Wednesday, September 29, 2010

BREAKING: Palin not booed

It should be a rare event and thus newsworthy for Sarah Palin not to be booed. So I can see why CNN is paying so much attention to this story of great social and political import.

Too bad should and is bear no relation to each other in American politics today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another double standard

Conservative Christianists organize to endorse Republicans from the pulpit and dare the IRS to enforce the plain law that this is political activity incompatible with tax exemption. Yet when a liberal church advocated John Kerry's policies in preference to Duhbya's, the IRS investigated and revoked its tax exemption.

(h/t Philosoraptor)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Teaching casual lying to kindergarteners

Right-wing lying is so utterly routine that it ordinarily passes by unnoticed, no matter how extreme.

[Ann] Coulter also made a forceful case against sex education in schools, accusing liberals of attempting to teach kindergartners about "fisting".
Neither Talking Points Memo nor the Huffington Post (h/t) bothers to yell bullshit!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Truth will out

For some reason - naivete, stupidity, laziness, or whatever - Democrats think their truths will sell themselves. Are they fucking soft?

Click image for full Mark Streeter/Savannah Morning News cartoon.

Conservative Alzheimer's

The 1990s? The insane attacks on Bill Clinton? We conservatives can't remember anything since the 1950s.

If you must, click image for full Terry Wise/Ratland Ink Press cartoon. But it's ignoramus bullshit.

Product and propaganda

The single unifying principle of the Fox media empire is that they're selling product. Watching the NFL...

  • Michael Vick was in Atlanta and then (memory hole) he came to Vickadelphia. Yay! Redemption from "whatever problems off the field." And respect. You have to respect his talent (which is true).
  • The announcers constantly hype one thing or another. The action can never speak for itself. Like Sean Hannity or Megyn Kelly, they must give it meaning - the meaning that Fox needs for the action to have. Viewers are expected not to notice how often the announcers miss what's plainly in front of all of us, and most viewers are all too happy to accommodate.
  • Injured Denver Broncos receiver Kenny McKinley "passed away." We can't have suicide intruding upon the circus of our modern imperium.
  • Even when obviously selling, media recognizes this about itself. Audi's ad tells us that we've been propagandized - "I've been told." Then it in turn and by definition tells us its own propaganda.
In fact, selling is not at all restricted to Fox. I stopped watching CNN because of the constant product placements. But Fox is relentless in the expression of its singular point of view.

I am thankful that my father taught me on many weekend afternoons that TV constantly purveys bullshit. He did this by mocking both ads and sports announcers. I only hope I've passed this on to my daughter.

American families everywhere need this lesson.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Death Nell, or Tied to the Tracks

Click image for full Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press cartoon.

Rich fantasy life

Click image for full Ted Rall cartoon.

The way-back machine

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Postcards From the Pledge
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Not even that funny, just a rare commodity these days - journalism with context.

Fool me twice

Click image for full Elena Steier/Center for American Blogress cartoon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Citizens united - some of them anyway

Click image for full Ed Stein cartoon.

Right-wing dilemma

With abortion illegal and punished in many Mexican states, if a Mexican woman crosses the border to the United States while embarazada to have an abortion, is her fetus in the eyes of the wingnuts just another undeserving mojado and a danger to our national security, or is it a citizen deserving the full rights of a person?

Update: My 3,000th published post! Think I'll have a Tanqueray and tonic to celebrate.

Afghan cross-dressing thought experiment

Girls playing boys for their parents, o.k.

Can you imagine an Afghan boy dressing as a girl? What would the "honor" killers do with that?

(Note: The subject is yet again a phrase like nothing I ever imagined writing.)

Not ready for prime time

Over and over again, teabagger candidates - even those who have appeared on TV professionally - are unable to answer easy questions from the media. Shortly after, they become unwilling to take those questions for fear of tripping over the truth and sprawling headlong into ridicule.

Is it too much to ask that these candidates have some freaking idea what they're talking about?

No doubt the right-wingers will alibi that the so-called liberal media is just out to get them. That's tripe and nonsense, a ready-made excuse for moronic performance.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Good news on the economy

For a change.

Larry Summers fired and sent back to Harvard, gently but firmly. At the Big H, his opportunities to damage the nation will be fewer, though still non-zero. I only hope no future President takes him half as seriously as President Obama has.

Is there any way Drew Faust can assign him to a seat by the window?

If you think ignorance is expensive

... try some more of it.

Click image for full Tim Jackson/Chicago Defender cartoon.

Triumph of packaging

I was going to write a longish screed on the right's embrace of looks over substance - Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Scott Brown, and now Christine O'Donnell. But this sums it up much more succinctly.

Click image for full Jen Sorenson/C-VILLE Weekly cartoon.
The tagline can't be an accident regarding the anti-sex O'Donnell!

Misunderestimating the intelligence of the American public

Click image for full Rex Babin/Sacramento Bee cartoon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Making the O face

As in O'Donnell - but in opposition:

Harley Farger, a leading Delaware masturbator and planner of the Million Masturbators March, said it was difficult to organize masturbators “because they’re used to acting alone.”
(h/t DailyKos to Digby to DownWithTyranny)

Fiscal priorities

Deficit! Deficit! Deficit!

(whisper, whisper)

We can't raise taxes on the wealthy!

When it comes to cutting benefits for poor and middle-class seniors, or cutting the pay of our military personnel while forcing our veterans to pay more of their own health care costs — much of which likely resulted from illness due to their service in two long wars — what we hear from Washington elites is the great need for “shared sacrifice” to bring down the deficit. Yet, when debating the idea of allowing taxes on millionaires (and here it might be good to remember that two-thirds of the members of Congress are themselves millionaires) to return to what they were under Bill Clinton, it is all “damn the deficit we can’t let the wealthy suffer during this economic downturn!”
The insincere so-called deficit hawks won't actually speak the pseudo-quote at the end of the block quote, but their actions speak very loudly. They are not willing to raise taxes, even on the wealthy, the very same people who have gained every significant advantage written into tax law over the past thirty years, the very same people who gained virtually all of the financial bailouts, the very same people whose incomes have skyrocketed while everyone else's have stagnated.

Conservative Democrats are not on your side any more than the whole lot of Republicans are.

Thumb on the scale

CNN and Money tout a consensus of economists in favor of leaving the rich their huge tax cuts so that the middle class can continue with its usual crumbs. That settles it, right? They aren't teabaggers. We have to listen to the experts...


Like big media everywhere, Money has stacked its lineup of thirty-one economists. Bank-owned economists are well represented. Investment and insurance have their guys in the list. Even real estate and retail are there. These people work for institutions who utterly and completely failed to foresee the current crisis.

These are also people whose paychecks depend on how well they serve the interests of wealth. It's not surprising to find that they find brave new ways to rationalize even more trickle down economics.

Has trickle-down abjectly failed for the past thirty years? No problem, they can find more rationalizations that sound good. It's only coincidental that they're defending policies that help their clients. They're really doing it for small businesses that are too marginal to have bothered to incorporate. I shit you not:

The 'why' behind extending tax benefits - The reason for this idea is to shield small business from tax hikes. Many small businesses are not incorporated so their owners pay the personal tax rate. This means that if the personal tax rate goes up, the tax on business goes up and that will restrict activity. Congress has known about this for some time and has done nothing to solve the problem. It’s back! A tax hike on high wage earners is one thing; a tax on business is something else. That is what is really at stake and Mr Summers wants to hide that and prefers to sell policy on the basis of ideas rooted in class warfare which can never be good but do get the blood flowing.
This Ph.D. moron, Robert Brusca, is calling Larry Summers a class warrior! And he's serious about it - or pretends to be. So much for the intellectual honesty he finds lacking in Summers. (I do too, but for completely different reasons. Can we please get Summers out of any institution that matters to the common weal!)

Money salts the list with a few academics, four by my count. But even three of them are business economists. Three of the four teach at small California colleges that I had never heard of before - Cal. State Channel Islands?

Any Nobelists? Anyone paid by a labor union? Any balance whatsoever? I know the business press doesn't have any balance in its Rolodex. Isn't it time to do a little research?

Evidently not. Better to let CNN run with the bullshit that makes all its owners and upper management happy...

Still, the totally scary news is that these business economists predict a jobless recovery through the end of 2011, despite raging unemployment between 8 and 10 percent. To prove their complete bias, most of them oppose any further help for the unemployed.

In summary, CNN/Money, through their bias says, Hurting? Fuck you. Rich. Free money!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

He cut down the cherry tree

Click image for full Matt Davies/Journal News cartoon.

Some of the people all of the time

Click image for full Bruce Plante/Tulsa World cartoon.

Name your poison

Click image for full Jim Morin/Miami Herald cartoon.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Click image for full Joel Pett/Lexington Herald-Leader cartoon.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wingnuts correct the Bill of Rights, freedom of religion

The Founders cared so much about the free exercise of religion that they put it first in the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
The wingnut's imagined text:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of any particular Christian denomination, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Oh sure, they'll let the Jews practice their religion freely too. They haven't killed Christ in like 2000 years, and besides, the fundies need them to help the End Times arrive.

But Muslims? No way. Cal Thomas tells his wingnut audience at Townhall:
We won't win this war if we permit the uncontrolled construction of mosques.
Then he says that we need to be more like Syria, that well-known beacon of religious liberty. I kid you not!
[T]he Syrian government has asked imams for recordings of their Friday sermons and has begun closely monitoring what is taught in religious schools. ...

What does Syria know that we refuse to acknowledge out of fear of offending "sensibilities"?

We must purge the evil from among us, or else.
Could we please start that purge with Cal? (Kidding of course.)

(h/t Mediamatters)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cream DeMint

CNN abuses anonymous sourcing to cream a Republican for a change.

One unnamed senior GOP aide told CNN's Dana Bash: "I wonder who Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are calling first tonight - Chris Coons for becoming the next Senator from Delaware or Jim DeMint for helping to make it happen.
This anonymous Republican aide is making a valid point, but it's still bad journalism for CNN to permit this aide to remain nameless, even if Dana Bash did launder her failure to name names through Peter Hamby.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Impotent op-ed

"Republicans must end partisanship"

Past nuclear arms control treaties have won broad bipartisan support, and it should be no different for this treaty.
Where has John Rhinelander been for the past twenty years? Republicans don't do bipartisan. They fight using every means they can lay their hands on until Democrats concede or fail.

In the past, as bad as it often was, the Republican Party wasn't led around by the nose by Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh, with Jim DeMint trying desperately ("pick me, pick me!") to get out in front of the frothing wingnuts.

Now it's Republicans, making the world worse one obstruction at a time!

Might as well ask a two-year-old to please stop throwing tantrums. The difference of course is that a two-year-old will eventually become three, while Republicans will only get more extreme, as they have through all of the last fifty years.

Book of Jon

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Team Mohammed vs. Team Jesus - Religious Conflict
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why liberals think conservatives harbor racists

'Cause they do:

[T]here's no need to parse the ethnic origins or political philosophies of Obama's parents to understand the ideology of Barack Obama. He is a center-left Democrat who supports mainstream Democratic policies. But some conservatives don't want to talk about policy. They are unable to engage in an argument with liberalism on substantive terms; they know only argument by epithet. They want to talk about the fact that our blackety black president is blackety black. It has been two years since a black man was elected president of the United States, and for a group of conservatives clinging to their cultural superiority, this was a moment of apocalyptic existential crisis, a moment that refuted all they had come to know and understand about themselves, about black people, and about this country. [Dinesh] D'Souza is writing for them, the same kind of audience he has always written for.
Conservatives deeply resent being called racists over claims such as D'Souza's, thrust forward by Newt Gingrich. Their logic appears to be:
  • D'Souza has pigmented skin and therefore cannot be racist - or even say something racist.
  • A conservative white guy can - and eagerly will - repeat anything a black (or brown or any other non-pale shade) person can say. (Digression: which is why it's no longer racist in wingnuttia for 50-year-old white guys with Confederate flags to say n***** as long as it's in rhyme.)
  • Liberals are the true racists for not agreeing to this so-called logic.
  • Pbbbt!!!
(h/t Atrios)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fox asks - innocently

Is the President avoiding CHURCH for political reasons?
Fox just teased that bullshit during the NFL game between Philadelphia and Green Bay. They know how to get their message through to the credulous idiots who are the centroid of American politics.

Fox is a propaganda outlet and deserves exactly zero credibility.

Legend management

Click image for full Garry Trudeau/Doonesbury cartoon.

All the rules change for war

Click image for full Bruce Plante/Tulsa World cartoon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine years

Too long. Not long enough.

I remember.

Update (9/13): Go and read Tom Levenson. You'll be glad you did.

Disappointing vs. batshit insane

Krugman is somewhat more polite than my headline:

It’s hard to overstate how destructive the economic ideas offered earlier this week by John Boehner, the House minority leader, would be if put into practice. Basically, he proposes two things: large tax cuts for the wealthy that would increase the budget deficit while doing little to support the economy, and sharp spending cuts that would depress the economy while doing little to improve budget prospects. Fewer jobs and bigger deficits — the perfect combination.

More broadly, if Republicans regain power, they will surely do what they did during the Bush years: they won’t seriously try to address the economy’s troubles; they’ll just use those troubles as an excuse to push the usual agenda, including Social Security privatization. They’ll also surely try to repeal health reform, which would be another twofer, reducing economic security even as it increases long-term deficits.

A shared reproach

Click image for full Pat Bagley/Salt Lake Tribune cartoon.

Fix the facts

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Are You Ready for Some Midterms? - MSNBC's Political Narrative
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Is there anyone more dishonest than Sean Hannity?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Only path to responsible conservatism

[Retiring Sen. George] Voinovich said he could no longer support efforts by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to delay the measure in hopes of winning the right to offer additional GOP amendments. Most of the proposed amendments "didn't have anything to do with the bill" anyway, Voinovich said, and amounted merely to partisan "messaging."

"We don't have time for messaging. We don't have time anymore. This country is really hurting," Voinovich said. If a single amendment to reduce paperwork for business owners is considered on the floor, Voinovich said he told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that he would add his vote to that of 59 Democrats.
Retire. There's no place for you in today's radicalized teabagger and wingnut Republican Party.

Not a baby bird

Using a cell phone while driving is clearly risky. I've been put at risk repeatedly by commuters who can't seem to get out of their parking lots without holding a phone to their ears and tuning out every other driver, whom they then threaten to send off to the body shop - or the body farm.

Good, careful studies have shown that merely talking on a cell phone impairs a driver more than being drunk and subjects that driver to greater risk of accident. Talking on the phone is distracting, and distraction is a great enemy of careful driving.

And yet...

Thirty-four thousand people died on the roads last year. (Osama bin Laden, eat your heart out.) Drunk driving was implicated in a third of these deaths - more than 11,000. (h/t Atrios)

Yet, while cell phones have exploded in popularity and common use on the road, there has been no corresponding surge in traffic fatalities. If cell phone use is really as bad as drunk driving, NHTSA should be calling it out as a separate category of distraction, and I'd expect to find another 10,000 dead in the stats. But no.

Now the meta point...

Teabaggers and other wingnuts believe lots of things that the media feeds them. They also disbelieve lots of other things that the media feeds them.

I have no problem in general with skepticism of official sources, which frequently bullshit all of us. I'm not a baby bird, swallowing whatever mom and dad regurgitate into my avid little gullet. No one should be, not teabaggers, no one. I'd just like to separate truth from fiction rationally.

OK, so how to explain the difference between the studied and proven risks of drivers on the phone? Could the problem be a binning defect in our definition of drunk driving? Is it possible that we've reduced the legal standard of drunk driving (0.08% blood alcohol by volume in most states) well beyond the point at which diminishing returns have set in? I thought so until I did a few sample blood alcohol calculations (here). Using my own experiences and perceptions as a guide, there's no doubt that significant impairment begins below the legal standard. (I tested my perceptions, too. One drink per hour for four hours yields almost no blood alcohol at my weight, and that matches my self-assessment of impairment.)

Could there be a huge number of drunks on the road at all times? I don't think that explanation works. The visible rate of cell phone use is significantly higher than the percentage of the population who are problem drinkers. (Yes, both of those stats are proxies for what we'd really try to measure.)

Maybe the problem of alcohol is not the skill impairments at all but, instead, the impairment of judgement. Poor impulse control, found in cell users only at background levels, is rife in drinkers. Interestingly, stoners behind the wheel have impaired skills, too, but they don't pose increased risks because they're blessedly cautious.

Poor impulse control could push drunk drivers beyond the threshold of speed and recklessness that causes more fatal accidents, while cell phone users are so distracted they are at greater risk for non-fatal accidents.

Is this theory true? It's plausible, but I don't know that it's true. In the media, I'd settle for plausible, with the truth to be refined and worked out over time, as it always must be.

Yeah, I'm aware after five decades of life that that's too much to ask for - waaay too much.

Not dead yet, I'm feeling better

Last week, Gallup polled the generic Congressional ballot and found the Republicans - even these Republicans - ahead by ten percent, their biggest margin ever. Teabaggers everywhere cheered. Loudly, angrily. Of course. See, they said, we're gonna git you, suckas.

My side, those of us who are merely disappointed by the Democrats, but who recognize that the alternative is batshit insane, responded with keening, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. We're good that all three.

This week, Gallup has the gap at zero, and even they can't explain it. That thing about the greatest margin ever might have been the first hint that called for a little skepticism.

I heard about the new poll in a DCCC blast email on Wednesday, and it reached the media as early as Tuesday evening, but there's been very little ballyhoo. The media seem unwilling even to consider that their dominant narrative - Republican sweep! - might be reconsidered by the voters.

No, I don't believe we're even, just as I didn't believe there was a 10-point gap. Damn nuance! How do you fit that into a narrative simple enough for TV news simpletons?

The good news for the media: Gallup is already at work on the next weekly tracking poll. Maybe that will help them bring their chosen narrative back to credibility!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wrong for Duhbya, wrong for Obama

An unchecked power to shield torturers and rendition to torturers - and potentially anyone else - from judicial review is bad in the hands of any President, right, left, upside-down, or sideways. Duhbya was wrong to assert it, Obama was wrong to defend that assertion, and the 9th Circuit en banc was wrong to overturn a prior 3-judge decision to nullify the current sweeping scope of it.

This is bad for legal precedent, it's bad for accountability of the executive branch, and it's also bad for the informed electorate that is vital to the citizens of a democracy. Got an embarrassing or criminal act you don't want to answer for? Call it a state secret.

These are clearly activist judges. I wonder when teabaggers and wingnuts will object. Oh, right, they're for torture, so it must be in the Constitution somewhere, probably in Tenth Amendment. Yeah, that's the ticket - the CIA is people!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just win, baby

Another Republican who couldn't give a shit about the actual consent of the governed:

Mr. Pearcy and other drifters and homeless people were recruited onto the Green Party ballot by a Republican political operative, [Steve May,] who freely admits that their candidacies may siphon some support from the Democrats.
This is why Democrats are also suspicious in South Carolina.

Threats from the mainstream right

A successful Republican political consultant adds his twitfulness to the wingnut chorus fantasizing about violence against their political opponents.

Later, they'll claim that they had no idea their words could incite actual violence.

Too foolish

Why is it that Americans can't tell that the huge political spending of the Chamber of Commerce, among other plutocratic groups, is not to benefit citizens but rather to benefit their secret contributors? No bullshit detectors.

Where's the pro in all the con?

The optimistic view:

[T]he inadequacy of the administration’s initial economic plan has landed it — and the nation — in a political trap. More stimulus is desperately needed, but in the public’s eyes the failure of the initial program to deliver a convincing recovery has discredited government action to create jobs.

In short, welcome to 1938.

Then there's the pessimistic view:
There is one big difference between today and the 1930s, however. Once there was a political party in America - the one that did the New Deal and the Great Society - that stood up a bit for the middle class and the poor. But Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have led the Democrats down a different path. Now the party stands for a slightly weaker version of the GOP's plutocracy protection service. And, seemingly, for getting its face bitch-slapped bright red at every possible juncture.
We may have a long, hard slog of privation and national diminishment ahead of us. Democrats, who are merely disappointing, are taking the blame. Republicans, who offer nothing more than "you're not rich, screw you" - and who really are to blame - stand to regain power.

Fairness doesn't enter into it remotely. Or maybe, as David Michael Green says, this bitter outcome is just what we've earned by being repeatedly stupid.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Go. Read. Politics has to be fun.


Easy as a Chamber of Commerce attack ad!

Click image for full Paul Fell/Artizans Syndicate cartoon.

Nostalgia for past economies

From Wikipedia, lightly edited in a highly prejudicial fashion:

During that time, the Great Depression reached its low point. In line with conservative economic theory that less government spending would spur economic growth, [Republicans] drastically cut state expenditures, including in the social sector. He expected and accepted that the economic crisis would, for a while, deteriorate before things would improve. Among others, the [conservatives] completely halted all public grants to the obligatory unemployment insurance ..., which resulted in higher contributions by the workers and fewer benefits for the unemployed.

85 IQ points

You need very little intelligence and no knowledge whatsoever to have an opinion about the new Oval Office decor, but Candy Crowley and CNN will pander to the stupid, moronic lowest common denominator by pretending it matters. In a balanced way.

This is why there's hardly any useful news on TV. It's an entertainment medium for the terminally dumb. Crowley even reads her teleprompter with the same air of frowning bafflement as Duhbya used to.

No wonder we seem to be on the edge of moving from disappointing results from two years of national repair back to the people who took eight years to fuck us up beyond recognition - and then even further into teabagger extremeness. As a nation, we appear to be too stupid to notice that we're getting fooled again by all the same bullshit.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rent to own?

Click image for full Garry Trudeau/Doonesbury cartoon.

Full-throated liberalism?

Click image for full Matt Davies/Journal News cartoon.

No lie too base or too obvious

For three decades or more, Republicans have needed to whitewash the racism of their Southern base, and they appeared to have settled on how to do that. Their hands were clean. It was segregationist Southern Democrats who passed and defended Jim Crow, not Republicans.

Now Haley Barbour (R-wherever bullshit is lily white) goes even further. He blames all Democrats now for the acts of long-dead Southern Democrats. His rationale is this:

  • The transformation of the solid Democratic South into the mostly Republican South roughly coincided (very roughly) with the rise of civil rights for African Americans.
  • Therefore, it was a new generation of Southern Republicans who brought about desegregation in their triumph over those eeevil Democrats.
Ne'mine' all that stuff about Nixon's Southern strategy offering a home to Southern racists who fled the Democratic Party because they didn't want to be desegregated. Definitely don't pay any attention to who it was who called out the National Guard in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama to integrate schools, who presided over passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, who sent the FBI into Mississippi to break the Ku Klux Klan. (Democrats!)

Don't believe that even a Republican would try such a big-balled, outright lie? Here's a direct quote from the vidlet (about 4:00 in):
My generation, who went to integrated schools - I went to integrated college - never thought twice about it. And it was the old Democrats who had fought for segregation so hard. By my time, people realized that was the past, it was indefensible, wadn't gone be that way any more. And so the people who really changed the South from Democrat to Republican was a different generation from those who fought integration.
Barbour went to Ole Miss starting in 1965 at a time when, it's true, James Meredith had graduated, though his mere matriculation had led to a white race riot that left two dead and dozens injured. What stopped the violence? Thirty-one thousand federal troops sent by Democrat John F. Kennedy.

When Barbour arrived two (loooong!) years after Meredith graduated in 1963, I'm sure there were a handful of black students amidst a hostile white student body. In Barbour's three years in Oxford, did he attend even a single class that included a black man?

Of course, Barbour's claim that he and his generation never thought twice about integration is patent bullshit. The civil rights movement and the white racist backlash were in full swing all around him.

Trent Lott (R-Dixiecrat-lover), who would later be a high-ranking Republican Senator, had been busy in 1962 defending his all-white fraternity against membership for African-Americans. Even now, a few years after Lott resigned for lauding Strom Thurmond's openly racist 1948 campaign for President, Barbour still praises him!

Medgar Evers had been assassinated in 1963 in Jackson, 50 miles from Yazoo City, where Barbour was going to high school.

Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman had been murdered in 1964 in Philadelphia, Mississippi, about 90 miles from Yazoo City and 125 miles from Oxford.

James Meredith was shot in 1966, while Barbour and his generation had supposedly put segregation behind them. Did one more in a long succession of white race crimes make racial integration seem fully settled in Mississippi?

Barbour was a junior at Ole Miss that April day in 1968 when Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis. Didn't he think about that? In his past carefully built out of bullshit, how did that even happen after his generation had determined that its heritage of white supremacy was "indefensible"?

Even now, African-Americans are about 13% of the student population at Ole Miss, while they're 37% of the population at large. How successful is desegregation even now if Brown v. Board of Education still hasn't provided a more even preparation of high schools students?

These Republicans were the successors of the Southern Democrats. Trent Lott was endorsed for Congress by his nominally Democratic predecessor. These Republicans played no role whatsoever is the overthrow of segregation, such as it has even happened in Mississippi. They weren't even mere spectators. They played to the same racist white voters as the Dixiecrats had for generations. Only the label had changed.

Trying to pass the lie that Southern Republicans are liberals on race disqualifies Barbour for any office in the United States.

The Duhbya model

Never explain, never apologize, never recant, never ever admit you're wrong even if it's completely obvious that you're bullshitting:

Immense props to Christina Boomer of the local ABC affiliate in Arizona for doing actual TV journalism (which is ordinarily an oxymoron). Salon's This Week in Crazy is also doing good stuff - in fact, it's becoming a must read that I'm going to add to my blogroll.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mission accomplished

Click image for full Rob Rogers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoon.

I do not think that word means what you think it means

The Iranian state press has fired back at Carla Bruni for daring to say that adulterers should not be stoned to death. The nerve! The mullahs' pet editorialists have pointed to Bruni's non-medieval sexual history and called her a hypocrite and a prostitute.

Bruni even deserves to die for having had sex (presumably) with more than one man. You can't say they're not consistent.

Uh, guys - and you know they're all guys, and they probably all have some secret shame, maybe even scantily clad pictures of Bruni herself - she'd be a hypocrite if she were a prostitute who favored stoning the adulterers.

There must be a deep human need to tamp down sexuality. Or maybe it's just a deep masculine need to control female sexuality. All the world's major religions stock some of their strongest taboos for sex, especially those dominated by men.

Our own founding Puritans put scarlet A's on women's clothing and locked randy people in stocks. Current fundamentalists think the word moral is solely about sex; Bill Clinton was immoral for his sexual transgressions, but Duhbya is moral despite raining death from the skies on the thinnest of pretexts and despite torturing hundreds.

Orthodox Jews are forbidden to touch their wives in their time of "uncleanness."

Conservative Muslims hide their women in shapeless bags that are even worse than the traditional habits of Catholic nuns. But note how similar the hijab and the wimple are!

Even randy adolescents have their secular ways of enforcing sexual mores on girls: Is there anything worse you can call a girl than slut?

I'm just not sure I understand what this deep-seated need is...

Please sir, I'd like some more

The residue of thirty years of trickle down economics:

The median male worker earns less today, adjusted for inflation, than he did 30 years ago.


In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of American families took in about 9 percent of the nation’s total income; by 2007, the top 1 percent took in 23.5 percent of total income.
Wealthy elites pushed this, first via their wholly own subsidiary, the Republican Party. They found a way, paradoxically and utterly without conscience, to make their desire to escape fair taxation appear populist to today's teabag types.

Then Democrats, by and large, meekly and weakly acquiesced - the buffet they could now get into was so sumptuous. I used to think that the pressure of post-Nixon campaign finance reform drove Democrats into the eager and mercenary arms of Goldman Sachs and friends, and I still think that had some effect. But the full story is more complicated, as it usually is.

Liberals triumphed over labor and conservative Democrats in 1972, and the party focused more on race and sex than on class. Actually, we focused on the poor, too, just not on the middle class, where we had traditionally been strong defenders of a fair share for wage-earners (even when that bled into racism in the South and ethnic discrimination in the North).

We liberals brought better education into the fore of the Democratic Party, but we also brought less staunch willingness to call bullshit on the elite consensus about economics, which was the wolf in sheep's clothing of the neo-classical synthesis. I almost bought into it myself as an undergrad. Almost. Then I saw how convenient it was for the elites to believe that the invisible hand of the market had magically selected them (to be born well!), and I'm always skeptical of the use of so-called knowledge to reinforce entrenched power, especially if that knowledge comes with a willingness to ignore glaring contrary facts.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Other people's money

In the 2012 version of the Republican Party, merely conservative is a big loser when the baseline is batshit insane. Since Tim Pawlenty looks mild and, whisper, whisper, sane, he has to double down on the teabag insanity:

The possible contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination issued an executive order Tuesday that directs Minnesota state agencies and departments not seek federal grants under the health care measure, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama this spring.
The key to understanding Republicans: They're not looking out for you.