Friday, July 27, 2018


One of my favorite cover versions. What's yours?

• I saw a mean, funny David Klion tweet about Bari Weiss, showing the crowd at Chautauqua, N.Y. to whom she presented her "New Seven Dirty Words" speech to be mostly hella old, with the caption "The voice of a generation." Weiss, promoter of the Dark Interweb or whatever it was called (boy, if we have movies in the future about life in the late-'10s, won't that be a lazy signifier!), is a nightmare, of course, but when Klion's commenters pointed out that Chautauqua audiences tend to be older (though I see they have the Gin Blossoms coming in -- celebrating their 25th anniversary, eek!), I felt maybe it had been unfair of me to laugh. But then I saw a description of her speech in The Chautauquan Daily:
So while Carlin’s “7 Dirty Words” have lost their luster and invaded the mainstream, Weiss proposed a new set: the I-word, H-word, the other P-word, E-word, J-word, R-word and D-word.
Imagination, humility, proportion, empathy, judgment, reason and doubt.
Being an American only requires a commitment to a set of ideas, she said. In other parts of the world, these factors (race, gender, ethnicity) confine people, but not in America.
“The antidote to identity politics is imagination,” Weiss said, “a moral and political imagination that allows us to feel the spark of that electric cord, even today.”
Be black and get on the wrong side of a cop and you may well feel the spark of an electric cord, motherfucker! Then she brings in Laura Ingalls Wilder -- a big fave among libertarians -- and what a shame it is that someone took her name off a children's book award just because she said things like "There were no people, only Indians lived there" and "the only good Indian is a dead Indian." "The arbiters of culture," mourns Weiss, "are convinced that she deserves to be censored for 19th-century morals based on morals we hold dear today." I guess it's beyond hopeless to explain to wingnut grievance-mongers like Weiss that someone deciding not to associate with someone else (particularly a dead someone else) isn't censorship. Thereafter comes the Greatest Hits -- Evergreen College, Halloween at Yale, "no guardrails," "Weiss said she was uncomfortable by the euphemisms her pro-choice, feminist cohorts spread — that abortion is 'like a hip-replacement' or an appendectomy," etc. Well, suffice to say I no longer feel bad about laughing at Weiss -- in fact, I think mockery is far too good for her.

• Rightwing tantrums over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have practically become a convention, and Meghan McCain's conniption was a lovely example of the form. While we have no similar tape of Roger Kimball's voice growing increasingly hysterical, and though, unlike McCain, he has access to a thesaurus, his rant at the American Spectator seems to boil up from a similar well of ancient enmities. He, too, professes to believe all social democracy results in Venezuela and people who want a more equitable distribution of America's plentiful resources are "children of all ages" who "whine and rant," and even resorts to a cryptic daddy-spank threat: "the fact that calls for socialism are once again crowding the airwaves reminds us that folly is a noxious hardy perennial that prudent gardeners need to be eternally vigilant to spot and extirpate." I can see Kimball proposing Prudent Gardeners to a perplexed Trump mob as a name for the new Brownshirts. But the surest sign that Kimball is letting the little lady get to him is this primordial splurt:
There are, after all, many salubrious processes that produce unpleasant by-products as part of their activity. You see it in manufacturing, you see it in biology. You eat the steak, it nourishes you and makes you strong, but it also results in odiferous and potentially toxic by-products.

Capitalism is the greatest engine for the production of wealth that the ingenuity of man has ever devised. But after it achieves a certain level of prosperity, it regularly excretes characters like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, beneficiaries of capitalism whose contempt for its strictures is equaled only by their ignorance of its tenets.
I predict this dive into Kimball's dreamlife will do little to stop her rise, though it may get him some fan letters from conservatives who are into scat.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


"Fake Interview With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Was Satire, Not Hoax, Conservative Pundit Says," reports The InterceptSmart people are skeptical for reasons I can understand. The perps are basically bad faith personified, for one thing, and the reaction of the Trumpenproletariat gives the impression  — which may not be quite accurate, and I’ll get to that in a minute — that they’re swallowing it whole:
Before the satire language was added, the video spread throughout Facebook. Presidential candidate Lee Newton Rhodes shared the post, writing, “This is what the liberals democrats would rather offer the voters than me.” It was also shared -- seemingly as if it were real -- in numerous conservative and pro-Trump Facebook pages and groups, with some describing Cortez as “the new face of the Democrats” and saying the footage shows Democrats “are even stupider than I thought.” Commenters on the posts wrote that Ocasio-Cortez is a “stupid bitch,” “Dumbo the clown,” a “complete idiot”, a “dumbazz” and “dumber then (sic) dog poop,” and said she has “been lickin to (sic) many toilet seats”and that her “house play nts probably help her complete crossword puzzles.”
This portrayal by Media Matters' Alex Kaplan suggests these commenters have been hoaxed -- else why would they talk as if the debate were real?

But I don't think so. Certainly the thing from the CRTV network is not satire in any sense that Juvenal, Waugh or Swift or even Harvey Kurtzman would recognize; the fake interview, in which Allie Beth Stuckey says things like "Do you have any knowledge, whatsoever, about how our political system works?" and they cut to Ocasio-Cortez looking stupid, is a form of schoolyard humor similar to Bart making Moe in The Simpsons' "It's a Good Life" parody say "I'm a stupid moron with an ugly face and a big butt and my butt smells and I like to kiss my own butt."

That is, it's childish fun for those so inclined, and only something you'd profess to believe authentic if you were either a.) cognitively incapacitated, and thus really fooled by it; b.) an unscrupulous propagandist looking to lead such poor souls into error; or c.) in general indifferent or even slightly hostile toward the truth in certain areas of your life, like a woman who can’t deal with the fact that she’s about to lose her job or a man who’s in denial that his marriage is falling apart.

The thing is, while there may be a certain, even large number of mentally disabled people pimping this thing, and God knows plenty of con artists who might prey on their credulity, life experience tells me that most of the fake’s boosters know it’s fake and simply don’t care, and would consider your attempt to correct the record an unwarranted and unsportsmanlike attack on their good time.

Conservatives have been asked to believe nonsense for a long time -- that tax cuts for the rich trickle down and pay for themselves, that we'll be greeted as liberators, that there's no more racism, etc. These were tough lifts, but they had the help of intellectuals, or magazine writers who passed for them, to give them a line of gab that made these things sound reasonable, at least to themselves.

Recent years have not been kind to these beliefs, and Trumpism kind of blew the whole scene -- not just by being so mind-bendingly, outlandishly at variance with observable reality, but also by  presenting them with unitary Republican control of the government, thus making American politics a perfect playground for their fantasies.

Now instead of using the line of gab, they're just mouthing absurdities. Trump's budget-busting tax cuts have done nothing but damage to the economy yet they insist it's going to lift all boats. His racism is obvious and effective, yet they insist the people who point it out are the real racists. They've dropped the pretense of war as a tool of liberation, and now celebrate it as bloodsport and an electoral stratagem, and insist it's the road to peace. Etc.

It's like the entire George W. Bush administration happened in a couple of months, and no one had time to work on their second thoughts.

Outsiders look at this and think Trump's followers are bamboozled and perhaps brainwashed. But that assumes they really believe this stuff. I think their political philosophy has obliged them to pretend to believe it. When they complain about fake news, they're not saying it's not true; they're saying it's a Bad Thing they can wave away. It's only a very thin membrane of self-respect that prevents them from just saying "So what" instead.

As the title indicates, this has something to do with the Cohen revelation. The brethren seem rather rocked back on their heels about it -- even reliable propagandist Jim Hoft can only chase the headlines -- because it's extremely hard to explain away. I think some sentimental liberals may think this will get Trumpkins to see at last what a monster the guy is and start questioning their support -- like they're hypnotized and this might be the salutary shock that brings them round. But they're not hypnotized, though some of them may pretend to have been in the aftermath. Just give them time. They'll develop a spiel for this. Probably, as with the FBI investigations of Trump, the story will be that a corrupt party is trying to take down our beloved President through nefarious means -- that is, the story Trump's pushing -- and some garbled misapprehension of "fruit of the poisoned tree." Then, back to MAGA until the midterms, when the marshals break down the door.

UPDATE. Here's a good one -- Giuliani says they're actually saying "Boo-urns":
“It’s a little bit hard to hear, but I assure you that we listened to it numerous, numerous times, and the transcript makes it quite clear at the end that President Trump says, quote, ‘Don’t pay with cash,’” Giuliani told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. He also countered Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis’ calls to the CNN audience to hear the evidence for themselves. “Go online. Listen to your broadcast… The third time you play it, it’ll become clear,” Giuliani said.
This fits nicely with Trump's insistence -- absurd but accepted by the diehards -- that "I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't'" in his Putin press conference last week. Looks like we're getting closer to that long-anticipated "I was never president" moment.

Monday, July 23, 2018


...about Trump's Russian adventure, and the wingnut schism between those who feel they have to pretend to give a shit to make it look good and those who believe Trumpism is forever and rush to defend his sellout.

Among the outtakes, we find our old friend PJ Media's Roger L. Simon who, in response to Bernie Sanders' criticism of Trump's Russia maneuvers, counters that Sanders had "picked the Soviet Union for his honeymoon" and John Brennan actually voted for Gus Hall, then rambles on about how horrible the Soviet Union was for several paragraphs before accusing Trump's critics of "Russia Derangement Syndrome" and -- referring to Democrats' alleged love for the USSR back in the day -- "the equivalent of a sex change operation over Russia." Simon, a former screenwriter and novelist, can still turn a phrase; what he can't do is turn it into something that makes sense. (I always knew what conservatives really hated about the Soviets was that they paid lip service to communism, and that every horror the Reds employed would be okay with them once they ix-nayed the arxism-May.)

Friday, July 20, 2018


I missed this when it came out in 2014. I heard it sucked. Not so!

• The Federalist having done its part for the "New York, with its record low crime rate and record high population, is collapsing thanks to libs" shtick, National Review sees and raises with Deroy Murdock's and Brett Joshpe's "De Blasio’s Dystopia" -- subtitled, LOL, "This is what a socialist New York looks like." Cue sinister 70s saxophone music! The one thing everyone I know back in the old town is bitching about is the state of the subway, but Murdock and Joshpe don't mention it -- their major concerns are ancient wingnut wouldn't-wanna-live-there tropes from the Lindsay era. For instance, homelessness -- not that the authors are concerned for the welfare of the unhoused, mind; they refer to temporary housing for these poor souls as "homeless-hotel staycations," har har. No, they're worried the bums "can be prone to violence," unlike domiciled criminals, who gently ask to mug you. Then, I swear to God, they complain that they (or somebody -- the authors do not identify a witness; maybe a cab driver told them about it) saw someone shooting up on the street. In broad daylight! I know Murdock's lived in New York a long time, so I assume he lost a bet. As for Joshpe, he appears to be a baby lawyer who doesn't get why his Ivy League education and condo deposit doesn't buy him a blight-free passage down these mean streets. Mamaroneck's calling, buddy!

• Also at National Review, David French has a thing about how Ben Shapiro is the victim of an "online mob" because a lot of people said they don't like him. Regular readers know this is par for the conservative-victimology course, but two things about it are noteworthy. For one thing, in the incident French is describing, the "online mob" yelled at a guy who promoted Shapiro, not Shapiro himself -- apparently conservatives can be Twitter-mobbed in absentia! But more interesting still is the way French kicks off this bad-faith-fest about how progressives are mean to him and his buddies:
I’ve got some questions for my progressive readers. When you think of Colin Kaepernick, do you define him by his quiet kneeling and many thoughtful interviews? Or do you define him by the socks he wore once, dehumanizing cops as pigs
When you think of writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, do you define him by his hundreds of thousands of eloquent and meticulously researched words? Or do you define him by his call for violence in Baltimore, or his dehumanizing statements about the heroic cops and firefighters who rushed into the World Trade Center on 9/11? 
Is Samantha Bee defined by the time she accused a cancer patient of having “Nazi hair”? Or when she used a vile epithet to describe Ivanka Trump?
The idea is supposed to be that, just as these alleged offenses should not limit our understanding of these liberal icons, so Ben Shapiro "is the sum total of his work. He is not the isolated hot take or tweet" and should not be judged solely by these gotchas. But wait -- all the stories French links to that beat up on Kaepernick, Coates, and Bee are from National Review -- and three of them are written by French. And they're all ridiculous cavils -- like Kaepernick's pig socks -- that led to wingnut shit-fits online. Where's the National Review story -- or even brief blogpost -- by French telling us we shouldn't judge these liberals by these isolated incidents?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Following last week's rush of enraged conservative misdirection after Sacha Baron Cohen made a bunch of them look stupid, I thought wingnuts would lay off awhile -- how much mileage can there be in attacking a popular comedian for outwitting you? -- but here's Nancy French at National Review with a new angle: "Sacha Baron Cohen’s Sexual Harassment, in the Me Too Era." Now what, I wondered when I saw that headline,  could she mean?

So I read down through French's introductory huffing and puffing ("Apparently calling sexual harassment 'satire' not only gets you a free pass, it sometimes gets you famous") till I got here:
It’s time for [Cohen] to deal honestly with the filmed sexual harassment of Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul during a 2008 interview. If you didn’t see this scene in his Bruno movie, I can assure you it was hard to watch.
Blink. Blink.

She means this:

French didn't embed the YouTube clip -- not because it's "hard to watch," I'll wager, but because a lot of her readers would play it and laugh, as audiences did when the movie was in theaters, especially when Paul runs out of the room screaming "He's a queer!"

French indignantly compares Cohen to "Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, [and] Kevin Spacey."
Part of me hopes Ron Paul will go along with this -- that he'll call out Cohen as a predator, become a victim advocate and start doing #MeToo tweets rather than his, ah, traditional material. As it stands, it'll be interesting how many conservatives who normally moan about political correctness run amok will pretend to buy this nonsense.

UPDATE. Several commenters remind me that Nancy French was the as-told-to author of a Bristol Palin book; since, as my Voice column notes, Sarah Palin was one of Cohen's more recent targets, I assume French's bad-faith attack is a courtesy vendetta on behalf of, or perhaps part of her ongoing service to, La Famiglia.

One could fill several volumes with examples of conservatives pretending to accept liberal moral paradigms, either as trolling or, as French does here, with a straight face. Here's Toby Young, a disintegrated remnant of the Tory literary tradition, doing the former:

Also you libs love Eloise so much, well she's rich 'cause she lives at the Plaza durr hurr! Young's sally is the rhetorical equivalent of flaming poo left on a doorstep; I suspect French actually hopes to rally troops of pseudo-activists, though so far she's just got the dopes at Free Republic ("Sacha will be yucking it up right until the moment one of his victims clubs him like a baby Harp seal"). 

This seems to be more rightwing Alinskyism; as I showed years ago, conservatives claim liberals regularly use Alinsky's Rules for Radicals as a playbook, yet most liberals have never heard of the guy, while it's usually conservatives who get caught calling the plays

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


You'll never go broke in rightwingworld telling the rubes them there big cities is turrible places just like Mr. Trump says -- and it's even better when you're geographically located in one; the rubes never ask why you and the rest of the staff of your conservative publication don't leave Sodom and come join them in the heaven that is Fritters, Alabama, so you never even have to admit to them that you prefer city living, and can instead just pass yourself off as a kind friend who endures the liberals and lakes of bum poo and other horrors of urban life merely as a selfless journalistic mission.  Ellie Bufkin of The Federalist is one such, and she is here to tell you that

The $15 Minimum Wage Is Wreaking Havoc On New York City Dining

None of my friends back in my old hometown report any such thing, but they have no motivation to put anything over on me; so, though New Yorkers are still and as always paying outrageous prices for entree to hot spots, Bufkin wants you to think it's all up with the place: Coffee Shop, a joint that was long in the tooth when I lived in New York, recently closed and the owner told a reporter, "The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees." Hmmm, skyrocketing rents in downtown Manhattan, or waiters get a few hundred extra bucks a month -- which one do you think is more likely to convince a restauranteur it's time to move on to the next big thing? Bufkin, you won't be stunned to learn, picks the latter, calling Coffee Shop "the most recent victim" of the $15 wage, which she claims "has forced several New York City businesses to shutter their doors and will claim many more victims soon." She gives no citation for that claim -- not even some schnorrer blaming his busted venture on the commies' economic warfare -- but consider her audience: they imagine Boss Smith paying Lame Pete $15/hr to sling hash at Lutiebelle's and think these slickers must be plumb crazy.

In closing Bufkin paints this grim picture:
Eventually, minimum wage laws and other prohibitive regulations will cause the world-renowned restaurant life in cities like New York, DC, and San Francisco to cease to exist. The staff skill levels will drop, the number of servers and bartenders will never be enough, and the only survivors will be fast-casual chains with low overhead and deep pockets. 
New York’s new look will be vacant storefronts between an occasional Pret-a-Manger or the public restroom formerly known as Starbucks. But don’t worry. That charming, downtown studio apartment will still run about $5,000 per month for the privilege of proximity to all that culture.
Bufkin seems too young to remember the 70s, so we probably should forgive her for telling such unconvincing urban blight stories -- she only knows them as a trope from the wingnut propaganda manual. Besides, even smarter conservatives have tried this shit -- like Joe Lhota, who told everyone when Bill de Blasio was running for Mayor in 2013 that de Blasio was going to turn the town back into Death Wish meets Escape from New York. Conservatives all agreed that New York was doomed --  and when, four years later, de Blasio's New York reported record low crime rates, they screamed like scalded cats and slunk away. But as soon as people forget, they'll come back and try it again, because there's always someone in some holler, bluff or junction whose self-respect is tied up in believing it.

Monday, July 16, 2018


...about Sacha Baron Cohen pranking the wingnuts, and the wingnuts attacking him for it as if he were running a sleazy journalistic sting rather than doing his usual genius thing of getting people to reveal themselves on camera.

This is another example of why conservatives always wind up making culture war into a war on culture -- they don't understand the elemental appeal of comedy as a way of puncturing pretensions, and can only make it comprehensible to themselves by converting it to something their shriveled imaginations can grasp -- in this case, James O'Keefe.

Among the outtakes was one of the smaller fry caught in Cohen's net: "Utah gun rights activist Janalee Tobias," as the Deseret News reported. Interestingly, Tobias seems to be aping the victimization shtick that Sarah Palin pulled on Cohen: What she did on the show, Tobias swears, "goes against everything she stands for when it comes to gun safety and children." She says she only did that stuff -- "held a .22-caliber pistol cloaked in a stuffed toy puppy — the puppy pistol — and fed it bullets shaped like crayons to kill the bad guys," among other things, the News explains -- because Cohen "made me," though Tobias doesn't say how. Also, "I objected the entire time, but I am sure [Cohen] will not show (that)." Not bad, though it lacks the mad poetry of an actual Palin joint.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


I'm rarely this proud of my fellow countrymen, but it does my heart good to see so few of them inclined to side with snowflakes Sarah Palin and Roy Moore against Sacha Baron Cohen, who got some laughs out of making them look like morons by appealing to their limitless vanity. True, some mainstream dolts are doing the chin-pulling, has-comedy-gone-too-far shtick --"Comedian faces backlash for high-profile pranks" intones ABC News -- but though Joe Walsh, James Woods and other internet rage queens are fanning the "#BoycottShowtime" hashtag on the grounds that a comedian playing a veteran is "stolen valor" -- boy, I'm glad Jim Nabors isn't alive to see this! -- it's not gaining much traction.

Oh, Breitbart does its bit -- they quote an anonymous "source close to Palin" (wow, what a get for Breitbart!) whom they say "thinks this Cohen prank will 'backfire dramatically' because the fake interview was 'the epitome of a contemptuous Hollywood enclave that hates the ordinary working class Americans who swept Donald Trump into office. This is exactly what the American people voted against in 2016.'" Well done -- the stentorian self-importance of spokesmen for has-beens has always defeated comedy in the past! And The Stream's John Zmirak, who has given alicublog readers seconds of pleasure in the past, tries "Just Another Stale Comedian Attacking Safe Targets" -- ho hum, why would you even think of enjoying a popular jokester's TV show when you could be reading trenchant analysis like this:
But by the time of the movie Borat, Baron Cohen largely abandoned his even-handed satire.
I thought Ali G was funny, but when he started making fun of Kazakhstan and bed-and-breakfasts, that's when I knew I'd reached the limits of my tolerance. Oh, and yes, Lord help us, The Federalist has something about it too:
Comedians Use Trump To Excuse Ugly Comedy Like ‘God Bless Abortions’ And Impersonating Disabled Veterans...
Yes, the Left owns comedy. They have for decades.
Well, of course we do -- you keep giving us such choice material.
But even as recently as ten years ago, the bitter partisanship was restrained in comparison to what we have witnessed since Trump announced his candidacy. What is defined as “comedy” by today’s standards isn’t what’s actually humorous, it’s provocative viciousness that’s exclusively targets conservatives.
And you can take it from author Joseph A. Wulfsohn, because he's an expert on how humor-owning liberals aren't funny, but rather treasonous: See his "Hey Jimmy Kimmel, Where’s Your Emotional Monologue on Sexual Harassment in Hollywood?" He even uses the phrase "so-called 'comedy,'" and closes with the last refuge of a conservative, the Appeal to Civility: "Comedy is supposed to connect us as humans. Now it’s tearing us apart." Nobody tell the poor gink about A Modest Proposal or Lazarillo de Tormes or, hell, any great comic work before Life of Riley; comedy has never been for sissies.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: For conservatives, culture war is war on culture.

UPDATE. Lololololol:
According to [Joe] Arpaio, the production team led him to believe that the host was a Trump supporter. He also noted signing a contract, writing, “I signed some kind of contract before filming, which I have done numerous times, did not read all the info.” 
He said he thought it was unusual that they didn’t offer to powder his face before the interview.
@KrangTNelson has the hot parts ("He said they told him that they were associated with a feature being sold to Showtime and that the show selected him as one of the twenty 'most popular' people in America"), but it's worth reading the whole piece, in which the Breitbart flaktotum seems to have just entirely given up trying to make the loathsome Arpaio seem sympathetic or even to take his grievance seriously. Maybe these people are educable after all!

UPDATE 2. Better and better.

UPDATE 3. Hey, look who let down the side! (Don't worry, nothing unexpected, it's Vox).
Sacha Baron Cohen’s political provocations are exhausting and dangerous
Probably the kind of person who thinks The Simpsons was only good when it had heartwarming conclusions.
On the one hand, all this may seem like the beginning of a glorious sublime parade of politicians owning themselves. But on the other hand, these politicians were tricked into appearing on the record as themselves, in a way that further perpetuates and entrenches not only the cultural ideological divide, but the idea among conservatives that “liberal” media, including entertainment media like Baron Cohen’s production, is a constant and perpetual trap to be distrusted at all costs.
I know they're kinda stupid, but I think even wingnuts know the difference between a comedy show and Meet The Press.
With his old bag of tricks, Cohen is successfully promoting his show not by adding to the conversation, but by gleefully poking at it and watching everyone — politicians and onlookers alike — get upset.
If I'm watching a comedy show, I'm not looking for a "conversation," unless it's something like "'member when that guy fell in a pile of horse poop?" "HA HA HA that was awesome!" God,  can't these fucking nerds ever just relax and have a good time?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


There are lots of law-smart people making great cases against putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court but to me, a simple lad, the best reason to oppose him is that the worst people on earth want him on there.

First, Donald Trump -- I could rest my case right there. Second, the Federalist Society, not only a creep cluster of committed world-ruiners run by an Opus Dei freak, but also applauded by Jonah Goldberg in his typically lazy late-Goldberg style. First, there's his now-traditional explanation of why as a Trump "skeptic" he applauds this as he does everything else Trump does:
One of the odd things about the triumphalism over the Kavanaugh pick — which is a great pick as far as I’m concerned — is that the wrong people are taking the most credit for it. People seem to forget that the list Trump committed to was a constraint on him.
Get the fuck out of here. Trump's deal with Republicans, as I have said repeatedly, is that he'll give them everything they want so long as they let him grift; they don't serve him as a snaffle and curb or screen and bank but as accomplices. Later Goldberg refers to the Fed Soc guys as "Conservative Legal Beagles" -- much as a 50s movie goon might refer to a priest as "padre" or an intellectual as "professor" -- and says there's "nothing nefarious" about them worming their way onto the court because "liberals have their own vetting process. It’s less formalized than the Right’s, but that’s probably because it can be." Goldberg certainly doesn't know how much he's admitting there, and there's nobody at National Review -- certainly not an editor! -- inclined to tell him.

Elsewhere we have Ross Douthat slo-mo ejaculating over the imminent end of Roe v. Wade; "abortion opponents will have [their] trust vindicated" with Kavanaugh, and the Court will "legislate freely on abortion once again," Douthat declares, stabbing his thigh with a penknife in hopes Jesus will call it square and his emissions will be, in the greater sense, wiped clean.

And leave it to Megan McArdle (* see update) to think of an angle I wasn't expecting -- the possibility that Kavanaugh will make colleges stop trying to bring in more black people, or, as McArdle and her colleagues still call it (in hopes of animating the Louise Day Hicks-era prejudices of their readers), "affirmative action." "The Constitution forbids discriminating by race," McArdle says, as if rehearsing for whatever test case the Becket Fund sends against Brown v. Board of Education;  besides, John McWhorter is black and he doesn't like it either, hmmph!

McArdle throws in just enough references to "trying to right past and present wrongs" and "rectifying the effects of past discrimination" to convince her dumber readers that she's sincere about that stuff, but nonetheless racial preferences have to go because we're living in a "more diverse United States where at least some groups outperform their privileged white neighbors in educational attainment" -- and if you're missing her point, she says, "racial balancing encourages anti-Asian discrimination" and "a broader racial-balancing regime... might put Asian American students at a disadvantage" and "pursuing racial balance zealously" will lead to "continued discrimination against Asian American students." Also, did she mention John McWhorter is black?

Anyway, McArdle says, all this "will leave our new justice with an uneasy choice as the court steers us into an America where race is no longer a simple matter of black and white," though from everything else we've heard about this vat-bred wingnut automaton there'll be nothing uneasy about his choice at all.

Oh, and then there's Kavanaugh's apparent conviction that Presidents (at least since Clinton) can't be indicted. The brethren are pretending he meant no such thing -- and for my money there's no clearer sign that he did than than David French insisting he didn't, and using words like "barmy" in his argument ("he was brainstorming policy proposals, not suggesting future legal rulings" -- can't you people take a joke?). These people see Trump as the promised land for their lunatic ideas, and the extraordinary feebleness of their arguments shows how little they care whether they make it look good.

*UPDATE. McArdle says she's in favor of affirmative action -- her explanation here. You tell me, guys.

Monday, July 09, 2018


...on the socialist menance conservatives are seeing in the recent primary victory of DSA endorsee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez'. Actually this has been building awhile, with citizens increasingly telling pollsters hell yeah, we want universal health care and while we're at it, capitalism blows, but Ocasio-Cortez' charisma seems to have jolted conservatives into a higher level of awareness and got them trying to answer back, however feebly.

Which reminds me: Back in 2010, some of the brethren were trying to link the DSA (which they called "The Socialist Party of America") to the Democratic Progressive Caucus. There was no evidence that anyone gave a shit then, either; I expect what conservatives actually wanted was to rattle neoliberals and The New York Times so they'd put pressure on the Obama people to move even further back from genuinely progressive policies. (Mission Accomplished!)  But now there's no Obama Administration to pressure -- just powerless old Congressional Dems like Chuck Schumer who have increasingly lost the plot. Conservatives describe this as the party "being destroyed by their millennial base," but I don't recall them saying anything like that about the Tea Party back when they were blasting the RINOs, and millennials have a lot more energy and time to influence their party than the geriatric TP people have to influence theirs.

Thursday, July 05, 2018


I have yet to hear a convincing explanation why Scott Pruitt was finally egressed. John Fund's at Fox, expectedly, makes the least sense: "pressure rose for Pruitt to step down," he claims, "when his travails shifted from the merely humiliating to potential legal violations." This suggests -- from a normal person's point of view (which, I will explain in a minute, may not be the way to look at it) -- that Trump was aware of a year's worth of "humiliating" events and just shrugged them off, or told Pruitt to stop it and Pruitt said "sure t'ing boss" and got even worse, and Trump only noticed this week.

Fund suggests Pruitt having people falsify his official calendar was the back-breaking straw -- but he doesn't mention that it appears Pruitt fired one of his schedulers for making a stink about his fraud which, call me over-sensitive, I think makes it so much worse. Nor does Fund mention that Pruitt made his employees cover his hotel bills and then failed to pay them back. It's almost like Fund doesn't find it especially noteworthy when a made man in Trumpworld screws his poorer subordinates, which given what conservatives are like these days makes sense.

Anyway, Pruitt's maladministration of the EPA was terrible and will lead to lasting damage to the planet, but his successor will pretty much keep up the planet-killing work with a lower profile -- in the same way that, when high-living HHS Secretary Tom Price finally got too embarrassing to keep, they just slotted in pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar, who yakked about how he and his phrama buddies really wanted to keep drug prices down and who has overseen a bunch of price hikes which, Politico hilariously observes, "cast doubt on whether Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar can pressure manufacturers to voluntarily drop prices without the threat of specific consequences."

Well, bad, even destructive administration is par for the course with this lot, but Pruitt's trail of grifts is the stuff of legend and we should take a moment to marvel at and perhaps learn from it. It has long been my theory that Trump's administration is so overwhelmingly corrupt because a.) no one with anything to lose, reputation-wise, would have anything to do with him in the first place, and b.) there is honor among thieves, and Trump's understanding with them is, if he goes down they're going with him.

I still think that's about right, but the volume, scale, and exoticism of Pruitt's scandals -- his wild impulse purchases, from his cone of silence to his tactical pants; his muscling of business for personal favors; and his aforementioned, vicious exploitation of his employees -- are extraordinary even for this administration. Indeed, his behavior would seem, under normal circumstances, evidence of mental instability -- surely no one sane would go that far in a cabinet post under the full glare of national publicity.

Maybe so, but let us be charitable and imagine that Pruitt was not just greedy, but actually responsive to an existential imperative. Here he was, a man of limited talent of intelligence, not only placed far about his deserts and abilities but set among some of the greatest crooks of his time in the great candy shop of the public fisc. Being a Republican, he was already accustomed, indeed trained, to think of anything in a public Treasury as ransom held by liberal commies and queers that should by right and in the name of Reagan be liberated into the Private Sector, preferably through the medium of one's own pockets (doing good by doing well, haw!). And certainly when one is set about such work shoulder to shoulder with such as Ben Carson and Ryan Zinke, one is encouraged to go hard about it rather than gentle. What if Pruitt had a moment of poetic insight -- for these can happen to all kinds of people -- and saw, in the midst of otherwise quotidian graft, what this implied about life itself. Maybe he saw then that all was madness -- that men die and they are not happy -- and was driven by that insight to buy the tactical pants, to cheat even his own aides, to grift until even the God of grift said, no more. Let us at least accept the possibility that Pruitt was not merely greedy, but touched by the madness of Camus' Caligula.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018


Don't push too hard, my friend.

Happy Fourth, comrades! It appears Alex Jones had it wrong and we aren't taking over the country today, leaving everyone free to celebrate in their own way.  Since for me every day is already a celebration of America -- that big, gorgeous, clapped-out zombie! -- this Independence Day I sing the Megan McArdle. The Washington Post columnist is really gunning for that Peggy Noonan Chair of Applied Patriotic Bullshit, and yesterday not only published an anti-Roe-v.-Wade column -- further proof that libertarianism is strictly for dudes, and ably dismantled in this Scott Lemieux thread -- but emitted the worst 4th of July hot dog since Ted Cruz took the occasion to tell his constituents that Harvard Law is full of communists.

McArdle's column is about the flag and the National Anthem. Unlike the Harvard Law communists, she's in favor of them. But she laments the struggle over the Anthem, which is the fault of Bothsides, cousin of Notme and Ida Know. Some think kneeling during the Anthem is "a near cousin to treason." Others hold "lengthy debates" over "whether the third verse of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' was racist," the big sillies! Room for Debate, but surely We Can All Agree that that third set of shadowy figures who "suggested that perhaps we should just stop playing the national anthem at sporting events" -- which is the new Abolish ICE -- are definitely N.G. and "rather shockingly naive about what it takes to hold a country together." The non-naive view, apparently, is that we need flags and anthems or Thus Falls The Republic.
“Nationalism” has become a dirty word in the modern era, having become inextricably associated with repression of minorities and imperialist ambition. We’ve forgotten that the nationalists actually did start out in the 19th century with a worthy and difficult project: persuading a large group of people to think of themselves as a single unit.
You may wonder what the hell she's talking about. The country has from the beginning been united by wars and, and when none can be provided, whispers of foreign intrigue. Every general from the War of 1812 onward who distinguished himself in battle has become an automatic Presidential contender -- until the modern era, when our military adventures became so obviously insane that the most hawkish members of the electorate now spit on a war hero and vote in a draft-dodger. If you don't know history, at least think of President Flightsuit and Mission Accomplished.

But wondering what McArdle's talking about is a waste of time -- she doesn't really have arguments, just routines and sub-routines. For the Owning the Libs routine, for example, in this case she says sure, nationalism got a bad rap because of nationalists -- not like that could happen again! -- but liberals who don't like white nationalism are nonetheless constantly and hypocritically  "engaging in nationalist projects" like the welfare state, checkmate! Libs like bread and roses, McArdle's masses like blood and soil -- same diff, really. Plus the "groupish instinct" that transubstantiated into the nation-state "evolved in the African plains" -- see, Africa! And you guys claim to like black people. In conclusion:
If we are to fight our way back from this soft civil war, we will need a muscular patriotism that focuses us on our commonalities instead of our differences.
I wonder if her echo of "muscular Christianity" is conscious?
Of course, such a patriotism must not be either imperialist nor racialized. Which means we desperately need the flag, and the anthem, and all the other common symbols that are light on politics or military fetishism and heavy on symbolism.
Set aside the idea that "the flag, and the anthem" are "light on politics or military fetishism" -- such an absurdity after decades of flag pin patriotism and long, painful hours of Toby Keith that I doubt even McArdle believes what she's saying  -- what would the "other common symbols" be? The game pieces in Monopoly? Fonzie's leather jacket? Manny, Moe and Jack?
We need much more of them, rather than much less — constant reminders that we are groupish, and that our group consists of 328 million fellow Americans with whom we share a country and a creed, a song and a flag, and the deep sense of mutual obligation that all these things imply.
Call me commie, but I don't think the flag and anthem are gonna do it. A good start, though, would be a general acknowledgement that we got this day off because some guys -- some of whose values have, to put it bluntly, not aged well, and which most of us have abandoned --  nonetheless took seriously some Enlightenment ideas of freedom that have indeed worn and do serve us well, and may yet be our bulwark against tyranny, foreign and domestic. Grill and chill to that, my friends, and choose your own anthem; my own's up top here: If you hate us, you just don't know what you're sayin'.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018


I got mine, don't worry about yours.


Today Rod Dreher took a break from his customary racist and homophobic material to rage about sex, this time quoting extensively from a Mary Eberstadt Weekly Standard essay that seems -- though it's hard to be sure, for all the froth -- to descry "the destigmatization and mass adoption of artificial contraception" as the cause not only of widespread abortion but also child poverty, sexual assault, lonely old age ("Each year, some of [Japan’s elderly] died without anyone knowing, only to be discovered after their neighbors caught the smell”), and other horrors. Even the good news she can't ignore is contaminated by contraception: "Although teen pregnancy rates have declined in recent years, rates of sexually transmitted disease continue to rise." It would seem the only end to this nightmare, if you follow Eberstadt's logic, would be the banning of birth control. (Hey, maybe the new Trumpified court can do it!) But maybe an end to it isn't what she seeks: Maybe all she wants is for us to feel dread and shock and bad about ourselves for daring to get laid without fully committing to childbirth.

Dreher gets right in the spririt: "The truth about the Bolshevik Revolution was to be found in the gulags," he cries. "The truth about the Sexual Revolution is to be found among the poor in our inner cities and trailer parks."

But shortly before that, Dreher got on an even weirder subject: Was Anthony Bourdain suicided by witchcraft?
Somebody in my Twitter feed last night observed that “the Internet” was making a pretty good case for Anthony Bourdain’s suicide being tied to the occult. Say wha’? Lo, it turns out that his girlfriend Asia Argento is a witch, and not just a casual one either. There’s lots of extreme darkness there, right in the open. She flaunts it. Bourdain, the poor fool, was doomed the day he met her...

This is exactly where we are as a post-Christian culture: we have usurped the powers of binding and loosing from God. The Satanists admit what the rest of us cloak as advanced liberty and self-determination. Here is the line that Justice Anthony Kennedy will be most remembered for. It’s from the 1992 Casey ruling reaffirming the constitutional right to abortion...
This is so loony Dreher eventually took it down (the prior link is actually to its Google cache). But I think it was an instructive post: For all his theological palaver, a lot of Dreher's ravings are rooted in the sort of doomy, scary stories that used to bulk up pulp magazines, lurid 60s tabloids, and comics like House of Mystery; their place has been filled by websites like the crackpot collection where Dreher got this one. Come to think of it, posts like Eberstadt's owe a debt to this genre as well: The world as a nightmarish place to gawk at, with perhaps a little moral uplift at the end to make you feel like you got your money's worth. Well, at least in that sense these guys are observing the verities.

Monday, July 02, 2018


LOL: It starts out being about how "Maxine Waters does not speak for Democrats or liberals," but then guest columnist for The Hill Alan Dershowitz suddenly snaps and blubbers that his posh friends won't hang with him no more:
I am a liberal Democrat in politics, but a neutral civil libertarian when it comes to the Constitution. 
But that is not good enough for some of my old friends on Martha’s Vineyard. For them, it is enough that what I have said about the Constitution might help Trump. So they are shunning me and trying to ban me from their social life on Martha’s Vineyard. One of them, an academic at a distinguished university, has told people that he would not attend any dinner or party to which I was invited. He and others have demanded “trigger warnings” so that they can be assured of having “safe spaces” --
"Trigger warnings" = "Hate to tell you, but we have to invite that asshole Dershowitz, my wife feels sorry for him," and "safe spaces" = "Don't worry, I told Dershowitz we'll be out of town."
-- in which they will not encounter me or my ideas. Others have said they will discontinue contributions to organizations that sponsor my talks. 
This is all familiar to me, since I lived through McCarthyism in the 1950s...
"I have here in my hand a list of one jagoff I don't want to go golfing with" just doesn't have the same ring. And if I were in a pissier mood I would say the rich and infinitely connected Dersh cheapens the memory of people who actually lost their jobs, not just some fucking dinner invites, because of Joe McCarthy. But the absurdity of this has buoyed my mood, so I will just observe this really is the modern conservative idea of McCarthyism: Not the disadvantaged losing the little they have because of their beliefs -- why, says your average conservative, would anyone care about losers like that! -- but rich fucks being told to fuck off. 

But I see Dersh is making loads of new friends:

This suggest a fish-out-of-water comedy, in which Dershowitz loses his social standing in Martha's Vineyard and is forced to decamp to Fritters, Alabama and do shooters and swap coon jokes with the hoi polloi. "Hain't that squirrelmeat better than them fancy Wellfleet oysters yore sissy friends made ya eat?" asks his host, Festus. Hey, Roseanne says she's ready to come back to TV!


...about the conservatives who'll tell you Roe v. Wade is kinda-sorta safe from incoming Supreme Court Justice Throckmorton Q. Iwillreverseroevwade, and the conservatives who are already on their third champagne cocktail, singing "Hey hey, goodbye."

Since liberals are not buying this shit, and are beginning to also question the namby-pamby approach of most Democratic electeds, wingnuts from Trump on down are doing the old Briar Patch routine about our incivility. For example, we've got Rich Lowry spinning this antifa supersoldier fanatasy:
We’re going to hear much more of this, especially about “minority rule,” in the coming years. Where it could become truly dangerous is if Trump wins reelection and gets a couple of more Court picks and there is a sustained controversy of the intensity of the recent fight over family separations at the border. Then, you could see the Left convincing itself that we need some version of a color revolution in America or, as Michael wrote in his column, no-kidding resistance by blue states to federal authority. The consensus that undergirds our constitutional system has long been eroding, but it’s not inconceivable now that it could completely break down.
We just had hundreds of thousands of Trump opponents demonstrating peacefully across the country, while if you get more than a few dozen wingnuts together there's mayhem. I don't think this bullshit will fly outside the klaverns. (And yeah, I know he means "color revolution" like the Green Revolution in Iran and other such lost causes, but I bet his readership heard something else.)

Friday, June 29, 2018


I love early-60s, button-down, organization-man satire,
especially when I have to sit in a goddamn office on a beautiful day.

• Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' victory in a Queens Democratic primary may or may not rate as a harbinger, but it sure has got the brethren riled up. "Left-wing socialists have infiltrated our nation," says the thick-necked whosis at NRATV -- apparently, in the paranoid universe of the gun nut, winning the votes of one's constituents counts as infiltration. Thickneck rages on that Ocasio-Cortez "openly despises the very system that makes America the greatest country in the world" and seeks to visit upon her unfortunate constituents "housing and job guarantees, abolishing ICE" -- which, like the rest of her platform as portrayed by wingnuts, sounds pretty darn wonderful -- before getting to the muzzle-strokers' money shot: "And say goodbye to your firearms if she gets her way -- no socialist country allows its oppressed people to empower themselves" -- you know, like if that nice fella in Annapolis (who, like Dana Loesch, wanted to send a message to the libtard press) tried to make his point in Sweden, he'd have a much harder time of it. [Pause for the libertarian going "Agg-tually Sweden is technically not socialist" to get his wedgie and his kick in the ass.] I realize there are millions of People of the Gun out there who will vote, and effectively have voted, for Satan himself to maintain their right to fire nine rounds a second whenever they feel grouchy, but I think a lot more people will prefer bread and roses to cordite and spatter.

• Speaking of libertarians, at Reason Peter Suderman tries to compare Ocasio-Cortez' big media moment to the days when "many in the media saw [Dave] Brat's victory [over Eric Cantor] as a sign that the Tea Party was winning—that the crony-corporatist, big-government-loving wing of the Republican Party was losing out to a libertarian insurgency... Even The New York Times thought so." Regular readers will remember this as the alleged "libertarian moment" that won the alicublog prize for Bullshit of the Year in 2014. And now the time gives it proof, as all Republicans, including alleged freemarket cultists, march behind the blood-and-soil banner of Trump, which Suderman seems to think is a big own of Ocasio-Cortez. Except she's offering things like Medicare For All and guaranteed employment, which are either the preference of most Americans or on their way to being it, while Suderman is offering the destruction of Social Security, Medicare, and the minimum wage, and the direct rule of rich bastards, which even morons don't want. Of course the New York Times kvelled over libertarians -- for the same reason they didn't even bother covering Ocasio-Cortez' campaign: Because they suck.

Thursday, June 28, 2018


Rod Dreher's been on a tear lately. He is of course over the moon about the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade. He knows he owes Donald Trump for this, so in his usual "I'm no Trump supporter but"/ "I'm no Trump fan but"/ "I didn't vote for Trump but," plausibly-deniable testimonial to the President, this time he lets in considerably more than the tip:
I will say that Gorsuch, plus whoever is coming next, is, are two facts that Trump-voting social conservatives can and ought to use to beat Trump-skeptical conservatives like me over the head, in a we-told-you-so fit of vindication. I find it harder to justify my sitting out the presidential election in light of the facts of this tweet...
If only he could confess his secret love! I think ol' Rod's gonna wake up Trump-pregnant, and will of course bring it to term, while steadfastly, like Hester Prynne, refusing to identify the father.

But the real fun with Dreher is his "reader""mailbag," and the victory of Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York has his alleged correspondent in this instance, who honest to God lives in Ocasio-Cortez' district, in stitches, or perhaps a straitjacket:
The Department of Transportation, a bunch of crazy far-left progressive activists, and the Mayor were trying to force these bike lanes down our throats despite a huge outcry, and we pushed back enough where Joe Crowley said no and our local councilman ended up not supporting the project. Now with Crowley gone, the snowflakes who demand these bike lanes might become emboldened again.
Dreher's audience, which probably hates cyclists even more than it hates pedestrians and drives to go to the bathroom, is no doubt sympathetic, and wonders why all the Archie Bunkers they imagine populate all of Queens couldn't vote in Crowley. After a feint at claiming "big money was definitely backing [Ocasio-Cortez]" -- despite the well-known fact that she refused PAC money while Crowley was up to his eyeballs in major donors-- Alleged Correspondent suddenly goes full bull-goose racist:
However, what was really bizarre for me was the fact that the overwhelmingly majority of activists who were campaigning for her like a bunch of fanatics were WHITES! 
When I see stuff like this, I can’t help but think that whites, especially white liberals, have some sort of in-built suicide complex, where they want to give away their own country to non-whites. It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me. And it’s going to be hilarious watching these whites eventually be pushed out of the Democratic Party and straight into the hands of the alt-right.
In updates, Dreher does his usual "What, you think that's racist? Well, takes all kinds" thing.  But he does a little of the racial heavy lifting himself in a later post,  pointing out the ooga-boogas in Ooga-Booga Land are multiplying rapidly, white people aren't squeezing out enough little Crusaders, and reckoning is inevitable:
Where are those Africans going to go? They’re going toward Europe, which is depopulating. Miguel said that given the geography of the Mediterranean, it’s going to be very, very hard for Europe to keep African migrants from entering. I suggested that given the unwillingness of European elites to confront the hard facts of what’s happening, in part because it conflicts with their liberal ideology, this will make the inevitable reckoning even more violent and traumatic than it would otherwise be. 
The massive migration of barbarians into the Roman Empire, in the 4th through 6th centuries, changed European civilization permanently...
Poor guy -- he's about to have his female-crushing wet dreams fulfilled by the Supreme Court, and yet he still can't stop thinking about being overwhelmed by the fecund, dusky hordes! Well, there's some of God's justice, perhaps; with all that privilege and power protecting him, he still can never feel safe.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Along with the general absurd claim that Democrats are trying to kill Republicans, I've been noticing this story going around that Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the Red Hen who famously asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her premises last week, and who described her approach as "polite," actually followed and harassed the Press Secretary's family to their next destination. Washington Examiner:
"Once Sarah and her family left -- and of course Sarah was asked to please vacate, Sarah and her husband just went home. They had sort of had enough. But the rest of her family went across the street to a different restaurant," Huckabee said on "The Laura Ingraham Show." "The owner of the Red Hen -- nobody's told this -- then followed them across the street, called people and organized a protest yelling and screaming at them from outside the other restaurant and creating this scene."
No corroboration on that, and you'd have to be nose-blind to the smell of bullshit to take Mike Huckabee's word on anything. This of course lets out Fox News, which eats the story up, not to mention lowbrow wingnut sites like Twitchy, which confusedly hollers an alternate version ("It gets WORSE: Red Hen owner reportedly kicked Sarah Sanders out then FOLLOWED her to new restaurant to protest") and further purports, "So this could be wrong but at the same time, it could be right. And honestly we hate to say it but it sure sounds like something that the owner of the restaurant would do," because they've been close followers of Stephanie Wilkinson's career for a long time and know how she would behave in such a situation. Plus CNS News' Craig Bannister claiming, also on Mike Huckabee's say-so, Wilkinson "organized a mob" to hector the Sanderses, etc.

My favorite citation, however, is from an allegedly classier source:

They're all full of shit from the bottom and definitely not excluding the top.

UPDATE. In comments, Ellis Weiner:
Her "Why I said 'if''" is a) an internet classic waiting to be born ("If Megan McArdle is a strangler of babies, she shouldn't be given a prestigious commentary gig." "But she's not! You made that up!" "Why I said 'if.'" and 
b) is every bit as intellectually respectable as Jim Carrey's "So you're saying there's a chance" in--fittingly--Dumb and Dumber.
Great idea and a nice companion meme to the one given us by McArdle's obvious model, Peggy Noonan: "Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to." But, like socialism, it is something the American people will never accept.

Monday, June 25, 2018


...about the imprisoned, immiserated immigrant kids and the Cult of Civility outcry that has ridiculously ensued. If you tried to explain to a normal person how a racist administration's notorious abuse of children and shameless defense thereof led our Guardians of Groupthink to admonish, not the guilty parties, but the liberals who mildly expressed their frustration to the guilty parties, he might not understand you, so I have tried to explain it for the masses.

I didn't have time to stick in other examples of woe-is-me snowflakery, like complaints over Seth Rogen rebuffing Paul Ryan ("The stoner comedy stalwart has built a career on playing the over-his-head everyman," foams Conservative Tribune, "...yet is shockingly clueless about everyday America in real life. During a recent appearance on Stephen Colbert’s increasingly leftist late-night program..."). Like Ryan didn't just assume Rogen was merely protecting his brand! They're both big boys.

As usual, Rod Dreher is ridiculous on the subject. He's mad that Maxine Waters encouraged people to give "anybody from that cabinet" a hard time. Trump's cabinet is basically a supervillain cabal whose members' only superpower is immunity from prosecution, so I can't fault Maxine; if we can't prosecute the bastards, let us at least tell them to go fuck themselves. But Dreher thinks this liberal Helter Skelter. He soothes himself by having a talk with some nice lady he came across in Boston:
“I’m only sorry that I wasn’t here long enough to have any Massachusetts oysters,” I said. “They’re the best in America.”

“You’re right about that!” she said. “My husband is in the restaurant business, and we both love oysters.”

I bid her farewell, and told her I look forward to coming back to Boston when I have time to eat. She smiled at me, wished me a safe flight, and went off down the street with her dog.

Boston being Boston, she’s probably quite liberal. She might have accurately figured me for a conservative, given that I’m from Louisiana. It didn’t matter. We had a lovely conversation about our shared love of dogs and oysters.

That is America.
Awwww. I wonder how the conversation would have gone if Dreher were the DHS Secretary, his agents had snatched the lady's kids and put them on a plane to God knows where, and Dreher was on record saying that's just what happens to people like her. Maybe it still would have been sunshine and lollipops!

UPDATE. I should note that Dreher quotes in support of his point a CNN received-opinion group grope as described by Mediaite:
RealClearPolitics editor A.B. Stoddard kicked off the CNN panel by pointing out that Waters is set to take over a highly important position in the House as chair of the Financial Services Committee — and "she’s doing everything she can to prevent her own promotion."
Gasp! It's almost as if Waters doesn't share the priorities of a bunch of careerist shits!
“This is beyond overreach,” Stoddard said. “It is so outrageous that she is trying to motivate voters on her side to be as divisive as President Trump...."
Only Trump can be divisive -- your job is to be a spineless wimp and go "gee, fellas, I don't know about these concentration camps," as Republicans stampede you en route to sacking and looting the country. It's in the script!

UPDATE 2. Now the shtick for conservatives is that they're ascared Maxine Waters and her liberal friends will kill them, so their factota circulate bullshit stories supporting this delusion. Hack of hacks Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner:

Trump aides urged to get a gun 
Facing a new wave of potentially dangerous threats, called for by a top Democratic lawmaker, legal and gun experts are calling on top Trump aides to get their concealed carry permit and back it up with a pistol, 
"There are simply not enough police in D.C. or Virginia or Maryland to protect all Trump officials at their homes and when they go out to restaurants. Getting a concealed handgun permit would be helpful to protect themselves and their family,” said John R. Lott Jr., president of the influential Crime Prevention Research Center.
John R. Lott -- possibly the most notorious lyin'-ass bitch among the gun nuts' pet scholars! Still, I endorse Trump officials following his advice and getting guns because, seeing what fuckups they are, they'll probably just shoot themselves with them. It's win-win!