Tuesday, June 01, 2010

HOW YOU GET A BP. What I and perhaps many of you have been grumbling under our breaths for years, Nancy Nall eloquently lays out in complete sentences, in the course of a lengthy gripe about her shitty bank:
Oh, why bother with this? You all have your own tales of pain and woe, if not with banks, then with health insur­ance com­pa­nies, mort­gage hold­ers or whomever. Here’s what amuses me most about them — how, in our allegedly per­fect market-based sys­tem, our cus­tomer expe­ri­ence should be improv­ing year to year. In some ways, it has, although I credit tech­nol­ogy (the ATM) more than man­age­ment. But mostly, bank­ing — and many other allegedly service-based busi­nesses — has only become more Soviet with time, more mono­lithic, less sen­si­tive to cus­tomer com­plaint, more frus­trat­ing to deal with. Yes, I enjoy check­ing my bal­ance online or over the phone. No, I don’t like being nickel-and-dimed — or ten-dollared and thirty-dollared — to death over every lit­tle thing.
I still hope to get past the muttering stage on this important topic someday, but Nance has it good and broken down already.

I will add this: Any of us, if we think about it for more than a few minutes, can see that our largest and most powerful institutions are increasing treating us, their customers, like sub-humans.

They do it in Washington, with monstrosities like the nightmarish 2005 Bankruptcy Bill, and they do it in the day-to-day, by socking us with every hidden fee, added surcharge, delayed payment, automatic renewal, and designed-to-discourage phone tree they can dream up to separate us from more of our money.

I don't suggest there was ever a golden age when businesses didn't try to get more of our money, but I've been walking around this civilization for quite a healthy span of years, and I've never spent as much time as I do now fighting with corporations to keep or get back my money. I don't recall, in the allegedly less enlightened past, a bank insisting that I still had a credit card with them years after I paid off the balance and told them repeatedly to close my account. I don't recall being told that it didn't matter when I sent in my payment, it only mattered when the bank decided to accept it, and if it wound up being late they could raise my rate and fuck up my credit. (BTW thank the Democrats for fixing at least some of this shit.)

It's true that in the old days, I didn't have internet, and I often had to physically approach a service desk to get satisfaction. But those desks were clearly marked and manned. If they were run like the byzantine "support" features at many company websites now, they would be available only by rope ladder at the bottom a 30-foot shaft, and their agents would fend me off with pikestaffs.

Yet as plain as this is to us normal people, conservatives and libertarians (but I repeat myself) are insensible to the situation. They generally tell you, hey look, you got iPods and diet pet food, you never had it so good. And if you're suffering, it's your own damn fault for being a littlebrain. If you go through, say, a typical Megan McArdle post about bank shenanigans, you'll find the comments filled with the counsel of Randian supermen who have never had any troubles getting loans themselves, and don't understand how any decent person would ("When it comes down to it, if a person lives responsibly, chances are they won't have to worry").

And there's always someone like Cassy Fiano to blubber that the banks are the ones getting screwed by their customers and how dare they etc.

Which brings us to the depraved indifference shown by those BP ratfucks toward actually cleaning up (as opposed to covering up) their disastrous pollution of the Gulf of Mexico. For a while I was actually in sympathy with them -- when you fuck up that bad, you might be forgiven for using a psychological strategy to distance yourself from the enormity of your guilt, if only just so you can function. But after watching them at work awhile, I have decided that they are incorrigible. To put it politely.

And why shouldn't they be? See it their way: In this country, in this time, if you want the big money you don't give the suckers an even break. You brass it out. Fuck the regulators, fuck the press, and fuck the paupers who think they have some say in what washes up on their beaches -- we got people, we got money. And most of all, we got the right of way. Because for decades now, wherever some herkimer-jerkimer objected that our business was coming on a little too strong for their precious "community," we had the answer that never failed: Step aside, buddy, you're standing in the way of the Free Market.

It never failed before. Why should it fail them now?
IT WON'T FLOAT. As an old-fashioned Democrat who would really like to support the Israeli government, I remain open to any good justification for boarding an aid flotilla (even an embargoed one of suspicious political provenance) in international waters [!] and killing and kidnapping several of its passengers. So far I haven't heard any -- only shrill blood-libel crap like Jennifer Rubin's.

Anytime you find yourself writing something like this --
When the Israeli commandos were set upon as they were lowered from a helicopter, they acted to defend themselves.
-- and it isn't meant as satire, you should know that you aren't making your case, and in fact are strongly giving the impression that you don't have one.

Monday, May 31, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger reviews of Sex and The City 2, and how they've changed their minds about the franchise since they found the new film talks smack about Arabs. It also contains what may be my favorite Rod Dreher quote of all time.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A NEW LOW. Big Hollywood is your one-stop shopping place for the conservatism of petty personal grievances, with its constant surveillance of movies, TV shows, and Some Silly Liberal Who Was Mean to Me for evidence of wrongthink. They're so good at it that I long ago stopped trying to think of ways to top them. After they attacked Sesame Street for failing to make up affectionate nicknames for Fox News reporters, I knew no one could embarrass them better than they regularly embarrassed themselves.

And here's proof: In a million years, could you have come up with a parody Big Hollywood headline to rival this one?
Elayne Boosler ‘Unfriended’ Me on Facebook for Being Conservative.
Yes, the guy's actually complaining about this, though he adds, "You want to be narrow minded and intellectually lazy so you don’t have to defend your opinions, that is your right as an American." Generous of him! Next he'll grudgingly defend your right to shoo him off your porch when he shows up singing "The Ballad of the Green Berets."

Eventually he cites Some Silly Liberal Who Was Mean to Him, and then gets to the inevitable veiled accusations of Hollywood McCarthyism. "I look at folks like Dennis Miller, a guy who I have admired for years, and Drew Carey," he says, "and wonder what their brash conservatism has cost them." Gee, I don't know -- maybe the lead in Cast Away?

A few months back I suspected one of the BH guys of being a ringer. Now I'm starting to think they're all putting it on.

UPDATE. Typo fixed, thanks Nance. Any others? My MBP is at the shop and I'm using Mary's PC, which makes me clunky on the keys.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A CRAZE, IN A SENSE. That Go Galt thing lives on -- in rightwing campfire stories! Today's is from Dan Kennedy at Townhall:
During a conference at which I just spoke, the owner of several companies showed me a pair of cufflinks he’d just had custom-made, engraved with the words “Who Is John Galt?”
Not just a president, mind you, but the president of several companies! He probably owns a mansion and a yacht.
This business owner said the cuff-links were the last item other than absolute necessities that he would buy until Obama was an ex-president. He said he was sending out a letter to the restaurants and shops he patronized, his dry cleaners, the service companies that tended his lawns at his homes – over 200 different business owners – letting them know that President Obama had determined he was making too much money and was too rich for reason. Therefore, he was going to cut sales and production at his companies by half, himself work but one day a week, cut business spending to the bone and personally buy nothing – other than vacations out of the country – until the president exits.
Apparently Elmer J. Fudd also rules a feudal community, where the dry-cleaning vassals rely upon his custom to feed their children.

Each man to his own kinky fantasy, I say, but I wonder what the thrill is here. Do they imagine the underlings will say, "Wow, that rich guy means business -- I better vote Republican but pronto"? Or -- as the old "No tipping, we're Galt" routine suggests -- do they just like the idea of stiffing service employees and blaming it on politics?

Or maybe they're trying to sell the punters these. Only $50, yet just like what the Lord of Several Companies wears! Now there's capitalism I can understand -- the sort that never gives a sucker an even break.
GENIUS, I TELL YOU. Kaus has this thing sewn up. My only question: Is that Ann Althouse in the front row?

(From the Stephen Kaus Weblog; h/t Farley at Lawyers Guns & Money)
SPIN-OFF. I don't know if you've noticed but I have a link on the sidebar for my tumblr page.

I took it up last year, didn't know what to do with it, and let it lay. But a couple of weeks ago I started using it for the sort of cultural stuff with which I used to irregularly seed alicublog. Fond as I am of themed tumblr pages, I haven't come up with a Big Idea for one of my own yet. But it seems a nice format for quick shots on neat stuff.

I think I'll keep that going a while, so stop by if that sort of thing interests you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS. Regular readers may already know about Dave Weigel's problems with Palin fans who are enraged by his perfectly sane observations on the former Alaska governor's latest public complaints.

The sad thing is, in a different context we might be able to rationally discuss Joe McGinniss' decision to get a home near that of a former politician/current TV celebrity on whom he is writing a book. Is it more invasive and less ethical than the near-constant presence of reporters outside the less bucolic homes of other public figures?

But Palin is reliably full of shit and a professional victim, so as with the idiotic David Letterman fuss she stirred up last year -- claiming against common sense that Letterman was intentionally attacking her underage daughter -- Palin has ended all chance of rational debate by accusing McGinniss of looking at her tits and suggesting that he might want to ogle her 9-year-old.

Weigel squawked, and here's a sampler of what ensued:



But what else can we expect? Rush Limbaugh's black fill-in Walter Williams is advocating secession from the perspective of the Confederacy. I like to think I'm pretty creative, but I don't think I could have made that one up, though maybe Sam Fuller already did:



This country has already gone nuts. Now it's all about waiting to see what entertaining means the patient will use to do harm to herself.
MAYBE I'M GETTING OLD. but the whole time I was watching this video preview (warning: incredibly NSFW), two questions kept crossing my mind: 1.) Who is Kendra Wilkinson? and 2.) Please, God, can you make Kathryn J. Lopez and Maggie Gallagher write about it?

UPDATE. In comments Leonard Pierce explains: "Kendra Wilkinson is one of Hugh Hefner's exes, which makes her appearance in a porn video about as shocking a headline as 'GOLDBERG DICKS AROUND IN OFFICE, POSTPONES WORK.'"
SHORTER WEASEL ZIPPERS: Sputter sputter, I hate fags.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SHORTER TIGERHAWK: Remember, if you do anything to punish BP, their employees will suffer. Think of them as moral hostages of the Free Market!
JONAH GOLDBERG, HARD ON THE JOB, LATEST IN A SERIES*. "The reason I have not commented on the series finales of Lost and 24 is that I have not been able to watch either yet. I will not read or respond to email on these subjects either until I've had a chance to catch-up. I know this reflects a shameful lapse on my part."

Christ Jesus, Goldberg is now too lazy to watch TV.

Also: "What's David Brooks Trying To Say?" in which Goldberg suggests Brooks is making a couple of connections not supported by the actual Brooks column (including one to himself), then concludes, "I have to assume that's the case, but Brooks just doesn't make it clear." One of the non-legacy-pledges at NR picks up his slack.

Goldberg also prints a bunch of reader letters, and has enough energy left over to link to BP propaganda.

* Compiled by Instaputz and Tbogg, among others.
SARAH PALIN ACCUSES AUTHOR OF LOOKING AT HER TITS. As R. Crumb once drew himself thinking in a comic jam about the apocalypse, I always hoped I wouldn't be alive for this.

THE BITTEREST PILL (THEY EVER HAD TO SWALLOW). A week ago at National Review, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Pill, Kathryn Jean Lopez came waving a celebrity news hook:
If you need a quick primer on the birds and the bees, on how a culture has been misled, and on why Carrie and her friends from yet another Sex and the City movie have had miserable, not-so-pretty lives...
(Yeah, that "conservative cause celebre" thing is really gonna happen.)
...the woman once declared “Most Desired Woman” by Playboy can help you out.
Surprise, it's Raquel Welch! Bless her, Rocky has a book out and says she's seen how contraception "has altered American society for better or worse" -- while it "made it easier for a woman to choose to delay having children until after she established herself in a career," it also made people less likely to get married, presumably by obviating the time-honored tradition of the shotgun wedding.

Though Welch is four times married and obviously didn't let child-rearing slow down her own career, K-Lo swooned. "What she writes knocks the glimmer off the rose of so-called 'sexual freedom,'" wrote Lopez. Also, "Raquel Welch echoes another pope when she talks about sexual explicitness in the culture." The crime of the Pill, in K-Lo's view, was that it turned women away from something they really wanted: "Motherhood is at the heart of what it means to be a woman, and, for decades now, the pill has been trying to deny that reality."

Later Lopez claimed her column "seemed to strike a nerve." But she only cited in evidence a couple of Catholic blogs, and there is no sign that in the wide world women started burning their Ortho Tri-Cyclen in response.

So Maggie Gallagher dropped by to both raise the stakes and change the subject: The Pill wasn't bad because it worked, but because it sometimes didn't:
If we had truly separated sex from reproduction, why would we need abortion?

It was the failure of the Pill to reliably separate sex and reproduction that led quickly to Roe v. Wade.
"The problem is not the Pill," Gallagher added later. "The problem is the idea, which promoters of the pill introduced and promoted with great fanfare, that we have separated sex from reproduction." Because we haven't -- "If you spend ten years being unmarried and sexually active, the odds you will get pregnant, or get someone pregnant, are quite substantial."

Apparently Lopez had been too idealistic: The kids weren't going to stop using birth control because it was morally wrong -- they could only be scared out of it. Pregnancy was not to be used to lure them to virtue, but to terrorize them out of having sex.

K-Lo agreed as much as pride would allow: "That pill alone was not the poison that made a mess between men and women, but it sure was a contributing factor."

And so it goes: Tactical debates among cultural warriors whose cause is long, long lost. They might as well be arguing about why the invention of washing machines turned the innocent women of their great-grandmothers' time into flappers, and what can be done about it today.

But keep pitching guys! Maybe the environmental angle will "strike a nerve" somewhere.

UPDATE: In comments, good point, PGE: "Wait a minute... It doesn't work, plus women don't REALLY want it. How has it survived the miracle of the free market?"
THE FILM'S NOT OUT, BUT THE PROJECTORS ARE ALREADY RUNNING. The Hollywood Reporter reviews that Sex and the City sequel and imagines that its jokes about Arab sexism are "politically incorrect," which makes it "proudly feminist and blatantly anti-Muslim, which means that it might confound liberal viewers."

This notion that liberals approve of Arab sexism is so dumb only rightwing law professors would buy it:
Oh! Poor liberals! Beset on all sides. Even "Sex and the City" has turned on them.
"The exit question I never thought I’d ask," says Allahpundit,"Is 'Sex and the City' about to become a conservative cause celebre?" Well, the first SATC film sure was -- and the conservative consensus then was that it was liberal evil because it made women want to have sex.

If Cassy Fiano's meltdown last week ("Sexual empowerment is a myth. Slutting around like Samantha on Sex and the City does not bring you love or happiness or freedom") is any indication, we can expect the same thing all over again. And when they get to the bit where the Arab ladies step out of burqas, under which they are dressed up all glam, it may reignite their hate-on toward Muslim-American Miss USA Rima Fakih. How can they be sure the Muslim tootsies aren't actually sleepover cells?

UPDATE. FilmDrunk caught up with this half-assed meme:
I hear in a scene after that, Samantha twists the top on a Bud Light bottle and like magic, all the burka ladies are magically transformed into bikini models and Bon Jovi starts playing, and an old snake charmer in a turban turns into Tyson Beckford with his shirt off and his huge wiener hanging out. I think it might’ve been product placement.
In other words, these guys have failed with smart-alecky 14-year-olds, and when you've lost them, the conservative movement is finished.

Monday, May 24, 2010

SHORTER ALLAHPUNDIT. Why didn't Obama misuse the power of the Federal Gummint like the fascist we know he is to stop the oil leak?
JONAH GOLDBERG, HARD ON THE JOB, LATEST IN A SERIES*. "Maybe one of my fellow Cornerites can explain to me why, exactly, it's a scandal (or would be) if it's proven that the White House offered Joe Sestak a job to abandon his race against Specter.

"Update: Ah, well, these are the perils of blogging after a long day. I meant to save this post and finish it later, not publish it publicly..."

* Compiled by Instaputz and Tbogg, among others.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP about that whole Rand Paul thing. (If that link doesn't work, try this one.) In trying to keep it a reasonable length, I had to peel off some of the humdingers. For instance, BitsBlog, who was mad that Michael Steele had the temerity to speak against Paul's Civil Rights Act reservations:
As to the success or failure of such government-based attitudes about minorities, Steel should perhaps look at the long-term implication of our government only wanting to help the American Indian.
Yeah, think if we'd tried to integrate them; what a disaster that would have been! Then there's Jacob G. Hornberger, who thinks liberals are hypocrites because they allow racism in private residences but not in businesses. Could there be a Constitutional reason for this? Ha:
I suspect that the answer lies in the long-time, deep antipathy that liberals have to the free market — to free enterprise -- to capitalism -- to profit.
But my favorite is this scary-looking dude who explains that his Randism stems from the night he and a buddy accidentally went to a black-people bar. They were treated civilly -- which for some reason convinces him that the proprietor should have the right to throw them out for being white, which in turn proves that white people should be able to throw someone else out for being black. The bottom line: "the elements of peoples' heart & mind character in which matters like racism abide are not available to your steel-patchouli do-goodery." This is as unanswerable as one of Mr. T's Commandments, though not as much fun.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SOMETIMES I THINK THE INTERNET IS NOTHING BUT A RIGHTWING RETARD FARM. Sonora in northern Mexico is, according to Wikipedia, a big tourist destination for Arizonans:
Sonora is a premier tourist destination, especially for visitors from neighboring Arizona.

Recently, Sonora has experienced a boom in tourism, especially in the city of Puerto PeƱasco, due to its being the nearest beach to many population centers in Arizona.
So the Sonoran Tourist Bureau recently made an ad that said, "In Sonora we are looking for people from Arizona..." showing a guy in camo with binoculars. But surprise! It's a teaser, followed by (I learn from, of all people, a commenter at Free Republic) a follow-up that says, "...who want to have a great time."

The obvious message is that Mexico may be seen as a fun destination rather than a threat, as the Arizona anti-immigrant laws seem to suggest.

The rightwing reaction (ginned up by the madman Joe Arpaio) is that the Sonoran tourism board is threatening Americans. No, really:
Mexico Running Threatening Ads in Arizona Newspaper…

Threatening Ad from Mexican Tourism in Arizona News Paper... Newsflash, to get people to come and visit … maybe you do not want to threaten them!

Threatening American tourists. There’s a brilliant idea, Mexico. But, then again, I’m sure the Democrats will give you a standing ovation for this, too.
You'll find more of this all over the rightwing blogs today. Will they relent when someone tells them what's actually going on? Doubtful; when Repubx saw the follow-up, he interpreted it thus:
The Sonoro Tourism board has amended their advert, by putting a more friendly face on it (?) Perhaps the outcome of backlash stemming from complaints. To little to late. IMO What is done, is done.

And when you think about it:
So much better! Now you just have a sniper eying innocent people on the beach…LOL
The creme de la crackpots is supplied by Ironic Surrealism 3.0:
Personally I find it to be threatening. Very much so. Intentional or not.
These people probably shit their pants when George Lopez comes on the TV.

UPDATE. Duke Stern called the Sonoran tourism and they explained that a printing error kept the follow-up from being seen in at least one edition of the Arizona Republic. But Stern isn't so sure:
Maybe it was an error. The AZ Republic, which opposes the new Arizona immigration law wouldn’t purposely jeopardize the ad revenue of a client simply to cause a stir. Or would the rag actually do that?
The simpler and more logical explanation would be that it was a mistake, but alas, simple and logical explanations seem to have gone out of fashion.

UPDATE 2. Wingnuts, I got another one for you! From "Anytime you vacation, you’ll find friends in Sonora," a tourism pitch from a local writer appearing at Inside Tucson Business:
The chances of your having a bad experience in Sonora are no different than what we Mexicans have by crossing the border into Arizona.
Skree! He's defaming the Homeland, comparing it to his own stinky country! It's the Maine all over again! Do your duty and spread the outrage!

Friday, May 21, 2010

SHORTER MATT WELCH: Talk smack about libertarianism, will you? It just so happens we've been proved right about civil rights     deregulating banks     deregulating Wall Street     food safety     environmental protection     airline prices.
JONAH GOLDBERG, HARD ON THE JOB, LATEST IN A SERIES*. "...I think this is one of those rare, nice, moments in American politics where pretty much all-non hacks agree for the right reasons. I haven't been paying that much attention, but just going by the editorial pages and the like..."

* Compiled by Instaputz and Tbogg, among others. Thanks to Nom de Plume and Commie Atheist in comments.
SHORTER GEORGE SCOVILLE: Having once worked for minimum wage, I understand how bad it sucks to be a minimum wage worker, but those losers just have to understand, it's simply impossible to make any money paying the whole staff more than five bucks an hour. I mean, I sure can't do it. Go Rand Paul!
A RAD NEW WAY TO STOP THE GAY. Family Scholars is sponsored by the wingnutty Institute for American Values. Its mission is to get citizens to marry and procreate unless they're gay, in which case forget marriage because Won't Somebody Please Think of the Children.

A popular favorite! But alas, now that hot Republican gay sex is pretty much an American tradition, the IAV's kind of culture war yap isn't moving units the way it used to. Worse, evil liberals are making fun of them.

"In today’s NYTs, the columnist Frank Rich gets to call me ugly names again," gay marriage obstructor David Blankenhorn wails, because of a connection to luggage-lifter George Rekers which Blankenhorn says is totally bogus. Why Rekers' name appeared in a "lawyer-generated document" attached to his testimony in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger Prop 8 trial, says Blankenhorn, "I haven't a clue."

That's what they all say. Probably Blankenhorn is just sore that his "expert" Perry v. Schwarzenegger testimony turned out to be a hot mess ("Boies went after Blankenhorn’s credibility immediately, noting that he apparently had only one peer-reviewed article to his credit and that was a thesis on a labor dispute between cabinetmaker unions in Britain") and, as you might expect from someone in his line of work, he's projecting his anxieties onto others.

In the face of such disaster, Family Scholars is pursuing new approaches. As these people cannot engender new members and so must recruit, they are trying to make their pitches more kid-friendly.

Blankenhorn’s fellow Values vulture Maggie Gallagher runs over to National Review to pimp a "mind-blowingly new" experiment from their culture-war labs:

An article on the travails of... sperm donor babies.

You think I'm kidding? Get a load of "Taboos and the New Voiceless Americans":
Gay couples are having children. Single women are having children. It’s just that we, the children, haven’t been empowered to vocalize our issues yet. But just wait, the monsoon is coming. All you adults get so mad and upset demanding you have the right to marriage and biological children because you want what everyone else has. Well- us kids want what everyone else has too (a mother and a father). And we’re pissed we’ve been denied them.
The big twist in this saga is that, in addition to being an entitled drama-queen, authoress "Alana S." isn't strictly heterosexual! Or at least she wasn't. "I’ve had crushes on women that have swallowed me whole," she informs her (now undoubtedly uncomfortable, whatever their politics) readers. But then one fine day (wavy lines, lap dissolve):
I used to date them, until one woman I was dating demanded to know why I didn’t want to get more serious. “I just don’t see the point in getting too serious with a woman because I want to marry someone I can have kids with,” is what I told her (anticipation of motherhood is a defining point in my personality). She got really sad for a second (lesbians hate bi women), then it occurred to her that she knew something I maybe didn’t, “You know Alana… you don’t have to have a man in your life to have children.” Oh God, I thought, there’s no way I can continue this.
And this is where the gay menace comes in: In addition to hating bi women, lesbians want to perpetuate the cycle of dadlessness that has left Alana S. a broken husk of a woman. Read deets & weep!
But you know what I am afraid to tell people? I’m afraid to tell them that my dad was a sperm donor. To me, that is creepy. To me, that sounds disgusting. To me, there is something wrong with that. It embarrasses me. So for the most part, I don’t tell anyone. I tell them my dad is dead.
I would be weeping real tears for Ms. S. (rather than my current tears of laughter) except, by a strange coincidence, my dad actually did die when I was little. And oh, how very sad it was. Maybe I should use it to both self-aggrandizing and political effect: "My old man died because we didn't have national health care! Well, not really, but -- boo hoo hoo hoo! On Father's Day I made a card for my creepy uncle! There was no one in the house to tell me there'd never be a center fielder like Tris Speaker, or that my hair was gay! Support National Health Care!"

What made Blankenhorn, Gallagher, and the rest of the kampfers run with this? Maybe they think it's modern. Alana S. does suggest that she made it with chicks, which will get the guys at the Promise Keepers meetings interested. And when she goes on and on about how homosexuals have it easy compared to her, she refers to "my old friends at Tranny Shack," and Lady Gaga.

That ought to get the kids rallying to the anti-gay-marriage cause! Until the inevitable unmasking, when we find out Alana S. is just Ben Domenech in a dress.
YOUR MOMENT OF ALTHOUSE. Just to let you know: Ann Althouse is yelling at the Dalai Lama for being a Marxist.

Sort of puts this whole blogging thing in perspective, doesn't it?

UPDATE. Ha, Whetstone in comments: "Wake me when a law prof who teaches at a private school wants to defend the feelings of the free market."

Thursday, May 20, 2010


LAST GO-ROUND FOR RAND. Though Paul the Younger has capitulated, at Reason the libertarians hold aloft the Old Standard:
But this controversy does raise the very important topic of the government’s central role in American racism. First and foremost, Jim Crow was a legal regime, one that relied on state and local laws to restrict the political, social, and economic liberty of African Americans... we’re talking primarily about state action, not about some failure of the free market.
Similarly, slavery was a legal regime. As with Jim Crow, those poor white Southerners had no choice but to obey the law despite their inclinations, which would naturally have had them follow the enlightened, emancipating course of the Free Market -- that is, surrendering their unpaid laborers.

That's why white Southerners rejoiced when Jim Crow was overthrown. Further proof that the gummint that gums least gums best!

What planet are they from, and can they be sent back?

UPDATE. The rightblogger consensus is that Rand Paul was smeared by being quoted accurately -- the liberal media is more nefarious than we knew! -- and that Jonah Goldberg works very short days.
LIBERTARIANS IN THEIR OWN WORDS. This Rand Paul thing just gets better and better. Now Reason's Matt Welch has informed the troops that the expected liberal attack on the Son of the REVOLution has come to pass, "using as prime evidence his recent statements in opposition to the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act."

The comments are fucking delightful. It's like Free Republic for the high school debate team.

First, there's a lengthy discussion over whether or not to buy gold.

When the Wealth Producers get back on track, some -- perhaps hoping like Rand to convince onlookers that they too would march with MLK in defense of his so-called "rights" -- explain that in our modern, racism-free Valhalla, the Free Market would fail to reward segregated businesses: "Even if an owner wanted to run one, nearly all white people would refuse to eat at it, and it would go out of business." One says that if he were black, instead of "not knowing" a racist storeowner is "saying 'damn n-----' under his breath while he serves you, patronize his business and give him money," he'd rather the guy identify himself as racist; then, the thought-experimental black would be discriminated against, but he would live to see his white neighbors drive the racist out of business, perhaps with the aid of Superman. It would make a lovely After-School Special.

They also bitterly lament that, despite their solicitude toward African-Americans, the stupid liberals will call them racists anyway. This I suppose makes them moderate libertarians.

More hardcore commenters just get right to the nut -- if businessmen want a black-free establishment, Congress shall make no law! Some take the logical next step, and argue that the Civil Rights Act should be repealed ("If it is possible that the Civil Rights Act was the right thing to do in 1964, isn't it also possible that things have improved enough in nearly fifty years that we can now go back to respecting personal autonomy and property rights like we did before?").

Favorite isolated incidents:
[Joe] Scarborough sounds more like a liberal the longer he hangs out at MSNBC.

So Rand Paul thinks that it is okay to ask minorities to help support businesses with their taxes (to pay for police/court protection, roads, infrastructure, etc.) yet be prohibited from being able to patronize them?
They PAY taxes? News to me . . .

This is one of those things that is better left alone. Just lie about an answer and be done with it.
That last cowboy seems to have caught on. It remains to be seen if Rand has. (UPDATE: Apparently!)

I doubt this will scuttle Rand's campaign -- it is, after all, Kentucky. But if the incident informs more people of what libertarianism's really about, it will have been worth it.

UPDATE. James Joyner pitches in. Sure, maybe things were bad for black people back then....
The problem, circa 1964, was that there really was not right to freely associate in this manner in much of the country... More importantly, it meant that, say, a black traveling salesman couldn’t easily conduct his business without an in-depth knowledge of which hotels, restaurants, and other establishments catered to blacks.
...but now we have the internet, so we can get rid of the Civil Rights Act and make something like Yelp for black traveling salesmen seeking Jim Crow accommodations. Maybe we can call it HALP!

UPDATE 2: The Poor Man has the transcript of "Rand Paul’s speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Birmingham, Alabama in April, 1963 (hypothetical)."
NOW ASK HIM ABOUT BROWN VS. BOARD OF EDUCATION. I'm mildly surprised about the Rand Paul matter. I'm not surprised, mind you, to learn that Paul is against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- and don't let his hemming and hawing fool you, he is against it; if the government doesn't have the authority to enforce the law, it's meaningless.

Nor am I surprised that Paul's supporters would try to play the victim, as if asking Paul about it were a dirty trick.

No, I'm only surprised at how few of them feel obliged to say they disagree with Paul on the Civil Rights Act but support his candidacy anyway. They're going all in -- saying, yeah, what do we need this gummint interference for, anyway? They must really believe that Tea Party thing is magic and will sweep out all evil, socio-molistic ideas, including desegregation.

A special prize should go to Another Black Conservative:
Here is the Catch 22. If Paul says he fully supports how the feds forced the private sector to end segregation he loses libertarian street cred, but by only supporting the results of the Civil Rights Act and not the actual legislation, Paul gives the left room to paint him as a racist.
That's a neat trick -- supporting what the Act achieved, but not the "actual legislation" used to achieve it. That's like saying you like milk, but disapprove the manipulation of cow teats. (ABC is finally reduced to suggesting "boycotts and the free market" as an alternative. Yeah, those lunch counters would have desegregated in a jiffy if, instead of sit-ins, those guys had gone to those lunch counters and said, "We refuse to patronize your establishment and are going back to Columbia University.")

Dan Riehl dishes out the "tough mope," telling his followers yes, it was "unfair" forcing Paul to dance around the question of whether the force of law should be used to prevent racial discrimination, but "this is politics," dirty as it is, and Paul has to learn to lie about it.
The Constitutional battle was fifty years ago. It was lost.
Which side of the battle do you suppose Riehl was on?

UPDATE. A Paul defender* agrees that boycotts and would have ended discrimination, because whites-only businesses "must have suffered significantly for their policies," and would have caught on to this fact sooner or later. Touchingly, he speculates of blacks who left the Springfield, Missouri area after the 1906 lynchings: "Wherever they choose to live after 1906, their economic influence guaranteed that they would be served equitably by businesses."

UPDATE 2. Mediaite gives it the old college try:
Except, regardless of what he may privately believe, Paul hasn’t publicly expressed outright opposition to the Civil Rights Act– or, at least, the part of the Civil Rights Act it would be scandalous not to support.
He's against using the power of the law to require businesses to desegregate. What part is he in favor of? The let's-feel-good-about-it-existing part?

*UPDATE 3. The "Paul defender" mentioned above says in comments that his post was a parody. I want to believe him, but I can't be too hasty -- so many people got badly burned believing Joe Lieberman was a Democrat. Still, his other material suggests he's telling the truth.

I hope that doesn't mean I have to go through the rest of them and see whether they were kidding or not. I frequently get the feeling that Liberty Pundits has to be shitting me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

YOU'RE STILL DOING THINGS I GAVE UP YEARS AGO. Ah, the Reason Draw Mohammed contest has commenced. Nick Gillespie delivers the "tell":
Our Draw Mohammed contest is not a frivolous exercise of hip, ironic, hoolarious sacrilege toward a minority religion in the United States (though even that deserves all the protection that the most serioso political commentary commands). It's a defense of what is at the core of a society that is painfully incompetent at delivering on its promise of freedom, tolerance, and equal rights.
This signals to conservatives (whom Reason seems of late dedicated to attracting) that this is no airy-fairy liberal enterprise, done for silly aesthetic reasons or shits and giggles, but a manly anti-jihad.

So if you're the kind of guy who supports, for example, the recent shut-down of the Tarleton State University production of Terrence McNally's gay Jesus play Corpus Christi, you can still spit-ball the Prophet; that Jesus play was at a state university, after all, and would have been paid for by gummint money, which should not even exist, and if it does exist should only fund endeavors which might be supported by a plebiscite of local farmers and tinsmiths. Whereas Reason is supported by a Foundation, which is more libertarian because its funds are not stolen at gunpoint by gummint stormtroopers, but contributed by the rich people who would in a perfectly Randian world be our natural leaders.

For those of us who were drawing insulting pictures of Mohammed years ago, this is all very 2006.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. With Robert Stacy McCain, it's pretty predictable. Covering the Burns-Critz race for the late John Murtha's Congressional seat, Sunday:
I’ll be back to update in a little bit. However, I must not end without reminding you of this quote from February 2009:
If we are doomed to destruction, as least let it be said that we died fighting. But those who never fight, never win.
In a word . . .
WOLVERINES!
On election day, McCain gives us a story about a Gold Star Mom voting for Republican Burns; then, hopeful news for Burns ("The Burns people are encouraged by what they’ve seen, and cautiously optimistic... Roughly 30% turnout can be expected, which is good for the Republican candidate") and suggestions of Democratic election fraud ("OK, yeah, sure")...

...then, just three hours after "the music in the grand ballroom right now just hit Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 'Gimme Three Steps.' That’s a good omen," Burns concedes.

This is very like McCain's drill during the late hours of the Doug Hoffman NY-23 campaign last year: Predictions of a Hoffman "revolution", and laughing off the "'GOP divided' spin job" until, undone by a GOP divided, Hoffman conceded. (In that instance, though, McCain waited 'til after the election to start talking about election fraud.)

Who knows if McCain "lost it" at any point during the Burns campaign, or if he'll come back later to tell us, "BURNSMANIA LIVES!"

Maybe it's because I'm born to lose and a Mets fan, but though I prefer winning, I'm not inclined to count chickens before they're hatched, nor to feverishly whoop up everyone else to count them with me, as McCain does. Perhaps this is a psychological weakness on my part. Certainly, aside from the occasional episode of blind rage, McCain seems to suffer no ill effects from his fantasies, which in any case must be more pleasant than forebodings of doom. Of course he doesn't seem to learn any lessons from them, either, but who wouldn't rather be happy than educated?

Monday, May 17, 2010

JONAH GOLDBERG GOES BIRTHER. Oh Lord: First Jonah Goldberg asserts that Birthers have been given a bad rap (suggesting, oddly and without evidence, that the New York Times thinks Truthers are "okay"); then he publishes some of their speculations at The Corner. Finally, they're finding a use for that heretofore-mostly-empty Big Tent!

Normally I can resist the temptation to believe in an afterlife, but the idea of William F. Buckley seeing this wreckage from the flames makes it much more difficult than usual.
NO GUTTER TOO LOW. Now, surely no one would try to make something ugly out of the selection of a Muslim-American Miss USA... oh crap:
I saw this last night and couldn't believe this country now has a Muslim MS USA. Good God Almighty these Muslims smell our blood all over the streets of the country today ...Goodbye America as the Muslims swallow up the USA right in our faces and laugh their sand chafed asses off at the wussification of this dying land....
Debbie Schlussel, who informed us that Miss Michigan Rima Fakih was funded by supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah (I guess that means they bought gowns for her), now suggests that her elevation to Miss USA may have been "rigged," and declares that "Barack Obama will exploit this as propaganda for Islam." Why does pageant owner Donald Trump hate America?

Michelle Malkin, seeing she'd been beaten to the Muslim-bashing punch, is reduced to muttering, "She nearly tripped over her gown."

These people are just mad they're not old enough to have protested Jackie Robinson signing with the Dodgers.

UPDATE: Snort, Good Roger Ailes in comments: "The Miss USA people were concerned that if a Christian was selected, they wouldn't own the rights to her inevitable sex tape."

UPDATE 2: Wow, full-fledged bigot eruptions across the internet. You'd think they'd be delighted that a woman of Arab descent is posing in a bikini (and maybe took part in a pole-dancing contest) -- what could be a stronger refutation of dhimmitude? Or maybe that's precisely why they're incensed. How can they get their fellow honkeys pumped for a race war against Muslims if some of them look good in a bikini?

The saddest example is Jules Crittenden. He knows he's supposed to get with the rightwing program, but he just can't keep all the contradictions from overheating his computer:
It’s only ranting feminists and religious extremists who have a problem with this. Debbie Schlussel suggests Hezbollah links, which would be different...

Daniel Pipes, with a laundry list of past Muslim pageant winners, says something about affirmative action but I don’t entirely get his point. Not enough information. If they are the only Muslims who ever competed, then maybe...
Didn't I see something like this on Star Trek?



UPDATE 3: At first I thought: Good Lord, the Ole Perfesser is making sense! Should have realized it was actually guest blogger Radley Balko. Sadly, he's not the only one filling in, and Ann Althouse brings the crazy.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about a couple of culture war skirmishes that came up lately: First, the battle to convince America that the 20-year-old series Law & Order actually died of liberalism; second, the battle to do something tea-partyish with the remake of Robin Hood before anyone could see it and find out that it's just a movie.

These guys seem to think all film, video, and broadcast products are documentaries. It's a wonder they haven't denounced Citizen Kane for its anti-business message.

Go look. It has to be seen to be disbelieved.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

HO-HUM, ANOTHER AMATEUR BLASPHEMER (PLUS: A BULLSHIT LIBERTARIAN ANGLE!) Guess who's back? Mark Goldblatt! Longtime National Review readers may recall Goldblatt as the author of Africa Speaks, a book with which he hoped to show that
If not for the French — who've retired all such trophies — African Americans would currently rank as the most hypocritical, most paranoid, most pretentious group of people on the planet.
You'd think the world, or at least the rural Deep South, had been waiting years for such a book, but alas, it o'ertopped no bestseller lists; Goldblatt attributed this to booksellers' prejudice against white people ("Whiteballing"). Yes, really.

I haven't read Africa Speaks, and so cannot judge it. I can report he has a new book out called Sloth which sounds pretty interesting. And he hasn't given up offering his usual brave opinions of dark people.

His new bit, to nutshell, is that because Allen Ginsburg once yelled blasphemies (or so Goldblatt heard) at a Muslim cabdriver who approved of Salman Rushdie's fatwa, Goldblatt may refer to the attempted Times Square bomber as a "Muslim dirtbag." And, like the great Ginsberg, he too will "shit on Islam."

There are many levels of So What to this assertion (though I imagine if someone called Goldblatt a Jewish douchebag a lot of people would flip their lids). Yet these are mere words -- certainly nothing like my brave Muhammed cartoon, which I reproduce here:

Did that in 2006, Goldblatt! Now leave this religion-bashing stuff to the pros, and go back to making fun of black people. You're good at it, and your conservative friends will approve just as heartily.

Added punchline: Goldblatt's rant appears in Reason, the libertarian magazine. If Goldblatt can call Islam shit, I guess I can call libertarianism bullshit. Or "conservatism." But I repeat myself.

Friday, May 14, 2010

FREE SEX FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR THEE. The New York Post does another of its bogus trend stories: "No more sex in the city: New York women are going celibate — and they feel happier than ever." The article names about seven professed celibates, including... Courtney Love.

No one would take this boob-bait seriously, right? Ah, you've forgotten the ever-credulous rightbloggers! Cassy Fiano:
Sex in New York City has apparently become so devalued, so unimportant, that it’s being compared to fast food or cheap junk food.
Several of her male readers immediately boarded Greyhound buses, their shoulder-bags stuffed with Devil Dogs.
It’s as if a light bulb suddenly went on in these girls’ heads, and they realized — the feminist brainwashing was a lie. Sexual empowerment is a myth. Slutting around like Samantha on Sex and the City does not bring you love or happiness or freedom.
If you were wondering if there were a "Sex and the City" reference anywhere in the article but in the title -- no. I expect that, because they'd used the widely anticipated movie sequel to sell the story to their editors, the reporters tried to squeeze any reference they could out of their subjects -- "So are you more a Miranda, or a Samantha?" But even those dumb n00bs didn't fall for it.

Doesn't matter to Fiano -- she clutches the hook, and yells about the awful consequences of sex for girls a good long while before admitting:
I’m not saying women should wait to be married before they have sex. It’s the ideal, obviously, but I certainly fell short of that ideal.
She natters on awhile before coming to her primary argument:
I can tell every single girl out there who sleeps around with abandon that there is one thing that will stick with you forever: you will regret it.
One wonders: why? Because no one will fuck them as good as their fathers? Because McDonald's had a virginity sweepstakes? No:
There will come a day where you will meet that man, and you will wish you could take it all back. Giving yourself away to any stranger you barely know is not empowering. It’s degrading.
Holy fucking shit -- Fiano's using the hyper-Christian anti-kissing argument!
I blame this half on Hollywood, and half on feminism.
Wow -- she felt so strongly about it that, though she had only two Mad Libs spaces left, she left "Obama" out of them.

Believe it or not, Fiano's not the saddest specimen associated with this. Consider the Ole Perfesser:
WHAT’S WRONG WITH A Ding-Dong now and then?

Related: One-night stand etiquette: The importance of “politeness and dignity.”

UPDATE: Oh, celibacy is hipster-trendy now. Enjoy it, guys . . . .
The Perfesser, married to Dr. Mrs. Ole Perfesser, is giving sexually active single people a hard time*. Now why do you suppose that might be?

UPDATE. Speaking of "Sex and the City" as a rightwing sex-scold object lesson, I had forgotten about the mini-boom in the genre a few years back. There was a classic by Wuzzadem, now unfortunately removed from public view, in which Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha were blamed not only for mainstreaming deviant sex practices, but also for homegrown Muslim terrorism; and that of a fellow whom I thought (in that happier, more innocent time) was named Russ Douthat. Also, the related musings of a three-named lady wingnut and Lisa Shiffren . And the dam broke when the SATC movie came out.

It's an easy lay-up for them, I guess. The series and films are basically modern variations on the old wild-oats-and-settle-down stories parodied in SNL's "Married in a Minute" sketch; the addition of sexual content allows wingnuts to either shake their fists at the sex or praise the pro-marriage message, as the occasion warrants.

* Sure, it looks like he's siding with them, but you don't know the Perfesser like I do! The punchline is that the stupid city slickers, who have not learned the lesson of the rooster like good country folk, are going celibate -- though the linked article just makes the whole thing even more obviously a put-up job ("Well, I just figured being in the Post would be funny"). It's amazing what people will do to get their name on the internet, which is odd, because all you really need is a Blogspot account.

UPDATE 2. If you like this sort of thing, check out Joanna:
And as far as "only after one thing" - have you noticed what the feminists are up to these days? For some reason it's a feminist goal to match men in 'sexual freedom'; not sure why you complain that he does it too. As any Sex and the City followerista will tell you, it's perfectly okay for women to use men as sex objects. Now men have to watch themselves. No man starts out as the hard, careless, selfish, kick-you-out-of-bed icicle that needs nothing more than 20 minutes from you. One of the more liberated of us probably broke his heart first, and now he's free to pass along the favor. Ahhh how beautiful freedom is.
The next time some chick calls you an asshole, blame it on feminism. Wave a copy of The Feminine Mystique at her and cry, "They made me a criminal!" (And here's a tip: It's always more convincing when you throw in something about how before Women's Lib you used to hold doors for women. That really gets them thinking!)
LIBERTARIAN BULLSHIT OF THE DAY. Shorter Michael C. Moynihan: Get the U.S. Out of the U.N. (He dug deep for that one.)

Elsewhere the brethren consider The Nation's opposition to the Kagan nomination. A healthy portion of the comments are about how Kagan is ugly and/or gay.

They and the Free Republic commenters probably wouldn't disagree on much, except the Free Republic posters giving them wedgies.
RELIGIOUS MANIAC. National Review torture enthusiast Andy McCarthy really wants America to learn that Islam is the enemy, but nice Muslim just won't cooperate. No mater, he's got an answer:
I just watched the latest installment of Peter's intriguing interview of Fouad Ajami. I'm sure Mark will have his own take on it, but, despite my admiration for Mr. Ajami, I was unimpressed. He seems to make Mark's point that there are moderate Muslims but not a moderate Islam. In purporting to refute this notion, Mr. Ajami basically says that he was brought up as a moderate Muslim in a family that was similarly "secular" and moderate. OK, but Islam is certainly not secular — that's a contradiction. If Ajami is saying that his family chose to live in a secular fashion that did not incorporate many Muslim traditions (he mentions that women in his family did not wear the veil), that means they were resistant to various tenets, not that those tenets are not part of Islam.
I understand why he might feel this way. In my darker moments I feel that Christians who have been taught by their mullahs that abortion is murder are similarly a menace to society. Just because they seem to conform to our way of life doesn't mean there aren't many Scott Roeders out there, sleeper cells waiting to kill us because they hate our freedoms.

But then I remember that while some of them are indeed homicidal maniacs, the overwhelming majority of American Christians, thank God, don't take their religion that seriously. And if you believe in America at all, you must expect American Muslims to similarly assimilate into our pluralistic society.

Unless what you're really against is pluralism, and what you're really for is diligently stirring the shit in hopes of making this a truly Christian nation at last, with blood and thunder.

UPDATE. In response, Mark Steyn is his usual raghead-hating self (while professing "respect" for Mr. Ajami, who must by now be wondering what they mean by that word).

But Mark Krikorian is, amazingly, even worse: He mentions one Hispanic writer who suggested that white people leave his people alone and watch out for Muslim-Americans instead, then adds, "I suspect lots of apologists for mass immigration would like to make this argument explicitly, but refrain because they know it would disrupt their united front with Islamic groups." This is really unfair; Think how nativists would object if I tarred them all with the ravings of Mark Krikorian.

Krikorian also points with pride to his own earlier post in which he said "Look, I understand why conservatives get irritated by the leftist whining of so many black 'leaders,' and even much of the black public..." and a bunch of other stuff that normal people would prefer to have covered up.
WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME. How does a wingnut start his day? Some start by thumbing through new legislation with sinister-sounding titles. Like the "Healthy Choices Act" -- ooh, that must be double Hitler at least!

No need to work too hard, let's just skim the top, where the bill orders something added to the section of the U.S. Public Health Service Act that says vaccinations should be reported to the Federal Government (already Hitler, of course, but let's take it one outrage at a time). The Healthy Choices Act would amend this to also require the health professionals who administer the vaccines to report the following:
the age, gender, height, and weight of each person vaccinated to calculate the body mass index of such person
Skree! The Feds will also give grants to "ensure that BMI measurements will be recorded for children ages 2 through 18." Skree! And if your kid's a blimp, the Feds will stomp on your parental rights by providing you with "information on how to lower BMI and information on state and local obesity prevention programs." Providing information! Why, it might as well say "brainwashing"!

And if you don't give up your precious BMI, the Feds will jackboot your face by not giving you the federal grant! And how's a tea partyin' man supposed to Live Free or Die without federal grants?

SKREEE!
Watch Out for the Fat Police..

I guess in the age of socialized medicine everyone's lifestyle is everyone else's business. Except for promiscuous behavior of course. Women can sleep around all they want and the only thing men can do is pay for the abortions. Don't even think about what homosexuals do in public parks and restrooms.
SKREEEE!
The OP(formerly the GOP) wing of the socialist Republicrat party working with the RAT wing to push more of their unconstitutional, socialist agenda on the people. It's time to hammer Congress once again by contacting them folks! Keep up the pressure! Don't let up!

... have to keep the livestock in good market condition...
SKREEEE!
When are we going to start demanding government get out of our lives? Does no one lese see how this bill, an offshoot of Obama-Care (probably mandated by Obama-Care) will have the government telling us what we ALL can eat and when...
SKREEEEEEEEE!
How about we start by having Michelle Obama tell us what her BMI is? Dare I suggest the number would be appallingly high? Seriosuly, this Big Brother crap has to stop.
The punch line is, I'm not entirely sure the program is a good use of government funds and would like to see a reasonable debate on the matter. Unfortunately the only debate going right now is between supporters of a public health proposal and delusional, paranoid idiots.

UPDATE. The American Frozen Food Institute supports the bill. The American Frozen Food Institute! People, do I have to spell it out for you?

UPDATE 2. Biggest SKREEEEE of the day:
If we don't put a stop to this insanity on November we're doomed as a nation.
I would award Babalu Blog the Golden Straitjacket right now, but maybe one of them will declare that the Healthy Choices Act will blow up the planet Earth or destroy the universe or something. They're competitive that way.

UPDATE 3. Commenter Nathan sees the thin end of the wedge: "This will only lead to Crisconacht."

UPDATE 4. Trust RedState to bring the crazy! After headlining that "Ron Kind (D-WI-3) Wants The Government To Track How Much Your Daughter Weighs" -- your virginal, innocent daughter, America! -- spokesbuffoon Dan McLaughlin declares that the Federal health Nazis will be "ogling [your] children." My God, that's why they want those kids to slim down -- so they'll be model-thin for their child sex camps! Forbid it, almighty God!

Of course, if you could get these people to change their mental picture of the health Nazis' subjects to Gabourey Sidibe, they'd be demanding a mandatory national diet plan.

UPDATE 5. The Lonely Conservative expects that under the new law, the Feds will "send the kids to fat camp" or "make them do 'volunteer' work" -- but then mentions that New York already has a similar program, and does not report that local children in consequence attend fat camps or engage in forced volunteerism.

But he still has a complaint:
I can’t tell you how many people I know who’ve been told their kids are obese based on the Body Mass Index, but anyone with eyes can tell the children aren’t even overweight.
So -- the kids have to bear the stigma of an inaccurate body mass index. And there's no court of appeals for that, my friends! If the other children ever find out, Junior's middle school career is over! And even if they never find out (a safe bet, considering how health records work), the bureaucrats will know, and the faux-fatties will be the first ones in the ovens!

It's becoming clearer why this particular Conservative is so Lonely.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

TRAITORS UNMASKED! Paul Cella, previously self-revealed as an insufferable pedant, now shows himself to be a nut. In some rightwing strokebook, he rails against the "open society" doctrine he claims has been adopted by his fellow conservatives as well as by liberals. America's strength, he says, is not that it has a free marketplace of ideas, but a restricted one, in which "seditious" ideas are banned lest they grow and gut-rot the Republic.

Well, surely he means genuinely treasonous notions, yes?
Conservatives have in past commonly stood foursquare in defense of this American tradition. And when one reflects on the fate of other nations, where particularly odious seditious movements gained political power, one is inclined to adjudge the conservative stance as a wise one. John Adams the conservative signed the Sedition Act of 1798; the liberalizing French King Louis XVI lost his head.
Why, even the Tea Party people would be offended by this, if they were capable of understanding what Cella is talking about.

It's been a while since I've seen anyone defend the Alien and Sedition Acts who was not drunk or kidding. But Cella never kids, and if he drinks I imagine he only does it when he's writing.

Cella is also enthusiastic for McCarthyism, and if you object to the blacklisting of many people whose worst crime was believing in Communism (and many others who were merely mistaken for them because they were liberals), he responds that Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White were guilty. He also says 9/11 and Fort Hood show that "diversity" is "nothing but a degraded version of the open society doctrine, despite the disastrous paralysis it produced, which cost us the blood of our finest." So I guess we have to ban that, too -- maybe he wants the Civil Rights Act repealed?

Cella fails to inform us whether he believes the music of Dave Matthews, on which he has previously raved ("Scripture tells us that the truth will set you free; Matthews’s lyrics provide the obverse"), rises to the level of sedition. It seems to meet his standard of proof (i.e., he doesn't like it).

The punch line? This gibberish is taken seriously by Ramesh Ponnuru and Jonah Goldberg.

The country's going to hell, but this conservative intellectual revival should be good for a few laughs before Armageddon.
FREEPERS SEE RED. When Paul Godat told me about this, I assumed it was some kind of hack. Even the mouthbreathers at Free Republic, I thought, couldn't be so deranged as to get after Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan for putting free tampons in the Harvard Law ladies' rooms when she was Dean.

But they are, Blanche, they are:
Nothing is "free." Someone always has to pay for it.
Whether it be health care, food, your mortgage, coffee, or tampons.

What a nightmare this woman is.

Excellent post. Thank you.
This Communist needs to be stopped

Free Tampons! Someone tell Rahm (”Take out your f****** tampon . . .”) Emannuel.
Lots of talk about her being a "bulldyke" and such like, too.

Kagan hasn't been my favorite nomination, but the wingnuts' internal combustion over her may make it so.

UPDATE. They also reference the bullshit ban-speech story. I used to think they all got morning memos, but now I think it's more like Slip Mahoney yelling "OK fellas, Routine 12!" at the Bowery Boys.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

SHORTER RAMESH PONNURU: I think I can explain away the higher illegitimacy rates in red vs. blue states: Black people! They're like little blue states inside the red states, and so can't be held against white folk like us.
REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO WORK ON GAINING THE WOMEN'S VOTE. Theblogprof criticizes TV food person Rachael Ray* for working with Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow on child nutrition and obesity. Because, said theblogprof, Stabenow is "obsese" Also:
Rachel Ray who herself has likely never been referred to as slim made it by being promoted by an obese woman (Oprah), works for the Food Network that both promotes eating and is staffed by obese cooks...
Theblogprof is a bodybuilder, which may explain his rage against non-buff female forms.

I've tried to keep my mind clear of the reductive attitude that conservatives are just assholes, but some days it's tough. (Speaking of which, linked by the Ole Perfesser, who -- to disclose a trade secret -- is a very reliable source for nut links.)

*UPDATE. Fixed spelling of Rachael Ray's name. (Thanks Vern.) Why was I relying on theblogprof's word on anything?

UPDATE. Oh, like you wouldn't hit it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

LIBERTARIAN BULLSHIT OF THE DAY. Elena Kagan is apparently averse to answering direct questions about specific legal cases in her Senate hearings. At Reason Jesse Walker headlines his pick-up of the Daily Caller story "Free Speech for Thee, But Not for Me." Walker was going for a subtle joke here, but you couldn't tell it by the commenters, who gobble up the slam on the liberty-hating socialist Obama and other aspects of modern life that displease them:
Fat Jewish lesbians need a voice too, you insensitive clod. Especially if that voice sounds exactly the same as every other liberal from Harvard.

That was mean of me, she's a woman, not an "it". But then, the tests results have not come back yet....
My favorite part is when some of the brethren make fun of Nixon's disrespect for the Constitution, and an Old Guard type comes in to remind them that bastard Lincoln started it.

No wait -- this is my favorite:
Could we just exclude anyone who has worked as an attorney for the current administration from consideration? I think this is a reasonable standard that in no way constrains the Executive branch from putting their kind of people on the Supreme Court (which is definitely the administration's Constitutional privilege).
I believe there is precedent for this in the Court of Narnia Under My Sheets With A Flashlight.

(Revised to be less dumb.)

UPDATE. Making everything worse as usual, Megan McArdle:
I haven't generated great interest in the Elena Kagan nomination.
Why was she trying to generate interest in the Kagan nomination? Oh, right: Words, meaning, Humpty Dumpty, etc.
But I do think that David Brooks is onto something when he notes that her relentless careerism, her pitch-perfect blandness, are a little creepy... the driven, hyperachieving spawn of the Ivy League meritocracy...

What's disturbing is that this is what our nomination process now selects for: someone who appears to be in favor of nothing except self-advancement.
Rich as this was from Brooks, from McArdle it's a fucking tub of Double Devon Cream.

"What say you, Weenie? Shall we be vegan today? It would be rawther uplifting."


I'm sitting here writing this in my underwear in goddamn Texas, and Eloise at the Atlantic is talking about careerism. Fuck me.
COURT JESTER. The Ole Perfesser pretends to approve of the Kagan appointment. (In his current Alinksy-triple-agent mode, he can't be expected to make judgments on any basis but perceived advantage for his team, even in his alleged field of expertise, so who knows what he really thinks.) Key passage:
That said, however, there is little doubt in my mind that if the president were unconstrained, he would have picked someone more in keeping with his own ideological leanings — which is to say someone considerably to the left of Kagan.
Reynolds has been hanging out with Tea Partiers too long, and has come to believe that normal people will buy their vision of Obama as a dangerous radical who would appoint the corpse of William O. Douglas but that he trembles with fear at his impending removal by honkies in tricorners.

I think that a President who bails out Wall Street, moves but trepidatiously on gay rights and WOT justice issues, etc., may reasonably be considered a centrist and thus inclined toward an MOR Court pick. I also suspect that Obama sees the political advantage in giving conservative Republicans the opportunity to act like fucking nuts about it, which they are only too eager to do.

UPDATE. Jesus Christ -- imagine Bobo Brooks criticizing anyone for being a gutless careerist!