[* The “Toothpick State” referenced the early custom of men carrying large sheath or belt knives, often double-edged dirks or daggers. The “toothpick” served as a common inexpensive sidearm and soon became fixed in the public imagination. The messy dispatching by knife of one Arkansas state representative by another in 1837 cemented the new state’s renown as a violent place.]
UPDATED 4/22 (see below)
UPDATED 4/23 (see below)
Yesterday’s post on the “ill-timed” comments of Rep. Nate Bell of the Arkansas state legislature kicked off a predictable Second Amendment shit-storm of comments.
Today, believe it or not, another Arkansas Neanderthal Republican, in an entirely different context, is advocating a “2nd Amendment Solution” to thinning the herd of Arkansas Republicans.
Chris Nogy, husband of Leigh Nogy, the secretary of the Benton County (Arkansas) Republican Party, submitted a diatribe to the party’s official newsletter which was subsequently published on the official Benton County GOP website. The issue that set Mr Nogy off was the Arkansas state legislature’s vote approving expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under . . . OBAMASCARE!!1!.
If you care to read the whole crazy-ass rant, be my guest, but, for this post, I’ll just cherry pick a few highlights:
While most of the nation has been glued to their TVs, computers, iPhones and 2-Way Wrist Radios (kidding) for the past week gleaning the bits and pieces of information that help us make sense of the sometimes inexplicable tragedies that befall society, a few of us had visions of payback and ways to score tacky political points dancing in our heads.
One such Biggest Loser is Rep. Nate Bell (R-Dogpatch), a public mistake servant serving in the Arkansas legislature who just couldn’t resist tweeting this little gem during the height of the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect:
Who knew that one ignorant cracker with an iPhone would be able to distill the angst of 21st century American society down to 132 characters, and remind the vast majority of us, who were experiencing one of those rare moments of absolute fellowship, that we are a people with grave political problems.
Of course, condemnation and appalled disapproval swiftly ensued in the Twittersphere and a shocked Nate Bell told reporters that:
I really didn’t think about it going to Boston . . .
suggesting that our man, Nate, suffers from some intellectual challenges totally apart from his utter lack of class. Does anyone out there really believe that their tweets are like drunken statements at a private party? Forgiven in the morning and chuckled about for a week or two? If so, I suspect Bell is about to learn the hard lesson that the internet never forgets.
Bocephus may think the Kenyan Usurper is 50 shades of Hitler, but at least he never sent him Ricin, unlike, allegedly, “Master Of Impressions” Kevin Paul Curtis. Yes, the “Master Of Impressions,” a particularly disgruntled Elvis impersonator, is believed to have posted the castor bean-flecked envelopes that might have tainted the inboxes of a more than a few targets of his ire.
The more I checked out the versatile performer’s YouTube channel, the less I wanted to believe it myself. Really, who would want even fake Johnny Cash (below the jump) really languishing behind bars?
Theoretically, Americans in each of the fifty states elect two people to represent their interests in the US Senate, sometimes called the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” Today, not so much.
When an issue of national interest garners 90% support of the electorate that’s noteworthy. The Washington Post researched their polling archives and surveys by other organizations and found that Americans almost never voice this level of consensus on issues, and when they do, they often get what they want.
When an issue of national interest garners 90% support of the electorate, but only 45% of senators vote along with their constituency on that issue, I think it’s safe to say that the system is officially broken.
Indeed, the senators voting for the gun violence prevention measure represent 194 million people, roughly 65 percent of the entire American population, yet were defeated by a minority representing just 118 million people.
Oh parts and guns, parts and guns, it’s a sort of theme day here at Rumproast. But what with the ole saltpeter pouch up there, celebrated humorist Mitch “Cuddles” McConnell, taking to Facebook to harry Harry Reid over his failure to pass the background-check gun bill, how can one not notice how inextricably, amongst the ‘Baggy crowd, parts and guns are entwined?
Naturally, with Newtown families in the Senate chamber (or, “props,” as the GOPs like to style sentient beings with legitimate grievances against the reign of Senator Yertle), the testudinous Kentuckian was unable to pump his claw in the air, but once he repaired to the Cloakroom, it was Katie bar the Iphone! What more hilarity could ensue than MitchMemes’ (take note, Rep. Hansen) LOLguns?
What a synecdouche. (Hat tipped respectively to Lowkey and mainmati. All glory, or blame, properly punctuated hate mail etc, to them.)
Bqwhatevr O evr’s the matter with you pissy-pants oversensitive lady Liberals? Soon-to-be-formerly Amherst Representative Peter Hansen (You-had-to-ask?-New Hampshire) was only referring to women as “Vagina’s” for effect:
My point in the choice of words was twofold: One was shock content and the other was to try to get into the mind of the perpetrator.
“Try to get into” is an interesting construction, there, Peter, but I’d say you did it! You got deep into the Perpetrator’s Mind. So dark in there, isn’t it? Dark and warm, and ungrammatical.
Rep. Hansen was merely responding via email to detractors of the “Stand Your Ground Law”:
There were two critical ingredients missing in the illustrious stories purporting to demonstrate the practical side of retreat. Not that retreat may not be possible mind you. What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s of course.
After getting a lot of lip from Democrats and Republicans alike, the Representative stood his ground: “Having a fairly well educated mind I do not need self appointed wardens…”
There was more, but yr. editrix stopped reading and had a nice lie-down with some Creme De Cassi’s.
I don’t know what Mitch McConnell is paying his re-election campaign team but, whatever it is, it’s most likely too much. Then again, it can’t be easy for the Senate’s least popular senator to raise money for re-election to a job at which he clearly sucks. Maybe he got the best he could afford . . . ?
The Keystone Kops of Kentucky oppo research came up with the mother lode of dirt on Democratic candidate Ashley Judd because she did them the service of compiling that data for them in her autobiography. Way to dig, guys.
Unfortunately, when these sophomoric operatives got together to present their findings and giggle like frat boys over their genius, some ne’er-do-well taped the proceedings and sent the recording along to David Corn at Mother Jones. The taped meeting is just as lame and goofy as you might expect, so, if you’d like to hear the whole sorry thing, have at it.
Two items in the news about Cuba (optional soundtrack below):
As Balloon Juice commenter Lamh35 pointed out in the bitchfest thread, it’s probably unwise for Marco Rubio to try to turn Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s trip to Cuba into Benghazi II: The Castro-ation. It’s dumb for several reasons:
1) Castro is a doddering, toothless old fart whose utility as a wingnut bogeyman is receding faster than his gum line.
2) Beyoncé may be more widely worshipped than Jesus at this point, so Rubio will piss off her millions of fans, and for what? The Cuban exile vote can’t even swing an election in Florida anymore, much less the US.
3) The only reason our absurd Cuba policy continues is because, a) most Americans don’t know / don’t give a shit about it, and b) numbers 1 and 2 above haven’t quite sunk in yet with the political-media industrial complex.
Rubio released a statement on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s trip, saying, “U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime.”
Well, yeah, but Saudi Arabia is a medieval dictatorship that openly enslaves half of its population and beheads people for fucking sorcery, and yet I’m allowed to travel there as an American citizen. If I had to be parachuted into either Cuba or Saudi Arabia, I’d damn well go where the cigars and mojitos are.
Second news item out of Cuba:
The parents who kidnapped their own children from the kids’ grandmother and sailed out of Tampa Bay earlier this week have turned up in Cuba. Several things about this story smell fishier than Hemingway’s tackle box:
1) The parents, whom the media characterize as “anti-government protesters,” were busted last June in Louisiana for pot and firearms after a disturbance at a hotel. The cops allege they made bizarre references to Armageddon, prompting the court to put the kids in foster care. The father later confronted the foster parents, waving a gun around and demanding his children before running off before the cops arrived.
2) This supposedly prompted the authorities to terminate parental rights and pass custody of the kids to the grandmother in Florida. Practically everyone in Louisiana and Florida is “anti-government” and skulks around with pot and guns mumbling about Armageddon. And from what friends in CPS tell me, terminating parental rights is REALLY, REALLY hard, even for people who have a documented history of thrashing their kids half to death. And yet these people’s parental rights were terminated in less than a year for guns, pot and Armageddon talk?
But now the government of Cuba says it’s going to hand them over to the US, apparently without even pausing to wring any anti-US propaganda mileage out of them. Even if the parents are bona fide, bug-eyed loons and / or the most annoying Paultroons in the universe, that’s unusual. There’s more here than meets the eye.
I don’t really want to prolong the picking over the bones of the Thatcher legacy, but since the American right seems desperate to exploit her passing to defend its post-Thatcherite concensus, as embodied in Reaganomics and all the other worldwide fallout from her time in office, I wanted to post this song, written by Elvis Costello and Clive Langer in response to the Falklands War, and sung by a one-time member of the Communist Party with the voice of a weary angel.
A lot of very vibrant, overtly angry music and art came out of the Thatcher years—along with a lot of biting satire. There’s plenty of anger and despair behind this song, but it proves that if you have the heart and you’re skilled enough, you can transmute those emotions into wry, timeless, deeply human beauty that stands on its own.
If you like, you can use this thread to continue boggling at the ludicrous claims being made about Maggie’s Farm by those who never experienced it in real life, suggest some other songs or clips from that era (and I’ll post them if they can be embedded), or talk about anything else whatever.
Update: New Youtubidity from the comments after the fold!
Steve Bell covers Thatcher’s resignation in 1990 (click to enlarge).
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
I despaired this morning when I heard the news that Margaret Thatcher was dead at 87. Not because her passing upsets me. I’d already celebrated that in late 1990, when her party finally realized the old bat was potty, the wheels had long fallen off the Iron Lady, and she was growing even more unpopular than her historically record-breaking low approval ratings might have anticipated, and she needed to be removed from office for their own good before she took them down with her.
I recall walking round the streets of Greenock that day, in something of a daze, overhearing a couple of old guys on a street corner in conversation: “She’s gone, then.” “Aye.” It had been a long, difficult era from her election in 1979, when as a politically inexperienced 19-year-old I barely realized what she was about to usher in, through the horrible early 1980s, protesting against the Falklands War and the UK and US’s saber-rattling in the face of the “Soviet threat,” then the Middle East adventures that were a pale prologue to those of the 2000s, and being subjected to none too subtle state surveillance for my troubles, to standing on my doorstep one morning faced with a court official who was threatening to send the bailiffs round to confiscate what little property I had.
That last event happened because Ms YAFB and I had had the audacity to do as we’d been encouraged by the government and set up a small business in the teeth of a recession, our industry—publishing—was being more than decimated, work had dried up, we’d submitted accounts the local council needed to decide whether we were eligible for some benefit to help pay our Council Tax (a.k.a. Poll Tax), and they’d somehow lost the papers we’d sent in (not for the first time). No court date for a hearing. A sheriff somewhere had heard our case among a slew of others some time earlier. We were never offered the opportunity to attend and put forward our side of the case. The first we knew was a lunatic demand in the post for immediate payment of an absurd amount of money we had no prospect of finding. And so I stood there as this besuited, rather shifty guy threatened me with sending round the heavies.
That was Thatcher’s Britain. Or a small series of snapshots of it. And we got off lightly compared to many. We survived. Survived to see Thatcher leave office in tears.
Now that Jim DeMint has become the Grand Poohbah of the Heritage Foundation, he seems to have gotten even closer to his inner Scrooge, finding Mitt Romney’s Moocher Stats of 47% way too low. DeMint puts his estimate of Moocher-dom at a whopping 69.5%.
In a letter to the echo chamber Heritage Foundation staff, DeMint outlined his depressing vision of America’s rapidly accelerating decline warning that:
The United States must reverse the direction of these trends or face economic and social collapse.
The problems driving this impending doom-mobile? not recession, not off-shoring jobs, not high unemployment, not Capitalism run amok, not two wars going into overtime. No. The problem, Mr DeMint tells us, is too many poors and way, way too many olds:
Today, more people than ever before—69.5 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions.
So a couple of weeks ago Reince Priebus rolls out, in their words, “the most comprehensive post-election review” evah! of of a political loss, namely the thumping they got last November, and announces that a kinder, gentler Republican Party must emerge to win voters back.
Priebus noted that the party’s policies are fundamentally sound but require a softer tone and broader outreach, include a stronger push for African-American, Latino, Asian, women and gay voters.
“To be clear, our principles our (sic) sound, our principles are not old rusty thoughts in some book,” Priebus said, but the “report notes the way we communicate our principles isn’t resonating widely enough.”
Unsurprisingly the toner was barely set on the report pages when the hard-line god-bothering contingent of the party made it clear that they thought the Rethuglicans were communicating a message of unbudging resistance to change on social issues just fine thankyew.
The last two Republican winners of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses say that the GOP will shoot itself in the foot if it softens its stance on social issues such as same-sex marriage — countering calls from others within the GOP ranks who say that is one way for the party to broaden its national appeal.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses in the 2012 presidential race, told Politico that the Republican party will cease to exist if it softens its stance on social issues such as same-sex marriage.
“Look, the Republican Party isn’t going to change,” Mr. Santorum said. “If we do change, we’ll be the Whig Party.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, said that the GOP should learn a lesson from the 2008 and 2012 elections, where they lost after nominating Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“The last two presidential elections, we had more moderate candidates, so if anything a lot of conservatives went to the polls reluctantly or just didn’t go at all,” Mr. Huckabeetold Politico. “If all of the Evangelicals had showed up, it may have made a difference.”
Ah yes. As we all know Conservatism cannot fail; it can only be failed.