Thursday, December 23, 2021

IS EVERYONE IN THIS TOWN ON DRUGS?


I'm seeing a depressing number of people -- probably the same people who keep telling us that unregenerate (but anti-Trump) Republican monsters like Max Boot are our allies now -- giving Tubby credit for "pushing back" on the anti-vaccine rap Candace Owens was dishing out:

During an interview with right-wing provocateur Candace Owens this week, former President Donald Trump actually pushed back on anti-vaccine talking points and encouraged viewers to get their shots. (Yes, you read that correctly.) After Trump boasted of his efforts in facilitating the COVID-19 vaccination, an obsequious Owens replied, “Yet more people have died under COVID this year, by the way, under Joe Biden than under you and more people took the vaccine this year. So people are questioning how—” but the ex-president interrupted her to firmly declare: “Oh no, the vaccines work, but... the ones who get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take the vaccine. But it’s still their choice. And if you take the vaccine, you’re protected... Look, the results of the vaccine are very good, and if you do get it, it’s a very minor form. People aren’t dying when they take the vaccine.” 

What the Daily Beast doesn't tell you, and what you only see much further down in other accounts, is that Trump reiterated that he's against vaccine mandates -- which are tied up in the courts and now headed to SCOTUS. He also bitched about masks! 

In other words, Trump is still against the closest thing to a magic bullet we've got -- like, we didn't eradicate polio with a do-your-own-thing policy, we made it mandatory for kids to take before they could go to school. 

What he's clearly not doing is trying to get his people to vaccinate. You think the kind of hardcore MAGA people who watch Candace Owens videos are going to be swayed by this? We've seen the rubes booing him when he pimps vaccines. They're not going to take it on his say-so. They'll just double up on the horse paste.  

But when employers mandate the vaccine, the numbers show, people take it. That's what works. And Trump is against it. 

In other words, Trump only approved the vaccines because they happened while he was president, and he wants to world to know that if anything causes the pandemic to diminish -- whether it's the new pills or the clearance of the mandates or anything else -- it's to his credit; and if it rages on (and without a serious "big government" intervention, it will), it's not his fault

When I see centrist types giving him attaboys I have to wonder whether they're simple-minded. I mean, Trump and Owens are con artists. Haven't they been paying attention?

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

"AND ANOTHER THING, WHAT'S THIS 'DAY OF INFAMY' FAKE NEWS?"

The whole desk-working world is wandering away from its chores as Christmas approaches. But I, the steadfast tin Substack author, remain at my desk, spinning yards and sometimes prophecies for Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- here's one released to the general public, an advance transcript of Trump's January 6 address

That's right, Tubby's planning a "news conference" to commemorate his goons' attempted murder of Congress on his behalf. Now that's what I call nerve! The apparent idea is counter-programming against what promises to be a solemn observance on Capitol Hill, so I assume there'll be a cash bar and maybe some lounge acts. 

(BTW a subscription to REBID makes a wonderful last-minute gift.)

Monday, December 20, 2021

THE NEXT BARI WEISS.

At this point I'm posting these things like a castaway writing on the walls of his cave in case people discover it after he dies:

The push to ban books in Texas schools spreads to public libraries

When the Llano County Library shuts down for thre-e days this week, starting Tuesday, it won’t be for the holidays.

Instead, a group of six librarians in this small Central Texas county will be conducting a “thorough review” of every children’s book in the library, at the behest of the Llano County Commissioners Court. Their mission will be to make sure all of the reading material for younger readers includes subjects that are age-appropriate. A new “young adults plus” section will be added to separate books written for an older teen audience from those geared toward younger readers.

This isn't a school library, by the way -- it's a public library. I'm trying to imagine local busybodies muscling in on the North End branch of the Bridgeport Public Library when I was growing up and forbidding young me to read Esquire magazine or the works of H. Rap Brown and Philip Roth. It makes me feel sorry for the kids in this stupid Bumfuck town, but mostly it makes me damn mad.

Oh, here's the hot part:

[Amy] Garvel, who describes herself as a conservative and has a 9-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, said she’s been very careful about what content they consume.

“My goal is really to protect the children in our community in general, not just my own children,” said Garvel, 43. “I’m hoping that [the library] sees that we’re not trying to censor books that we’re trying to protect our children. I mean, the library was one of the last places that we could feel safe.”

You miserable fool, "censor" is EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING. LOOK IT UP IN A DICTIONARY. FORCING LIBRARIES TO WITHDRAW BOOKS FROM CIRCULATION IS LITERAL CENSORSHIP.

I bet Amy Garvel is dead set against "cancel culture" and perhaps even bitches about it while she's rummaging the stacks of the Llano County Library for books to ban.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

SATURDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


As a teenager I had three Emerson Lake & Palmer records.

•   Well, why not Saturday, huh? Just because it's always been Friday 'Round-The-Horn doesn't mean it always must be. Dream of a better world! In this case I have just been too busy, and not even entirely with holiday stuff -- the Day Job encroaches, as does other stupid shit. 

All the more reason for you to subscribe to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, my high-volume and -quality content newsletter, and make it more profitable and possible for me to just dish out bon mots on the regular! REBID delivers five days a week, just like an actually periodical, and though it's on Substack there is no pissing and moaning about how kids picking their own pronouns is why in a couple of years we'll all be speaking Chinese. (You can even give gift subscriptions, perfect for you last-minute shoppers.)

Anyway, Here's this week's free issue, in which celebrity murderer Kyle Rittenhouse again visits the Mar-a-Lago White House in Exile, where Tubby takes precautions to avoid a repeat of the prior incidents. I note with interest that Rittenhouse is getting the full rightwing public relations workup, with so much Fox News coverage that the network is bragging on a "Tucker Carlson Originals" program that "captures never before seen footage" of Rittenhouse, which I assume includes the baby-faced killer walking on the beach with a dog, autographing rifle stocks for adoring fans, and visiting the grave of Charlton Heston. 

Also Rittenhouse is a featured attraction at the next Turning Point wingnut convention, which has the rabble excited and some of the Conservatives With Good Taste delivering hilarious demurrers: Here's Baseball Crank/Dan McLaughlin feebly trying to say why cheering a kid wholly famous for shooting two protestors dead in the street from a prominent conservative platform is a bad idea. He compares Rittenhouse favorably to Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg, whom he calls a "propaganda-addled zealot," and Greta Thunberg (who McLaughlin, knowing his audience, does not bother to slur). Rittenhouse, on the other hand, he calls "properly acquitted," adding "one can even argue that his motives in being in Kenosha were noble." Apparently hoping that he has bought the readers' good will by showing his preference for a rightwing vigilante over leftwing activists who haven't killed anybody, McLaughlin mourns that Li'l Kyle "has an uphill battle getting a job or into a college right now" and asks his readers to let him "go quietly back to the business of growing up." 

Comments are, expectedly, a stitch, with many respondents telling Baseball Head to get stuffed and rooting for Rittenhouse to sue The Media. Still, I'd enjoy the spectacle more if we could be walled off from these people; as it is, it's like watching the inmates grow increasingly agitated in Marat/Sade before storming the audience. 

Friday, December 10, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Kinda goofy. I love it.

•  Got two Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for you: First, the true account of how the child-murder-enabling Crumbleys got nabbed; second, an account of the revival of the DLC, with some of America’s most famous middle-of-the-road Democrats trying to figure exactly how to sell out black people and thus win back Trump voters. ([Stage whisper:] It’s satire!

That DLC one was inspired by an article in The Atlantic that starts “Maybe Bill Clinton got a few things right after all” and just gets worse, with Ronald Brownstein lamenting that, unlike in the late lamented days of Welfare Reform and Mass Incarceration, today “dissenters from the party’s progressive consensus are mostly shouting from the bleachers" instead of at cabinet meetings. 

Yes, these guys think Joe Biden is running some kind of rad-lib pogrom; while Brownstein admits Biden “has not embraced all of the vanguard liberal positions that critics such as [Daniel] Shor and [Ruy] Teixeira consider damaging… neither has he publicly confronted and separated himself from the most leftist elements of his party —the way Clinton most famously did during the 1992 campaign when he accused the hip-hop artist Sister Souljah of promoting ‘hatred’ against white people.” Sister Souljah! God, they so badly want Biden to go “What’s the deal with this 1619 project? You know, black people can be racists too. [stage whisper] Hey, Cletus, you see that stimulus payment? I gave you the colored’s share, just remember where you got it!”

•  If you’re puzzled by the clothes dryer reference in the DLC bit, it’s a recurring topic among prominent “centrists” like Yglesias and Barro, who seem to think the Whirlpool Front Loader represents the greatness of America and Europeans, being socialists, can only dry their clothes by blowing on them because they gave all their dryer money to immigrants. Fresh from her skein of Operation Rescue tweets, Megan McArdle recently made it worse by suggesting many other people shared this peculiar fantasy:

She’s really on a roll, dig this one:

I have to admit even I didn’t expect her to go on Twitter and brag that she has a maid! I guess it fits the general theme that if you aren’t doing six-figure-income shit you aren’t a serious person. Maybe next week she’ll share a video of two bums fighting over her leftovers from Rose’s Luxury. 

Friday, December 03, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Jah Wobble has a remix/redo of this out now, but I say
you can't go wrong with the classics.

•   The ride down the post-Roe sluice is getting faster. Peggy Noonan has a even-more-than-usually dishonest column about it, with an "aw look at the cute little fetus pics" section and a pretense of sympathy for both sides ("the idealism of many on both sides who were actually trying to make life more just") which is going to seem very quaint when all the baby-killers are marched off to jail and the recalcitrant mothers are penned in birthing barns. I was struck by this passage:

But the court is a political body, because it is a human body that inevitably reflects reigning political currents. Roe too reflected them: Justices wanted a thing to happen in the name of justice for women and found a way to do so by spying previously unseen “penumbras, formed by emanations” (a clause from an earlier case) from the law.

It can be argued that it would increase our faith in our institutions to see that serious objections that lasted half a century, and would have lasted longer, were finally heard.

As is usual with conservatives, Noonan treats "penumbras" as a joke -- can you imagine such a thing in a legal decision! But you know what "earlier case" Noonan is very deliberately not telling you it's from? Griswold v Connecticut, which established a right to privacy and thus to birth control -- which you, I, and they know is their next target. 

If you don't believe it, take it from the bullshit artist formerly known as Jane Galt:

McArdle's twitter feed is currently indistinguishable from that of your average clinic protestor with a thesaurus, and in the Washington Post today she does her bit for the cause by arguing that no one will give a shit when Roe is overturned except silly liberal knowledge workers:

But it’s also possible that if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, and throws the issue back to the states, the subsequent legislative wrangling will reveal that the answers to those questions rest less on gender than values — or lifestyle. Are you a college-educated professional who must time pregnancies exquisitely to optimize a career, or are you a low-wage hourly worker for whom other considerations matter more?

Tee hee "exquisitely," these people I've posited are so effete! And it stands to reason (or Reason, I should say) that your average "low-wage hourly worker" will be delighted to take weeks of unpaid leave (months, if they have a public-facing low-wage job and the boss doesn't like the look) to have a kid they may not want but who cares what they think, it owns the libs, who are effete. I can't wait 'til they're overturning Obergefell and McArdle asks, "How much does it bother low-wage hourly workers whether Adam and Steve are married or civilly-united? Unless the lwhw in question is gay but lol what are the odds?"

Thursday, December 02, 2021

NO RIGHT BUT THE RIGHT TO LIFE.

I’ve unlocked another newsletter issue -- yes, I know, so generous! (But remember, the vast majority of my brilliant posts are paywalled so the smart play is to subscribe at the current outrageously low rates.) 

The topic is the imminent overturn of Roe, either in so many words or as a winked-at matter of fact with states empowered to establish whatever impossible limits on abortion they think are clever. As has been noted elsewhere, this will inevitably lead to a cascade of assaults on other recently-acknowledged rights based on the right to privacy, which conservatives used to honor as “the right to be left alone” but now openly mock because it protects women, gays, and other out-groups.  (They've always been shit, but the transformation of the conservative movement by evangelicals cannot be overestimated.)

We can already see the rightwing spin in action, most notably from Sam Alito, who compared overturning Roe to overturning Plessy v Ferguson, as if abandoning precedent to remove the rights of millions of people* were the same thing as abandoning it to grant them. (*I mean actual people, not zygotes and fetuses.) The retail version was promulgated today by Henry Olsen at the Washington Post, who explained how the public, which polls show decidedly does not want Roe overturned,  can be brought to heel:

The good news for the pro-life movement is that public opinion can change relatively quickly. In 1996, only 27 percent of Americans favored same-sex marriage. That share increased to roughly 60 percent by 2015 when the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right and sits at 70 percent today. Only 4 percent of Americans favored interracial marriage in 1958; today, 94 percent do.

If we can get them to accept expanded rights, surely we can get them to accept reduced rights! Stands to reason, right? 

Speaking of Reason, the rest of the libertarian bigbrains (including Jane Galt!) seem very hot to ban abortion, in case you wondering whether they were still full of shit.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

BUG CHASERS.

I’m unlocking a Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issue on two temporary injunctions issued by Trump-appointed judges to keep Biden from requiring COVID vaccinations for health care workers -- you know, doctors, nurses, radiologists, medical assistants; the people who take care of you when you’re sick and immunologically challenged. Both the suits to which the judges responded and the injunctions themselves are peppered with the kind of wingnut whinges one hears from QAnon quacks and reads on the Wall Street Journal editorial page. I feel as if the rightbloggers and talk-radio crackpots I’ve been covering for decades have advanced to the highest rungs of powers, and are ruling as one could have expected -- in the words of Bernard Shaw, like badly-brought-up children given torpedoes to play at earthquakes with. 

Meanwhile their comrades in Congress are, according to Politico, threatening to shut down the government to prevent Biden from making anyone get vaccinated:

“There is leverage immediately in the Senate, and we think that House Republicans ought to be backing up any number of Senate Republicans … to use all procedural tools to deny the continuing resolution passage Friday night — unless they restrict use of those funds for vaccine mandates,” Rep. CHIP ROY (R-Texas), a Freedom Caucus member, told Playbook.

Getting as many people as they can sick with COVID and blaming Democrats for it is a key part of current Republican strategy. But they can multi-task, and are also working on spreading the CRT scare (and banning books wherever they get a toe-hold) and psyching up their goons for fascist street action. Their current drive to overturn Roe v Wade (and Griswold and who knows what else) is just a taste of what they intend to do with whatever power they accrue. In short, they are literally nothing but a malignant force in our lives as well as our politics, and must be stopped. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


An old favorite.

•   Good news if you’ve been on the fence about subscribing to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down: I’m holding a Black Friday sale! Go to https://edroso.substack.com/AFFILIATE10 by tomorrow and get monthly or yearly subscription at 15% off!  That means your annual sub price goes from the already absurd $70 to, ludicrously, less than $60, and the monthly from $7 to $6. It’s almost criminal negligence not to subscribe at these fantasyland rates.

Here’s a little taste up front: A free-to-the-general-public item on a weird Matt Taibbi Thanksgiving column, in which he complains not everyone loves the holiday the way he does -- that is, as a boo-yah in-your-face sack dance over wokesters. He’s not ignorant of the genocidal backstory, he just doesn’t care, or rather makes a strenuous pretense of not caring because it Owns The Libs. 

•   At least Taibbi’s approach reveals something interesting about conservatives who basically concede liberal points but want to make them not matter. Most of these guys are far too lazy to go beyond “Happy Thanksgiving to everybody but you Biden rad libs.”  This Washington Examiner Thanksgiving thumbsucker runs the “House Divided” play:

There is no civil war today as there was when Lincoln first set a national day of thanks, and thank goodness for that. But the nation is clearly divided to an extent perhaps not seen since then.   

An insurrectionist rump trying to delegitimize the government because they no longer control it isn’t exactly a House Divided scenario -- it's more of House Stormed by Shitheels scenario -- but maybe that’s just me. (Republicans love the civil-war theme because, as I’ve said elsewhere, they yearn for a rerun of Civil War I in which their side finally wins, and also because it makes them look more powerful than they are because they’re the ones making the war faces.)

If that part of the WashEx essay hasn’t broken your bullshit meter, get the gaffer’s tape ready for the very next line:

Woke police have so captured higher education and corporate America that most people are now scared to speak their minds in the classroom and at work.

People have been “scared to speak their minds in the classroom and at work” for decades, if by “scared to speak their minds” you mean aware that if they started dishing out slurs and insulting their colleagues and fellow students they’d suffer consequences. And as their silence when the “free speech” issue is school boards banning books shows, their own personal right to call Sue from Accounting a tranny is all that term means to them. 

•   Hey look, a new COVID variant is on its way! Let me take this opportunity to remind you that back in early days of COVID vaccinations, conservatives were yelling that people who still wore masks in public -- whom they presumed to be liberals, because public health measures are liberalism now -- were actually making COVID worse by discouraging vaccination, because masklessness was a benefit of vaccination and, since Americans could not be expected to do anything that doesn't result in immediate gratification, they wouldn't get the shot unless it meant they could rip off the "face diaper" and dive head-first into a ballpit of virus, and masked-and-vaccinated people were making them feel like they couldn't. I will also remind you there have been little revivals of this rightwing anti-mask thing ever since, including recently, after the spread of booster shots, as shown by this Noah Millman column at The Week ("the pressure for continued restrictions is itself an expression of lack of confidence in vaccines... It thereby contributes to the anti-vaccine sentiment that is the primary cause of America's continuing high death toll from COVID"). Millman compares attempts by the fascist CDC to get us to observe these measures to the unheeded commands of decaying despotic regimes, and suggests that requiring masks in schools helped elect Glenn Youngkin in Virginia. If a new COVID wave, enabled by the recalcitrance of red states to masks and vaccination, sweeps the country, I predict neither Millman nor any of his fellow yahoos will reconsider, and will instead blame it on the 6.2% inflation rate. 

•   Tell you what, here’s another freebie for REBID non-subscribers who remember the good old days of Liberal Fascism: The inevitable next step for Jonah Goldberg, whom we may expect to try and cash in on his post-Fox-News cred. Lots of low humor! 

Monday, November 22, 2021

JONAH GOLDBERG: SECOND TIME AS FARTS.

I guess it’s time to remind people about the Doughy Pantload, aka the Flatulator. From an otherwise estimable Greg Sargent column about Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg quitting whatever it was they were getting paid for by Fox News over Tucker Carlson’s pro-insurrection TV special:

Some liberals have scoffed that Hayes and Goldberg are unreliable allies who should have recognized Fox’s toxicity long ago and have taken other unforgivable positions over the years. But liberals should want the existence of a center-right that is fundamentally for the baseline of respecting democratic outcomes and institutions, for reasons I’ve outlined elsewhere, even if we disagree with them about everything else.

In the story linked from his “for reasons I’ve outlined elsewhere," Sargent acknowledges that people like Hayes and Goldberg aren’t exactly democracy’s best friends, but they are more likely to defend it in a pinch than are the true Trumpkins:

On CNN, [Trump apostate Miles] Taylor said: “The one place we are united with Democrats right now is in defending our democracy.” Unfortunately, when it comes to center-right voices willing to say this, right now we don’t have the option of being particularly choosy.

But we only have their say-so on that -- what’s the proof they’ll “defend democracy”? Taylor was revealed to be the author of the hilarious 2018 “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” op-ed in the New York Times, in which he claimed to be one of “many Trump appointees [who] have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.” But what’d he actually do, besides wait until just before the 2020 election to out himself? 

Taylor's anonymous op-ed suggests he and his buddies just tried to keep the mentally unstable Trump from fucking up Republican policy too much. Even the many “oh yeah, Trump was nuts but I couldn’t tell you at the time because I needed it for my upcoming book” reports out there don’t show Taylor or anyone like him stopping Trump from declaring martial law or anything. (I will add that I take the stories about Pence resisting Trump because of James Madison, rather than because he was ascared he’d get in trouble, with a megagrain of salt.) 

As I wrote when the op-ed came out:

…it's taken me more than a year to acknowledge that Max Boot, for example, is sincere about opposing [Trump]. Boot remains a war-mongering monster, of course, but he's not pretending to be anything else -- he even admits that he can't approve of Trump's saber-rattling, not because Boot has turned pacifist, but because he thinks Trump lacks the belly (figuratively speaking) to follow through with the civilizational slaughter Boot's approval would require.

So when Boot says he's hoping the Democrats take over to teach Republicans a lesson, I believe he means it, because he's not trying to snow me about why he wants it. Thus, if he and his comrades of convenience get rid of Trump and eventually install President Mattis, I won't be stuck with my thumb up my ass blubbering "B-b-b-but I thought we was pals" as America blows up half the Middle East and Boot orgasms voluptuously.

More likely Taylor et alia were just looking for a more comfortable niche in the rightwing universe with some staying power for after Trump sharts himself to death. Taylor is currently working something called the Renew America Movement, pitched by -- red alert! -- the Niskanen Center. These guys are less likely to save democracy than to save their own asses.

Now Sargent and others think Hayes and Goldberg are part of some post-Resistance. Hayes ran the Weekly Standard, the wingnut mag that went anti-Trump, thus driving away its rich rightwing funders -- at which, LOL, on many levels, not least because Megan McArdle thought the demise of this sinecure meant there was a “civil war shattering the [conservative] movement,” notwithstanding “some of the movement’s stalwarts did turn into Trump boosters, if only half-hearted ones.” Har de har har. Pick up a copy of National Review sometime and tell me how anti-Trump they are

As to Goldberg: Since his emergence as his mom’s backup in the Lewinsky affair, he’s been a public nuisance -- my alicublog archives return hundreds of entries on his awfulness, despite my getting bored with him over the past couple of years. The most recent phase of Goldberg’s failsonry is his quasi-demi-hemi-anti-Trumpism, by which he heretofore hoped to straddle Trumpworld and NeverTrumpworld -- here, for example, he sputters that he’s not technically a “Never Trump” conservative, but more of a “Trump skeptic.” Whatever you call his aposta-half-assy, he has mainly expressed it by sneaking snide remarks in between pats of the Former Guy’s back:

Goldberg actually lists several columns where he's been "criticizing Trump." Let's take one at random -- "The False Prophecy of the Presidential Pivot” -- and look at the lede:

It was just last week that Donald Trump had the finest moment of his short presidency — his address to a joint session of Congress. Even many of his harshest critics praised his speech or reluctantly conceded that it was “presidential.”

Really lets him have it, huh? Actually Goldberg does get to criticizing eventually, but it's mainly criticism of Trump's intemperate Tweeting…

The great irony here is, Goldberg’s intellectual cred is largely based on his book Liberal Fascism -- a book about, unsurprisingly, how liberalism is fascism. (Goldberg, sneaky little shit that he is, claimed the book wasn’t about that when hawking it in the prestige media, and mostly got away with it, though not with Jon Stewart.) Now Goldberg finds himself chased out of the top tier of conservatism by the actual fascists in his own movement. Don’t worry about him, though -- he still has his phony-baloney job at The Dispatch as well as his Asness Chair (snerk) at AEI. And eventually you’re see him again in some place of unaccountable prominence, admitting that while the Proud Boys sometimes go too far, they’re a welcome change from the protestors they’ve put in the hospital. FarrRRt

Friday, November 19, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Saw One Hour With You a few weeks back.
I knew old Chevalier was charming, but young Chevalier is a whole 'nother story.

I lived in New York during the Bernie Goetz thing, so I certainly wasn’t expecting any better from the Rittenhouse jury. (The Goetz jurors at least hung an illegal weapons possession charge on him -- which the judge in this case preempted -- and Goetz didn’t kill anyone.) 

Judge Schroeder’s bizarre behavior couldn’t have helped, but let’s face it; most of the sort of people who would make it onto a jury like this are predisposed to support vigilante “justice” if they dislike the victims and the shooter is white anyway. 

That Schroeder felt it necessary to encourage that decision, even with the world watching, is disgusting, but until ordinary people treat such encouragement as a reason for suspicion rather than an excuse, we’re going to keep having this problem whenever there’s a protest to which nuts with guns are not only admitted but invited -- and in other areas where, until recently, we were less accustomed to expect violence, such as at school board debates

The goons themselves are still a minority. Somehow the non-goons who enable them have to be convinced that indulging their violence is bad for them as well as for the rest of us. The goons’ efforts to insulate them from this knowledge has been pretty successful, but we must count on what’s left of the enablers’ common sense to kick in. It’s been known to happen! But it better happen sooner rather than later. 

Anyway, from the newsletter: We all know what the babyface killer’s next step will be.

Friday, November 12, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Only recently heard this one. Billy Stewart's always cool,
but dig the two-chord structure! Heavy.

•  Marc Thiessen, Washington Post:

By now, most Americans have heard of critical race theory. But many do not know just how radical or pernicious CRT is — because, as a new study from the American Enterprise Institute shows, the media does not explain its key tenets in its coverage. So I asked one of our nation’s preeminent historians, Princeton University professor Allen C. Guelzo, to explain CRT and why it is so dangerous.

Critical race theory, Guelzo says, is a subset of critical theory that began with Immanuel Kant in the 1790s.

The fuck? 

It was a response to — and rejection of — the principles of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason on which the American republic was founded. Kant believed that “reason was inadequate to give shape to our lives” and so he set about “developing a theory of being critical of reason,” Guelzo says.

I don’t know which of these worthies dropped the ball here but describing The Critique of Pure Reason and The Critique of Practical Reason as “Being critical of reason” is like describing Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations as “questioning the wealth of nations.” 

But the critique of reason ended up justifying “ways of appealing to some very unreasonable things as explanations — things like race, nationality, class,” he says. Critical theory thus helped spawn totalitarian ideologies in the 20th century such as Marxism and Nazism…

I’m not an expert but have you ever known anyone who was not putting it on as a pedantic display who said they got into Marx via Kant? (As for Nazism, maybe he’s thinking of Fichte.) The Critiques are about time and space and categories and thing-in-itself and whatnot. It ain’t Points of Rebellion

The rest of the column by the Post’s second-worst columnist is the usual CRT Panic bullshit (yes, Thiessen invokes MLK). My guess is that he threaded in the highbrow stuff to appeal to rightwing cranks who learned about the Frankfurt School from Glenn Beck and will yell about it like the guy in the diner in The Birds going "It's the end of the world!" Why not? In the coalition of crackpots -- the anti-vaxx members of which are now bathing in Borax in an attempt to neutralize the effects of their mandated COVID shots -- there’s plenty of space for pseuds who think blaming liberalism on foreign philosophers makes it sound extra sinister.

•  Roy Edroso Breaks It Down Freebies today! There’s the course descriptions for Bari Weissamatta U., and a partial transcript of a Rittenhousean trial of another of another freedom fighter

Thursday, November 11, 2021

"WHAT, ME WEIMAR?" WATCH.

Members of the Spotsylvania County (Va.) School Board cut right to the chase in its 6-0 vote to remove “sexually explicit” books from school libraries:

Two board members, Courtland representative Rabih Abuismail and Livingston representative Kirk Twigg, said they would like to see the removed books burned.

“I think we should throw those books in a fire,” Abuismail said, and Twigg said he wants to “see the books before we burn them so we can identify within our community that we are eradicating this bad stuff.”

The book-burning brief is open and in flux; the Fahrenheit 451 squad means to expand it to include books found “objectionable” for other reasons:

The criteria for pulling books from circulation this week is “sexually explicit,” but the board plans to refine how material is determined to be “objectionable” for a further review of library holdings…

“There are some bad, evil-related material that we have to be careful of and look at,” he said, without elaborating.

Thanks to Charlie Pierce for the heads-up (“'evil-related material' sounds a bit general,” he notes). Oh, and if you’re not feeling the Spirit of ’33 yet, get a load of this:

Firing teachers, book-banning (latest high-profile victim: August Wilson) followed by calls for book-burning, intimidation by masked paramilitary -- if you don’t see what the “CRT” bullshit is really about, you’re just trying not to see it. 

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

CRYBABY COLLEGE IS IN SESSION!

Today’s newsletter item, released to the gen pop cuz I’m such a sweetheart, is a partial course listing from Bari Weissamatta U, otherwise known as the University of Austin, the cancelculture crybabies’ new, unaccredited college. The project is hilarious on many levels, many of which have been covered in the deluge of Twitter mockery its announcement unleashed. (And that mockery has been followed, as night follows day, by second-wave sea lions doing their bit to promote the grift by castigating the mockers for being mean.  If you dunk on me, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!

I think something that’s being missed, though, is that for people who claim to revere “the academy” and “veritas” and all that, they’re doing an immense disservice to education, even by the standards they profess. There are, as I have been saying for years, dozens if not hundreds of accredited conservative-friendly colleges out there: Bob Jones, Liberty, Hillsdale, et alia. Yet the people who are always bitching about liberal bias at the major schools never talk about funding these existing schools that share their vision, or sending their prominent intellectuals (like the ones on the "board of advisors'' of Austin U!) to teach at them. So those schools stay stuck in the lower tiers, granting degraded degrees to kids whose parents don’t care so long as they don’t get the wrong kind of education IYKWIM, while wingnuts fantasize about the defunding and takeover of the Ivies

Now Bari and the guys have actually gotten some marquee names and tech funders to back their play -- but rather than give Goucher, Ave Maria et alia the benefit, they’re playing pattycake on the internet. I expect their students will be, not budding Ben Shapiros willing to forego a proper degree for the sake of the cause (Shapiro went to Harvard, he’s no dummy), but mostly racist retirees who want to stick it to the libs by taking Phrenology from Andrew Sullivan. What a waste!  

Friday, November 05, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


La Merm created the role but for some reason backup Elaine Stritch
did the honors in this telecast scene with Russell Nype. 
Irving Berlin's songs are stupid as hell but ain't they fun? 

• Very busy today, I mean even busier than usual -- will see if I can't add a few notes here later. Meantime, the freebies from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down: First, my version of the grim Virginia prognosis; and, as a treat, a funsie in which YOU THE READER are asked to describe a memorable moviegoing experience.  Have at it! 

Thursday, November 04, 2021

KINDER, K√úCHE, KRAPOLA.

I have released the current Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issue, about that hot new CRT thing that’s sweeping the fatherland, to the general public for free. Such is my sense of duty! But subscribe anyway, I won’t always be able to make these sacrifices. 

As mentioned in the newsletter, the brethren have already been kinda-sorta admitting that the critical race theory Youngkin and all of them banged on about throughout the campaign was not in fact being taught in schools. (And yes, I know the godfather of this bullshit basically admitted it was bullshit long ago.)  In a particularly hilarious case, Yascha Mounk sneers at all the silly liberals who claimed that

Youngkin, an extremist posing in the garb of a suburban dad, was able to incite “white backlash” by exploiting “fake” and “imaginary” fears about the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools.

[Cheery “several paragraphs later” intertitle]

The idea that critical race theory is an academic concept that is taught only at colleges or law schools might be technically accurate…

[Smacks forehead

Mounck follows with some homina-homina: “History lessons in some high schools teach that racism is not just a persistent reality but the defining feature of America” (with a link to the 1619 project!), there was “a presentation to principals of New York City public schools” with some weird shit in it, etc. Which isn’t the calling-first-graders-racist situation that Republicans are peddling, but it has something to do with race, so tomato tomahto, right? 

Such is the power of motivated unreasoning -- or, as it became known in the Trump era, taking it “seriously not literally.” Anyway, enjoy the newsletter, and consider it fair warning because shit is about to get ugly. 

UPDATE. If you think my newsletter piece is too grim, get a load of this

I'm envisioning a lynch mob chanting CAN'T YOU TAKE A JOKE! 

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

THE NEW RED(STATE) SCARE.

I have a big item on the Virginia election working for Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- subscribers will see it in the morning, which is a good reason to be a subscriber, hint hint.  The big takeaway: Now everything will be CRT for the GOP. Democrats want to tax the rich? It's critical race theory! (They only want that money to give to black people for reparations.) National broadband? Critical race theory! (They just want to pump Ta-Nehisi Coates into your l’il-ol’ one-room schoolhouse.) Obamacare? Critical race theory! Look how many black people are getting coverage under the Medicaid expansion -- obviously done to address some made-up “systemic” “racism.” 

Best part: White people are the victims/heroes! 

‘til then all I have to offer you is the gift of laughter, courtesy of our old friend Megan McArdle:


I don’t know what’s funnier: That McArdle’s even trying this Dreher/Friedman fantasy about a person who’s on the “left” but thinks radical Democrats like Terry fucking McAuliffe have betrayed the race-blind politics taught by her dear sainted mother, or that she has McArdle convinced friendship is the reason she hasn’t been reading her columns. 

Friday, October 29, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Always liked this one.

•   One of the many weird epiphenomena of the conservative COVID movement is their celebrations of Trumpian Governors like Ron DeSantis as heroes of the pandemic. DeSantis in particular has overseen 3.6 million cases and 59,495 deaths and arguably drove these dismal numbers with his insane anti-vaccine-mandate and anti-mask ordinances, yet every time he gets to the other side of one of his self-generated disease waves, conservatives cry “Where Does Ron DeSantis Go To Get His Apology?” The same thing is happening now as the latest appalling Florida summer wave subsides; Karol Markowicz at the New York Post is not only praising DeSantis’ purgative approach but endorsing it for the rest of the country. Her lede is a classic case of disguising cause and effect by reversing their order.   

Florida has the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the country. They did it without vaccine mandates, without mask mandates in school and with no restrictions on businesses. Life simply went on. 

Over the summer, when Florida was experiencing a spike in cases, the media was wall-to-wall news about the numbers. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was a frequent target for the blame. His sensible moves, such as not forcing low-risk kids to wear masks, was treated as akin to murder by the media.

In other words, DeSantis allowed the uninhibited spread of the disease to jack up the numbers, and when the virus hit a firebreak of the dead and sickened, and infections paused, he and acolytes like Markowicz could say, “Look how low it is now!” Which is rather like saying, “once the patient died his fever went down.” 

And, given the experience of countries like Iran,  Florida will have even more waves and spikes in the future -- which is great, because as each wave recedes there’ll be more “Look how much it dropped, where’s his apology” talking point opportunities. And it will be compared favorably to places like New York City because, having used mandates and other public health measures to crush their COVID numbers, they won’t have any dramatic drops to report -- which will of course mean they aren’t doing as well. 

•   I mentioned two Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for the week in previous alicublog installments, but here are the links again: The one about Ross Douthat’s Lyme Disease/COVID skepticism, and the one about that evergreen topic, rightwingers mad at a commercial.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

THE DREAM POLICE.

 Hold out your candy-bags, kids -- here's another freebie from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. And in a rare double-up, like the last freebie this one features Rod Dreher. But he's just one of a bunch of rightwingers who've gone ballistic over a charming Twix Halloween ad, in which a boy who likes to wear dresses gets a nanny with heavy goth-witch vibes who confronts his bullies and proceeds to blow them off (in one case, literally).

The rampage against this ad is not limited to Dreher (who brings his unique "woke capitalism" brainworms to it) but extends to conservative outlets such as the Media Research Center ("Twix Halloween Ad Features Zero Candy and Plenty of Trans Propaganda for Kids"), Gateway Pundit ("Twix Releases Halloween Ad About a Boy Wearing Dresses With His Witch Nanny — Forgets to Mention Candy," hey thanks for the tip, Rosser Reeves), Russia Today ("The Witch & the Wardrobe change: Twix blasted for ‘woke’ Halloween ad with boy wearing princess dress, but no holiday… or candy"), et alia.

One particularly dumb idea in their coverage is that, when the witch-nanny sends off one bully with a gust of wind, the commercial actually, in the words of Ben Shapiro's Daily Wire, "Suggests Violence Against Those Who Disagree Acceptable." Quite apart from the characterization of bullies as "those who disagree" -- there's a whole academic paper on rightwing victim-status-claiming in that -- I wonder if, when these guys saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Augustus Gloop drowned in the Chocolate River and Violet Beauregarde turned into a blueberry, they stormed the box office claiming it was a pedophiliac snuff film. 

But my essay's not so much about that as why people like these hate fantasies in which the marginalized and bullied vanquish their tormentors, but love fantasies about overthrowing the government and raping and lynching their real-life opponents. 



Tuesday, October 26, 2021

THE MARCH OF RIGHTWING WOO.

I’m unlocking today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, about Rod Dreher’s review of Ross Douthat’s Lyme Disease book. As you might expect, it’s a popular subject among rightwingers as Douthat is one of their made men. But since the book apparently talks about Douthat’s Lyme being chronic, Megan McArdle’s review talks mostly about how she once had what looked like a chronic disease but it turned out to be poor medication reconciliation, tee hee, and (so?) she’s dubious about Douthat’s chronic Lyme claim; Freddie DeBoer, while lavishing praise on Douthat’s prose (I know, suspicious already, right?), argues that chronic Lyme doesn’t exist.  

I forebear to judge, noting that many reputable doctors treat Lyme patients’ symptoms for years. And I wouldn’t judge Douthat’s book either, since I have not and will not read it; life’s way too short. But I note that when Douthat’s rightwing reviewers address his apparently alt-medical opinions, they hasten to tell us that they are certainly not against skepticism toward traditional medicine. De Boer:

I stress that I know how he feels; the paternalistic and arbitrary behavior of doctors is a ubiquitous aspect of mental health treatment, and the unique feeling of helplessness that doctors can inspire is something I have lived with many times in my life. But as some point the ruminations on the failings of the medical system start to feel rote, and Douthat’s objections remind me uncomfortably of myself. Because I spent nearly ten years denying my mental illness entirely and another half-decade refusing medication, and thus far have only spent four accepting both the diagnosis and the treatment. All along, my denial and obstinacy were fed by a set of complaints about the medical system that were visceral, justified, and true. But they were also, undeniably, an excuse to look at everything involved in my mental health but myself. [italics mine]

DeBoer seems to be saying, “Yeah, I thought medical science was a con and didn’t even consider that I had a mental illness, let alone take pills for it; now, guess what, I know I’m mentally ill and I took the pills, but I still think medical science is a con that just happened to be right.” McArdle, without totally buying Douthat’s diagnosis, nonetheless defends his skepticism (“I, like Douthat, also know the peril of deferring to doctors who want to treat only what they can measure”) and ends with some rather weak woo:

That does not, of course, prove that chronic Lyme is real. But neither does the absence of clear evidence provide evidence of absence. Given the uncertainties, it seems to me far better to risk false hope than to too meekly accept a counsel of despair.

Or, the sun’ll come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun.

As addressed in the newsletter, Dreher is more ferociously anti-medical-establishment, raving about ivermectin and “how blind science can be” and even working in a Lyme Disease version of the COVID Lab Leak story (Lyme Leak?). 

What all these guys appear to have in common is a vested interest in the kind of “skepticism” beloved of the anti-vaxx community, crystal healers, and such specifically rightwing alt-med-grifters as Stella “Demon Sperm” Immanuel. This is becoming, as we can see from the people screaming at nurses outside hospitals and the cops marching against vaccination requirements, an important constituency for the new Republican coalition. And it mirrors the whole conservative project to destroy any faith in once-respected authorities such as government, schools, and medical science, so that it may be more easily transferred to Trump and similar goons. 

Oh, also of note: Last month a Texas court threw out a suit against the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), brought by a Lyme sufferer and associates who claim the organization, which publishes standards for Lyme treatment, "engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to deny the existence and prevent treatment of chronic Lyme disease." Now that they've lost, maybe they'll just track the scientists down and assault them, like their co-loons do at hospitals. And do look at the comments at the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down story, especially those of people who've had Lyme Disease and have their own opinions about Dreher's angle.