Sunday, March 30, 2014
Jersey Devil Doesn’t See Shadow—Springtime For Christie
Ever have one of those weeks where everything just goes right? Chris Christie sure did. Almost.
First, the Gov was completely exonerated by his “very dear friend and pig-hunting buddy,” Deb Yang of Gibson Dunn, one of Christie’s go-to firms in matters legal. New Jersey taxpayers will be happy to learn that the million bucks they paid for this “exhaustive internal investigation” of the BridgeGate and alleged abuse of federal Hurricane Sandy Relief funds proves, unequivocally, that their hands-on governor is not evil, he’s just not exactly on top of things that “don’t rise to the gubernatorial level.”
So far, the New Jersey state legislative committee and the US Attorney for New Jersey appear to be underwhelmed by Gibson Dunn’s report. Maybe it’s because Gibson Dunn, like Gov. Christie, based their findings on zero input from those alleged principals, in the case, who have either resigned their administration posts or been fired by Christie.
Taxpayers did get at least a quarter million’s worth of hot office gossip, though, and a slut-shaming to rival a Limbaugh moment. Gibson Dunn went with the “Woman Scorned” defense so we now know that, at some point after Bill Stepien left the Christie admin to be Christie’s eyes and ears in the Republican Governors Association, Stepien and Bridget Kelly dated a few times.
For some esoteric legal rationale, Gibson Dunn felt compelled to spell out who broke up with whom in that relationship, thereby unleashing the unfortunate events culminating in BridgeGate. Spoiler alert: Stepien dumped Kelly, ergo, he will be free to mastermind the Christie 2016 campaign.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/30/14 at 11:29 AM
Friday, March 28, 2014
YA Romantic Fiction
Via Roy’s place, we have an account of Libertarian Fonzie (catchphrase “Ayyyyy is Ayyyyy!”) pinning his hopes for a Rand Paul presidency on a popular Young Adult fiction series and its movie adaptation. After typical “don’t call me a Republican hack, A POX ON BOTH HOUSES!” Libertarian boilerplate, Gillespie gushes about his dreamy Randian protagonist:
Whether or not the Kentucky Republican actually wins the Republican nomination, much less the White House, is besides the point. The question is whether the politics of the future will be the same as the politics of the present. “I don’t want to be just one thing,” explains one of the protagonists in Divergent. “I can’t be. I want to be brave, and I want to be selfless, intelligent, and honest and kind.” If anything explains Rand Paul’s rising profile, it’s precisely his ability to be more than just one thing—a social conservative, a civil libertarian, a budget cutter, a decentralizer, and more. There’s no reason to fear— and every reason to promote—such divergence in our elected representatives.
Rand Paul is a decentralizer? I must have missed all the antitrust legislation that he introduced since attaining his senate position. Oh, well, I’m sure that young female voters will eventually see that Rand Paul and his political supporters have plans for their demographic.
Back on Planet Earth, I have to note that Mr Gillespie is headed for a heartbreak if he believes that the popularity of a Young Adult fiction series will have any bearing when it comes to wooing millennials in the 2016 election… Even though the “Twilight” books were wildly popular, young voters didn’t throw their support behind a sparkly Mormon vampire in 2012.
This post is expanded from a comment I left at Roy’s place. In response, commenter mds wrote:
Maybe if there had been some actual sparkle.
The vampirism sure as hell was real, though.
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 03/28/14 at 09:51 PM
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Banality of Evil: Rumsfeld Edition
Seems like a lifetime ago, in the 1960s, philosopher Hannah Arendt gave us the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe Nazi Adolf Eichmann’s demeanor during his war crimes trial in Jerusalem.
Despite all the efforts of the prosecution, everybody could see that this man was not a “monster,” but it was difficult indeed not to suspect that he was a clown. And since this suspicion would have been fatal to the entire enterprise [his trial], and was also rather hard to sustain in view of the sufferings he and his like had caused to millions of people, his worst clowneries were hardly noticed and almost never reported (p. 55).
Arendt has always had critics of her thesis about Eichmann’s “ordinariness.” Still, I find her ironic notion of the “banality of evil” a very useful device for characterizing some of the inexplicable nuttiness afoot in 21st century America.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 03/26/14 at 12:36 PM
Monday, March 24, 2014
Enjoying My Hobby in Your Lobby
It’s some kind of crying shame that I haven’t addressed the Hobby Lobby case when I am supposed to be a pro-reproductive rights feminist over here. I don’t know where my head is at. But when I was buying yarn to crochet a cozy for a diapraghm case, I had a kind of epiphany that really only comes when you’ve been sniffing the Modge-Podge for a while—
Look. I think we can agree that an employment contract is not a one-way street. It never was meant to be. So, if Hobby Lobby believes it is totally in the right to make decisions regarding the reproductive health and maintenance of it’s employees, in other words, making those employees’ private business their store business, then it’s only fair that the employees should be able to bring their private business right into the public business.
That’s right, Hobby Lobby. If you all think you have a right to dictate the methods your employees use for their bedroom or kitchen floor or whatever activities, those employees should feel comfortable enjoying those activities in your store. I don’t mean on the clock. Off-the clock, of course, since your company has decided to also be the boss of all off-the-clock funtimes. But let’s get this clear—you wanna make the rules?
You should get to make the rules about stuff happening on the premises of your store. Sexy funtimes don’t happen in your store. Until you made it about you. Now I think employees should get to use the break room, or even the return desk, to do what they like—because you guys decided their business was your business. So why shouldn’t your business be where they can do their business?
Of course—no one would probably want to actually screw in your store. Not because pony beads and potholder looms aren’t fucking erotic as hell, but because that is not what your store is for. Your store is for serving your customers, who for the most part don’t give a good goddamn what your employees do so long as they don’t screw up an order and give them exact change. Why don’t you try and be at least as tolerant as your customers? And recognize that your employees are human beings with bodies, and that the female bodies deserve to be treated by the people who have to live in them—and that isn’t you, Hobby Lobby execs.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/24/14 at 11:14 PM
I See A Dark Man, A Tall Man With No Leadership Skills
America’s Biggest Loser decided to come out and do the Nae Nae on Face the Nation, Sunday, just for shits and giggles, I guess. There’s no more plausible explanation for why Willard Romney would set himself up by grabbing a hot mic and exposing himself to nationwide derision. Again.
Unless, of course, he’s delusional enough to think that he still has something to sell America [perish the thought].
For whatever reason, the man decided to prance like a dancing horse over to Bob Schieffer’s Place and do a Loser’s Lap during which he delivered this precious evidence of why Willard is not Barack—brace yourselves, ESP enters into it:
The president’s naïveté with regards to Russia, and his faulty judgement about Russia’s intentions and objectives has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face. And unfortunately not having anticipated Russia’s intentions, the president wasn’t able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you’re seeing in the Ukraine, as well as the things that you’re seeing in Syria.
I think effective leaders typically are able to see the future to a certain degree, and are able to take actions to shape it in some way. And that’s, of course, what this president has failed to do. And as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton as well.
Ooooh! the ultimate burn. I guess he learned words like naïveté while he was making Paris safe for the Angel Moroni. Also, the “and your little dog, too” addendum about Hillz was a nice touch..
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/24/14 at 09:55 AM
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Brats in the Frat: A Perfectly Reasonable Political Theory
The previous post reminded me of a political theory that I can not for the life of me figure out where I read about it—it can’t be original to myself. It is the idea that, in any college movie involving fraternities—the “bad guy frat” is obviously the Republicans. It seems to be true. Take Animal House, in part the brain child of the late and lamented Harold Ramis, as an example—Neidermeyer could not possibly be a Kennedy supporter. And the same holds true with Revenge of the Nerds: in one installment, Morton Downey Jr. was even allied with the Alpha Betas against the Tri-Lams at Adams College. And in the somewhat less impactful Jeremy Piven vehicle, PCU which allegedly sends-up “political correctness” and “anti-frat” culture, come on. The David Spade (Rand McPherson?) frat is pretty seriously a bunch of up-tighty whitey righties.
I’m sure there are other examples that drive this home. But in any event, the theory might explain why I’d rather have a coffee with Pajama Boy than get ironically duck-fupped on PBR with Scott. YMMV.
This is a late-night open thread.
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/23/14 at 11:35 PM
Friday, March 21, 2014
Can We Just Cut the Post-Racism Crap Right Now?
Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the editors of The Wall Street Journal came up with a snippy, little “both sides do it” apologia for Paul Ryan’s recent “inarticulate” exploration of “inner city culture.”
Oh my, where do I begin . . . how about the first sentence?
A week later, and liberals are still lining up to assail Paul Ryan’s “racism.” The episode is worth noting not because Mr. Ryan said anything wrong, but because of what it shows about the political habits of today’s elected and media left.
Well! that obsessive “elected and media left” just won’t quit distracting the “elected right” from mounting it’s 52nd attempt to Repeal Obamacare, or its important effort to assign a special prosecutor to teach Lois Lerner a lesson about Liberty.
Seriously, WSJ eds?
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/21/14 at 03:47 PM
Pajama Boy Goes Galt
In a comment on Bette Noir’s great Rumproast post on GOP voter outreach, reader SoVeryConfused had a request:
Request commentary on the GOP outreach to Millennials, recently performed by the hipster dude in the tortoise-shell glasses and striped shirt, last seen putting 87 octane gas into a Audi A4.
Not to step on Bette’s toes, but I think I can field this one…
read the whole post »
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 03/21/14 at 03:11 AM
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Don’t Be Afraid . . . It’s Just GOP Outreach
Well, it’s that time of the month, again. Time to check the GOP corpse for post-autopsy vital signs (see RNC Growth and Opportunity Project).
Speaking of which, just this week, Prince Rebus had breakfast with the good folks of The Christian Science Monitor to celebrate the Autopsy’s one year anniversary [seriously!] and warned us to look out for a Republican Tsunami!!1! in the mid-term elections.
Just think of this exuberant outburst as a semi-annual employee self-evaluation. As chairman of the RNC, it is Reince’s charge to project a robust and manly confidence in his party’s prospects.
Right now, Mr Priebus must focus on 2014 but that doesn’t mean that the Chairman hasn’t spent considerable time and effort looking ahead to The Big One in 2016 and parsing the results of the 2012 presidential election.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/20/14 at 12:04 PM
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Think They’d Settle For a Cage Fight?
One thing that’s truly exceptional about Americans is their firm belief that this is their planet and they make the sun shine and the rain fall on it. If something good happens on Earth? Americans had a hand in it. If something bad happens on Earth? Americans will fix it, tout de suite. Got problems? send America “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore” and we’ll whip ‘em into shape.
And, after running The Greatest Show On Earth for over 200 years now, Americans are the world’s go-to experts on every topic under the sun, because . . . we say so. And the First Amendment guarantees that we get to say just about anything with authority and it must be respected.
So. If we don’t believe in evolution or climate change or bad things happening in American History, well, goshdangit, it doesn’t exist. And, to make sure it keeps on not existing, we’ll change the textbooks so our chilluns ain’t infected by bad ideas. And this is possible because, in America, a scientist has no more say than Sarah Palin. We’re a democracy, don’t you know?
What is it about the democratization of ignorance that some folks find so intoxicating?
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Posted by Bette Noir on 03/19/14 at 10:44 AM
Monday, March 17, 2014
Don’t It Make Your Red State Blue?
Four White Gals and a Recently Converted Latina have formed a Republican PAC, in Texas, called Red State Women so that Texas ladies can learn that the Republican Party is about more than good gynecological governance.
So far, it looks like Red State Women is what Brent Budowsky has dubbed a neo-confederate outfit—chartered by a new breed of old-idea Republicans.
Here’s how the RSW themselves, put it:
RSW will play a major role in the 2014 general elections, as well as other key state elections in this and future cycles. The group will highlight the personal stories and experiences of women while also communicating the important role that Republican women play in the success of the Lone Star State.
The group will focus on issues relevant to all Texas women, such as education, healthcare and a strong economy that continues to create our premier job market.
RSW is committed to engaging and empowering Texas women to be politically active in the Republican Party.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/17/14 at 01:04 PM
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Lose, Reince, Repeat
I have to hand it to Reince Priebus, the guy is no quitter.
Despite the fact that his party’s candidates turned the 2012 presidential campaign into an internationally acclaimed political farce and handily lost an election that they believed they had in the bag, Reince was undaunted. The RNC chairman spent his entire post-election Christmas vacation pounding out 100 pages of extreme makeover ideas for the GOP, some of which were pretty good ones. Ultimately, all of them were cavalierly dismissed or completely ignored by the rank and file.
So that was one year down the tubes. Now we’re heading into mid-term elections which, if current GOP trends prevail, will surely prove to be a farcical free-for-all in search of America’s Biggest Extremist. Karoli over at Crooks and Liars has astutely observed the usual Republican establishment’s pre-election jitters surfacing already:
It must be an election year, because there’s no other reason for wingers who never do anything about their crazies to react to the backlash over Austin Ruse’s statement that “liberal professors should just be taken out and shot.
We’re bound to see more such organizational hand-wringing before November but, let’s face it, Reince doesn’t really have a prayer of keeping that many congressional races sane, so that’ll be another year shot.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/16/14 at 12:14 PM
Saturday, March 15, 2014
#mcconnelling: The Democratization of Political Ads
Well, it takes a genius like Jon Stewart to figure out a cure for terminal Koch-itis but, dang, he’s done it.
And it’s happening. It’s a Thing! Trending on Twitter . . . Enjoy that vacation, Jon. You earned it!
So far the reaction to #mcconnelling has been viral glee over a new art form to play with. Not that mashups and overdubbing are new, exactly, but this particular application has huge potential.
Just think about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are wasted, in this country, pumping out cheesy political ads that nobody cares about except the guys bankrolling them. Isn’t it possible that, if the public gets involved in disarming political ads, having fun with them and humanizing their subjects, politicians might have to find a better way of connecting with voters than posturing for a gang of video hacks? Ad funders might think twice about spending big bucks on producing a product that can be spun into less flattering images of their candidates.
Here’s hoping . . . in the meantime here are a few that I made myself, in the wee hours. And if you have some weekend freedom on your hands, Roasters, you should try it, you’ll like it. Oh. and be sure to put a link to your little gems in the comment thread.
And the finale for my little Frozen fans:
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/15/14 at 09:45 AM
Friday, March 14, 2014
Who Would Jesus Shoot?
Is it some esoteric law of nature, or something, that all anti-gay uber-bigots wind up looking like my Uncle Bruce the Bachelor?
Meet Austin Ruse, who is one of those insufferable little lumps who believes he is a Great Thinker, Mover and Shaker because some like-minded insufferable little lumps publish his brain farts on their blog. [Think Breitbart.]
The guy has a BA in journalism from Mizzou, a big mouth and an even bigger ego which he has parlayed into a lifetime free ride as “president” of the non-profit hate group Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), which styles itself a “think tank.”
Under Ruse’s twisted guidance, C-FAM earned its official designation from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for it’s groundbreaking work in international gay-bashing but is sure to eventually earn its stripes in other categories of hatefulness like misogyny, racism, liberal-baiting, dissolution of the Girl Scouts of America and banning contraception.
Ruse is a vocal disseminator of the Matthew Shepard: Drug Lord theory. His rambling Matthew Shepard trutherism masterpiece, for Breitbart.com, entitled A Martyr Is A Terrible Thing To Waste, is queerly laced with a little wistful slobbering over Shepard:
. . . he was achingly handsome, tousled blond hair, slight of frame, and delicately chiseled.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 03/14/14 at 12:15 PM
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Man Up, Poors! Paul Ryan Is Nobody’s Fool
Mr Big Stuff (aka Rep. Ryan), Congress’ self-apointed Poors Troll, sent his personal drone out over a few American urban centers and determined “ya got trouble, right here in River City.”
This is how Ryan sees it:
We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work, so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.
In case that sounds like political argle-bargle to you, Laura Clawson, a linguist with expertise in political argle-bargle over at Markos’ Place offered up this helpful translation:
The problem is “in our inner cities” (where the black people live) where men (black men) are “not even thinking about working.” It’s a “real culture problem” (black culture).
Thank you, Laura. That’s what I thought. Now that we’re all post-racist it hardly seems necessary to speak in tongues about racism, anymore, but Mr Ryan is, after all, a conservative. So, maybe he’s not ready to shed his political correctness for that bold leap into 21st century overt racism, yet.
Of course, the well-read and wonktastic, Rep Ryan (R-Planet Derp) supported his argle-bargle with citations from Charles Murray. Evidently, Ryan’s scholarly quest has advanced from Ayn “Queen of Mean” Rand’s dystopic, but not overtly “colorful” maunderings, to Murray, a white nationalist specializing in pseudo-scientific studies that “prove” that social inequality is caused by genetic inferiority.
In Murray’s own words:
A huge number of well-meaning whites fear that they are closet racists, and this book tells them they are not. It’s going to make them feel better about things they already think but do not know how to say.
—regarding his book, Losing Ground, quoted in “Daring Research or Social Science Pornography?: Charles Murray,” The New York Times Magazine, 1994
Well, I have good news and bad news, Mr Ryan—if you are taken in by this sophomoric pseudo-sociological crap you are a lot dumber than you come across (and that’s saying something) but you’re no closet racist. You’re an out and about, down and dirty hardcore bigot. And no amount of P90X, deer-stalking and catfish noodling is ever going to make you a man, let alone a principled man.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 03/13/14 at 11:15 AM