politics.
One of the calls was a straight-forward poll that asked the basic “how do you feel about this?” kind of questions. It was computerized and I was fine punching buttons.
The other three, however, got my blood boiling.
Two people and one computer started off with the line “State workers are forcing costly recall elections…” After that, I was too pissed to listen. I think the word “unnecessary” was in there as well, but the blood was pounding in my ears too hard to know for sure. I hung up on the computer and told the two humans (as politely as possible) “You should hang up now.”
If this isn’t the textbook definition of “push polling,” it’s probably close. If not, it’s at least what’s known as priming, in which you set people’s thoughts in the order the way you want in an attempt to get them to lean a certain way. However, if I thought for a minute that I could help these people to understand why they sucked at polling, I would have offered some advice:
First, you’re lying. It’s not state workers who are forcing the recall campaigns. I’m quite sure that there are at least six or seven signatures on those recall petitions that didn’t come from state workers. My wife signed one. I watched her. She works for a private company. Whenever people tend to disagree with you, I know it’s a lot easier to try to blow them off as being some fringe group of self-serving idiots. Your governor tried it with the supreme court election with his “there’s Dane County and then there is the rest of Wisconsin” cracks. Didn’t work then. Isn’t working now.
Second, if this was all about state workers hating on something, how is it possible that three Democrats are being recalled? I don’t remember state workers being irate that the Democrats left the state. I don’t remember hearing that the recalls were simply a case of a petulant child breaking toys to prove a point. Both sides of the political spectrum are recalling people.
Finally, and most importantly, if you are correct that state workers, as a single group, accounted for 25 percent of the people who voted for governor in nine senate districts, what do you think the odds are that you might be calling a few of them? If you’re wrong and state workers accounted for less than that (because they were all too lazy and overpaid to bother signing something on their three-hour lunch break), what do you think the odds are that you might be calling a non-state worker who signed and thinks you’re full of crap?
Try on a few of these potential poll starters:
“Women are such emotional and fragile creatures that they can’t be trusted to do anything outside of birth children. We would now like to ask your opinion of women in the workplace…”
“Illegal aliens are coming across the border in droves, paying no taxes and taking away jobs from real Americans. We would like to know your opinion of President Obama’s plans regarding immigration…”
“Homosexuals are bent on wreaking havoc with the American family and engaging in hedonistic activities that undermine the fabric of our society. We would like to ask you a few questions about the state’s position gay marriage…”
This kind of “Fox-ification” polling is better than a campaign ad. It masquerades under the guise of fact-finding and it gives people who hate you reason to hang up while the “good, honest Americans” stay on the line to tell youse guys how right you are. It skews the poll because it’s hard for people like me to answer questions with vomit in our mouths.
Due to the federal Affordable Care Act changes, preventive care will be paid at 100%. Services include:
Newborn, childhood, adolescent, cancer and adult health screening
Immunizations: regular childhood shots, flu shots, tetanus shots
A fine line exists between academic freedom and politicking when it comes to classroom discussions. This week, a professor up in Wisconsin learned that the hard way.
Stephen Richards, a criminal justice professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, has found himself the darling of right-wing talk radio and the blogosphere for taking a position on the recall of Randy Hopper during his class. In a recently released recording of one of his classes, Richards talks for almost 10 minutes about the recall and notes that some students were hanging around with recall petitions if anyone wanted to sign them. The recording was made in March; the university dealt with the concerns and life appears to have moved on.
However, the recording landed on Charlie Sykes’ desk over the past week and has been posted on the state Republicans’ website as well. Media fervor quickly followed, as is to be expected and university officials have declined to issue any additional statements about the matter.
For his part, Richards has remained silent on the issue, saying the university told him to keep is mouth shut, a charge the university denies.
If you listen to the recording, which you can find here, it’s clear this wasn’t a passing moment of some kid asking “Hey, how can I get involved in a recall thing?” and a professor saying, “There are petitions around campus. See me after class.” Richards spoke at length on the issue and clearly brought his own opinions to the table.
While most of the crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth on this is a load of crap, that doesn’t excuse his actions. This was a ton of dumb from an educated guy.
The outcry of students saying, “I’m paying good money to go here and not have my time wasted” is total bullshit.
If he decided to let the class go 10 minutes early, there wouldn’t be a huge hue and cry. Also, based on the number of texts, Facebook updates and other technology-based distractions students engage in, something tells me they aren’t coveting every moment of class time. Yes, you can be upset that you were subjected to this, but let’s not pretend that a professor never wasted time in some other stupid way or that you didn’t blow off at least one minute of your academic career. To complain in this way is disingenuous at best.
The Republicans who are calling for this guy to resign are going after a fly with a sledgehammer, and for good reason as well. The recall elections will likely see six Republican senators fighting to keep their seats in hotly contested races. Hopper appears to be the most vulnerable among these. Media reports have questioned if he’s actually living in the district he represents, if he got his mistress a sweet-heart state job and other things you don’t want hanging over your head in an election cycle.
Best way to get the story to change? Make the story about someone else.
Thus the story goes from “Randy Hopper: sex machine, cheating husband and political twerp” to “Randy Hopper: target of indoctrinating professors and zombie-voting students.”
The public reaction, however, is most disturbing. The student newspaper reported that several people had heard this guy was getting death threats. In addition, the comment boards have been on fire with people calling for his job and saying he’s indoctrinating students.
First, no matter what he said in class, the threat thing is way over the top. If citizens were allowed to kill people for saying stupid crap, Glenn Beck and Donald Trump would already have their faces on a commemorative stamp set.
Second, and more importantly, no one is being indoctrinated. Most of my students (and those of most professors) will tell you that students don’t do things just because you tell them to. If it worked that easily, I’d have more kids studying for tests and fewer of them spelling things wrong.
College students are adults. They can think for themselves. Just because a professor says, “I think Randy Hopper’s an idiot,” it doesn’t necessarily follow that the students will all stagger into the streets craving brains and bad Randy Hopper jokes.
The more important argument here is that there is a perception of undue influence. Professors have authority over grades, which you can argue are one of the more important things a student deals with. A professor can fail a student, forcing the student to retake a class or costing the student access to scholarships and financial aid. If the professor is a big name in a particular field, going against that professor can be career suicide for a student.
(Should grades matter this much? Not in my book, but kids view them as important and thus they are in their world. Perception is the word of the day here at the ol’ FD.)
In this case, none of those things might happen, and only one allegation of undue pressure has come to light (An “unnamed” student made allegations here. As a journalist, this wouldn’t have passed the sniff test for me, but it is something to ponder.). However, several students noted that there was a sense that you might get a bump up or a bump down depending on your petition position. That’s not good for the classroom and that’s not good for democracy.
Richards might think Hopper should be recalled, but the classroom isn’t the venue for that discussion. Had he been in a field like political science, journalism or even a gen-ed on current affairs, maybe he gets a little more leeway in terms of the topic, but not his approach.
Regardless of if he was pro-Hopper, anti-Hopper or a bunny-Hopper, Richards should have understood his efforts put his students in an untenable situation.
Folks, I'm an old USENET veteran, from the halcyon days of alt.religion.scientology.
I'm not unused to sock-puppets.
But I'll be double-damned if I can recall any corporate sock-puppetry (unless you want to count the $cientology cult as a corporation) until now.
H/T to Think Progress :
Last year, Koch Industries began employing New Media Strategies (NMS), an Internet PR firm that specializes in “word-of-mouth marketing” for major corporations including Coca-Cola, Burger King, AT&T, Dodge and Ford. It appears that, ever since the NMS contract was inked with Koch, an NMS employee began editing the Wikipedia page for “Charles Koch,” “David Koch,” “Political activities of the Koch family,” and “The Science of Success” (a book written by Charles). Under the moniker of “MBMAdmirer,” NMS employees edited Wikipedia articles to distance the Koch family from the Tea Party movement, to provide baseless comparisons between Koch and conspiracy theories surrounding George Soros, and to generally delete citations to liberal news outlets. After administrators flagged the MBMAdmirer account as a “sock puppet” — one of many fake accounts used to manipulate new media sites — a subsequent sock puppet investigation found that MBMAdmirer is connected to a number of dummy accounts and ones owned by NMS employees like Jeff Taylor.
Soren Dayton, a GOP operative and executive at New Media Strategies, is reported to be the contact for Koch Industries at NMS. Reached by phone yesterday by ThinkProgress, Dayton exclaimed, “I’m not going to talk about this, thanks,” before hanging up. Lyndsey Medsker, a senior account director for NMS, spoke to ThinkProgress today. She explained that NMS also maintains the Koch Industries Twitter page, Facebook page, and has an active team working on promoting Koch Industries in the comment section of blogs and news websites.
This bit from the Wikipedia investigation is amusing:
- Suspected sockpuppets
- Deletefeader (talk+ • tag • contribs • deleted contribs • logs • filter log • block user • block log • SUL • checkuser)
- PokingTocqueville (talk+ • tag • contribs • deleted contribs • logs • filter log • block user • block log • SUL • checkuser)
- User compare report Auto-generated every hour.
Please list evidence below this line. Remember to sign at the end of your section with 4 tilde characters "~~~~"
User:MBMadmirer appears to be acting as a PR agent for Koch Industries, via an external PR agency, judging by his userpage declaration and his WP:SPA contributions, including a repeated inappropriate comparison of a page with documented and undisputed facts (Political activities of the Koch family) with George Soros conspiracy theories. (See also the month-old User_talk:MBMadmirer#COI_warning, which predates the recent dispute.) Which of course is not an SPI issue, but the recent creation of an evident sock with the same agenda, User:Deletefeader, is (it was created in order to delete a recently-created page about Koch political activities). For example, Deletefeader declares "On other Koch pages, Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, we have already had these same debates about what should be included." - note the we, despite the fact that this account has not contributed to those pages (yet). See also MBMAdmirer's similar concerns here. It's possible of course that Deletefeader is a colleague of MBMAdmirer's (WP:MEAT), but a connection seems highly likely. Rd232 talk 17:41, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
And in conclusion, I'd just like to say ro NMS
Former Gret Stet Fuhrer wannabe David Duke has glommed on to the Tea Party. Duke looks as if he's had a bit too much plastic surgery: skin peel anyone?
Bitter Vitter's latest attack ad about the non-existent wave of undocumented people in Louisiana:
Nancy Pelosi has a Republican opponent whose name I refuse to remember. He has no chance. It's one of the safest and most Democratic seats in the country. But he's posted a deeply obnoxious interweb ad depicting the Speaker as-surprise, surprise-the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard Of Oz. The sub-text is that *those* people still worship Judy Garland and yadda, yadda, yadda. Yawn.
Does anyone think people will give this bozo any money? Even in 2010, he'll be lucky to get 30% of the vote. Oh well, at least he's proving that he has his "man-pants" on. I will be so glad when this nasty election cycle is over. I hate off-year elections and ads like this are one reason:
A progressive blogger out in Washington State wants to transform the 9/12 Beckapalooza, Teabagger Day, into Burn Confederate Flag day. Part of me thinks it's an interesting sideshow stunt since the Confederate flag is such a powerful symbol of hate and there are a whole lotta teabaggers who should be wearing white sheets and pointy hats. Having said that, burning anything at someone else's rally seems to have great potential to backfire as well as incite violence. I'm a peacenik. I don't like political violence. It's dumbassery as well.
In the end, I strongly lean towards considering it a counter productive and douchey neo-Yippie stunt that will never happen. What do you think, gentle readers? I'm very interested to hear, I'm not really on the fence here but never enjoy sitting on a fucking picket. Ouch. So, consider the comments a mini-Crack Van only without the sound effects or the ham or, in fact, any chat features whatsoever.
Just gimme your opinions, y'all. I'm going all Bill Clinton on you and want to feel your pain...
I'm an atheist but around religious people, I soften it to agnostic because for some reason they mind it less. I'm not sure why but, hey, I'm a tolerant person but one thing that I'm intolerant of is intolerance. That brings me to this week's "honoree." Ron Ramsey is running for Governor of Tennessee as a Republican. He's the Lt. Gov and, apparently, his campaign was stuck in the mud. So, instead of spinning his wheels, he decided to take action and trot out a boogieman for the voters to beat on. Mr. Ramsey's choice was Muslims:
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, currently running third in the state's Republican gubernatorial primary race, says he's not sure if Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion apply to the followers of the world's second-largest faith, Islam.
At a recent event in Hamilton County, Ramsey was asked by a man in the audience about the "threat that's invading our country from the Muslims." Ramsey proclaimed his support for the Constitution and the whole "Congress shall make no law" thing when it comes to religion. But he also said that Islam, arguably, is less a faith than it is a "cult."
"Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it," Ramsey said. "Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face."
The question, Ramsey mused, was related to the simmering topic of a new Muslim community center scheduled to be built in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Ramsey, like many conservatives weighing in on the debate, mistakenly confused the center with a mosque -- which Murfreesboro already has -- and then proceeded to foment fears that Sharia saw would be practiced by Muslims there.
"Now, you know, I'm all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on," he said. "But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee -- to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution."
Sharia law in Tennessee? Horrors: run and hide and under the bed everyone. They're coming to put a head scarf on the women and cut the hands off all the men. It's, of course, okay for biblethumpers to pass laws effecting those of other faiths but Muslims? It's time to exercise your Second Amendment rights and run those varmints outta the hills of Tennessee. I wonder if Ramsey has heard of the Scopes Monkey Trial?
Here's the deal: I'm not down with any of the monotheistic faiths. If one believes that one's Sky God is the only true Sky God, intolerance is one step away. Over the centuries many people of faith have tried their damnedest to reign in the nutjobs in their sects and work on respecting others. Christians may be the majority in Tennessee but they're the minority in other places. Additionally, Christianity was considered a cult until it grew to the point that it had to be respected. There are a helluva lot of Muslims in the world so it's hard to argue that they're a cult. Hmm, I wonder if Malaka Ramsey likes the Washington Times? As a wingnut, I bet he does. It is, of course, owned by the Moonies who most people consider a cult. But cults should be tolerated as well. That's how things work in a pluralistic democracy.
Ron Ramsey's cynical use of religious bigotry is merely a symptom of a bigger problem. Anti-Muslim hate speech seems to have reached a fever pitch of late. In New York, there's been an ongoing controversy about the possibility of a Muslim center being placed near Ground Zero. "Outside agitators" such as Newt Gingrich and that silly woman from Alaska whose name I never mention have gotten on their hind legs to bray against it. That episode seems to have reached its apogee with GOP Gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio demanding a debate with Democrat Andrew Cuomo on that topic and nothing else. Why? Like Ramsey, Lazio is heading towards defeat and he's playing the hate card to see if he can stir things up. It's a text book case of egregious malakatude.
I selected Ron Ramsey as malaka of the week but he's essentially a stand-in for all the bigots who are stirring up hate of the Other. Me, I prefer to criticize individuals as opposed to demonizing whole groups.I wish some of these folks would substitute church or synagogue for the word mosque when they start painting with such a broad brush. Of course, the current ginned up controversies are about community centers that just happen to be run by Muslims so the bigot should substitute Presbyterian, Lutheran or Reform Judaism for the M word. I don't think the JCC in New Orleans has any plans to bring Talmudic law to the Gret Stet, which means I won't have to race out and buy a yarmulke. I doubt if I could find one that fit my size 8 head anyway...
I seem to have stumbled into Tommy T territory. Here's a billboard erected by the Iowa teabaggers:
That slogan would have been a good one for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign...
Yeah, this one's a bit early but I only get the keys on Wednesdays.
The tiny little place where I live really goes all out on Fourth of July (and also on Halloween, but that's a different post). Everything shuts down and everyone goes down to the town square or as close as they can get to it. That is, everyone who isn't in the parade. It's a toss up whether there's more people marching or watching from the sidelines but the important thing is, everyone goes: the old people, the high school Shakespeare troupe, hippies young and old, ranchers and artists, yuppies and tourists, everyone shows up.
The video below is from a few years ago when I marched with my naturalist group — I was in the kazoo corps. We were behind a float carrying Mother Nature and a bunch of other folks sitting on bales of hay. Immediately after the parade, a huge rainstorm hit, so everyone in town was caught in it at the same time, which was almost as much fun as the parade. It was a good time and I get a catch in my throat watching this because there's something so uncomplicated about it, even though it's not without irony, or even absurdity.
It's not everyone's storybook ideal, but it's damn close to what I used to think Fourth of July should be. Even though it's completely impossible to forget a great many things that have torn that ideal all to hell for me, I can't help reflexively pledging allegiance to the whole crazy, raggedy, imperfect mess.
Risen’s piece quickly drew fire from online reporters and writers (including this one), who pointed out that many of the story’s purported revelations about Afghanistan’s mineral reserves had been previously reported. They also questioned the timing of the story, coming as it did on the heels of a series of troubling reports about the stability of the Karzai government and one day before Gen. David Petraeus was scheduled to testify before Congress about the war. [...]
Risen didn’t take kindly to the blogospheric criticism. “Bloggers should do their own reporting instead of sitting around in their pajamas,” Risen said.**
“The thing that amazes me is that the blogosphere thinks they can deconstruct other people’s stories,” Risen told Yahoo! News during an increasingly hostile interview, which he called back to apologize for almost immediately after it ended. “Do you even know anything about me? Maybe you were still in school when I broke the NSA story, I don’t know. It was back when you were in kindergarten, I think.” (Risen and fellow Times reporter Eric Lichtblau shared a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the Bush administration’s secret wiretapping program; this reporter was 33 years old at the time.)
News to the north: when you have to masturbate about your prizes to get listened to during an argument, you lose automatically. The problem isn't that people aren't initiate in the mysteries of your brilliance, Jimmy. The problem is that you fucked up and got caught fucking up and thanks to the miracle of the Internets, lots of people got to see your fuckups and get to discuss them in detail. What contests you've won has very little to do with whether, in this particular instance, you were right or wrong.
I tell journalism students this all the time: You fuck up a story, you get something wrong, you get played, you admit it immediately and you fix it. You feel like shit, you pound some tequila and whine to your girlfriend or whatever for a day or two, you call your grandmother and let her tell you she loves you, and then you move the fuck on. It's a three-day story at most no matter how bad the mistake is. And I know, okay, how much it sucks. I remember every correction I ever had to write and some of 'em were NASTY. But you fix it, and it's over.
You do what Jimmy here is doing, you refuse to admit you got rogered and you make it about bloggers and what they're wearing (is that joke really not over yet?), and you slap your resume on the table because you're just so sure yours is the biggest, and this turns into a two-week pigfuck that goes on and on and never ends and makes you look worse with each passing day. Because now not only are you a guy who fucked up a story and got played by the Pentagon (and let's face it, they employ many many people whose job it is to play the press), you're also a fucking adolescent douchecanoe who can't do what my three-year-old goddaughter can and say you're sorry.
Good reporters, even ones who've won prizes, fuck up stuff all the time. It happens. The test is what you do afterwards. Risen's flunking it pretty hard right now.
If you are on Twitter, set an alarm for 9 a.m. tomorrow. Go do it right now, we'll wait. [Jeopardy music interstitial] Okay, now that you're back, this is what you're going to do tomorrow at 9 a.m., and why:
Send the following to the Texas Education Agency (TEA):
".@teainfo Do right by TX kids& public school kids everywhere. Reject distorted Social Studies curriculum changes. #SaveHistory"
Why? Because the usual suspects at the State Board of Education (SBOE), continuing their slash and burn pillage of state curriculum standards, have proposed a social studies curriculum so egregiously out of touch with actual historical fact and so literally "whitewashed" that not even founding father Thomas Jefferson makes the cut, not to mention prominent civil and human rights leaders from more recent eras.
After curriculum teams of qualified subject area experts presented a draft of revised state standards for the Board's consideration earlier this spring,
the board’s far-right members made substantial changes to the standards. Among those changes: removing Thomas Jefferson from a world history standard about important Enlightenment thinkers, exaggerating religious influences on the Founders and the founding documents; watering down instruction about the civil rights movement; requiring that students learn about the political positions of conservative leaders and icons, such as Phyllis Schlafly, Moral Majority and New Gingrich; portraying Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s reckless smears in the 1950s as having been justified; and even removing the concepts of justice and responsibility for the common good from a list of characteristics of good citizenship. They even rejected an amendment requiring students to learn that the Founders barred government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.
Why should you care what happens in Texas? Because despite the increase of digital technology and online learning resources, paper still prevails in the textbook market, and Texas buys so many textbooks that publishers write all their books to meet this state’s standards.
Donate directly to the campaigns. Support two candidates running for the SBOE by donating directly to their campaigns. Dr. Judy Jennings (running for SBOE District 10) and Dr. Rebecca Bell-Metereau (running for SBOE District 5) are running in districts that - if you put the two districts together - are geographically the size of Mississippi and total about 1.8 million registered voters. Judy and Rebecca are both committed to Saving History and you can donate to both candidates at their Save History ActBlue site.Help spread the word through Facebook, Twitter and your blog of choice. Those of us supporting Judy, Rebecca and others in Texas are using the #savehistory hashtag on twitter, as well as using that same tag on our posts.
The irritation with the Dodge commercial from the Super Bowl has been one of those things that I can both sides of the coin. From the perspective that A laid out earlier in the week, this makes complete sense. I can’t imagine it being OK to have a commercial with a bunch of black guys saying, “I will shuffle and grin when you tell an N joke. I will not mention my penis is three times larger than yours. I will speak ghetto when you ask me to. Because of this...” and then fill in something horribly racist afterward. So why is it OK to basically say, “The bitch I married, the job I’ve taken and the life I lead has neutered me. Here’s the car that comes with a nice set of brass truck nuts on the tow hitch to get me back in the game?”
The answer is two-fold: One part is simple, while the other is complex.
The simple answer is that advertising appeals to an audience in order to create a shared understanding that is used to sell a product. To that end, that’s why crappy beer often has very good-looking people in swimsuits breaking into beach volleyball games at the drop of a hat. This is why commercials for watches rarely show the watch but instead show a guy with a tux, way too much gel in his hair and a shit-eating grin on his face. He’s then draped by a blonde in a red dress, all of which seems to say, “If you buy this watch, you will get laid.” Dodge’s commercial is one more attempt to appeal to a market that is under-tapped: guys hitting a mid-life crisis during a time where you’ve probably got a fuel-efficient hybrid or a mini-van (or both) in your garage and the last time you saw more than six-cylinders, it was in a 12-pack of beer. You don’t like your job (much of that was job stuff, not wife stuff), you thought your life would be different and you’ve really got a sense that there are more days behind you than in front of you. That’s understandable.
The more complex answer is in the societal shift we’ve seen over the previous four decades. Good, bad or whatever isn’t what I’m going for here, so please don’t deluge me with a ton of comments that argue things weren’t as great in the ‘50s or ‘60s as we’d like to believe. That’s not the point. The point is that societal norms have changed and there has been a steady erosion of what was once the province of men. However, that change has been something that not all generations who are alive have experienced and there are still plenty of pockets of neo-traditionalism that leave many people feeling like the guys in “Men of a Certain Age.”
People see their lives turning out certain ways. They imagine themselves to be something specific by the time they are X age. The line from “Reality Bites” comes to fruition for most of us: “I really thought I was going to be something by the time I was 22.” However, at the age of 22, you’ve got a lot of innings left to play. However, once you get married, have kids, get a mortgage and so forth, you find the strictures of life tightening around you. You can’t just say, “Fuck it. I’m doing X.” There are consequences and repercussions for every action. We are afraid of everything now. What they fail to see is that you’ve traded in bits of yourself for other bits of yourself. It’s like having $20 and spending it on a baseball card you always wanted. You can bemoan the fact you don’t have $20 to spend on lunch or on something else or you can enjoy the fact that you’ve got something you always wanted.
When give up the life of a single guy for the life of a married guy, there are trade offs, regardless of if you’ve got the best, most understanding wife ever. (Sorry, you can’t have her. She’s mine.) I listen to kids all the time talking about the random hook ups they’ve had or the dates that have gone to shit of the “Why isn’t he calling anymore?” conversations and believe me, I’m grateful as hell not to be in that boat anymore. However, that means that I don’t get to hang out with a group of guys at a bar for 10 hours after work and ogle the waitresses or come home at 4 a.m. without any kind of consequences. That’s a trade off.
Before I was married, I made about 1/3 of what I do now. However, there was always a ton of money to blow on worthless crap because all I had to care about was me. However, that was a pretty lonely time and it meant always going home to an empty house. Now, we watch cash like a hawk watches a rodent. We’ve got a mortgage, a kid to put through private school and a ton of other responsibilities. Sure, I get horribly wistful when I’m looking at a Borla dual exhaust system for the Classic and I can’t just buy it because it’s not just my money, but the car can’t hug you when you buy it a McNugget kids meal. It’s a trade off.
However, the problem for most guys is that the pendulum has swung so far against the life they thought they should have or the one lived out by their parents and grandparents that it’s sometimes tough to reconcile these issues.
For years, the workplace was like the office in “Mad Men.” You could smoke (sometimes drink), tell off-color jokes and have cheese-cake photo calendars on the wall. I go back to the line from “Hoffa” that DeVito issued about a community home for Teamsters that Hoffa was trying to build: “It’s a place where broken down truckers can drink beer, fart and lie about the waitresses they fucked. If you want to make truckers feel at home, put a condom machine on the wall of their living room.” Eventually, the smoking and drinking disappeared (which was probably good). The calendars became more and more taboo and the off-color jokes became frowned upon. This continued to swing further past the “Hey, Frank, you wanna put that Playboy away?” era. Suits became filed, many of which were necessary (I’ve seen “North Country.” I get it.) and things got cleaned up even more. However, once that line had been crossed, the fear of suits, the fear of being labeled as “anti” something or other and just general fear made for the type of environment you were seeing typified in the Dodge commercial. You tell a joke that someone doesn’t like? Sensitivity training. You say someone looks nice in that outfit and they take it the wrong way? Suspension and sensitivity training. You decide you don’t want to answer the phone on the first ring? Firing squad. (OK, I made that last one up.) The tension between what was and wasn’t acceptable became more taut and the penalties for failing to see the line were more severe.
Home, family and other aspects of life all started following a similar pattern: simply being a guy didn’t give you the right to do what you wanted. In fact, in many cases, the opposite was true. Being a guy meant you were supposed to sit down, shut up and take it, lest societal scorn and other painful consequences befall you. Eventually, like a beaten dog, men were just doing it to themselves. Thus, tapping into a potential dying ember, Dodge put out the commercial. It’s not the first time someone tried going against the grain for a commercial: The Harley campaign of “Screw it. Let’s Ride!” was a failure during the core of the recession, as it seemed to promote irresponsible spending on luxury items. Still, it tapped into something people wanted to feel: freedom.
Is it a good commercial? Not really. Most men who are that hen-pecked aren’t buying the car. However, men on the border of a mid-life crisis are likely to at least look at this and say, “I want to be happy again.” Maybe it should come from a wife or a child or a job. However, if there’s potential to use an item to jumpstart the happy and watch that happy wash over the rest of your life, hey, there are worse things.
The more I learn about these experienced and well-trained people, the more grateful I am for their service, their knowledge, and commitment to a calm, measured response.
And what really scares me about any kind of dramatic and dangerous crisis is this: there are plenty of folks who just think they know what to do. Because they've been waiting for just such a crisis, be it a hostage situation, a campus shooter, or full scale terrorist invasion. There are far too many regular civilians out there whose inexperience and lack of training doesn't keep them from imagining something like that, longing for it even. That came to mind after reading this by Steve M.
I see this among gun zealots -- some people simply like guns, or like hunting, or legitimately need a gun for protection, but then there are those who utterly savor the notion that marauding hordes of criminals (1980s version) or jackbooted big-gummint fascists (modern version) will invade the Real America, and only handguns will prevent Good People from having to submit to Evil.
But Steve isn't talking about just any ordinary garden variety freepers here. The post is about the recent New York Times profile of Roger Ailes. About how when, not if, al Quaeda invades Fox News Headquarters, Roger (and one can only assume, Hannity, Doocy, and I guess Palin now) are going to stay and fight off the brown hordes, mano a mano.
But, see, Ailes here isn't just expressing his fears -- he's expressing his fantasies. He wants to see himself as a guy al-Qaeda would like to target, and he wants to see himself as a guy who'd kick al-Qaeda's ass. It's fear, but it's also daydreaming.
And yeah, that's a hoot. Sort of. Okay, not so much.
This fantasy was dangerous enough a generation ago when it was just a law-and-order pipe dream; now, in its politicized form, it's practically the entire belief system of the tea party movement, with the caveat that the teabaggers might not need to lock-'n'-load if the next couple of election cycles go the right way. But it's all about imagining yourself as a hero, as a tough guy, as someone whose life has real meaning. It's boy thinking. And it's a major undercurrent of our politics.
Yeah, sure, this isn't new. We talk about it a lot. Hell, Tommy's made a vocation of it. But there is a significant distinction that we can't ever lose track of, and that we need to fight hard to strategically exploit. We knew they would go nuts if they lost, that they'd raise hell, but the extent to which the crazy has taken over, is driving their bus, isn't diminishing, and lord knows the media isn't going to help us, because freak shows make great entertainment.
This isn't about mere wingnuttery. It's not just macho posturing. It's mayhem they want.
Obama can't pass anything that doesn't have unanimous support in the Democratic caucus because of the ruthless obstruction and opposition of the Republican Party. This forces him to govern to the center and make all his compromises with centrist Democrats and/or the two still-existing centrist Republicans in the Senate. The Republican obstruction empowers people like Joe Lieberman. It actually gives veto power to every single senator, but the only way to make up for a defecting Democrat is to win over Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins. So, if Bernie Sanders or Roland Burris revolt, he has to move the bill further to the right in response.
The left is immensely frustrated with this situation and inclined to blame the administration, but this is a simple logic tree. Obama cannot push the progressive position on pretty much anything if the centrists refuse to go along. Compounding the problem, progressives don't really know how to influence centrists. They tend to insult them, call them whores, attack their families, and generally question their morals. Over time, this sets up the situation we saw with Lieberman where he switched positions on a Medicare buy-in proposal simply because the measure was pleasing to people who have been demonizing him for over three years. Rather than persuade the Ben Nelsons and Blanche Lincolns of the Senate, progressive tactics make them even more inclined to reject anything they perceive to be coming from the left.
It's quite possible that the health care bill we're looking at right now is worse than it would have been if ads and insults weren't hurled at the people who have control over what will be in the bill. It reminds me of the campaign against General David Petraeus. Rather than educating the public about what was anticipated to be misleading testimony before Congress, MoveOn.org would up being censored by Congress, and the anti-war movement never recovered. That didn't mean that MoveOn was wrong on the merits, only that they had a tin-ear and pursued self-defeating strategies.
But, if I have learned anything in my years of political activism, it's that the left will act like the left, the right will act like the right, and that this is something it is foolish to ignore. You can't plead, beg, or reason with people who are just wired to act the way they do.
Look, I don't necessarily disagree about the political realities of Congress, but I take a different lesson than Booman does from the dynamics described above. Let's break this down:
Compounding the problem, progressives don't really know how to influence centrists. They tend to insult them, call them whores, attack their families, and generally question their morals.
What you have, in Joe Lieberman, is a man willing to let people die so he can maintain his power. How else do you explain his statements of self-congratulation after he scuttled the Medicare buy-in last week? What you have, in Bart Stupak and Ben Nelson, are men willing to let people die to promote their saintliness on the important moral issue of how some women are sluts. How else do you explain their insistence that only rich girls be allowed to have abortions, since those rich girls can pay for their own?
They don't favor an incremental approach to health care reform, for example, a longer time-period of phasing in improvements, or more or less government control over this or that particular of the bureaucracy that will oversee and maintain the health care system. They don't want to find solutions to the problems facing uninsured and even insured Americans. They want to score points about peripheral bullshit. They want to settle scores. They want to hear their own voices on the evening news.
They're not centrists. They're monsters. Whore is actually too kind a word for them.
And these people aren't empowered by Republican obstructionists, who anyway are too busy out on the lawn singing along with teabaggers who hold up pictures of Obama with a bone through his nose. These people are empowered by a bitchy political media eager to hold them up and pet them for bucking their own party. Do you think Joe Lieberman would be in the position he's in, or even still IN the Senate, were he not being propped up by pundits who need an example of someone who believes in nothing so those same pundits can sleep at night? The tenor of the story is always that poor principled Joey (or Ben, or Bart, or whoever) is being unfairly attacked by those mean hippies because the mean hippies are mean, and hippies, and stupid, and not grown-ups, and don't understand.
So you're Joey, or Ben, or Bart, and you're watching the news and all you're seeing is that you're right, you're right, you're right. Is that giving you any incentive to compromise at all? Fuck no. You're gonna be ever more convinced that a) you're right and the hippies are stupid and mean and b) you're the story, and what really matters here is your personal vindication, and not the bill, or the people it would help, or the future of the American economy because that's actually a real thing that's going on.
So forget the hippies. This isn't about the hippies being mean and running General Betray-us ads. This is about the political conversation being so fucked up that it doesn't matter anymore that you are right, it only matters HOW you're right, and the right way to be right changes on the hour, based on whether Howard Fineman's toupee has changed from winter to summer and if your codpiece catches Tweety's fancy. Forgive us our sins if, after eight years of this shit, we start getting a little annoyed and say "blow job" on the news.
I'm not saying this as someone who thinks we should burn health care reform all down and start over, by the way. I do tend to look at this bill and say let's take what we can get now and fight, fight, fight to make it better through various pieces of legislation and whatever executive orders we can pressure Obama to sign, because that's how it works in the NBA. But that doesn't mean that I will for a second pretend that this is the case:
It's quite possible that the health care bill we're looking at right now is worse than it would have been if ads and insults weren't hurled at the people who have control over what will be in the bill.
No. Just ... no. We don't get to hide under our beds and flagellate ourselves over what WE could have done better, for the very simple reason that ain't nobody on a progressive blog cashing fat checks from Aetna while demonizing poor women on national TV and then going home to prime rib. I realize that some hippie somewhere maybe said something dumb to Joey's wife, but I'm saying that it does in fact matter who is right and who is wrong on this. We can argue all day long about the merits of this versus that tactic but you cannot sit there and tell me some girl with a web site drowned this whole thing.
Because if that really is the case, and if the bill really does suck because we weren't nice enough, then that means UNITED STATES SENATORS would rather let Americans die than allow themselves be insulted on the Internet. And I'm sorry, I will put up with a lot of shit from this world for the good stuff in it, but I cannot live in a world where that is the case.
We heard this over and over during the run-up to the war, and in the aftermath of 9/11, after the 2004 election and gay marriage bans, and during every important fight of the past decade: If only the people who cared about the outcome of the debate most would shut the fuck up and calm down and not be so unforgivably and uncouthly invested in it, things would be fine. Stop giving right-wingers ammunition. Stop giving them excuses. Stop protesting. Stop running ads. Stop being loud. Stop embarrassing me the good little progressive who's doing it right.
As if there was anything MoveOn or Code Pink or Cindy Sheehan or for that matter Jane Hamsher (though I do think equating progressives opposed to the Senate bill, and teabaggers opposed to ... stuff, is nonsense) could ever do that was worse than the nicest thing Dick Cheney had ever done. As if those attacking progressives would EVER lack a convenient scapegoat. As if those attacking progressives would ever even NEED a scapegoat at all when they had some papier maché and baling wire around. As if those attacking progressives would ever NOT be able to twist the political punditry into covering the debate the way it's always been covered, as one between nice normal folks and nutters with puppets. And as if those attacking progressives would then be unable to get other progressives to push the notion that the way something is covered — passionate debate quelle horreur! — is the way something really is.
I realize Booman is talking optics, but what I'm saying is that at some point we HAVE to talk outcomes instead, because in the end the outcomes are the optics. And the potential outcomes were these: Progressives get what they want, and everybody in America gets health care they can afford. Joey and Ben and Bart get what they wanted, and they get rich and famous, and fuck the rest of us. No contest.
The Texas State Board of Education enjoyed its fair share of bad press lately, and rightly so.
In 2004 Ms. Lowe opposed requiring that publishers obey curriculum standards and put medically accurate information about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention in new high school health textbooks.
In 2008 Ms. Lowe voted to throw out nearly three years of work by teacher writing teams on new language arts standards. Over the strenuous objections of teachers and curriculum specialists, Lowe instead voted for a standards document that the board’s far-right bloc patched together overnight and slipped under hotel doors the morning of the final vote.
In 2003 and 2009 Ms. Lowe supported dumbing down the state’s public school science curriculum by voting to include unscientific, creationist criticisms of evolution in science textbooks and curriculum standards.
“Certainly those are historical figures that students should be aware of, and their goals and their place in history, but it needs to be in the context of what those people were known for. And so if the example is someone of good civic involvement, then there may be a different type of historical figure and leader that would be more appropriate.”
If you love baseball and you aren’t a tool, chances are you hate the Yankees. If you are from New York or you are a front-runner, chances are you love the Yankees. In either case, you have a choice as to whether to cheer for them because America is all about choices. You can read this post or skip to the Friday Ferretblogging because you have a choice. You can thank God for this right or you can thank the framers of the Constitution because you have a choice. You can choose to choose, or you can choose to have someone else choose for you. With exceptions of laws made by the people for the common good (theoretically) of those who live here, you’ve got a hell of a lot of freedom to do what you’d like.
What you apparently don’t have the right to do is choose to take a leak during the 7th Inning Stretch at Yankee Stadium.
On Aug. 26, Brandon Campeau-Laurion was taking in the action when he decided to use the extended 7th Inning Stretch break for a pause for the cause. In attempting to make his way to the restroom, the Red Sox fan (OK, now we know why he was in trouble) found himself confronted by a police officer who wouldn’t let him move because it was time to play “God Bless America.” According to Clyde Haberman's article:
I’m sorry? “Their country?” Hell, even John Cougar Mellencamp knows “This is OURRRRR country” and since Yankee Stadium has yet to attain the “country within a country” status of the Vatican, I’m pretty sure this guy didn’t check his Constitutional rights at the door. In many cases, the security detail restricts movement during the playing of this vocal blend of God and country by chaining off the aisle. (See the photo with the NYT story)
According to a NYT article, Campeau-Laurion received about $10,000 plus legal fees from the Yankees, while the team admitted no wrongdoing. The details of the settlement, which were revealed this week, smacked of that old money phrase “the cost of doing business.” The whole affair came across as, “We did nothing wrong, but the settlement costs about what we paid Robinson Cano for one at bat last year, and he’s not even in our top ten salaries, so let’s just pay the guy and hope he goes away.”
We could write this off as just another case of a guy making $9.50 an hour acting on a power trip because he didn't like the attitude of someone he figured he could push around. We also can't underestimate the Red Sox/Yankees thing (the Sox were apparently kicking the Yankees' ass at the time of the incident), but in doing so gives the Yankees a pass and we are no better than they are when they figured buying this guy off was the easiest thing to do.
I’m a fan of God and I love my country, but the reason why I love both is because I choose to. Those of you who choose a different faith or choose not to believe at all, that’s your right under the governmental structure of this fine country of ours. Those of you who question our country, that’s your right too. We are not, nor should we ever be a “my way or the highway” kind of country.
Unfortunately, over the previous eight years, we seemed to slide that way due to terrorism, escalating international tension and a president who wanted to “smoke ‘em out” all the time. Perhaps that’s why conservatives were going so bat-shit insane when Obama won: they figured he’d be as intolerant of them as they were of others.
Instead of subjecting people to “God Bless America,” let’s try something more inclusive like “This Land is Your Land," which Woody Guthrie wrote in response to that complacent and arrogant tune.
Then again, if it weren’t for being complacent and arrogant, what would the Yankees do with themselves?
Yeah, I know, this is popping up everywhere this morning, so maybe you've seen it. But..but...I just cannot pass it by.
Social Security and Medicare are broke. Baby boomers, like me, are getting old and will soon be asking for it. Socialized medicine makes people die. You stand in a long, long line with a breast lump, clogged artery, or sharp pencil stuck in your eye, and someone like the DMV person, who can’t speak English, has chewing gum, an attitiude, really long fake nails that curl up at the end, and is talking on a cell phone, enjoying their power trip moment, is finally face to face with you. They mumble something incoherent about paperwork. You die. One less person in line for Social Security and Medicare!
I'm at a conference in Atlanta this week (love your city, Atlantans!) so this'll probably be my only post today, and a week-late one at that. But I couldn't pass this one up. My favorite Glenn Beckism yet didn't get nearly as much attention last week as I thought it should have (it got drowned out by the Sotomayor nomination). But you should see this, because this time, Glenn really brought the funny:
For those who don't want to sit through the trainwreck that is Fox and Friends, Glenn asked rhetorically, and I quote, "Was Solomon empathetic when he said 'cut the baby in half'?"
Dear Glenn, when an agnostic who never attended a single Sunday school class in her life understands the Bible better than you do, perhaps you shouldn't quote from it.
Then again, where would all the fun go if you stopped? Please, Glenn, tell me what you think Job was all about. And that whole, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone..." thing. C'mon...please?
A buddy of mine here where I work likes to lunch at a chicken wings chain, Buffalo Wild Wings.
We've eaten at a handful of them, and while there are not bevies of buxomly waitresses, we have noticed that there usually are way more guys at BW-Squared than women. In fact, on some occasions its been about 95 percent men there, including wait staff and management.
I made the observation one time, as the sound system was blaring disco beats, that the place could pass for a straight man's gay bar.
So my question is, What makes chicken wings guy food?
Could it be the TV sets, too, or is there something in the sauce? Is eating messy food just a guy thing?
Do gay guys know that if they want to scope straight guys they should come to places like this, thereby bumping up the already high numbers of guys. I have this from a secret source (whom I will NOT call Deep Throat) that this might be the case.
Or do wings make you gay? I mean fat friends allegedly mean you have a good chance of being fat, so why not get some money to test this theory.
You people call yourself scientists?
The Smithsonian Institution toned down an exhibit on climate change in the Arctic for fear of angering Congress and the Bush administration, says a former administrator at the museum.
Among other things, the script, or official text, of last year's exhibit was rewritten to minimize and inject more uncertainty into the relationship between global warming and humans, said Robert Sullivan, who was associate director in charge of exhibitions at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
Also, officials omitted scientists' interpretation of some research and let visitors draw their own conclusions from the data, he said. In addition, graphs were altered ''to show that global warming could go either way,'' Sullivan said.
''It just became tooth-pulling to get solid science out without toning it down,'' said Sullivan, who resigned last fall after 16 years at the museum. He said he left after higher-ups tried to reassign him.
Sullivan said the changes in the climate-change exhibit were requested by executives who included then-museum Director Cristian Samper and his boss, former Undersecretary for Science David Evans. He said several scientists whose work was used in the exhibit objected to the changes.
I'm back. After a week of rubbing elbows the Have-Mores in Vail, careening down the slopes in blissful ignorance of the events of the world outside the high country I suppose it's time to get up to speed on the issues I once thought were important.
What did I miss? The world's most desiccated racist is now temporarily unemployed. I bet most of you out there in blogland wish you had missed that episode as well. The surge is still surging, Big Time Dick is still playing the Terra Card despite the fact that our only ally is dumping the Assministration's nomenclature of fear and the Iraqi government is on the verge of collapse over the lack of a timetable for withdrawl that Cheney opposes with all his spittle.
Karl Rove is still a crook, Spit-Comb Wolfowitz is an incompetent crook (is anyone surprised at all that Wolfie has to pay a woman $200k to be his girlfriend?), and Alberto Be-Out-Of-Your-Office-By-Five is giving roadkill a bad name.
Oh, and this guy is still president.
In other words, I didn't miss much except for the fabulous guest-blogging of the talented Maitri. Sigh.
Yet another Pew poll shows that the Internets are booming as a news source for the well-informed.
Just after the midterm elections in the fall of 2006, the Pew Internet & American Life Project polled Americans about their political news sources. We asked people if they were getting most of their election news from the television, newspapers, radio, magazines, or the internet. As ever, television was the walk-away favorite. Over two-thirds of respondents (69%) said they got most of their political news from television; about a third (34%) said newspapers, and 15% said the internet.1
But the underdog internet is gaining quickly. Compared with data gathered after the most recent mid-term election in 2002, the percentage of Americans who reported they went to the internet for most of their political news in 2006 more than doubled, from 7% to 15%. During the same time period, the percentage of those getting their political input from TV and newspapers remained essentially static, increasing from 66% to 69% for TV, and from 33% to 34% for newspapers.