I quite disagree with our host, who writes:
May Limbaugh Burn In A Thousand Fires
[..] I really don’t understand why people are so squeamish about wishing pain and death upon truly despicable souls. After all, we wish a thousand sufferings upon Osama bin Laden, right? Why not also Rush Limbaugh?
It is natural to wish vengeance on those who strongly offend or have wronged us. Picture yourself as the father of a girl who has been raped and murdered, and imagine that one year after the perpetrator is apprehended, you find yourselves alone in a room and have some guarantee that you won’t be connected to the scene. (or even without such a guarantee!) What would you do?
The human thing, I expect. But there is a reason we don’t allow victims’ families to be judge, jury, and executioner or prison staff. If asked to consider a different but analogous situation objectively, such a father—or relatives of those who were massacred on 9/11—would probably appreciate the wisdom of blind, dispassionate justice free of conflicts of interest.
The question then becomes: What should our attitude be in the vast middle ground between the passion of victims and formal justice? For instance when we empathize with their pain in a blog post, or a conversation among friends? And should it make a significant difference if we declare a wish for drastic retribution to be carried out by an abstract force of nature rather than volunteering or explicitly advocating others do the deed?
It is a truism that protecting free speech entails protecting vile speech, including that of would-be-censors like the religious right or the PC left. Similarly, promoting tolerance entails some tolerance of people who are themselves intolerant. And in the particular case here, promoting decency requires a certain level of decorum towards indecent, despicable bile spewers like Mr. Limbaugh.
As Andrew Sullivan put it:
The only decent thing to do is to hope for [Limbaugh's] swift and full recovery so we can get back to exposing his blarney and bile. Get well soonest.Now our host may choose to waive this decorum and belittle my concern as squeamish— so may many of you, for that matter. But to do so is to act as a wingnut—by definition. And should it happen often, my opinion of you will approach my opinion of typical Limbaugh fans.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I really don’t understand why people are so squeamish about wishing pain and death upon truly despicable souls. After all, we wish a thousand sufferings upon Osama bin Laden, right? Why not also Rush Limbaugh? He is, after all, so deserving of your kindness and respect:
Limbaugh wonders “who’s paying for the Kennedy funeral”: “Is it Cutty Sark?”
Amen a thousand times over to this article (read the whole thing):
While North America’s airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, one word keeps popping out of the mouths of experts: Israelification.
That is, how can we make our airports more like Israel’s, which deal with far greater terror threat with far less inconvenience.
“It is mindboggling for us Israelis to look at what happens in North America, because we went through this 50 years ago,” said Rafi Sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy. He’s worked with the RCMP, the U.S. Navy Seals and airports around the world.
“Israelis, unlike Canadians and Americans, don’t take s— from anybody. When the security agency in Israel (the ISA) started to tighten security and we had to wait in line for — not for hours — but 30 or 40 minutes, all hell broke loose here. We said, ‘We’re not going to do this. You’re going to find a way that will take care of security without touching the efficiency of the airport.”
That, in a nutshell is “Israelification” – a system that protects life and limb without annoying you to death.
But no, of course we’ll never do anything so sane. Because we are a fragile, delicate people among whom tens of millions would be happy to shred our laws and constitution in the hopes of just a tiny improvement in security.
Who could have predicted that the attempted Christmas terror attack would usher forth yet another round of feckless window-dressing that the TSA would tell us makes us safer?
Sometimes the stupidity is too much to bear. From the new guidelines for international air travel:Sigh.
U.S.-bound passengers aboard international flights must undergo a “thorough pat-down” at boarding gates, focused on the upper legs and torso.
Thanks for letting us know, TSA, that the search should be focused on the upper legs and torso. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, pat-downs that ignore the crotch and the ass are useless. We recently saw in Saudi Arabia the detonation of a rectal bomb, so it really doesn’t take much creativity to imagine that terrorists will be taping explosives to their scrotums. Of course, TSA is not going to be feeling-up people’s scrotums anytime soon, so the question remains: Why does our government continue to make believe that it can stop terrorists from boarding civilian planes when anyone with half-a-brain and a spare two minutes can think up a dozen ways to bypass the symbolic security measures at our airports?
Next item: “Passengers must remain seated for the final hour before landing. During that time, they may not have access to their carry-on baggage or hold personal items on their laps.” But what about their underwear? Can they have access to their underwear, which is where our latest would-be Muslim martyr apparently hid his bomb? And why can’t we have access to our laptops, if they’ve already been screened?
By the way, these rules, the Washington Post says, are in effect only until December 30th. In January, you see, the jihad is over. That, or the TSA needs until December 30th to properly promulgate a formal set of inane new rules, to add to the inane rules currently in place. Here’s an alternative suggestion for the Obama administration: Focus on capturing and killing Islamist terrorists overseas. By the time they get to the airport, it is, generally speaking, too late.
1. The guy was on a terrorism watch list but not a no-fly list. WTF?
2. I expect that this will ironically make traveling even more of a nightmare. After all, our current super-strict terrorism-porn protection methods (e.g., only allowing tiny liquids, requiring us to take off our shoes) didn’t prevent this guy from getting what he needed on the plane.
3. Someone please forward me the first rightwinger who takes this opportunity to call Obama a terrorism-loving appeaser who hates his country and will ultimately rain hellfire down upon. My money is on Savage or Limbaugh. Funny how the country pulled together and backed Bush in the wake of 9/11 while the first successful terrorist attack during Obama’s term will absolutely and inevitably be met with scorn, blame, derision and – yes – probably calls for impeachment.
Update: The rightwing whinging begins. It’s ALWAYS a good day to blame Obama for [X]!
Patrick Ruffini aside, most of the wingnut attacks on Obama over yesterday’s attempted terrorist action center on word choice. RedState:If you guessed “Because they want to start in on ‘See! Obama had a terrorist attack on his watch’!!“, you are correct.
Even the White House is calling this an attempted terror attack.Pete Hoekstra (via ThinkProgress):
Administration says attempted terrorist attack. No. It was a terrorist attack! Just not as successful as they (AQ) planned.
Although, by that logic, the failed shoe bomber was a terrorist attack on Bush’s watch so…
Ross Douthat gets it:
Obama baffles observers, I suspect, because he’s an ideologue and a pragmatist all at once. He’s a doctrinaire liberal who’s always willing to cut a deal and grab for half the loaf. He has the policy preferences of a progressive blogger, but the governing style of a seasoned Beltway wheeler-dealer.
[..] Absent political constraints, Obama would probably side with the liberal line on almost every issue. It’s just that he’s more acutely conscious of the limits of his powers and less willing to start fights that he might lose than many supporters would prefer. In this regard, he most resembles Ronald Reagan and Edward Kennedy. Both were highly ideological politicians who trained themselves to work within the system. Both preferred cutting deals to walking away from the negotiating table.
Kathy Kattenburg marvels:
A Stunning AchievementAnd Kevin Drum:
Who knew that Harry Reid had the kind of steel in his spine that it took to get health care reform through the Senate? If anyone had told me a year ago that he would have the fortitude, perseverance, toughness, and sheer guts that it took to pass this legislation against the implacable, uncompromising opposition and nihilistic obstructionism of Senate Republicans, I would have fallen on the floor laughing. In Ezra Klein’s words, “Harry Reid has much to be proud of today.”
I’m 51 years old and this bill is, without question, the biggest progressive advance in my adult life. You have to go back to the great environmental acts of the early 70s to get close, and to the civil rights/Medicare era to beat it. That’s four decades, the last three of which have constituted an almost unbroken record of conservative ascendency. And now that ascendancy is just days away from being—finally, decisively—broken.But remember, Harry Reid is “a poor leader” and “a tool”…
[..] A trillion dollars in benefit for low and middle income workers. 95% of Americans insured. Medical bankruptcies on the verge of disappearing. And for the first time ever, an acknowledgement that decent healthcare ought to be universal in the United States. This is historic. This is a cause for celebration, not recriminations. As recently as 2005, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see this day, and now, a mere three years later, it’s here. I can still hardly believe it.
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