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Rep. Louie Gohmert giving the ol’ empty Republican can of spray-hate a good rattle again. From The Raw Story (via TPM and Crooks’n’Liars):

On the other hand, Gohmert said, poor people were using food stamps to buy food that other Americans could not afford. He claimed his “broken-hearted” constituents had repeatedly told him they had seen people use food stamps to buy king crab legs.

“Because he does pay income tax, he doesn’t get more back than he pays in, he is actually helping pay for king crab legs when he can’t pay for them for himself,” Gohmert explained.

Waittaminnit, now. Where have I heard this before? There was that hoo-hah about tha brownz and food stamps from a ways back….

When, in 1976, [Ronald Reagan] talked about working people angry about the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks at the grocery store, he didn’t mean to play into racial hostility.

but the thing I’m thinking of was more recent… Aha — got it. (From January 23, 2010, via Hysterical Raisins):

“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better,” [SC Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer] said.

I mean, let’s not pussyfoot around, Gohmert. Have the strength of your fuck-all-y’all convictions. Say “up yours, poors” like you mean it.

Like most of you I suspect, my first encounter with this song was with the unbelievably shitty Sheryl Crow cover that was ubiquitous for a few months in mid-2003, but seemed to erupt like a bad case of musical herpes every so often in random settings. (I still contend Lance Armstrong ruined her, like he ruined everything.) And then, during my recent Rod Stewart listening adventures, I discovered this superior cover of the song:

What’s funny is that, I’ve listened to this thing maybe a half-dozen times in the past two weeks, and it’s literally obliterated all traces of Ms. Crow’s version from my memory. All I can remember is the idea of her cover, and that it sucked. For all the garbage Rod has served us since, well, this, he managed to accomplish the total erasure of a subpar version with this definitive cover version.

Also, with regard to that video…it’s pretty astonishing, and that’s all.

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Lev filed this under: , ,  

oops-my-bad

Yeah, yeah.  On the one hand: forgiveness, mea culpa, credit where it’s due, blah blah blah.

On the other hand: fuck this heretofore heartless fuck and burn his festering corpse for eternity in the deepest fiery pits of hell.

Hours before going onstage in Irvine for a religious conference, the leader of [Exodus International,] a Christian ministry that had long been devoted to fighting homosexuality, offered an apology to the gay community.

“We’re sorry,” said Alan Chambers, president of Florida-based Exodus International. He vowed to transform his mission “to help those who suffered so much pain.”

“I am sorry I didn’t stand up to people publicly ‘on my side’ who called you names…. I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine,” Chambers said in a statement.

“More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives.” [...]

“To pretend that Exodus is a wonderful organization that never caused anyone trauma is not true. We need to change the way we do things, the language that we use, the truth of our story and how we interact with each other as Christians,” he told the Times.

So, what, Jeffrey Dahmer gets to rape and murder a bunch of people and then pop up and say “Oops, my bad”?

And everyone gives him a pat on the back for “manning up” and finally realizing he was a naughty boy?

Not in my book.

NY City Mayoral frontrunner writes book, sells 100 copies. Which is almost fascinating considering how historic it would be to have an out lesbian running the biggest city in the country, something that ought to generate some interest, presumably. Or perhaps engaged Democrats aren’t too excited about someone who obviously made a Faustian bargain with Michael Bloomberg to continue all his worst policies and circumvent term limits to leave him in for four more years? Perhaps.

What are they going to do with the other 74,900 copies, by the way? That would be an epic pulping, and I would like to formally request to see it. I was hoping to post a clip from later in this episode in which Alan Partridge’s unsold books get pulped, but this is nearly as good:

The only question now is, is Quinn enough like Mitt Romney to get the nomination despite nobody liking her, or is she going to choke to someone else in a generally low-wattage field? I’d say Bill Thompson’s stock just went up a bit.

When my senator, Dianne Feinstein, forgets to take her medication and forgets that it isn’t 1984 anymore, and decides to start sounding as hawkishly belligerent as John McCain on a bad day. Does seem as though it happens about once a year, whenever there’s some kind of non-security threatening leak actually, though now that she’s a committee chair, it sorta matters.

To be sure, the most tragic outcomes in the Moscone/Milk murders were the deaths of those two essentially decent men. But wouldn’t the third have to be the elevation of Feinstein to a position of authority? Absent that, I find it very hard to see how she would ever have become a political force of any sort. As conservative a mayor as San Francisco could possibly have had in her day, constantly behind every public opinion curve, still sucking up to the military-industrial complex as though it were still the days when Michael Douglas’s character from Falling Down was gainfully employed. What if Dan White had entered into a Twinkie coma instead of going on a murder rampage? Feinstein would have had to follow Moscone–the bigger star in the party–every step of the way, so in all probability she’d have ended up one of the half-dozen statewide office musical chair acts that everyone in here knows about, the people my father would always angrily insist should get a real job already, people with enough of a profile to get elected to be State Treasurer or Controller (more like then rather than or), but with crippling unlikability that would prevent them from going any higher. That would have actually been pretty fitting. But she lucked out and succeeded much more than she had any right to, in a way that only a small number of people (William Shatner, Christian Slater, the guy from Quiet Riot, and pick your European Royalty) have been able to. It’s quite frustrating, though at least the odds of her service continuing into the roaring (twenty-)twenties are probably not all that great.

Until then, let’s celebrate the season appropriately.

Lev filed this under: ,  

Via Balloon Juice, it appears that Sully is on the warpath again. He’s factually right, but on some level, it leaves me cold. Obama has been able to rely again and again on personality politics in selling policies that the left and center simply do not want, and a large part of that is due to mostly uncritical boosters like Andrew Sullivan. To hear him complain about the edifice he actually has had a large part in building…it galls me. To give the man credit, he bitterly opposed Obama’s Libya experiment when it happened, which shows that Sullivan is capable of learning lessons. He pretty clearly is chastened by his Iraq boosterism. Problem is…he’s not capable of learning all the lessons, and he’s far too forgiving. Let’s go through these:

  1. Politicians should never be hero-worshipped. Andrew Sullivan continues to put politicians into two categories: let’s just call them Thatchers and Hillarys. The latter needn’t be clarified. The former–well, he’s able to intellectually see their flaws, but on an emotional level, there’s no capacity for nuance. Obama has largely fallen into the first category for Sullivan. Every questionable decision is part of a grander strategy, every seeming failure pointing toward a grander success. Meep meep, muthafucka! Of course, we now know this not to be the case. Looking back, while sometimes Obama was working a larger strategy, oftentimes his failures bespoke his own limitations, or a lack of will in trying to push some priority or other, or (often in budget issues) a complete misreading of the situation and/or priorities nobody else wanted. And yes, that includes a grand bargain.
  2. Politicians should not be personally identified with. I hardly think Obama has been a terrible president. I think he could have done better, and that his particular ambitions and principles have made progress unnecessarily harder in many cases. But I learned some time ago not to assume that he in any way shares my priorities or point of view, and I think not assuming that of any politician is wise. I do find certain politicians admirable, it is true, but expecting them to do anything more than what they can politically accomplish is folly. At this point, looking at his conduct of foreign policy, Obama has behaved as a hawk. Sure, he hasn’t bombed Iran, but he did intervene in Libya with no real point to it, and his use of drones so aggressively definitely counts. That he would start providing arms to the Syrian rebels is wildly in character for Obama, but not to Sullivan, who has been indispensable in turning Obama into a Rorschach blot when, really, his record is amazingly easy to read, and predicts his actions quite well. But you have to be able to accept people as they are, rather than as you want them to be. And, fundamentally, politicians are different from the rest of us. They have power that we don’t have. Which leads to…
  3. You built it. Frankly, people like Sullivan (and Sullivan in particular) were instrumental in creating the mirage of this postpartisan politics that Obama was supposedly going to bring about. Obama has usually seemed out of his depth on budget disputes, unable to make the bareknuckled moves that such disputes often need. But the “be nice” approach always seemed to me to be reaching out to erstwhile bipartisan fetishizers like Sully himself, who once wrote**: “The president has been more muted in his response [to Ryan's Budget]. But the onus is on him now to provide a plan that matches the impact on the budget that Ryans’ does, with different emphases. So where is that plan? Or does the president have none?” So, rather than just telling Republicans to shove it on entitlements, or hawks to shove it on foreign interventions, Obama is almost forced to be wishy-washy because that’s what he’s been built up as, and Sully himself has attacked him for not living up to it. And let’s not underestimate Sullivan’s power here. He managed almost singlehandedly to turn a mediocre debate performance by the president into a campaign-threatening disaster. Sure, Obama himself doesn’t like to play hardball, but how can he with people like Sullivan who will judge him for not being as forthright as Paul Ryan?

Right as Sullivan is about Syria–I literally disagreed with nothing he wrote–I feel I’ve gotta shoot the messenger this time. Anyway, until he gets a handle on these things (which are all basically the same point, that he can’t just put power in perspective), I’m…

* Actually, the reason I stopped reading him was that he fell for Paul Ryan’s Snake Oil Budget. Hard to trust someone after that. But that’s not the reason I haven’t gone back, per se…

** Seriously, it’s right here.

Lev filed this under: ,  

Congressman John LewisToo much nonsense today; need something to cut the suck. At the risk of getting shill-y, here’s a blurb from TopShelf Productions for March (Book One) by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, forthcoming August 13:

March is a vivid first-hand account of [Congressman John Lewis (GA-5)]‘s lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation.
Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

Here’s an interview with Congressman Lewis about the novel on HuffPo (from which I stole the quote for this blentry title); and here’s a BookExpo panel with Congressman Lewis and Jason Mott (author of The Returned).