Archive for August, 2010

I say put everything we’ve got into Afghanistan.

Aug 31, 2010 in Culture, War on Terra

We’ve got trillions of dollars just sitting around for changing faraway cultures like this:

For centuries, Afghan men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means “boy player.” The men like to boast about it.

“Having a boy has become a custom for us,” Enayatullah, a 42-year-old in Baghlan province, told a Reuters reporter. “Whoever wants to show off should have a boy.”

Baghlan province is in the northeast, but Afghans say pedophilia is most prevalent among Pashtun men in the south. The Pashtun are Afghanistan’s most important tribe. For centuries, the nation’s leaders have been Pashtun.

Some American soldiers should do the trick. I’m fiscally responsible, but this is just so nasty and it’s our job to stop it and we can.

Daddy I want this pony!

-hw

Increasing numbers of Americans completely full of shit.

Aug 31, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

You know the polls. And Newsweek this week tries to get at why a solid chunk of Americans have simply descended into Imaginationland to such an extent they’re nearly diagnosable as schizophrenic.

I’m not convinced talking nice to these people is going to accomplish much. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are constantly cooing to them, telling them how smart they are to perceive the horrible dangers of Barack Obama’s impending socio-commie-nazi-fascist takeover of America.

They’re going to get angry with you if you disagree with them. Isn’t it time we treat these people like adults instead of children, and tell them, “HEY YOU MORONS, HEY, YOU…YEAH, YOU!!! THE GUY WHO THINKS OBAMA IS A MUSLIM, THE GAL WHO THINKS OBAMA IS A COMMUNIST, THE PEOPLE WHO CLAIM OBAMA DIVIDED THE NATION…YOU’RE IDIOTS!!! STOP BEING IDIOTS!!!”

Eh, everybody hated that, didn’t they? Just can’t win anymore. If you have any grasp on the truth, everybody rushing up to you telling you you have to coddle these emotional infants some more. Appease! Appease!

Aren’t these folks against appeasement? Didn’t they think Reagan defeated the USSR by calling it evil? Eh, I ask for consistency. Nowadays, even consistency is a librul plot.

The people in this video seem mostly civil, nice, even sweet, and deeply, deeply ignorant. Even worse, stubbornly ignorant. And the thing is, I don’t buy that this is some selective sample. I think that guy could have gone through the entire crowd and never gotten anybody better. Tens of thousands of dumb people descended on D.C., demanding, um, something. They say honor…

But they don’t act honorably, do they?

I gotta hand them one award though…these people…who are Republicans, have managed to create enough of a new brand with this Tea Party shtick to try escaping what happened when their elected leaders blew up the country. Yet they all possess the discipline to go to the ballot box and vote Republican anyway. The shell game has worked on everybody, and here I am, the dumbass fucker sitting around trying to remind everybody that they’re one and the same, yet still frequently addressing “the Tea Party.”

And yet our serious challenges as a country really go unaddressed by these folks. Why? Because they’re still down with the same Bush/GOP gameplan of the ’00′s.

They are right about one thing…empires do crumble. And an empire built on that foundation of stupidity on witness in that video is already screwed.

Fuck it, let’s just elect a tidal wave of Republicans in November and let them finish off the job. America needs a mercy killing.

-hw

P.S. Waaaaaahhh! from Tucker Carlson’s site. The guys *gasp* didn’t identify themselves as commie heathens, thus tricking the poor people on camera into…answering honestly. Gaaah! NO HONOR!!!

Apparently it’s not really about business.

Aug 30, 2010 in Corporate shenanigans

Wall St. got everything it wanted from Obama, but he hurt their feelings.

Moments like this really shake the optimism about our country’s future right out of my bones.

On the other hand, maybe Obama should extoll them as giants among men while throwing half of them in court and passing truly fundamental regulation to protect Americans from the ravages of unchecked corporate financial greed. Talking smack while delivering billions in bonuses doesn’t wash, I guess.

-hw

Hack attorney general climate skeptic tossed aside by the judge.

Aug 30, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Global warming

Wingers really believed they had something with “Climategate,” and immediately coalesced around Dr. Michael Mann as an arch-nemesis. His vindications have been multiple and thorough, and when Virginia’s activist rightwinger attorney general tried to make political hay by investigating Mann, the judge tossed it out of court because in the end he didn’t have any evidence.

According to Peatross, the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, under which the civil investigative demand was issued, requires that the attorney general include an “objective basis” to believe that fraud has been committed. Peatross indicates that the attorney general must state the reason so that it can be reviewed by a court, which Cuccinelli failed to do.

See here for thoughts on my epic smackdown with a classic rightwinger on this topic at CPST. It’s a classic study in debate between a rational person in control of the facts and a raving lunatic. Rightwingers know, of course, to delay you and then accuse you of delaying (it’s akin to blocking everything they can in the Senate and claiming Obama isn’t getting enough done). But much like in the Prop 8 case, rightwinger mania doesn’t automatically translate into a solid case in court.

-hw

UPDATE: Almost on cue, one of the world’s biggest climate change skeptics changes heart and actually declares the evidence overwhelming, the problem urgent, and a carbon tax the solution.

The inflation of labor.

Aug 30, 2010 in Politics

Remember when labor won the right to a 40-hour work week? And how that work week could sustain a family? After decades of dual-earning households, each family is contributing 80 instead of 40, and that’s presuming they aren’t salaried employees expected to spend most of their waking hours “fighting for the team.” At the same time, costs for most basic goods and services have risen so dramatically that things like a home and health care have become golden chalices of achievement. And sometimes, even that second income won’t help you out much. Throw in child care costs, and each parent better be making $40K+ to hope to pull ahead by $10K. Little Whistler is due in November, and little Whistler’s mother isn’t sure returning to her job is going to be worth it at all.

-hw

p.s. I eagerly await the first winger who comes in babbling about how our biggest problem is taxes, during this historically low tax era. If somebody bites, by all means begin by explaining why Bush’s massive tax cuts left us with a broken economy and skyrocketing deficits before Obama was elected (to fix what Bush broke).

Saturday Night Rawk

Aug 28, 2010 in Politics

Ken Mehlmann is gay!?!?!

Aug 28, 2010 in teh gay

I don’t remember hearing that he was previous to last weeks revelation but for some reason I just always assumed he was anyway. I’m happy for Ken and I think that it’s a step in a positive direction for both him and the Republican party. Michael Steele’s comments on the subject were especially thoughtful. But on the flip-side these pronouncements are always a little underwhelming for me because when a homosexual “comes out” they aren’t doing so for the benefit of commieliberalfascistmarxists like me because, unlike the base of the party he represented, we generally as a group don’t believe that the sodomites are abominations that will burn in God’s eternal hellfire. A lot has changed since Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential bid where he solicited but then ultimately turned down a donation from the Log Cabin Republicans once it was discovered. McCain and Palin refusing to endorse a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, for instance. I think the difference here, however, isn’t that the base is becoming more accepting of homosexuals so much as it is that they’ve got a different assortment of minority groups to fear and despise; namely, powerful (black) ACORN employees who have the ability to sway national elections, New Black Panthers preventing them from voting, a (black) Muslim, Kenyan, socialist president and armies of Mexicans taking away their cherished shrub pruning and fruit picking jobs. All of these are ginned up threats by commissars who occupy positions like Mehlman’s so while I’m happy he’s being honest to himself about his sexuality he needs to take it a step further and do his fellow minorities a favor by encouraging his party to back off the hysteria button.

The fraudulence of the right on liberty and tyranny.

Aug 27, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Glenn Greenwald, Librulz

Bush said I could be locked up and tortured as an enemy combatant if he felt like it. Obama says I will get taxed if I don’t have health care. Which one tyranny?

I can understand the argument, for instance, that if taxes are too high then personal freedom is to some degree eroded, but that seems very metaphorical compared to government’s power to physically lock you up. For all their talk about freedom and liberty, the enthusiastic embrace of the military and security culture by many conservatives pretty makes that seem like a lot of empty rhetoric to me.

I don’t mean it as a critique so much as a question – why does the military-security culture get such a huge pass? I honestly don’t understand how you can cast yourself as a defender of liberty on one hand, while be fully in support of expanding the government’s ability to physically remove your liberty on the other.

You know, what I would love is if liberals who took liberty extremely seriously, like Glenn Greenwald, had some actual support from the right. Greenwald is a lion against the government’s assumption of powers in the past ten years to toxic levels, and he’s coolly prosecuted Obama for leaving too many Bush era policies and practices intact. This piece on our increasingly cramped surveillance state should have an army of allies among any who say they treasure liberty. It gets published at CATO, in a nice gesture from them, but the GOP is expert at deftly ignoring CATO as a gang of nerds when Republicans disagree with them. Adding Greenwald’s name to the mix only freaks out wingers more.

Even worse, they’d have to actually describe Bush/Cheney accurately, so that will leave most Republicans out of the deal. They approved of Bush and still do, and the more Obama does things like Bush, the more Republicans are willing to just take a pass on the issue, pretend it doesn’t exist, and then scream about the Socialist Blitzkrieg.

Of course, we’re talking about the same people who got really concerned about spending the second Obama was sworn in, the same people who shrugged for eight years while Bush systematically dismantled our prosperity.

This is just why it’s so hard for me to have faith in the honest intentions of the right. Most are fairly nice people in person, but they treat politics like a game, one where intellectual honesty is simply a commie liberal plot to confuse “real” Americans. Rightwingers make up these weird fantasy wars in their heads like this:

…conservatism, the right, (is) people who want government to have less power over individuals, is the natural home of people who want to live and let live, while “progressivism”, the left, is the natural home of statists — fascists, nazis, socialists, communists, and the modern Democrat party — who want endlessly more centralized power over the individual.

Gee, so hard to pick sides there. Which way do I go? Freedom or Auschwitz?

Or, third option, blog commenter “American Elephant” is an idiot and neither description is accurate. As Greenwald notes, what power the Republicans seized, the Democrats held onto. Such is human nature, I imagine, but that’s why we’re supposed to have checks and balances. One of those is a populace that speaks up when the government goes too far, but the idiots on the right are choosing to spend their time chasing liberal bogeymen while a unified coalition of the powerful march right over all of us.

With fellow citizens like that, who needs terror babies?

-hw

The right has so much to teach us about journalism.

Aug 27, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Journamalism

FOX ran zero stories on Dr. Laura’s N-word rant, and now zero stories on Ken Mehlman admitting he’s gay.

Maybe they should just stick to trying to convince us Glenn Beck is Martin Jesus King Sr. when he opposes everything MLK stood for. Naturally, FOX won’t mention Beck was the guy who called President Barack Obama a racist who literally hates white people.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
I Have a Scheme
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

-hw

Why we fight…blah blah blah…

Aug 26, 2010 in Politics

Saudi couple “hammer 24 nails” into Sri Lankan maid

I wonder if she’ll get on the cover of Time?

Step right up, folks!!!

Aug 26, 2010 in Politics

Glenn Beck, the right wing’s favorite Krispy Kreme donut, has a brand spanking new venture hot on the heels of the blow-out successes of the 9-12 Project and We Surround Them (remember those?); Operation Restoring Honor. If the name sounds familiar it’s because the word “honor” has become a fashionable intangible quality right wingers enjoy accusing their hated nemeses on the left of lacking whenever they’re out of ideas. The same goes for their choice in time and location for holding their rally. Tea-partiers are the new Freedom Riders, dontcha know, so the message is the usual “we want our country back”, victimization horseshit and the only people that will show up are the lily-white, placard wielding brigades that would otherwise be at home forwarding crackpot email conspiracies through their AOL dial-up accounts. A group of people who never seem to find it suspicious that their right-wing media stars always have a new book or money-making scheme to sell them.

-jtl

PS – Extra points for whoever spots the first tea-bagger with a television camera in their face complaining about how they’re completely ignored and scorned by the media.

The sickly corruption of Beltway-itis.

Aug 25, 2010 in Beltway-itis, Journamalism

Mark Halperin practically invented it. Go ahead and read the link if you want to find out why President Obama is wrong to point out that Republicans want to target Social Security. Short version: It’ll make Republicans grumpy and unlikely to compromise.

Okay, Halperin, you asshole. What explains the past two years of record-breaking obstructionism after Obama came at the Republicans with nothing but olive branches and premature compromises? After two years of “OBAMA IS TEH SOCIALIST DICTATOR!” Obama has to watch out for hurting their feelings by describing their dream policies accurately?

You can go ahead and read it to see where Halperin points out Obama is wrong on the facts. You won’t find anything. Just the insistence that Obama hunker down and smile while Republicans kick his teeth in.

-hw

Overlooked British ladies of the Nineties.

Aug 25, 2010 in Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Because I must.

Cerys Mathews of Catatonia, who ate, smoked, and drank like a real woman, 1998:

Justine Frischman of Elastica, who famously dated both Brett Anderson and Damon Albarn, 1995:

Sonya Aurora Madan of Echobelly, who was lovely and very nice when I met her, 1995:

Had some other ideas, but, y’know how important it is for obscure artists to keep their videos out of the public eye.

-hw

Damn you liberal media!

Aug 25, 2010 in Politics

So it’s been wall-to-wall coverage of the “mosque”/coat factory/basketball court outrage for well over a week now and I’m wondering how that jibes with the reflexive claims of the LIBRULLAMESTREAMMEDIA. The short answer is that it doesn’t because “liberal media” is simply a truncheon that’s wielded against those that dare deviate from the expected narrative. If supposed liberal journo-lists weren’t so terrified of these dimwits they’d be asking why the right wing has so quickly eschewed their holiest of golden calves: private property. It’s easy to understand why freedom of religion is thrown out the window because these guys routinely wipe their ass with The Constitution whenever it suits them but the theology of Free Market Capitalism is different. It holds a special place in their hearts because it’s the truss they’ve hung all of their crackpot Obama=Karl Marx theories on. So considering that people who actually live there don’t care that the Cordoba House is built and that it’s their legal and Constitutional right to build there is it safe to assume that these people have absolutely no principles beyond obvious bigotry? But, as HW pointed out to me, you can barely stop these assholes from erecting crosses on public property so how is any of this surprising? After all, they just want “their” country back, right?

I think the recent spate of anti-Muslim bigotry is similar to the anti-government protests in the sense that it’s an outcry from the segment of the American population that can’t cope with democracy. A non-member of their tribe got elected president so now all of a sudden deficit spending is ruinous, the president is a usurper from Kenya and basic Keynesianism = Jews in the ovens. It could also be the last frontier of bigotry in this country since it is no longer acceptable for white people to call blacks niggers; a fact that infuriates many especially, as Doc Laura recently demonstrated, when blacks refer to each other by that handle. Why? Because it’s one of the last things that the white man desperately wants but cannot have.

Tribalism, still a forefront issue.

Aug 25, 2010 in Islam, Religion

That’s what the enmity towards Muslims in America today is. Tribalism. You have an Us, and a Them, and the rest is literally human history.

Except for the part where America was founded in the vision of radical Enlightenment thinkers who challenged all previous dogmas and created a new one with the highest democratic ideals. First and foremost was the ordainment of a country with freedom of speech, and thereby the freedom of religion. Any person who was born in this country or sworn in as a citizen is presumed to be an equal entity of whom innocence is first presumed.

This entire argument is an insult to all Muslim Americans, of course, but it should be an outrage to any U.S. citizen concerned about our Constitutional rights. I’ve been to too many of Ali’s huge family get-togethers, and seriously, those folks are about the good life like anybody else. Kindness and humility are the order of things. Whites, blacks and Hispanics also attend. In all the years, I’ve had one civil friendly conversation on the importance of modernizing Islam. And this was the perspective of the Muslim gentlemen whom I was mostly listening to. The rest of the time it’s, “How are you? How are your kids? What have you been doing that is fun? How’s the weather?” It’s plain bread, baby.

That’s how I see the Muslim center in NYC. It’s vanilla ice cream to me.

Don’t get me wrong. Like most organized religions, I find the fundamentalist version to be fundamentally incredulous and problematic. Yet I choose to back the Modern Muslims, who represent most of the Muslim population in America today. They’re your neighbors and co-workers, folks. You should be so lucky to know many of them.

If one pits themselves against Islam, then one will find a bundled stick. This isn’t really rocket science. If our country chooses to target individuals based on evidence of guilt, then we can break one branch at a time.

And the other branches will, in Ent-like manner, help us.

We simply must elevate our way of thinking, and understand what really is right here, and what is wrong. We must be better than our enemies. We must not seek to punish and castigate the innocent for simply being different, and there’s no cause more American than that.

-hw

On receiving firing advice from Republicans.

Aug 24, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Economy

John Boehner says, “Fire Summers and Geithner!”

Well, who can argue with that? It would be a good sign, actually, presuming the voice that replaced them was an actual liberal (no, you haven’t been living in some Commie nightmare, it’s okay to breathe a sigh of relief now) or at least somebody willing to really get serious about the best solutions to our problems, even if they are somehow bankrupt simply for being ideas that come from liberals.

I’d just like somebody who sticks to the merits. And the merits of our case are that capitalism has been broken by the rich and twisted into channels of infinite accountability-free revenue that can be used to muster political power and keep gaming the system in their favor. At every juncture, Geithner and Summers made sure above all else that the masters of money stayed happy and that the billions continued to flow upwards. What did we get? A robust Wall Street and a 9.5% unemployment rate. Fuck that noise, ladies and gentlemen. Fuck it in its ass.

Still, one has to giggle whenever a Republican says who ought to be fired, because it’s usually that Republican who needs to be fired. John Boehner has been a dolt, a barfly, a golfer, a stubbornly ignorant hack, and an unrepentent baseless obstructionist who has violated the principles of every “conservative” involved. Summers and Geithner would be useful in a room when decisions are being made, but they shouldn’t be making those decisions. Obama has shied away from having real oppositional thinking in his Cabinet, and people like Paul Volcker are simply not given much heft to work with. They propose something, then Geithner and Summers go over it and take out everything that would make a real difference. Symbolic measures, more tax cuts, less public benefit.

In their defense, Obama seems to be more reluctant to hang anything on Geithner’s word, and things like the $26 billion dollar jobs bill, half-measure as it is anyway, suggest somebody in there is listening.

Yes, you can spend a dollar on an ordinary American, not just a CEO. No, we won’t turn into the Soviet Union because of it. Nor Nazi Germany. That’s reality. And if Obama can get his team focused on reality, not just appeasing Wall St. (and getting called anti-business for it), then I’ll be a much happier camper.

-hw

I guess the Iraq War ended.

Aug 24, 2010 in Politics

Nice shell game. Wonder what the catch on ending the Afghan war will be. Obama was able to create the opening by sliding most of the troops to Afghanistan, really just shifting the effort to a country at least arguably more relevant, if not more fruitful. Not a bad move entirely if he does get out next year, but most people know the U.S. never leaves a country, it just scales down. I just feel a bit skeptical that we’ll ever really get all the way out and leave the Middle East alone for five minutes.

-hw

Full disclosure.

Aug 23, 2010 in Politics

If we made a dollar off this site I’d die of shock. Time for our friends at CPST to make the same declaration, since GOP bloggers like praising for peanuts.

Of course, the rich part about the right-o-sphere is that you can get people to actually believe the shit that corporations say and mouth it themselves almost religiously. Why ruin the fun with paying them?

Then again I suspect most wingers tend to be cynics who talk for effect rather than seeking the truth. Hey, if people want to be junior think-tank members, go for it, but put it out in the open.

On that note, I’d love to be able to disclose that I receive $10K a year to espouse my views. I’d disclose the hell out of it, so who’s going to be my lucky benefactor?

-hw

Pow!

Aug 23, 2010 in Politics

Zing!

It’s true that some strains of Tea Partyism seem libertarian, but mostly it’s just standard-issue GOP rhetoric, pushing tax cuts and unspecified spending cuts while in practice asking government to keep its hands off their Medicare, their farm subsidies, and certainly their defense contracts.

Those concerned with actually running the country have one option in November. Tea Partiers supporting unlimited secret corporate cash steering elections? It’s a joke, it’s always been a joke…I may give them a chance in the future of evolving into something sane, but right now, they’re straight up bat-shit nuts and a bit lacking in intellectual honesty.

-hw

Thanks for your patience.

Aug 23, 2010 in Economy, Politics

I was visiting family the last ten days, surely breaking a new record for weight gain during a visit. I started to feel the lure of becoming a giant fatso, wondering how easily I could move my weight around with another 50 lbs added. Ultimately I decided against it and to hunker down and adopt a lean lifestyle for the time being. My musculature has already taken a hit this past year, and I’ve tempted fate too much.

We must sustain ourselves, you see. And so I have to admit that while I am a committed libertarian socialist who believes in strong safety nets, I’ve encountered too many early retirees for my comfort, and it’s caused me to wonder why exactly it’s so important that we allow people to stop working in their fifties, when they’re easily at the peak of their professional wisdom and form. A fifty-five old politician is considered a young scrub, but a fifty-five year old can’t handle a white collar job? Yeah, moments like those are where I detour slightly from the dogmatic path.

Everything is about balance. To me, the question of safety nets is already well established social policy that sustains our populace’s total well-being. Retirement, with some planning, is an important social institution, one without which I believe our nation would harbor a great mass of suffering, and much less character. But then there is the line. The inevitable setting of pen to paper, where it comes down to picking numbers.

And I say this to the police. You want a pension? Stay on a case. Do cold case files for your fishing money. Test rape kits, thousands of which sit around in backlog. You can help when you’re old, and the country needs your help. When crime is over, I’ll listen to the sob stories. So yeah, sixty-five for cops too.

The moral case aside, it’s terrible for our finances too.

-hw

Palin Constitution Fail

Aug 19, 2010 in Politics

I’m pretty sure everybody knows Sarah Palin has no idea what she’s talking about anyway. However, asking her to explain how Dr. Laura’s First Amendment rights were violated would be attacking Sarah Palin’s First Amendment rights.

Some poll numbers are suggesting Republicans are weaning themselves off the reverence for this over-hyped fool. Still, I’m not sure if Huffington Post can resist granting her every utterance a headline with some variation on “Palin attacks Obama/takes red meat right-winger position.” Perhaps somebody should let Arianna know that such instances are not news. Palin making sense would be news.

-hw

People who don’t live there agree.

Aug 18, 2010 in Politics

The Islamic center should not be built.

-mg

The smartest manchild in the room.

Aug 17, 2010 in Politics

Cable news is perfectly structured for Republican-style political messaging so I’ve never been surprised that FOX News is as popular as they are (though anytime we’re talking about ratings we need to keep in mind that crap like Jersey Shore gets triple the ratings as any episode of The Factor). What I do find striking is how blatantly contradictory the script can get in such a short period of time.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Mosque-Erade
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, etc all come from sports broadcasting where an ability to babble color commentary non-stop is highly valued. Here’s the difference though; if you were as consistently wrong about sports teams as Glenn Beck is about politics you’d be out on your ass in no time. A perfect example would be Limbaugh’s inability to hack it as an NFL host. While he naturally tried to depict his failure as the result of rampant political correctness (a classic knee-jerk reaction of the bigot), what was obvious to anyone familiar with his assessment of Donovan McNabb was that it was factually inaccurate to begin with. How long would Marv Albert have lasted if he said that referees in the NBA don’t call three second lane violations as often as they should because they feel sorry for black forwards? Political commentary, on the other hand, is completely accountability free.

-mg

The states with the highest college graduation rate.

Aug 16, 2010 in Politics

Not a lot of red states.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

-mg

It’s Different When It’s the Good Guys

Aug 13, 2010 in Politics

Let’s take a moment to imagine how outraged our right-leaning friends would be getting over the Pope’s refusal to accept the resignation of two Irish bishops who actively covered up child abuse if the whole affair took place under a slightly different set of circumstances. “Religion of peace, my butt!” they’d be saying on blog after blog; “by your fruits shall ye know them,” they’d quote. But when the systemic, ongoing sexual abuse of children happens to be within the Catholic church, it’s a different tune they sing. Suddenly, it’s “no human being is perfect,” and a newfound (and very temporary) interest in forgiving trespasses. Sometimes they’ll even go with a “how much do we really trust the so-called victim?” line, hoping we’ll forget that we’re talking about children here. Certainly they enjoy shifting the dialogue over to their objections about homosexuality; anything to take the focus off the obvious question here. But can you imagine the pitch, the sheer volume, if this story were taking place in Syria, or in Lebanon, or in Iran? It would be all the proof any of our outraged friends would need; it would be the final nail in the coffin of Islam.

Instead, let’s be clear: they don’t care. They’ll tell you that it’s the fault of the individual priests who abused the children; certainly not the fault of the bishops who covered it up, or of the pope who gives the bishops a pass for doing it, or of the Church that has actively been letting child rapists walk away free & clean for centuries. Let us speak plainly. When it comes down to a choice between self-interest and the children with whose care it has been charged, the Catholic church has made its priorities plain. The moral cowardice of the American right in ignoring this, or, when they speak to it at all, suddenly focusing on the responsibility of the individual who commits the offense instead of the organization that sanctions and conceals it – it’s breathtaking. You can’t have it both ways, friends. This isn’t an isolated case. It’s the organization.

This about says it all.

Aug 11, 2010 in Politics

The money-quote from an Esquire article about how mixed up in the head right-wing hero Newt Gingrich is:

After Gingrich’s phoned-in confession, they talked at their home — just after he’d given a speech in Erie, Pennsylvania about the importance of family values. She told Esquire she asked him how he could give such a speech days after he’s admitted his affair to her and asked her to tolerate it

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”

In the ultimate irony, his ex-wife says that when he used to have affairs with other women, Newt would insist upon oral sex so that if confronted with the allegation he could claim that he “never slept with” that person.

I’d recommend reading the entire article. Change the names and add a few transvestite prostitutes and it could have come straight from the pages of a James Ellroy novel.

-mg

The difficulty of being a slightly sane Republican.

Aug 10, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People

Don’t adjust your monitor:

It was the middle of a tough primary contest, and Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) had convened a small meeting with donors who had contributed thousands of dollars to his previous campaigns. But this year, as Inglis faced a challenge from tea party-backed Republican candidates claiming Inglis wasn’t sufficiently conservative, these donors hadn’t ponied up. Inglis’ task: Get them back on the team. “They were upset with me,” Inglis recalls. “They are all Glenn Beck watchers.” About 90 minutes into the meeting, as he remembers it, “They say, ‘Bob, what don’t you get? Barack Obama is a socialist, communist Marxist who wants to destroy the American economy so he can take over as dictator. Health care is part of that. And he wants to open up the Mexican border and turn [the US] into a Muslim nation.’” Inglis didn’t know how to respond.

It used to be that if you said George W. Bush was an idiot who invaded Iraq on false premises you were accused of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Some days, I tell ya…

Anyway, it’s a good tale of another conservative hitting a roadblock of frustration with the stupid and crazy that is today’s GOP base. Should be happening to Dana over at CPST any day now…

-hw

This is how you do it, cont.

Aug 10, 2010 in Economy, Outstanding Democrats

The House passed a bill Tuesday afternoon providing $26.1 billion to cash-strapped state governments, and preventing roughly 161,000 teachers and 158,000 public works employees from being laid off. The vote was 247-161.

And from the loyal opposition:

Republicans derided the measure as a transparent handout to teachers’ unions, a key Democratic political constituency, and argued that it will be no more successful at restoring the nation’s economic health than was the massive stimulus package President Obama signed soon after taking office last January.

“This is a bailout. This is another bailout. . . . Let’s not do this!” yelled Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.). “We’re facing almost a $1.5 trillion budget deficit. America, please, please, wake up. And remember in November.”

In a midafternoon vote, the House approved the measure 247 to 161, with most Republicans voting no. The Senate had already signed off on the package.

Keeping teachers in classrooms, health care workers in clinics, and other folks serving the public interest employed couldn’t have merit on its own, could it?

With the start of school just a few weeks away, most school systems were not counting on increased federal aid this summer as they set their staffing plans in motion. Across the country, class sizes have been on the rise, school bus routes have been cut and a plethora of programs, including summer school, arts and physical education and health and counseling services, have been cut back. Some school systems even trimmed the length of the school year to make ends meet.

Nobody could genuinely believe this bill would be one of the best uses of federal funds in the past two years. Right?

Congrats to the Democrats for a real win. Now appoint Elizabeth Warren and let’s have some fun campaigning in September and October…

-hw

This is high drama.

Aug 10, 2010 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

If we’re going to have tabloid stories pass for journalism, I say this one has all the drama of any Oscar nominated movie. Next, a beautiful woman man has to find this guy and teach him optimism through a combination of sex and good advice.

-hw

p.s. Yes, this post has a secret librul agenda. Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s a blatant one. But seriously, I just felt this guy’s plight. Who can’t relate to this?

Allowing gay marriage is not an “attack” on straight marriage.

Aug 09, 2010 in teh gay

That’s the trick, of course, turning a restriction on gays into a “defense” of heterosexual marriage. The problem is that actual liberty doesn’t work that way.

You are free to tell your children that the earth was created 6,000 years ago and that they must not eat shell-fish or mix fabrics and that gay people are condemned to hell. You are free to preach this from the rooftops. You can encourage your children, even the gay ones, to marry opposite-sex wives and husbands; you can disseminate information that stigmatizes gays; etc etc. But you cannot disenfranchise your fellow citizens in a civil institution because of your religious beliefs.

-hw

The Constitution isn’t a tribalist document.

Aug 09, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Stupidity, teh gay

And thus tribalists have problems with it. The same crowd that can’t handle gays or Scary Black People doesn’t want mosques. Anywhere.

Well, there’s this thing about religious freedom in this country, but that only matters when it benefits this crowd. They’re tribalists. If they don’t like the religion, religious liberty doesn’t matter. If atheists were protesting the building of a church or a synagogue, the same people would be falling out of their chairs in outrage and FOX would crank that shit up to 11.

Their attitude towards gays is much the same. Arguments that they wouldn’t dare apply toward themselves suddenly sound valid to them when it’s the dreaded “other.” David Boies dismantles Tony Perkins with reason in the following clip. By the end, Perkins can do nothing but sputter about tradition and the voters, two classic fallacious arguments.

As Ted Olson brilliantly puts it, how would Chris Wallace, who shamelessly argues the anti-gay side, like it if Fox News’ free speech rights were taken away by a majority vote?


Of course, voters repudiated Bush and the Republicans by tossing them out in two consecutive elections, and that didn’t seem to mean much to them. Democracy matters except when it doesn’t, the Constitution matters except when it doesn’t, and hell, the Bible matters except when it doesn’t. They’re tribalists. The Bible offers some verses that align with anti-gay bigotry, so those verses matter most. The verses that suggest deeper truths to those who see gays as a merit of Creation, as a feature not a bug, don’t matter. And gay Christians, fuggeddabouddit!

This is a free country, and it is not so just for Tony Perkins. There is no rational basis for denying gay Americans their right to marry. There is no Constitutional basis. Freedom means nothing if it’s the privilege of special groups. Love thy neighbor, Tony. It’s not just a political slogan.

-hw

This is how you do it.

Aug 08, 2010 in Politics

If you act afraid of such people, you give them an ounce of credit. They don’t deserve it. Rick Larsen knows that a Democrat who fights can win, and with this PalinBeckLimbaugh confection of loud fools and blowhards, they can win easy. If people see you flinch, the instincts take over, and the crazy nutsack dabblers who call themselves the Tea Party are lent credibility.

They’ve got nothing. When you understand that, how could you be afraid? And the Republicans, desperate for a re-branding, threw their arms around the teabaggers like a drunk driver given a new driver’s license across state lines. I mean, really, this is like trying to cancel the smell of shitting your pants by dousing yourself in skunk juice. Let them have the Tea Party, and let’s stick it to ‘em like superglue.

-hw

Gulf deoxification from farm fertilizer worse than Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

Aug 08, 2010 in Politics

It’s like Godzilla vs. Mothra, two hulking masses of widespread destruction.

While the BP oil spill has been labeled the worst environmental catastrophe in recent U.S. history, a biofuel is contributing to a Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” the size of New Jersey that scientists say could be every bit as harmful to the gulf.

Each year, nitrogen used to fertilize corn, about a third of which is made into ethanol, leaches from Midwest croplands into the Mississippi River and out into the gulf, where the fertilizer feeds giant algae blooms. As the algae dies, it settles to the ocean floor and decays, consuming oxygen and suffocating marine life.

Known as hypoxia, the oxygen depletion kills shrimp, crabs, worms and anything else that cannot escape. The dead zone has doubled since the 1980s and is expected this year to grow as large as 8,500 square miles and hug the Gulf Coast from Alabama to Texas.

As to which is worse, the oil spill or the hypoxia, “it’s a really tough call,” said Nathaniel Ostrom, a zoologist at Michigan State University. “There’s no real answer to that question.”

Of course, worrying about the Gulf of Mexico becoming the Dead Sea is a sure sign of a diseased librul commie mindset.

-hw

Rush Limbaugh is a blatant racist update.

Aug 07, 2010 in Racism

The First Lady takes a trip to Spain and the press fails to hound her. Why? Because she’s black, of course.

The GOP is led by a racist. Don’t get mad at me for pointing out the plain truth.

-hw

Victory for religious liberty, equality, and reason.

Aug 05, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Sophistry, teh gay

To anybody who actually followed the court case over Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California, it should be gobsmacking to anybody that Judge Walker could have ruled any other way. The plaintiff lawyers, both Republican and Democrat, methodically and rigorously dismantled the case for Prop 8. You can read Walker’s judgment here. It’s watertight. The case for Prop 8 had no evidence and no sound argument…because there is no evidence and there is no sound argument.

Surprisingly, that has no effect on Prop 8 supporters on the right. I mean, reason ordinarily works so well on them…

Worth a giggle is Newt Gingrich, “intellectual” of the right:

“Judge Walker’s ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they’ve affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy. Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.”

Among rightwingers, it be merely sufficient to say the word, “Constitution.” No explanation necessary. No awareness that the Constitution exists in order to protect individual rights, and thus will often be at odds with the public. No particular explanation of how the judiciary is supposed to have any function at all if it exists merely to rubber-stamp whatever “the people” want. Yes, ladies and gents, this is what passes for big brains on the right. Newt may sound smart in a party led by people like Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin, but there are actual standards out there, and real conservatives should be standing up for them.

In reality, it’s a bunch of emotional, irrational noise. People may indeed be emotional, irrational creatures, and may react angrily and defensively when this is pointed out to them, but so it goes. Our Constitution was authored by Enlightenment thinkers, rationalists, men who engaged in one of the greatest intellectual experiments in governance in all of history, designing a document carefully that would allow the country to circumvent ugly whims and angry mobs.

Along with the mad fever with which the right has recently opposed religious liberty via the building of a mosque near the WTC site, the growing outrage over the 14th amendment, and the continued non-apologetic stance towards Bush’s jettisoning of the Constitution it’s amazing anybody can take this Constitution talk seriously for a second. With the right, the Constitution’s text means nothing. They want what they want, and no damn piece of paper, as George W. put it, is going to get in their way.

Today is a great day for America.

-hw