Tuesday, August 17, 2010

OBLIVIOUS. Politico ran a surprisingly sarcastic -- dare one say, even satirical -- post called "Obama, the one-term president." After an intro echoing the usual bullshit about Obama's mishandling of the mosque situation ("I am not saying Obama is not smart... I am just saying he does not understand what savvy first-term presidents need to understand..."), Roger "Not the Insane One" Simon's article goes on to say that Obama was, like Lincoln and Eisenhower before him, a fool to put principle before popular prejudice:
You can go back to the mid-1800s and find a lot of legislators saying that Abraham Lincoln should stop lecturing people about ending slavery and listen to them about keeping it.

And there were plenty of lawmakers who said President Dwight D. Eisenhower was “disconnected from the mainstream of America” when he ordered the 101st Airborne Division to go down to Little Rock, Ark., to make sure some black kids could go to school with white kids.

Both decisions may have been “off-message,” which is about the worst sin you can commit in Washington.

...what’s the point of doing the right thing if your party is going to lose seats because of it?

Maybe Obama is disconnected. After all, as a former professor of constitutional law, he actually knows what the Constitution says.

His opponents have no such fetters. They know what they want the Constitution to say: yes to guns, no to gay marriage and never to mosques close to hallowed ground, though churches and synagogues are OK.

What’s so wrong with that? I’ll bet they poll great.
Ole Perfesser Instapundit linked to it. Guess what he thinks/wants his yahoo readers to think it's about?
UPDATE: Reader Troy Lovell writes: “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I have been wondering for quite a while about that. The only evidence for Obama being smart is that everybody says so. But don’t smart people usually reveal themselves by knowing lots of stuff or making smart decisions?..."

It’s the Peter Principle on steroids, I think.
He's not the only one. Scared Monkeys even goes so far as to quote part of the punchline ("when it comes to doing what is right versus doing what is expedient, you do what is expedient so that you can get reelected and do what is right in the second term"), and his takeaway is still "Is Barack Obama a one term President? That is the questions asked and answered at the Politico … the answer is YES!"

Dave Weigel says, "Sometimes, it becomes clear that people are linking to what you write without actually reading it." While it's possible that these people don't read what they're yelling about, I think it's more likely that they're purposefully misrepresenting it. Oafs feeding the fires of bigotry don't scruple over the fuel.

Monday, August 16, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the New York mosque nonsense. I largely confined myself to big-time bloggers as subjects, which actually made the whole thing more depressing. The small fry are sometimes capable of interesting, if deranged, turns of phrase or trains of thought, which adds some zany charm to the whole business; the major leaguers, on the other hand, are just reliably prosaic and tendentious volume dealers in bigotry and bullshit.

Which doesn't mean you shouldn't click over and read it, of course. There's some jokes! And pictures!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BUGHOUSE. In the name of glibertarianism, The Ole Perfesser is peddling his DDT bullshit again:
RATS ON THE WEST SIDE, BEDBUGS UPTOWN: “TVNewser has learned the human resources department of TBS Inc. has sent out an email this afternoon alerting staffers of a bed bug problem in their New York City offices at Time Warner Center — home to CNN, CNNMoney.com and other Time Warner entities.” Bringing back DDT would solve this problem. . . .
Forgive the repeat...
DDT proponents are generally reluctant to acknowledge the complicating and protean factor of mosquito resistance. Entomologist May Berenbaum finds this galling. An expert on insecticide metabolism, Berenbaum is director of the entomology department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Read the entomological literature of the 1950s," she said in a telephone interview. "Way before Silent Spring, scientists were already trying to understand resistance. That's what insecticide toxicology was all about back then. Resistance to DDT was first detected in Italy, in houseflies, in 1947!"...

After Berenbaum published the article, she said, she was barraged by e-mails demanding that she support her claims. "To get them off my back, I finally culled a list of peer-reviewed articles documenting resistance to DDT and other pesticides in pockets all over Africa. This is not my life's work. I spent 10 minutes--10 minutes--and I found 15 articles. What would I have found if I'd spent an hour?"
...but it's important that everyone get this: These people don't know what the fuck they're talking about, and they want you to follow them into the abyss.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

HOW BULLSHIT WORKS, PART 335,392.Doop de doo*, just checking the internet for Arcade Fire reviews and... hello?
American Socialists Release Names of 70 Congressional Democrats in Their Ranks
Posted by Jim Hoft on Friday, August 13, 2010, 4:16 PM

The Socialist Party of America announced in their October 2009 newsletter that...
(October 2009? How'd they keep it quiet all this time?)
...that 70 Congressional democrats currently belong to their caucus.
This admission was recently posted on Scribd.com:
American Socialist Voter–
Q: How many members of the U.S. Congress are also members of the DSA?
A: Seventy

Q: How many of the DSA members sit on the Judiciary Committee?
A: Eleven: John Conyers [Chairman of the Judiciary Committee], Tammy Baldwin, Jerrold Nadler, Luis Gutierrez, Melvin Watt, Maxine Waters, Hank Johnson, Steve Cohen, Barbara Lee...
Etc., skree, etc. Story spreads among other vendors of rock-solid information, including American Thinker, which marvels at "the astonishing number of Democratic House members who not only belong to the Socialist Party of America, but even more incredible, don't mind if people find out about it." There they are, boldly appearing as names on something someone else wrote! It's like they're hiding their socialism in plain sight!

At that other fine news org, Wizbang, commenters add depth to the debate over just how socialist these socialistic socialists are ("the headline 'Socialists in the Democratic Party' is quite redundant"). Then comes the skunk at the picnic:
Whoever the "Democratic Socialists of America" are, this is basically the exact same list as the Progressive Caucus. Which I'm sure you don't like - but which is no more socialist than the GOP is fascist.


So, in short, I think you've been had. In fact, I'll bet money on it.
But they know how to handle spoilsports like that:
Judging by this post and many others you have made recently, you must have been instructed to go into high gear as the election nears. Your posts are all aimed at defending the indefensible and your sputtering attempts to undermine your opponents are becoming laughable.

Do you really think that such trite manipulations are enough for this crowd?

Back to the drawing board tiny troll. Perhaps there's still time to think of something more effective...
At the 2012 Republican Convention, long after this has faded from the memories of sane people, you will find delegates and perhaps even a speaker yelling about Democrats who are also Socialist Party members. Regular media will assume it's just a bit of campaign hyperbole which they certainly couldn't take seriously.

* (c)

UPDATE: Aha! Crazy Dave Horowitz breaks it down:
The Progressive Caucus is an organization of Members of Congress founded in 1991 by newly-elected House Representative Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont), who is a self-described socialist.
Do we have to spell it out for you!
Until 1999, the Progressive Caucus website was hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America. After the press reported on this link, the connections suddenly vanished from both organizations’ websites.
1999! That's why they call them sleeper cells, I guess.

UPDATE 2: DSA on their connection with the Progressive Caucus:
Like our friends and allies in the feminist, labor, civil rights, religious, and community organizing movements, many of us have been active in the Democratic Party. We work with those movements to strengthen the party’s left wing, represented by the Congressional Progressive Caucus...

We hope that at some point in the future, in coalition with our allies, an alternative national party will be viable. For now, we will continue to support progressives who have a real chance at winning elections, which usually means left-wing Democrats.
Similarly, I hope to own a Mercedes someday, but till then I am riding a Schwinn Varsity. Which makes my Schwinn Varsity a Mercedes.

UPDATE 3. Talked to the the Democratic Socialists of America's National Director, Frank Llewellyn. Regarding the document to which Gateway Pundit and others are linking, which suggests the DSA named 70 Socialist members of Congress, Llewellyn says, "that's just total fiction... They certainly didn't talk to me."

Llewellyn also denies Horowitz' charge that the Progressive Caucus website was hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America. "DSA posted a list of the Progressive Caucus members as a public service," Llewellyn says, "but it had nothing to do with those people having any connection to us." He said DSA took the list down because occasionally "some hopeless Republican candidate would seize upon the fact that the names were listed [at the DSA site], and issue a press release condemning the candidate as a socialist. We took it down because it was causing them this problem."

But Llewellyn does admit that "I wouldn't know" whether the 70 Reps are members of the Socialist Party, because "we're not the Socialist Party." So keep digging, citizen journalists! The truth is out there!

UPDATE 4. At last, some of the commenters are talking about Arcade Fire!

Friday, August 13, 2010

THE BARREL HAS NO BOTTOM, PART 526,020. Jennifer Rubin of Commentary is fast becoming the worst hack on the internet -- and believe me, that takes some doing. I've been following her work for a while, and while it's always been noxious, of late she's just been cannonballing into bullshit, and at the deep end of the pool.

There was, for example, her commentary on the Palestinian flotilla incident in June, grandly titled "Does Israel Have a Right to Defend Itself?" in which she explained with a straight face, "when the Israeli commandos were set upon as they were lowered from a helicopter, they acted to defend themselves" -- spinning the IDF forces from invaders to innocent victims of unprovoked attack in one sentence. In July, there was her post associating the raving racist Mel Gibson with... Barack Obama.

But her post today reacting to Obama's support for the New York City mosque takes the cake. In this case she doesn't have to reach for unreason, as she and the whole conservative movement have been obviously bughouse on this subject all along. But the ripeness of her raving is something to behold:
Obama has shown his true sentiments now, after weeks of concealing them, on an issue of deep significance not only to the families and loved ones of 3,000 slaughtered Americans but also to the vast majority of his fellow citizens. He has once again revealed himself to be divorced from the values and concerns of his countrymen. He is entirely – and to many Americans, horridly — a creature of the left, with little ability to make moral distinctions. His sympathies for the Muslim World take precedence over those, such as they are, for his fellow citizens. This is nothing short of an abomination.
First, there's the slovenly writing -- Rubin's supposed to be a professional, yet she artlessly vomits out her catchrages (Obama doesn't understand Americans, he's a "creature of the left," he can't make "moral distinctions," etc) without bothering to use minimal skills to concatenate them as even a grade-school polemicist could manage. As we know she's not talentless, we can assume either that she was too shocked and upset by Obama's statement to perform adequately -- which is a long-shot, as her hatred of Obama is demonstrably so intense that she must have been expecting this all along -- or, more likely, that she simply wanted to get plenty of outrage signifiers out there as quickly as possible so that the yahoos might feed on them, and had no interest in building an argument she neither needed nor could manage.

I mean, she's actually saying out loud -- in a magazine that is not, or was not last time I checked, scrawled in crayon on pieces of scrap cardboard -- that Obama prefers the "Muslim World" to the country he serves as President. This is the sort of thing you expect to hear from Tea Party crackpots, or deranged shut-ins burbling ungrammatically on the internet. Now you see it in the "respectable" magazines of the right.

If I were more serious about this gig, I'd try to get a degree in abnormal psychology, fast.
WHY THEY SUCK. I think we've all enjoyed those Bed Intruder videos and remixes. But some of us can't lay off politics even for lulz -- like The Anchoress:
It’s entirely possible that Dodson and his family will be helped out of the projects not by well-meaning but stale and bloated government programs, but by imaginative, energetic, opportunistic art, and a culture that craves people it can like and root for.
For me the worst thing about these people -- and, really, this is the animating principle of this blog -- isn't the policies they push, hideous as those are, but the fact that they reflexively make everything about their politics. The Anchoress, who spends her days portraying Jesus Christ as very like Newt Gingrich, is one of the worst such offenders.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

GAYS CAN'T MARRY, STRAIGHTS CAN'T DIVORCE: CONSERVATIVE UTOPIA! Let's be fair to our anti-gay-marriage, social conservative friends. They don't just want to keep gay people from entering the bonds of matrimony -- they also want to keep straight people from ever getting out of them.

You may not have noticed, but no-fault divorce has become a big deal among this crowd. It appears inspired by New York state's brand-new impending no-fault law. So social cons and their audiences take a break from the monotony of beating on homosexuals, and lament that fewer people are trapped in loveless marriages than in grandpa's day.

At World magazine, Alisa Harris has a heart-rending story:
Two days after Christmas in 1993, Thomas McClintock's wife told him she was leaving him. After five placid years of marriage, he was shocked and willing to do whatever it took to keep her.

"I thought we were a good match," he said. "[Our marriage] wasn't all that great but it wasn't that bad and I thought it was something we could work on."

But days later she left her job, her dog, her house, her country, and her husband. She came back a few months later. They sat down and divided their finances. Then she was gone.
That bitch! Harris rubs Tom's shoulders and whispers there, there:
McClintock, then a resident of Virginia, said he considers himself a "victim" of unilateral no-fault divorce: "What other kind of legal contract can you end like that without any kind of legal consequences?"
I will have my pound of flesh -- closest to your uterus!

Poor Harris has a hard job. She unwisely acknowledges that Bible Belt and anti-gay states actually have higher divorce rates than the other kind. Here's her explanation:
States that have low divorce rates also tend to have low marriage rates. Arkansas, for instance, has the second-highest divorce rate (5.9 per 1,000 people), but it also has more marriages per year: 12.1 marriages per 1,000 people as opposed to Massachusetts' 5.9 marriages per 1,000 people.
Thus red states show their respect for marriage by having lots of them, and then getting divorces. Third time's the charm, Lutie-belle!

Among the remedies Harris' experts suggest: Covenant marriage, the double-secret-probation of wedlock. That should go over huge in New York! But Harris has to admit that covenant marriage's success has been negligible, and retreats into gibberish, implying that no-fault means criminal spouses go scott-free: "If a man beats his wife in the face with a barbell until she's unrecognizable, as one man did," she says, "then society should say this is wrong." Assault charges don't quite do it -- society should force that man to stay married to his abused wife! It'll teach them both a lesson!

There are plenty of others out there ("No-Fault Divorce is Institutionalized Evil"), but all you really need to know is that both Gay Patriot and the Heritage Foundation are against no-fault divorce. When they think it will advance their cause, they pretend they oppose no-fault divorce for the sake of women and children. But I think it's really just a knee-jerk reaction they have when someone escapes.

UPDATE. The good Roger Ailes writes in comments: "If we can force spouses to stay married, we should be able to force single people to get married. 'Do you, "Gay Patriot," take this woman, Kathryn Jean Lopez, to be your lawful wedded wife?'" I smell sitcom!

Also, M. Krebs suggests you "click on the 'Sign the Lame Duck Petition' link on the left and do something horribly nefarious." But I must warn you: 1.) I make money off these ads; it would be harmful to my interests to countenance such tomfoolery; and 2.) I have already used the link to send Congressman Nadler a message of protest under the name Heywood Jablome.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SHORTER JONAH GOLDBERG: Comparing conservatives to the Taliban is lame and nasty. Comparing liberals to Hitler is brilliant. Why? Because farrrrt. Whoa, he who smelt it dealt it!
THE BARREL HAS NO BOTTOM. Just in case you thought the conservatives screaming about the New York City mosque had reached, or could possibly reach, their apex of lunacy, here's a column from Breitbart's latest vehicle comparing Michael Bloomberg to Nazi collaborator Marshal Petain.

Mencken said no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people. I'm beginning to think counting on the psychosis of the American Right has become equally reliable.

(h/t Daniel Coyle)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SHORTER GREG GUTFELD: I hate Muslims so much, to get back at them I'll even pretend to like fags.

UPDATE. Comments are cherce. ("That tears it," says Jay B., "I'm going to open a library next to Fox.") But mds is a little behind the curve: "Imagine the whining" among conservatives, says mds, if the alleged bar can't get a cabaret license. "Islamists can build a monument to their conquest of America on an open grave, but we're denied a license by the leftist NYC government. Etc, etc." Sorry, Megan McArdle already got there. It's like they're preempting our satire!

Monday, August 09, 2010

ESSENCE OF PALIN. Sarah Palin, once again defending herself against reporters:
The LSM has now decided to use this brief encounter for another one of their spin operations. They claim I – wait for it – “appear to roll my eyes” when the lady tells me she’s a teacher. Yes, it’s come to this: the media is now trying to turn my eyebrow movements into story lines.
I'm actually sympathetic toward her on this score. But you know what would have really won me over? If she'd compared this attention to her facial expressions with the attention also absurdly paid to the facial expressions of Al Franken by wingnut shit-stirrers.

But that would never happen. Not only because -- to use a phrase traditionally employed by gomers -- it doesn't fit the narrative, but because it would require Palin to show sympathy for someone other than herself.

And I've never seen her do that.

She does defend her kids, but only when she fantasizes that they've been attacked by the media -- which isn't really a sign of interest in their welfare, but of an interest in the exploitive possibilities of one's own family that would have embarrassed Richard "Checkers" Nixon.

In other people's families, she's less interested. When Palin talks about "mama grizzlies," for example, she's clearly not talking about any actual people whose families are under threat -- such as single mothers who, unlike Bristol Palin, find it increasingly difficult to provide for their young. Her videos show lots of women, but we never hear a thing about their lives.

The sort of vulnerable mothers you or I might think of in this context never come up in Palin's mythology. Rather, it's all about winners: Grizzlies observed in their moment of protective rage -- rage being something to which her biggest fans of either gender can relate; mothers who are victorious just because they're angry (assuming that whoever they're mad at isn't holding a big old gun on them).

She doesn't bring up these symbols of motherhood to make her listeners sensitive to motherhood's perils and pains. She does it only to reflect glory upon herself, and her own brave, motherly defense of her clan against David Letterman and The Family Guy.

I still expect Palin to run for President, but her apparently ineducability to her own limitations may be a drawback to her. I think her awful poll numbers have very little to do with her affect as a politician (I actually think she's got a pretty good schtick), or with her politics, though they are perhaps a little more dumbed-down than even ordinary Americans can tolerate, at least so far.

No, the big thing Palin seems not to know or even be capable of noticing, and which ignorance may sink her, is that, except for the densest and most depraved rubes, anyone can tell that she doesn't give a damn about anyone except herself.
SHORTER MEGAN McARDLE. People who want to tax the super-rich are just jealous. If you want real fairness, cut social programs for the poor.

(You want to know what the real Reagan legacy is? That in a country where top earners once had a 91 percent tax rate, people like McArdle portray a 35 percent top tax rate on bazillionaires as bizarre and cruelly unjust. And get away with it.)
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, in which the rightblogger mishegas about the Prop 8 ruling, Michelle Obama's vacation, Mexicans and Muslims leads me to ask: Are conservatives a white people's movement? Yeah, I know, de facto they've always been, but recently haven't they observably given up even pretending?

I know they've got a few non-honky operatives, conservative blacks, gays, and what not, but from the way they use them -- like in those Tea Party scenes where they go, "See? We do so have African Americans!" -- it seems they've decided that minority representation is totally a symbolic thing, which one engineers to reassure one's white supporters that one's virtually minority-free movement is not racist.

But the lion's share of their rhetoric is turned toward denouncing the Other. You will hear far, far more from them about the damned blacks, Mexicans, etc., than you will about Paul Ryan's pathetic tax reform plan. Stack up their recent references to Ryan against those relating to the Ground Zero Mosque -- in both volume and ferocity -- and you'll see what I mean.

I usually try to be careful about saying such things, but fuck it: These people are counting on racism and homophobia to get elected. And it just might work.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

DON'T YOU FUCKING LOOK AT ME! Did you mother ever tell you, "Don't give me that look?" Power Line's Scott Johnson thinks this is a good basis for political outrage:
[Senator Al] Franken was presiding over the Senate during [Senator Mitch] McConnell's approximately 10-minute speech. During the speech Franken was making faces, rolling his eyes, laughing to himself, throwing his head back and shaking his head, shifting his chair from one side to another, and making obvious theatrical movements displaying his disagreement with the speech.
First punchline:
Everyone in the chamber at the time was acutely aware of his absurd behavior. Given the limitations imposed on the C-SPAN cameras, we don't have video of Franken's antics.
In other contexts, of course, Johnson finds lack of video of an event proof that it didn't happen.

Perhaps sensing that even some of the zombies who take Power Line seriously won't consider eye-rolling an impeachable offense, Johnson adds some shady sources-say, indicating that this is not the end of Franken physiognomic crimes:
I was told that Franken has become notorious on Capitol Hill for incidents of this kind. He is described as someone who frequently becomes rageful and lacking in control over the behavior related to his emotions. He is susceptible to outbursts, involving Republican Senators as well as staffers, immediately following which he is consumed with regret. He fits the profile of a guy with serious anger management issues.
Given the context, not the mention the lack of any specific incidents in the report, maybe these "rageful" acts go from eye-rolling to eye-crossing, nostril-flaring, double-takes, spit-takes, and the Curly Shuffle.

Or maybe it's total bullshit. With these guys that's always a possibility.

Actually, as I thumb through the blistering notices of other rightbloggers who jumped on this story, it reminds me less of of maternal intolerance of backsass and more of the famous New York child-killer Joel Steinberg, who said he was driven to violence because the damn kid wouldn't stop staring at him.

UPDATE. Commenter lawnorder asks, "So rolling eyes is a crime but shouting 'liar' to the President is peachy?"

Friday, August 06, 2010

YOUR MOMENT OF GOLDBERG. Busy with paying work ("Moscow gold!" as Alexander Cockburn's father used to say, "Where was it when we needed it?") so I'll just leave you with a portion of Jonah G. in full foot-in-bucket mode, on the New York mosque tsimmis:
But, truth be told, I also suspect it’s not as big a deal as a lot of people are making it into, on either side of the question.

Update: A number of friendly readers take great exception to my “not as big a deal” line above. A few quick thoughts: I didn’t say it isn’t a big deal, I just said I didn’t think it is as big a deal as some are making it. I get a lot of email from folks telling me this is a sign of encroaching American Dhimmitude and surrender and whatnot. I don’t buy that. Nor do I buy the liberal line that this shows what a wonderful and tolerant country we are. I think Bloomberg et al. are acting more through cowardice and parochial groupthink than open-mindedness. I think that this is offensive, as I said. I don’t think this will be a P.R. coup around the world nor do I think it will a P.R. disaster. Rather, to the extent it has any impact at all, it will confirm to radical Muslims that we are weak. Moderate Muslims will probably interpret it many different ways. Some will agree with the radicals, some with Tom Friedman. Most, however, just won’t care.
I'm beginning to think Goldberg farts these things out -- literally, like Le Petomaine -- and some poor intern has to transcribe. Writers, take note: This is what happens when you try to split the difference between two points of view and you neither understand nor genuinely give a rat's ass about either one.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

PROP 8 RULING: FIRST DELIGHTFUL RESPONSES. Good news about Prop 8, not only for America but also for followers of conservative bloggers, who have begun step up their game in response.

Gay Patriot consoles his constituents that this is "a huge boon to Republicans in the Golden State," who will "make inroads into certain segments of the Democratic base when some Democrats who supported Prop 8 see a Republicans criticizing a court which overturned by fiat an issue they passed with their ballots" and "reconsider their partisan affiliation." It's a good schtick -- not only to promise that Democrats who don't want no fags gittin' hitched nohow will run to the GOP, but also providing these refugees with the socially acceptable cover story that they're really just fleeing judicial activism.

Speaking of bullshit libertarianism, Michelle Malkin skrees that "the decision from Judge Vaughn Walker is no surprise if you watched his show trial antics over the last several months." Her link indicates that by "show trial" she means proposed delayed-video transmission of the proceedings. I thought the blogosphere was all about maximum freedom of information! Well, except for gay trials, I guess. And Wikileaks.

"Another flagrant and inexcusable exercise of ‘raw judicial power’ threatens to enflame and prolong the culture war ignited by the courts in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade,” roars Robert P. George. "This usurpation of democratic authority must not be permitted to stand." He also finds the ruling a victory for "those who seek to advance still further the ideology of the sexual revolution." George, longtime readers will remember, is also against heterosexual adults choosing their own marriage partners, so it's been a hard couple of centuries for him.

Anything that gets Kathryn J. Lopez palpably shaking with rage brightens my day:
Actual quote from the ruling today: “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage.”

This is a court ruling, not an academic seminar at Berkeley.

This isn’t about equality. This is about recreating our fundamental institutions.
Visions of same-sex in Berkeley (with the Jefferson Airplane on the stereo and the smell of patchouli in the air) will leave K-Lo thrashing on the daybed in her office for weeks to come.

UPDATE. Also from Twitterland:

UPDATE 2. Rather massively missing the point, Ben Howe: "Let's legalize gay marriage and open a gay marriage chapel next to the #GroundZeroMosque. Then we'll see who's tolerant." I wish New York would do just that, thus enabling the sort of frank and free streetcorner exchange of ideas that makes the city great, but I suppose the "gay marriage chapel" would be required by the terms of liberal pluralism to marry hets as well.

Or would they? Maybe it's like one of those things where black people get to sit at their own table in the school cafeteria. Good Lord, not only are conservatives kept down by black people, they're also victims of homoppression!

UPDATE 3. Oh oh, the brethren are finding out that the judge was gay. "Homosexual California judge overturns citizen amendment banning gay marriage," roars Bryan Longworth. Next they'll be letting lady judges rule on abortion.

UPDATE 4. More from Evan Hurst.

UPDATE 5. Jeff Goldstein wants you to know that when he slaps you with his cock, it's not a gay thing.
MONEY TALKS, BULLSHIT WALKS. As I've observed before, conservatives vacillate between delusions of grandeur and delusions of persecution, depending on their psychological need at any given moment. These days, with Obama's poll numbers down, they're on the peppy side of the mood swing, and think they can do anything. At Ricochet, Peter Robinson:
Here on Ricochet the other day, Conor Friedersdorf asked, in effect, What would it take? What would those behind the mosque at ground zero have to do to demonstrate good faith? An arresting question. If the organizers of “Cordoba House” would publish the following brief manifesto, I’ve decided, I would welcome them to lower Manhattan. Heck. I’d contribute a hundred bucks to their construction fund.
Robinson then supplies a script for the mosquers to mouth, including much shit-eating and a declaration that "we will accept no Saudi funding whatsoever" (which, oddly, does not include an invitation to the Bush Family to do likewise).

Josh Treviño has been tweeting his own demands: "In exchange for the "Ground Zero mosque," Cordoba/ASMA could cover the legal bills of the Christian evangelists arrested in Dearborn... In exchange for the "Ground Zero mosque," Cordoba/ASMA could advocate for religious liberty in Saudi Arabia..."

They're acting as if they have anything to say about it. But Mike Bloomberg wants the mosque -- and, as one may observe by watching, Bloomberg gets what he wants, unless the complicating factor (as with the West Side Stadium project) is money.

And money isn't in it this time. No conservative group is going to make a serious counter-offer for the space. And none will ever be made. Because all their righteous yelling about those damn Mooslims isn't meant to stop the project -- it's meant to exploit it, so that their honky base will know that whenever White Christian America was under attack by liberals, conservatives were there, standing athwart everything crying, "Restricted!"

Whatever happens, one side will feel outrage and another will feel vindication. But in the end the disposition of the mosque, like so many of our allegedly moral issues, will be settled by money. Conservatives think they deserve a seat at the table, but it's covered with green felt and they simply don't have the chips.
BREAKING: OBAMA USES NEGRO CODE TO RILE THE SAVAGES! neo-neocon informs us of the latest racist attack by President Obama on white people:
"…[T]hey’re betting on amnesia. That’s what they’re counting on. They’re counting on that you all forgot. They think that they can run the okey-doke on you. Bamboozle you."

Like many of Obama’s most revealing remarks, these were made at a Democratic fundraiser, this time in Atlanta. And the word “bamboozle” is an especially nice touch, harking back to a famous scene in Spike Lee’s film “Malcolm X,” a reference that would most likely be recognized by a great many people in his Atlanta audience...

[NOTE: Obama has been called on this before, during the 2008 campaign, when he used “bamboozled” and “hoodwinked” repeatedly to describe the actions of opponents (see also this).]
Stay tuned -- I understand Stanley Kurtz has documentary evidence of Obama using lines from Car Wash and Three the Hard Way.

UPDATE. In case you don't want to get out of the boat, I will add neo-neocon's explanatory passage: "Rest assured that Obama (who has used these phrases quite a few times to describe his enemies) is aware of the racial code he’s employing, and what it means to many of the black people in his audience." Because black people are the real racists, and also primitives who can't control themselves when they hear magic words like "bamboozle" and "ungawa."

neo-neocon claims a "background as a therapist," so I guess we can include her among our previously-noted squad of volunteer rightwing shrinks. This bunch really needs a name. How about the New Serbsky Unit?

UPDATE 2. Something called ...With Both Hands gets in on it:
Who the hell ever uses Bamboozle, besides W. C. Fields and Spike Lee?... Please, President Obama,quit dropping your Gs, Mr. President, please on the verbals please, especially the gerunds and deverbals! Don't abort the Gs! Let them come to full-term...
...With Both Hands treats the angle neo-neocon didn't get to: The way these people talk. I'm waiting now for some cowboy to take it further. Do they have wifi in klaverns?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

THE CONSERVATIVE COMEBACK, PART 54,993 -- MUSLIM-HATERS EDITION.Thanks to the completely normal actions of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in refusing to block the Park Place mosque, conservatives switched from attacking black people for their racism to attacking Muslims because they were all in on 9/11.

Though I can be convinced that these people are actual bigots, the way they zip from one kind of racial appeal to another like paparazzi chasing a celebrity suggests that they don't have any feelings about any particular race, but are just eager to jump on any opportunity to energize the white yahoo vote, which is their most reliable constituency.

You can see it in the formulaic outrage signifiers put up by people like Jennifer Rubin at Commentary. Rubin's always a horrible propagandist, but her shit today is really paint by numbers.
The left continues to feign confusion (it is hard to believe its pundits are really this muddled) as to the reasons why conservatives (and a majority of fellow citizens) oppose the Ground Zero mosque. No, it’s not about “religious freedom” — we’re talking about the location of the mosque on the ash-strewn site of 3,000 dead Americans.
Nice italics! Also, bullshit. The proposed site's a block over and a block up from Ground Zero. I've trod that turf many times, as do thousands of people every day, and they're not marching somberly and crying "Never Forget" but going to work. There's a Cohen's Optical there, and a Starbucks. Shall we smite them for making lattes and eyeglasses on the ash-strewn site of 3,000 dead Americans?

Ugh, God, how she goes on:
Again, no one is telling Muslims not to build or pray in mosques; we on the right are simply asking them not to do it in the location where Islam was the inspiration for mass murder.
By that reasoning, the city should put up flyers around Catholic churches that read SEX OFFENDER LIVES HERE.
And I certainly do believe “you are either for us or you are for them” — when it comes to Israel and to America. That this notion disturbs the left tells you precisely why it is estranged from the vast majority of Israelis and Americans.
It's pretty creepy the way she keeps saying, Yeah, don't fuck with America -- and Israel! I wonder if she does this during her regular life? Only in America -- and Israel! God bless America -- and Israel! Counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike, they've all come to look for America -- and Israel!

Apparently she does:
But the left – which has become obsessed with universalism and finds particularism and nationalism noxious – thinks it unseemly for Americans to look after the interests of Americans, and Jews to look after Jews (as to the latter, we can only be grateful that so many pro-Zionist Christians do as well).
I didn't know only Jews died at the World Trade Center. Looks like the Times owes Retracto a big correction! Bonus points for getting the millenarians in there -- and so what if they only love Israel as a staging ground for the Apocalypse? You know it's Moses, I know it's Moses -- business is business!
Maybe the left is simply being oppositional — i.e., whatever the right believes is wrong.
Gotta admit, we're batting a thousand so far.
But if not, it is, quite vividly, advertising its own intellectual crack-up and unfitness to govern.
No offense, honey, but we don't sound like the ones cracking up.

UPDATE. Jay B in comments: "You know what else is blocks away from Ground Zero and lavishly funds every crooked Arab shiek and shady international billionaire? Wall St."
BEEN A WHILE since I looked at Lileks, and I thank Robert Kempe for pointing this out:
...At the Disney stores you can find all manner of Grumpy-branched merch, intended to tell the world you’re pretty much contemptuous of everything that impinges on your definition of how the world ought to work, and we should not hold you accountable for your moody, difficult, anti-social behavior because you have identified with a cartoon character intended to express a narrowly defined emotional condition. Got it!
Holy Jesus, he's complaining about the malcontents who wear Grumpy shirts. Don't they have hipsters that he can yell at in Minneapolis? It's like those family comic strips where the Bad Kids are still dressed like Seattle grunge rockers.

Clearly I'm not spending enough time on the internet.

UPDATE: Oh and:
Which is a roundabout way of saying the only Disney shirt I’ll wear around the Kingdoms is a Classic Mickey.
By which I'm sure he means Mickey Kaus. Mickey Kaus! (Howard Kurtz!) Mickey Kaus! (Howard Kurtz!) For others let us keep our standards high! BTW here's Kurtz on the nastiness of the modern world. Conservatives poison the airwaves, and liberals had "an off-the-record discussion group." Can't we all just throw our weapons down?

Monday, August 02, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, in which I survey the recent spate of New American Revolution stories like that wacky "Will Washington's Failures Lead To Second American Revolution?" thing at IBD. This stuff sounds slightly crazier than usual to me, and I begin to wonder whether the strategy is to drop a lot of revolutionary ravings in the blogs, where not much of anyone will see them, and then claim when the Republicans pick up seats that this proves America has judged Obama a tyrant who must be impeached, at least. Let's just go with the simplest explanation: They're nuts.

Friday, July 30, 2010

ANOTHER DAY AT THE PLANT. The Ole Perfesser finds a outrage:
TIME: The BP Spill: Has the Damage Been Exaggerated? “Yes, the spill killed birds — but so far, less than 1% of the number killed by the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska 21 years ago..."
A few hours later, the Ole Perfesser finds a outrage:
UH OH: Did The Government Cause The Gulf Oil Spill? “A new report by the Center for Public Integrity, based on testimony from people on scene and Coast Guard logs..."

The White House isn’t talking about this.
To recap, the BP spill was no big deal -- scandalously caused by the Obama Administration!

We blog writers like to think of our work as conversations with the reader, but some of us are the guy in the filthy parka having his conversation at the top of his lungs on a streetcorner.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

PLEASING THE AFFILIATES. I see we sometimes have a Fred Thompson ad here at alicublog (example, far left). Always happy to take their money, but we can always run our own versions. If you have other punchlines, please leave them in comments.

UPDATE. Aw, thanks commenters, partic Whitstone ("What did I know, and when did I know it?"), cleter ("Sea monkeys ain't primates, son"), willf ("Maaatlock!"), Travis G. ("Y'ever watch an old man eat soup?"), and Halloween Jack ("You ain't never caught a rabbit, and you ain't no friend of mine"). But go look, they're all winners.
HOW COME THEY CAN SAY NIGGER AND WE CAN'T? PART INFINITY. President Obama, who has previously referred to himself as a "mutt" because of his mixed racial heritage, referred to both black and white folks as a "mongrel people" on The View today. It's the sort of End of Race thing that normally passes without incident.

But here it was uttered by ObamaHitler the Racist, so skreeeee!
On the View, off script, off teleprompter, Barack Obama declared blacks a mongrel race. He will be fitted for a pointy sheet later today.

Can you imagine the uproar if any white guy had called Black Americans MONGRELS? The libs would be blowing the roof off the sky, that’s how bad it would be... Anyhow, just amember that it wasn’t The Self Defense Guy who called Black Americans mongrels, it was President Barry hisself. [dips snuff, pulls on jug]

What was he thinking?!? I mean, was he channeling Robert Byrd or Harry Trumann or something? That statement reads as if it were a press release from the KKK! Can you imagine the mess I'd be in if blah blah blah...

Of course, if I had called Obama a mongrel on this site, a bunch of assholes would have called me a racist. I hadn't thought to do so before, but I will be referring to him as the Mongrel in Chief from here on in. So much better than Sea Monkey.
There's already plenty of them, mostly to the effect of ooh, ah'd get in a heap o'trouble if'n ah was to say thet 'bout one o' them "African-Americans"!

As these comments show, of all the enormous advantages these people imagine black folks have over white folks in this country, the one that seems to madden them most is the freedom to speak frankly about race, of which they imagine they have been deprived by the New Black Panthers or something. Of course, no one's stopping them from saying boo, but they aren't just satisfied with the right to say whatever they want about it -- they want to be approved of and taken seriously, and have their stories of white oppression made into stirring TV movies.

And they can, of course, enjoy this validation in the select klavans of Rightblogger World. Call it a virtual Dixie! Hopefully they will restrict themselves to such self-selecting communities, and leave the rest of us free to move forward.

UPDATE. Oh, for... Doctor of Chiropractic Melissa Clouthier:
Yes, most Americans are racially mixed people. Most of us do not refer to ourselves as mongrel. In addition, many Americans enjoy going into their history and know their geneology. This is an American activity not exclusively the provenance of black mongrels.
I think she meant to write "province," but got so excited by the excuse to say "black mongrels" she got confused.
Man. What is wrong with out President?
Out President? You mean he's gay too? It's worse than we thought!

Clouthier also essays a volley of non-sequiturs at Amanda Marcotte, which is like trying to take out Wonder Woman with Jello cubes.
THE RETURN OF THE SPERM DONOR MENACE! Back in May the folks at Family Scholars opened what appeared to be a brave new front in their usual war against gay marriage: Alerting their constituents to the menace of sperm donation. As detailed here, they found a young woman sired by a sperm donor who was mad that marriage-deprived gay people got to claim victim status while she, who had suffered the stigma of turkey-baster parentage, had neither fund-raisers nor pride parades of her own.

I doubted this risible schtick would lead to anything, but apparently Family Scholars are still working it. And in furtherance of it, they're even pretending to be open to same-sex marriage. That's how big a deal this is!

Family Scholars has a "My Daddy's Name is Donor" tag under which they file extensive complaining on the subject ("he’s not just a sperm donor, he’s my father"). Though Family Scholars has traditionally been hostile to gay marriage (because Won't Someone Please Think of the Children), at least one anti-sperm spokesperson says she's open to a parlay with the marriage equality people.

"I do believe it’s possible to have two mothers, or two fathers," says Elizabeth Marquardt in the craftily-titled "The Compromise I Think I Could Accept," "...But I do NOT believe that having two mothers means you do not also have a father out there, somewhere." So states that made it possible for fatherless victims of donation to harass their donor-daddies might get a prize from Elizabeth Marquardt:
That is, jurisdictions that ban anonymous donation of sperm, eggs, and wombs -- and with it, the erroneous idea that children are just made from random gametes and don’t care where they come from -- could also institute legal same sex marriage.
Generous of her, ain't it? But Marquardt's follow-up suggests she was just toying. Among her added reservations: "I worry that the next step will be recognizing poly arrangements and group parenting rights." Experience shows that once they start talking like that, there's no dealing with them.

But though the deal between them and their imaginary gay friends seems to be off, Family Scholars is still standing athwart the tidal wave of donor jism, crying "Glub!" They currently seek publicity with anti-donor glosses on the new film The Kids Are All Right, which involves a sperm donor whose contribution has enabled a lesbian couple to have a kid. Marquardt takes to Opus Dei stroke book First Things to explain that "The Kids Are Not All Right." (They must not pay editors very much at First Things; I'd have gone with "Dykes Do Cum Shots, Kids Get Hangover" or something like that.)

The movie, she allows, is OK as a movie -- it's "rich on particulars and complexity," by which Marquardt means the lesbians have some faults. But not enough, alas; nor do they drop down a trap door into hell at the end like Don Juan, nor repent and promise to accept cock as the only legitimate conveyance of love juice. So Marquardt decides that "despite the attempts at realism, the movie is a fantasy," and devotes the rest of her review to the sorrows of fatherless beaker babies:
And what about those whose sperm donors have no interest in being fathers? In the COLAGE guide, one young woman says, “My donor doesn’t seem to be particularly into the whole father thing with me, and it caused me quite a bit of pain trying to get him to be.” Another says: “I grew up having certain expectation of what roles my [sperm donor] . . . would play in my life and when [he] didn’t fulfill those expectations, I was hurt.”
I would like to be more sympathetic toward them, but I lost my father quite young, and would be embarrassed to go about in public as a grown man blubbering about it, let alone blaming it on science. And though I tend to be pessimistic on the subject, I would say that if the anti-gay-marriage team is reduced to tugging at heartstrings with adults who weep because some guy who jerked off into a cup with their mommy's name on it 20 years ago won't take them fishing, they can't be doing very well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

OUR SICK SOCIETY, BY O.J. SIMPSON. The latest National Review guy to write a book about how Obama is HitlerStalin is Stanley Kurtz. He begins his sales pitch by implying that he's been sequestered in a secret underground lab lest his enemies meddle with his death-ray:
Given my various adventures during the last presidential campaign, it seemed best to remain discreet until now. The goal has been to minimize any possible interference with my research, which has proceeded non-stop since 2008.
By "adventures" he seems to mean "delusions," in this case that anyone gives a shit about Bill Ayers anymore. At this point if Kurtz revealed that Obama and Ayers toured the provinces singing "Fit As a Fiddle and Ready for Love" no one would care except the people who scream every time Obama has a scheduling conflict.

Kurtz' spiel for Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism is all about the CoC's socialism: "RADICAL-IN-CHIEF marshals a wide array of never-before-seen evidence to establish that the president of the United States is indeed a socialist... the book confirms that the president’s harshest critics have been right about his socialism all along."

I will reserve judgement, as I haven't read it. But this is the strongest example of consider-the-source I've seen in a while.

Kurtz has proposed destroying Social Security so that families will be forced to put young'uns to work and keep aged, infirm grandparents at home, thereby promoting strong family life.

When San Francisco prevented military recruiters from working their high schools, Kurtz proposed that Congress pass a "resolution of censure" against San Francisco.

He said that conservatives couldn't be blamed for ignoring bad news from Iraq because "conservative distrust of the media’s very real bias has inclined us to dismiss reports about problems in Iraq that are real. In the end, I think the media bears fundamental responsibility for this."

Kurtz has said that Hollywood studios are uninterested in making money, preferring to fritter away their billions on radicalizing youth, which surely would be news to Tinseltown trade-readers. In fact, Kurtz thinks country music has also been infiltrated by Reds ("the cultural left has decided to use CMT to try to proselytize the South"). And don't get him started about hip-hop:
Perhaps most interesting of all, rap has been taken up by many of Europe’s discontented Muslim youth. Their infatuation with hip hop is a sign of Europe’s broader failure to assimilate Muslim immigrants to mature democratic mores, again because of a multiculturalist sensibility parallel to the one that emerged at Cornell nearly forty years ago.
On sex, Kurtz has described "conversion from liberal to conservative politics" as "the ultimate aphrodisiac," and says "the most potentially stable form of multi-partner union" is "a man and two bisexual women. That union does reduce jealously, and also points to the potentially powerful bisexual constituency for multi-partner unions."

The idea of Kurtz writing about anyone else's "radical" ideas is rich like Coffee-mate.

UPDATE. Thanks, bgn. for typo alert.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I HAVE HERE IN MY HAND...In addition to going on and on about the now discontinued Journolist, the wingnuts have taken to publishing alleged lists of participants.

I am alerted to this by Foster Kamer back at the old firm, who has been named as part of the conspiracy. Foster, basically a media reporter, is politically astute, especially considering that he is not yet old enough to shave, but he has about as much business on such a list as Dave Barry. (It might make sense if they needed a dick joke consultant, but any liberal worth the name should able to come up with dick jokes on demand.)

Also, Kamer says he was never on Journolist. So does fellow nominee Cenk Uygur.

I know some names that should be on that list and are not. I am making this public now because I could use the publicity of an appearance before a Congressional committee as a hostile witness.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the maddening Shirley Sherrod case, and how the rightbloggers have essentially taken the position that the least culpable party is the guy who put up the doctored tape. It's as if someone framed a blameless citizen for murder, but no one cares about that, and everyone instead focuses on the gendarmes who briefly detained the wrong man.

There are so many little niggling schticks being used in this case -- many of the "I don't spell my name with an 'e,' your argument is invalid" variety -- that I couldn't use many of them. One of my favorite outtakes is Big Government's Jeff Dunetz, who didn't see why the NAACP's Ben Jealous was so huffy about the misleading tape: "Mr. Jealous had access to the entire tape," sniffed Dunetz, "but he never bothered to look at it before he blasted Ms Sherrod." And this guy is from Breitbart's own site! You at least have to admire his nerve.

Also all balls at Big Government, Alexander Marlow, who says, "to not see Sherrod on television Sunday morning sends a clear signal the mainstream media no longer feels allowing the public to get to know the real Shirley Sherrod advances their agenda." I guess they were afraid she'd lose control and start screaming about Whitey.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

These chairs were mostly full at showtime, I swear.

I was looking forward to Al Franken's close, but Linda Chavez-Thompson is kicking ass on Rick Perry. (Blue Texans represent!) So they're running late and I'll probably miss him. Well, to tell you the truth, he was never the same after he split with Tom Davis. Party car leaves in 20 minutes for the House of Blues.

Oh, the panel went okay. There was humor, pathos, conflict, and the human drama of athletic competition. I don't think I said anything too stupid. Well, there were the anti-Semitic outbursts, but you know, when you're working a Democratic crowd you have to give them that stuff; I'm sure reasonable people will understand.

Elizabeth Warren was fine; she was eloquent, even in the job-o-work position of pushing the Administration line to the Nutroots, and she made those charts and graphs sing. I'm sorry I couldn't get you a picture, but mine came out all shaky; Brad Reed kept jostling the table with his erection.
VEGAS: SLOW MORNING EDITION. The kids are filing out of the auditorium now, and I just asked some lady how Nancy Pelosi's speech went. "Excellent," she said. "She's always candid." Always candid! Like she was proud that she'd seen Nancy Pelosi a bunch of times, like Nancy Pelosi was Iggy or something.

I must level with you folks: When my girlfriend texted me early this morning (obviously timing her message so it would waken me just as my hangover had reached its peak of ripeness), there momentarily rose to the bubbling surface of the cauldron of my skull the shadow of a thought that, as long as I was conscious, I should wash up, go see Nancy Pelosi, and report back to you. I am, after all, your eyes and ears at this convention; if it weren't for me, all you would know of this thing would be MSM lies, or actual coverage, which is even less fun.

But you know what? No one's paying me to do this, and seeing Nancy Pelosi is low on my list of earthly delights. When I'm on my deathbed, a few years from now, I'm not going to lament missing Nancy Pelosi. Missing Motorhead, or the Second Coming of Christ -- those I would regret, those would be worth getting up early for. But not this.

I haven't even been going to the panels. I mean, I poke my head in now and again, but usually it takes only about three buzzwords to fry my synapses sufficiently that further attendance is useless, and some of these guys have managed it in a single sentence. (I do expect to see Elizabeth Warren in a few minutes, though. I have to ask her if she got the flowers.)

So instead of seeing Nancy Pelosi, I slept another hour, then breakfasted at my leisure on Mountain Dew, a tuna sandwich, and Advil. Outstanding decision! I feel almost mammalian now. I don't even mind missing the the video poker version of Obama, which I assume they added to spice up the program.

Friday, July 23, 2010

VEGAS: STRAY THOUGHTS. Saw Matthew Yglesias here. The fucker is tall! Well, tall compared to what I thought he was; from his writing I imagined someone around five foot, with the voice of a mosquito. I didn't say hi. Let the fucker come to me.

Listened over box lunch (why didn't I steal a couple and put them in my room? I'll die in Vegas!) to Eliseo Medina from SEIU talk about Arizona (and general Republican) use of racism as a campaign tactic (and the kind of Democrats who "think the way to win is to be timid, to be afraid, and not stand up for anything") and Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights talk about both components of the half-empty LGBT glass. Both were well-spoken, but when those of us of a cynical turn of mind look at the agenda of things like this, and see so many interest groups talking about how they're getting screwed, we can see why honkies think liberals are whiners and why many Democrats insist on telling the honkies, no, forget all those weirdos, we're really doing it all for you -- that is, for the middle class that you all think you belong to. But as things get worse, it may be that more honkies will realize that they're not really any different from the other kinds of people on whom power has been beating for years.

I don't know which panel it was, but I wandered into one of these rooms and some guy was pointing at a graph with a bunch of dots on it and talking about "technology" and "interconnectivity" and how this was the solution to some damned thing. I have learned to accept, if grudgingly, lots of concepts that at first baffled me -- compound interest, Sonic Youth, and so forth -- but this is one that I still can't take to heart, not because it's untrue but because everyone talks about it so much that it has become the Powerpoint equivalent of World Peace. Also, in general I think people should spend more time alone and quiet.

Oh, get a load of the Wall Street Journal:
LAS VEGAS—Progressive activists gathered here for Netroots Nation are trying to get their groove back...

A woman stood up and asked: "Why is it with a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House, and a Democrat in the White House do we need to be worried about this?"

It's a question being raised by many in the Democratic Party's liberal base...

...the energy in the electorate right now is on the other end of the political spectrum, captured in the conservative tea party movement and threatening Democrats' majorities in Congress.
Cackle. No better is the Washington Post ("Democratic rifts apparent at liberal Netroots Nation conference" -- hey, it's not like Netroots fired one of its key people or cancelled its Vegas convention because of the "heat.") Steve Freiss calls Netroots Nation "part pep rally, part support group." Etc.

If you went by this coverage, you could easily miss that many of the panels are about tactics for victory, and attended by committed activists who've already shown that they can get shit done. It's not just rah-rah -- it's mainly a trade show. And these people are coming off a pretty hot streak.

Maybe if we wore costumes people would take us more seriously. The Minutemen look is taken, alas, by the Tea Partiers, so I vote for Vikings.


A packet of Advil (Thank fuck! This costs five bucks in the lobby), attached either accidentally or not to a flyer for the book The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes by John Prendergast with Don Cheadle.

Street value: $0.50 or $5.00, depending.

Brochure for AAM (Alliance for American Manufacturing), which "brings together a select group of America's leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers" to "promote creative policy solutions" of various sorts, all aimed at bettering the lot of the Working Man.

Street value: $0.00.

Brochure for the NEA. "If I were a Wall Street banker," says an adorable little kid, "would Congress listen to me?"

Street value: $0.00.

Flyer offering a "Netroots Special Offer" on "Blue State Digital's Online Tools" (i.e. web building for lefty activists).

Street value: 20 percent off, or, for most people, $0.00.

A notepad embellished with promo for the Union Jobs Clearinghouse, laying a palimpsest of "Putting People to Work Since 1997!" on your grocery lists, phone messages, etc.

Street value: $0.00.

Palmcards from barackobama.com, Emily's List, GLAAD, and Rock The Vote.

Street value: $0.00.

Confusing sticker for Arizona Senate candidate Randy Parraz, resembling a convention pass "authorized" by "Jan Brewer" and "approved" by "John McCain." I think it has something to do with immigration.

Street value: $0.00.

Perfectly clear "F*&#! THE RIGHT" (that means "fuck") sticker from fighttheright.com.

Street value: $0.00.

Flyer advertising AlterNet's Dangerous Brew: The Definitive Party Reader. Contributors do not include me.

Street value: $0.00.

Perhaps coincidentally, a bag of Lipton Tea embossed with Working America promo.

Street value: $0.50.

SEIU refrigerator magnets ("Grass Roots," "I am part of the," "Lesbian," "Diversity," "Hope," etc).

Street value: $0.00.

Button from American Manufacturing that says "Keep It Made in America."

Street value: $0.00.

CD from Mercer Street Records and the Enough Project, Raise Hope for Congo, with contributions from artists including Mos Def, Meshell Ndegeocello, Norah Jones, and Sheryl Crow ("My Name is Mwamaroyi").

Street value: $0.00.

Big book, Generation We: How Millenial Youth Are Taking Over America And Changing Our World Forever (and looking around the room, that's a message this crowd will be very happy to hear; the average attendee age is 13).

Street value: $1.00.

"Totally vegan" Bubble Genius soap bearing Netroots Nation logo.

Street value: $0.00.

Lifesavers from the Center for Constitutional Rights, marked "Don't Suck Up to Power."

Street value: $0.25.

The bag appears to be made out of natural fibers and earth-friendly.

VEGAS 2. Just hauled my ass across the baking highways -- actually a very nice cab driver dragged it; more on that in a minute -- and caught a little of Van Jones. He's pretty damn eloquent, and he believes in that hope stuff that's supposed to be, like, over. I am mostly impervious to this sort of thing, but in addition to being optimistic Jones is smart -- a rare combination! -- and breaks things down well. He said something in the interview segment about the Shirley Sherrod bullshit that jumped out at me; he compared it to his own situation, when he had to split the Obama Administration last year because of some untoward remarks. (He said he didn't want to be a "banana peel" for the President while he was trying to move health care.) He likened media assaults like hers and his to poison viruses and said "we don't have the antibodies yet" to process them: But he expects they will develop (though "in the short term it will be tougher, because there are financial incentives to be more shrill, to be more senational").:
If in fact five percent of the public have an experience like mine, lost their job because of something on Facebook or whatever... then it will stop, because enough people will have seen it and enough people will have had it happen to them or to a friend, that there will be a completely different level of wisdom that emerges in the culture and society... [If] you have confidence in your country, you have confidence that we will adapt as a culture to these changes in our technology.
He sort of makes it hard to be grumpy, but somehow I'm managing. It seemed to take forever to get out of Downtown (and cash money -- I've spent more on cabs than on gambling, or anything else). Also my room at the Rio isn't ready and I could already use a shower -- ask the lovely people I've attempted to engage in conversation! But my driver, a friendly old guy, diverted me with stories of his own life. He wanted to get out of Vegas, but family issues prevented it. He wasn't complaining, though; his mantra was, "I'm the same as anybody else." I took this for a tic at first, but the wisdom of it unfolded for me. I find I'm most unhappy when I walk through this world like a deposed prince looking for his lost kingdom. Maybe it's not just me, either. Maybe that's what the whole Vegas thing is about -- trying to get the universe to acknowledge that we are so Queen of the Slots or Lord of the Buffet or some damn thing -- and maybe that's why I'm not into it.

Oops, gotta get the gift bag before they run out!
VEGAS 1. This has been very interesting in its way. Flying in, I had a nice conversation with a young man who is an associate manager for a large retail chain. He is here to do inventory in one of the chain's outlets and then drive several hundred miles with his "team," as he does several times a month. He lives in Salt Lake City, and pays about 650 dollars a month to rent a nice house just outside of town. He likes the place, though he says there's not much to do there and the bars serve 3.2 beer. After five years of faithful service and first-place rankings in his category, he expects to be reassigned this fall to the Southeast, where he would only have to cover Georgia and South Carolina.

I liked the guy, though he operates under an entirely different set of assumptions than mine, and smelled slightly of poo.

I went to the Rio and found some of the Netroots people I'm supposed to work with, and had the usual problems relating. I lost them at one of the casinos, then came back downtown and wandered Fremont Street, taking in the garish light shows and buying a bunch of chips that I lost in games I didn't understand. Vegas, baby!

Tomorrow, some ground-level Netroots coverage.

UPDATE. I ain't even kidding. The ladies at the tables wielded that spatula thing like the devil flash-frying my soul. I thought I knew how to play Blackjack! Apparently there's more to it than I thought.

They were very nice about it, very professional. When I swung around to check, they weren't laughing out loud at me. Of course, in our age of technological marvels, they may well have been texting LOLs and OL DRUNK IZ DRUNK to each other.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

STAY TUNED FOR ANOTHER HARD-HITTING EXPOSÉ. I'm leaving today for that Netroots thing. It is my fond hope to attend some panels there before ruining my own, and take some shitty pictures and provide regular dispatches here.

Not sure how it'll come out. For one thing, I've never been to Vegas before, so I may get distracted. In theory, I should be impervious to its charms; everything I've heard about the place reminds me of Times Square and the middle section of A.I., which is not my kind of scene. Plus I keep imagining douchebags in backwards baseball hats and designer sunglasses yelling "VEGAS, BABY!" and trying to ball cocktail waitresses. But who knows? I did move to Texas, so obviously I have some tolerance for massive vulgarity, and even Fred Flintstone succumbed to gambling fever.

Also, in group situations I sometimes don't mix as well as I might. From what little I know of them, Netroots people are positive, forward-looking progressive teenagers like Matthew Yglesias, who like to trade recipes for Valhalla and play with their foursquares and whatnot, whereas I am an old grump who drinks and sees in every glittering event the Fall of the House of Usher. So my entries may tend toward "Another door closed in my face, security called. Oh well, at least there's porn in my room!"

If you have any Vegas tips I'd appreciate them. I'm staying downtown tonight and on the Strip Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

GIRL TALK. The Ole Perfesser's links to stuff about gender are always good for a laugh, even when they're not to posts by the Ole Dr. Mrs. This thing by one J. T. Ellison is no exception.

The title may have attracted the Perfesser -- "'The End of Men'? -- I May Have Married the Last Manly One" has that combination of whining and triumphalism that distinguishes modern conservatism. But there's plenty else to sink your gums into. Ellison tells us that, while her man is both butch and romantic, other men are "a bit too much in touch with their feminine side," hint hint. So far so Palin, and so what, but then, God help us, Ellison provides us with her own history of sex roles:
In the beginning, women had to be protected, because they were the only way to propagate the species. Since men can't nurse, the dynamic was born – men hunted, women tended the home fires...

The pattern that developed stood for a millennium, until the men started going a wee bit overboard and took away all of the rights of women as partners in a human world -- education, voting, you know, the little things.
Took away these rights? Maybe I was out sick for the week of Western Civ class where they told us how pre-modern women gained such rights. Tell me, was it in the medieval period? I bet the male peasants were pissed when they found out they were getting their rights second!

Anyway, women got these rights back somehow, but in the process got stuck with nancy boys. "I think it's safe to say the end of man began with the death of manners," sighs Ellison. What caused that? She doesn't say, but you won't be surprised to learn that women are to blame:
We're all in love with the idea of the perfect man, but when we find one -- that casual, smart, witty guy who's cool and somewhat reserved -- we toss him over in favor of a man who'll go shopping with us, who understands the difference between Louboutin and Choo.
Apparently it's the hag that makes the fag, not vice-versa. Oh, and:
The past few generations have been so busy worrying about Janie getting a fair shake that no one's bothering to teach either of the sexes proper manners.
Also to blame: Sex and The City. (Isn't it always?)

She ends with some uplift:
Real men do exist. They're out there. It's not too late. We can teach them how to treat us. They've shown themselves malleable.
Fellow guys, if your testosterone isn't sending you a Run Like Hell message at this point, I prescribe a few dozen raw oysters.
RACE, TO THE BOTTOM. The absurd hit piece "So Much For That 'Conversation' on Race" in Politico today -- in which the White House, having been caught out by the rageaholic race-baiting techniques of Andrew Breitbart, is criticized for racial insensitivity by Erick Erickson and Abigail Thernstrom, and Obama's record on helping black people is compared unfavorably to Bill Clinton's -- shows just how it works:
  • Right-wingers gin up a controversy allegedly proving that the Obama Administration is anti-white;
  • Obama, rather than telling them to kiss his black ass, bends over backwards to accommodate them;
  • The establishment tut-tuts over Obama's incompetence while the wingnuts go looking for more Black Panthers to scream about.
I don't make Obama for a wimp, so I assume he doesn't tell them to kiss his black ass because he's taken the measure of white insecurity and decided the nation just couldn't take it if he did. I have to admire his restraint. In his place I'd be running around with a torch yelling "Ungawa."

UPDATE. In comments, Hunger Tallest Palin breaks it down: "'And so with great sorrow, I must conclude n!gger n!gger n!gger!'" See also.

UPDATE 2. The method its further exemplified at Gawker, where commenters pull hoary routines like "As a Democrat who voted for Obama... under the bus," and suggesting we avenge Shirley Sherrod by voting Republican.

UPDATE 3: Oh Jesus -- Shorter The Anchoress: May the good Lord show Sister Sherrod the error of her ways and get her to renounce the NAACP, hallelujah!

Wonder if she's seen this?