Archive | January, 2011

Get My Smelling Salts: Republican Judge Votes Against Obama

31 Jan

Judge Roger Vinson, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, chimed in today and said that the Health Care Plan that both Republicans and Democrats voted for is unconstitutional.  John Boehner’s response was: “it shows Senate Democrats should follow a House vote to repeal the law.” I presume Mr. Boehner and his fellow Republicans will be turning down their “socialized” health care plans! Does anyone else think this smacks of a continued effort to support the wealthy class and further discard people that need services the most?  We are truly becoming a nation of haves and have nots.  Did anyone look at the study showing how much it would save in the long run if all people had health care?  Click here to see the full NYT article.

Women’s History, January 31

31 Jan

First Female Supreme Court Justice

January 31, 2006, Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice, retires. Justice O’Connor was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1981.  O’Connor supported the fundamental right to abortion protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Many argue that O’Connor was the swing vote when the US Supreme Court voted George W. Bush as President of the United States. On December 12, 2000 at an Election Night party at the Washington, D.C., O’Connor’s husband was quoted: “his wife would be reluctant to retire if a Democrat were in the White House and would choose her replacement,” as reported in the Wall Street Journal. However conservative O’Connor is, she did support the justices in Iowa that supported same sex marriage. Unfortunately, those justices were ousted.

Happy Birthday, Tallulah Bankhead.  Bankhead best known for her sultry voice, was an actress, and radio/television host.

Happy Birthday, Carol Channing. Channing is probably best known for her role in Hello Dolly, but I loved her best in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Quote of the day:

    Making mental connections is our most crucial learning tool, the essence of human intelligence: to forge links; to go beyond the given; to see patterns, relationship, context.–Marilyn Ferguson


Tears of a Clown

30 Jan

This story is actually inspired by NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. When I think about the clown that is Michele Bachmann and the crocodile tears of John Boehner, I can only hear Smokey Robinson. When do we just finally say enough is enough–we will no longer put a ball of crazy in front of the media and call it news?  Thanks to NPR, we now have the Bachman Line.  Yes, I will try to now observe the Bachman Line.  Unless people have some considerable influence politically or socially, I shall not give them air time on this blog. My hope for Minnesotans is that you have a lobotomy and remove the Bachmann from your state.

The Tears of a Clown

How Many Wrongs Make You Right(-wing)?

30 Jan

The Querulous Quartet Try to Trump Truth

Just saying something doesn’t make it so. Unless, apparently, you bloviate from the Right wing. Don’t get me wrong, there are idiots and fact-averse blowhards left, right, and center. It is particularly creepy, however, to see the culture of “don’t bother me with facts” that has become a replacement of logic on the Right. This culture started with the bumblings of Reagan and the insidious architecture of Gingrigh. It perpetuated through the pseudo-christian machinations of Dobson and Buchanan. Today it is exemplified by that Querulous Quartet: Beck, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and Palin.

I had an embarrassment of riches when choosing examples:

  • First, there’s the recent Bill O’Reilly hypocrisy over the use of Nazi rhetoric (good summary here). If anyone else does it, it’s abominable. If Bill does it, he’s taken out of context. If people don’t buy that, he just repeats it REALLY LOUD. That’ll make it true.
  • Republican leaders in Congress maintain that the Affordable Care Act is Socialism while gladly accepting their own generous government-sponsored health care.
  • How about the invention of the phrase “activist judge” to describe anyone who does something the Right doesn’t like, going to such extremes as ousting judges for doing their jobs. Of course, pretending that corporations are people isn’t activist at all.
  • A great non-fact is the myth of the leftist media. The pundits cry “First Amendment” when Juan Williams is fired for violating his contract and shriek ‘BIAS” when Katie Couric actually dares to interview Sarah Palin. Meanwhile, FauxNews dominates in the ratings and corporate-owned news outlets put profits ahead of stories.
  • Of course, the good old First Amendment doesn’t matter if you want to censor an art exhibit. It’s especially handy if you can pretend that it was publicly funded (even though it wasn’t). That’s right out of the “public broadcasting is all government funded” playbook of lies.
  • It’s also fun to argue that “homophobia” isn’t a real word, unless, of course, you can take a test online that proves you aren’t a homophobe when you spread lies and vicious invective against the LGBT community for a living.

Pundits and politicians on the Right are happy to create these deceptions to reinforce their worldview. If questioned by anyone, they scream about the left trying to silence them, which would be laughable if it weren’t so tragically, transparently false.

Ask for a fact, get a talking point, never a simple response or an honest “I don’t know.” Sadly, the American public are more and more like Yahoos, snatching up the non-facts like they were the last McNugget in the box.

This is especially apparent when you look at public responses in online forums of any sort. Leftist commenters are capable of being strident and rude just like anyone else, but they tend to at least try to make a supportable point. The rightward comments come straight from the great bible of non-facts.

A great example pops up any time a forum starts dealing with gay rights issues. A simple kiss on a popular television program turns into an opportunity for a screeching double-standard about affection. A conversation about the wrongful dismissal of a gay student teacher summons up the old “why must the gays always bring up the bedroom?” canard, ignoring the fact that it’s the Right that seems strangely obsessed with sex whenever the word gay pops up. More insidiously, playing the bedroom card skirts the central fact that the agenda is control over civil rights, not real concern about propriety.

Right-wing bloggers are as prone to play the “because I said so” card as the pundits and the prowlers. Recently, the blog NW Republican took exception to our Bigot of the Week award. The thrust of the initial post was that the word “bigot” is loaded and mean-spirited. When commenters pointed out that the word was used in context and with substantiation, the reply of the blogger was quite telling:

“MY POINT WAS NOT TO DEBATE THE ISSUES IN THE VARIOUS POSTS.”

That’s right, the context and the issues aren’t relevant. All that matters is that the blogger found the certain words “loaded” even though they were used in contexts that substantiated them, linking back to the words and deeds of the people who were discussed. Ironically, he simultaneously labelled the bigot award as fascism, quite a loaded word in itself. The whole comment thread is a great case study in the Right-wing approach to argument. Point your finger, scream a label and a talking point, and ignore any facts that are presented. Those who debate you are mean-spirited fascists who use loaded language. The actual issues at hand are not relevant.

Arguing with someone who takes the non-fact, because-I-say-so approach to discourse begins to feel like Heinlein’s quip:

“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

Bonus points to our regular readers Jan (PenguinLad) and Lex (WebWordWarrior) for offering the singing lessons in this particular sty.

As futile as arguing with the unreasoning may be, we must not lose heart. In fact, we cannot afford to do so. Although we might prefer not to, we must gaze into the darkness presented by the non-facts. We cannot stop the Right from playing the “because I said so” game, but we can counter it by making sure the facts are out there. If we give up, the narrative is theirs, and we cannot afford to let them decide what rights we’ll get to have if everyone begins to believe that the can choose their own facts.

Oh Maggie, Honey, We Need to Get You Some Help…

30 Jan

Thank you to my friend Lee Dorsey, for inspiring this story. Maggie Gallagher, the infamous founder of NOM and wannabe exterminator of the LGBT community, is now attacking women and their right to choose.  She recently wrote on her blog:

Roe. v. Wade decision encouraged women to try anal sex, which she describes as painful and dangerous.

The conservative firebrand says most women don’t enjoy anal sex and just do it to please their porn-obsessed boyfriends. Well, I guess that explains the look on Ms. Gallagher’s face.  Maggie, honey, I’m now really worried about you. What must your life be like when all you can do is focus on gay sex and now making a bizarre leap from Roe. v. Wade to anal sex?  Are you still listening to the voices in your head?  Click here to see the article on poor old, sad old, Maggie.

Maggie Gallaher Colon Just Bend Over

Thank you, Jarrett Terrill for this little gem as well.  Maggie has a twisted compatriot in Rep. Nancy Elliot (R NH) as she graphically describes anal sex and reports that she does not want that done to her.  I don’t think you have to worry, Nancy.  Neither you, nor Maggie are on anyone’s desirable list.  Click here to see the video of Nancy.

Women’s History, January 30

30 Jan

January 30, 1836, Betsy Ross dies. Ross, best known for making the American Flag, which maybe true and maybe a fable, worked in an upholstery store for 60 years. Ross lost two husbands in the Revolutionary War and her third husband also served in the war. Ross was an abolitionist and started a Quaker Friends House. As to whether she really did make the first American flag, I encourage you to read my friend Marla Miller’s book, Betsy Ross and the Making of America. I had the privilege of working with Marla in the summer of 2003.  Marla teaches American History at the University of Mass. at Amherst.

Betsy Ross: Made the First American Flag (?)

Happy Birthday, Barbara Tuchman. Tuchman, best known for her book, The Guns of August, a history of the prelude to and first month of World War I and won a Pulitzer Prize. Tuchman was a self-trained historian.

Quote of the day:

    Honor wears different coats to different eyes.–Barbara Tuchman

Strange Bedfellows Ruining More Than Just My Mind’s Eye…

29 Jan

If you have been following this blog, you know the many connections between the Fecal Five, the Koch Brothers, and the Tea Party (That fun loving anti-woman, anti-gay group of gadflies). Yes, I feel as though I must wash my mind’s eye out with Drano thinking of them all in bed together. (I’m sure Bryan Fischer can’t stop thinking about this group in bed together.) But alas, there is even more collateral damage to report. I am asking all of you to please take action along with the Sierra Club against the Koch Brothers.  The Kochs put profits before people: They were federally indicted for covering up illegal dumping of cancer-causing benzene and convicted of falsifying documents.  Click here to read the article and take action.

Join the Sierra Club and take action against the Koch Brothers

I prefer not to…

29 Jan

I wonder if a blogger could be considered a modern day scrivener? While admittedly I blog to help beat back the darkness and in my strange way to be engaged in tikkun olam, I wake up on some days and wish I could be Melville’s Bartleby.  When I first heard of David Kato’s brutal murder, I thought to myself, I prefer not to–I don’t want to think about this.  When I first read about how the GOP plans to redefine rape, I thought to myself, I prefer not to–I don’t want to think of our country becoming Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. When I read about the dozens of gay teen suicides–I prefer not to…When Walgreens refused to help save a woman’s life because she has had an abortion–I prefer not to…  I prefer not to engage.

I do believe in passive resistance. I do believe in social change through non-violent means.  Obviously, I prefer to write about all the human atrocities, in the hopes that I, and others, can make the world a better place and to prevent myself from slipping into a misanthropic abyss.  So rather than being Bartleby (who certainly has his place in society), I have chosen to be Ida Tarbell.

I prefer not to

Human Rights Campaign: You can do better

29 Jan

My understanding of the HRC is that it is a lobbying group specifically for the LGBT community.  There are times when I can say I’m glad I donated money to this organization, but I must confess there are times when I feel like it is a rich white boy club–and I’m a white boy, but not rich.  I recently read that the HRC is going to be offering workshops to help transgendered people look for jobs, called the, “Back to Work: Empowering Transgender Job Seekers.”   While I think that is wonderful, it does seem like the HRC is throwing some crumbs to our transgendered brothers and sisters.  What about taking some action regarding how difficult it is for transgendered people to serve in the military, or even just going through airport security?  HRC, as a gay white man, I think you can do better by our transgendered sisters and brothers.  Read the full article here.

Message From Judy Shepard: Stop Bullying of LGBT Youth

29 Jan

As most of you know, Judy Shepard lost her son, Matthew, to a brutal hate crime, because of Matthew’s sexual orientation.  I hope you will watch this video but I also hope you will share it with as many people as you can.  With now over 15 gay teen suicides, we must band together and STOP bullying against LGBT youth. Regardless of how anyone feels about homosexuality, it is our job as fellow human beings to ensure that people feel safe and without the threat of violence!  For those of you that follow this blog regularly, you know I am consumed with trying to make the world a better place for the LGBT community and for full equality. I am enlisting your help. Click here to see the video.

Judy Shepard: Hero for Equality

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