Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said today that the CIA has illegally monitored and searched computers that belong to her committee.(0 comments)
Ralph Nader became a parody of himself when he endorsed a Mike Bloomberg third-party bid in 2012, but evidently St. Ralph is now working even harder to convince everyone not to take him seriously with a list (and a lengthy one!) of super-rich people he wants to help combat money in politics cynically use to hurt the Democratic Party indirectly elect the next GOP president run for president! It’s sort of a strange list, really, mixing your expected financiers and Silicon Valley hotshots with a couple of bizarre celebrity entries (Ted Turner, lol). About all they have in common is that, you guessed it, they would spend a lot of money and that they would take votes away from Democrats and thus elect the next Republican president. Notably, things these folks don’t have in common include: ideology (Tom Steyer seems to be genuinely quite liberal, Thomas Siebel seems to be extremely reactionary, most seem to be colorless moderates and I have no idea what Oprah’s politics are). Also, name recognition. Or, any sort of political base at all. If megabucks alone were enough, then President Romney and Governor Whitman would be sipping tea in the Rose Garden right now. They are not, though ardent campaign finance reformer Nader ironically has not learned this, nor does this list reflect any kind of overarching philosophy Nader wishes to advance, it’s much too schizophrenic. It feels more like he just copied and pasted some Forbes list because he forgot to do his homework. The only real surprise is that Donald Trump isn’t on it, though I suppose St. Ralph wouldn’t want to invite comparisons with anyone as politically clueless and egotistical as himself.
I’m not sure which is more puzzling at this point: how someone with such poor understanding of politics as Ralph Nader has has managed to keep himself relevant in the world of politics for decades, or exactly why Nader seems to hate the Democrats so much that he’s rededicated his life to electing Republican presidents in order to teach Democrats some lesson that nobody can articulate. I’ve read that he’s still bitter about getting shut out of Jimmy Carter’s White House after the ’78 midterms–no idea if that’s actually true, but given his long-term petty vindictiveness it really does fit with what we know of the man.
Also: apparently you can be too racist for FOX News:
A couple months back, our state passed a law allowing transgender children to choose which bathroom to use. It caused an uproar in all the quarters you’d expect it to, and since transgender rights are often thought of as the “next” culture war battle some lovely people (i.e. likely Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly) decided to try to put repeal of the law on the ballot and see what might happen. Only they botched the first part. The measure didn’t get enough valid signatures and isn’t going anywhere. Which, being honest, is a real relief since I don’t have a real sense of how this would have turned out, though the fact that not even half a million real people could be bothered to sign them might signal little interest in rolling it back.
But this is instructive. It’s hard to imagine problems actually arising from this law–a boy who has a transgender female identity will simply use a stall, after all, and the inverse situation with a urinal is difficult to imagine working simply as a matter of physics. Whatever imagined threat these folks see is just not there. But you put together kids and things they do with genitals and suddenly there’s the religious right, complaining about society’s obsession with sex and genitalia and such. Increasingly, conservative forces are barely even bothering to disguise that an ick factor is all that propels their agenda against LGBT people. Their logic, such as it is, is in pieces. Society hasn’t crumbled with state sanction of gay marriage, man has not yet married goat. So you get stuff like this:
We are losing our decency as a nation. Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?
This is in the context of, believe it or not, a lobbyist wanting to keep gay people out of football. It’s sort of an amazing quote: qualified athletes have to be kept out of pro sports because that will lead to young boys having to shower with adult gay men? Exactly when is that ever going to happen? If it’s that much of a fear, why not just shower at home? Sounds a little worn out as an excuse, too, doesn’t it? What with the internet and all, it’s not like images of naked people aren’t out there and available. Again, if this bothers you, there’s a real simple solution: don’t use the public showers if you don’t want to draw the attention of a potential gay showerer (who probably doesn’t have any interest in you). One has to wonder why this fellow feels such an urgent need to preserve spaces for hetero men to strip down and bathe together…
Cory Booker, last August:
Hours before New Jersey voters headed to the polls to choose their candidates for the state’s 2013 U.S. Senate race, Newark (N.J.) Mayor Cory Booker dropped some intriguing names as examples of how to shake up Congress.
In an interview with NBC News posted late Monday, Booker was asked what his chances are to generate change, within a Senate where seniority often reigns supreme.
Booker described himself as someone who does not throw “Molotov cocktails.” In the process, he also mentioned two junior Republican senators who have turned heads at times during their tenures.
“Look at Rand Paul,” Booker told NBC News. “Ted Cruz.”
Cory Booker, half a year later…has been almost invisible in the Senate, only coming up in an utterly unshocking context as a big supporter of the Menendez-Kirk War With Iran Now Goddamnit! Not In Six Months Now Motherfucker! Act Iran Sanctions Bill, which failed to even come to the floor. I’m not taking a shot at him as this is pretty much how it goes: junior senators get the second-tier committees, have to work on building relationships to get things done, etc. Of course, if you don’t give a damn about building power in the institution and really only care about getting your name out there to your own media/activists, then you can quickly “shake things up” and become famous. But Ted Cruz (and, to a less destructive extent, John McCain) are by normal standards not very successful senators, and Booker seems to be doing about what he should be doing: learning the ropes, rather than aping those guys. This is a good thing, and it was stupid for him to make the statement in the first place.
I still miss Phil Hartman. He was a true comic genius and a unique talent that we still haven’t even remotely replaced. For example, take this scene (sorry, no embed, Yahoo! Screen seems to do all in its power to not make that easy, but do click through to experience this moment):
Yup, Hartman is about two inches away from Lovitz’s face, and he’s barely keeping it together as Hartman perfectly parodies Phil Donahue’s uncomfortably intimate interview style. Basically, Saturday Night Live still parodies pop culture as it did in 1987, but Hartman could add in the random bit of weirdness to take it to another level. The bit with the Danish is perfectly executed too. Trademark Hartman, who could drop those into any project, and either enhance a good movie (e.g. So I Married An Axe Murderer), or be the only redeeming attribute in a piece of garbage like Jingle All The Way.
The current crop of anti-gay bills in red states signals, to me at least, that the Republican Party has more or less accepted that the country is pretty much fine with the gays at this point and has figured out how to respond, in typical fashion. Obviously, there are various ways they could go about this. One would be to just give up, though the decreasing minority who opposes marriage equality seems highly reluctant to do so. Another would be to give up and declare victory, Vietnam style. One can even imagine a Scott Walker type saying something like, “Look, I got married to my wife in a church. I believe God was there and I know He approved. What do I care about what the state has to say about it? Marriage is a spiritual matter, the state’s recognition is just a bureaucratic detail. I’m a small-government Republican. I really couldn’t care less.” It seems to me at least somewhat possible that this logic could square the peg, but the problem again would be getting equality opponents to accept it, as they tend not to accept this nuance. In my personal experience they mostly complain a lot about how inevitably their church will be forced to perform gay weddings, though there seems to be virtually no interest (and no legal possibility) in doing so. They tend to see it all as one thing (The Institution Of Marriage), while secular liberals have little trouble in making the distinction between state and religion, with the latter being private and protected but the former a subject of contention. It’s possible they’ll suddenly find an interest in making the distinction when they have no choice, but who knows. Anyway, yet another strategy a couple of rungs down the ladder is to simply whine a lot about how your religious freedoms are being trampled upon because not everyone is doing what you tell them to, i.e. the Damon Linker strategy. But nobody really gives a damn about Linker and endless whining has some drawbacks as a strategy: as in, people just tune it out after a while.
The worst way to react to this, though, would be to pass the law that Arizona’s legislature has. The bill flat-out permits mistreatment of minorities for no justifiable reason, and what’s more, it once again shows the Republican Party to be one that cares only about the interests of business owners and has no capacity for empathy for anyone else at all. It feels like a gratuitous, spiteful swipe, which it no doubt is for a lot of these folks, but it’s almost bizarrely selfish and indefensible, terrible policy married to terrible politics, the product of an ossified and out of touch party network more interested in maintaining lucrative business connections than in doing what’s right. They might want to stop and take a breather, think if this is really the best way of advancing their interests, since opposing discrimination is something that virtually all Americans claim to support.
I don’t really think they’re insincere or crooks for the most part–Michael Bloomberg backs things like ending tenure, performance evaluations, charter schools, etc. because he thinks they will improve education. The problem is that this movement is by and for business executives and the inevitable ideology of that class is what animates it. We need charter schools because competition encourages innovation. We need to eliminate teachers’ job security so that they’ll be motivated to teach better. We need principals to be like mini-CEOs because, well, obviously. The teacher-centric focus of the movement is telling: you have a bunch of rich businessmen whose best ideas are the bureaucratic equivalent of a boss yelling at underlings, which is almost a parody of executive thinking (“I like to fire people!”) and likely why it hasn’t really percolated more widely among Democrats or the general electorate.
Really, the most worrisome thing on this front is that Illinois’s Democratic governor recently put a education reformer on his ticket for re-election, and given the current Supreme Court’s belief that rich people don’t have nearly enough political power, the temptation of Democrats to play footsie with these folks will become harder and harder to avoid. But generally speaking, ordinary people generally like teachers, like their kids’ teachers, and haven’t proven susceptible to arguments that these people are completely terrible and the root of all society’s problems, which of course they aren’t. I think it’s no coincidence that the highest-profile politicians who champion education reform–Bloomberg, Obama, Booker–are all deeply tied to the world of high finance and, among the two who are officially Democrats, are very careful to be quiet about it so as not to alienate their party’s base.
From this, I’m not sure they have gotten the message just yet. Here’s the Congressional generic ballot as of now, which gives Democrats over a 4-point advantage with positive trendlines:
I really have no idea how the midterms will turn out–I do have some hunches*–but it’s critically important for people to remember that the Republican media machine is such a ceaseless, relentless organ of hype, founded or not. That is one of its main functions. Remember how the 2012 presidential field was going to be awesome, until it obviously wasn’t. Or how the Affordable Care Act was going to be a total albatross around President Obama’s neck, until it wasn’t, and it wasn’t, and then wasn’t again. One saw the exact same phenomenon with the 2016 field, which was supposed to be a juggernaut until Chris Christie’s typical modus operandi stopped being an open secret. And how many utterly mediocre pols have been hyped as great talents and presidential material by the likes of Bill Kristol, Chuck Krauthammer, Fred Barnes and the like? Remember when we all felt the inexorable pull of Pawlentymentum? Republicans hype their prospects to high heavens all the time. This is, by the way, very smart, since having hundreds of pundits saying the same thing tends to build resonance and influence the media and, by extension, conventional wisdom and perhaps even public perception. But let’s not forget that this telescopic reality shaping is exactly what is happening now, and as with the aforementioned events, it often falls apart when it comes into contact with reality.
(* Specifically, a net Democratic loss in the Senate but not enough to flip it, a handful of Republican governor losses, and a small number of net seats gained by House Democrats. Probably not all that dissimilar from 1986, Ronald Reagan’s sixth year midterm, though despite massive Koch money Republicans are not going to have a great Senate candidate in North Carolina and are unlikely to win any potential blue state seats, which means running the table on the remaining possibilities. Certainly doable, but I wouldn’t bet money on it. And then there’s Mitch McConnell’s issues and the very likely prospect of a catastrophe in Georgia. So, yeah, I’m not all that worried at this point.)
- Personality crisis: Balloon Juice
- Give ‘em the boot, you know I’m a radical: Balloon Juice
- It’s not fair to deny me of the cross I bear that you gave to me: Balloon Juice
- Page 18 - Christian Chat Rooms & Forums: "LGBT RIGHTS"
- Page 4: The Most Powerful Man In The Free World
Wine Labels2012 Election Abortion Barack Obama Bullshit Bush Christianity Congress Conservatives Corruption Debt Ceiling Democrats Economy Fail Foreign Policy Fox News Gay Marriage Hatred Health Care Ignorance Insanity Law LGBT Issues Libertarianism Lies Media Mitt Romney Music Policy Polls Quotes Racism Rebuttals Recession Republicans Right Wing Sarah Palin Scandal Stupidity Teabaggers Torture Truth Video War Crimes War on Drugs War on Terror
- Ralph Nader Is Still Politically Stupid (2)
- Obligatory Putin/Ukraine Post: He’s Not A Madman (1)
- Metavirus: that’s pretty much the sanest post on the topic i’ve read in a while. the likely outcome is...
- Rand Paul’s Long Road (2)
- Still Looking For The Next Hitler (1)
- Personality crisis: 30;] Never mind that Nazism didn’t occur in vacuum. Lev from Library Grape: […]
- What’s Wrong With Kansas Now? (1)
- Metavirus: i would love to see an economist quantify the aggregate dollar value of the billions of hours wasted in...
- Just Say No (1)
- Metavirus: i don’t understand how these reporters get enough oxygen to stay alive, considering that...
- Death Penalty Loses Another One
- Norm Coleman Jumps Into The D-Bag Dustbin of History
- A Justin Bieber Biopic? Seriously?
- How Is This Not A Meme Already?
- Want some good news? Okay, I've got some: Kit Bond won't be a senator soon
- Why I Don't Read Sullivan Anymore*
- Well Heck, If East Germany Could Secure Their Border, So Can We. Galdurnit!
- Fox News Has a First Amendment Right to Lie – Updated
- Massive Illogic
- Oregon Ducks Win First Rose Bowl Since 1917
- Quote of the Day: Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged
- Ralph Nader Is Still Politically Stupid
- Still Looking For The Next Hitler
- Oh, Come ON! You Stereotypical Gays.
- Exploring How Identical Twins Can Have Different Sexual…
- TownHall’s List Of Racist Liberal Quotes As Pathetic…
- March 2014 (11)
- February 2014 (33)
- January 2014 (31)
- December 2013 (25)
- November 2013 (32)
- October 2013 (57)
- September 2013 (32)
- August 2013 (57)
- July 2013 (56)
- June 2013 (44)
- May 2013 (42)
- April 2013 (41)
- March 2013 (66)
- February 2013 (42)
- January 2013 (74)
- December 2012 (67)
- November 2012 (44)
- October 2012 (51)
- September 2012 (35)
- August 2012 (50)
- July 2012 (36)
- June 2012 (35)
- May 2012 (51)
- April 2012 (42)
- March 2012 (64)
- February 2012 (85)
- January 2012 (79)
- December 2011 (68)
- November 2011 (76)
- October 2011 (67)
- September 2011 (55)
- August 2011 (53)
- July 2011 (44)
- June 2011 (71)
- May 2011 (103)
- April 2011 (107)
- March 2011 (120)
- February 2011 (124)
- January 2011 (82)
- December 2010 (97)
- November 2010 (92)
- October 2010 (93)
- September 2010 (80)
- August 2010 (44)
- July 2010 (63)
- June 2010 (33)
- May 2010 (60)
- April 2010 (34)
- March 2010 (50)
- February 2010 (66)
- January 2010 (67)
- December 2009 (72)
- November 2009 (78)
- October 2009 (91)
- September 2009 (75)
- August 2009 (105)
- July 2009 (81)
- June 2009 (178)
- May 2009 (152)
- April 2009 (147)
- March 2009 (86)
- February 2009 (52)
- January 2009 (118)
- December 2008 (18)