So, Heavily Armed Disgruntled People Of America, how’s every little thing?
Our special correspondent (kitted out at his insistence in Cloak of Invisibility and Kevlar Pants) was attending that little treasonish trade-show-cum shindig of yours last week, when he happened in on the creative gun-storage seminar “Store Your Semi-Automatics In The Kids’ Closet” which sounds like a David Sedaris title but turned out to be really real. So many small children having either smoked their siblings or been smoked in general recently, he began to feel slightly peaky, and unable to appreciate your full spectrum of defiant ballistic wackadoo, detailed here by the vastly more stalwart Bette Noir.
Any old hoo, rankled 2nd-half-of-the-2nd amendment fans, sometime between the Glenn Beck philippics on Michael Bloomberg, Nazi, and fifteen minutes of mike-melting audio purporting to be the thoughts of Gammy Gunrack, yr. correspondent thought, “Line-Dancing Jeebus With A Chaw and a Blowsy Girlfriend In A’Women Hunt’ T shirt, I sure hope these people never have a legitimate grievance—they’re halfway to an armed march on Washington as it is!”
It was at this point that the old back-office telex machine started its musical chattering, and churned out a missive from our special correspondent: “My understanding file reports on people perpetually wrong,from own inviolable position of moral superiority. Currently drowning self in pink gin at expat bar on riverfront. Suggest reply only by telex until further notice or Holder bounced down Capitol steps on keister.”
You know, I’m definitely beginning to pick up a trend regarding the freshman Senator from Texas—he just rubs people the wrong way. This sensation of almost visceral recoil has been remarked upon pretty much since he’s taken office. He’s been compared to Sen. Joe McCarthy on the regular (including at the estimable Rumproast if I may point that out), and that’s an unfortunate comparison, since McCarthy has become like a byword in senatorial overreach and lack of decency. (Except it seems as valid a comparison as it is unfortunate.) He’s been considered a conspiracy theorist (Agenda 21, anyone?) and possibly a bit of a sexist prick (mansplaining, anyone?) And even Our Mister Brooks has pointed out that his fellow senators roll their eyes regarding him and find him “off-putting”. And the NYT’s columnist is, whatever his faults as a pundit may be, not exactly the sort of pundit who would slam a freshman Republican Senator for no unwarranted reason.
Really. Except for the things he says and does (like his support for federal assistance for the West, TX disaster after opposition to Superstorm Sandy assistance—consistency?) what could possibly be the unifying factor? It couldn’t merely be his possession of a backpfeifengesicht, like the result of sneering one too many times, when, as anyone’s mother might have foretold, it could stick that way. (I will stick with it being mostly about the things he does and says.)
Which is why it doesn’t exactly shock the socks off of me to find that The Washington Post‘s own Jennifer Rubin has found a bone to pick with him over his description of his fellow Republicans as “squishes” over their curious lack of faith regarding a filibuster over background checks. Except, really? Jennifer Rubin? The Mitt Romney Booster Club’s Head Cheerleader? The pundit who once referred to Rand Paul as “formidable” over his Benghazi conspiracy theories (pitched way out of the strike zone of one SOS HRC?).
One pauses, truly, to take it all in. Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment is all to pieces, is it not? Or is Cruz just a law unto himself, unaware that ideological purity aside, a representative democracy is something like a popularity contest, and one really does have to serve somebody other than oneself?
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?
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.
Ermagerd. Sworn off Palin for more than a few years, then two consecutive posts in a couple of days. The shame, the shame. What provoked this?
Well, on Saturday we saw La Diva Loca give her all in a TMI style to a CPAC rabble desperate for distraction from its own endless misery, and inevitably we focused on her Bloomberg big guvmint-bashing Big Gulpaloser, like just about everybody else who was near a keyboard. Perhaps predictably, where some of us—perhaps, let’s be hopeful here, the vast majority of humanity and possibly any eavesdropping aliens—saw teeheehee juvenile pathos and completely unintentional self-parody (and responded with our own juvenilia, because that’s how we roll), her fans saw A HEROIC STAND AGAINST THE MAN!!!!
A few spinoff memes among those with access to Photoshop and way too much time on their hands could be expected, but a full-on IRL movement? Oh yeah. Heeeeere’s Twitchy:
Now, I should warn you of a couple of things. First, that headline is no lie, and if you click it, there are indeed pics and video, and it ain’t pretty; and second, if you’ve never visited malevolent douchesquirrel Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy before, its sole raison d’être, other than mobilizing twittering zombie hordes to relentlessly harass anybody who catches Malkin’s eye and ire, is generally to drag a bunch of rabid derp off the twittersphere and blend it with even more rabid derp in its comment stream, I guess in the hopes that a singularity of derp will be triggered that will engulf the entire universe and beyond in a tidal wave of megaderp—thus fulfilling those apocalyptic predictions of peak wingnut and the wingularity ta-DA!
The ingredients on this occasion range from the pedestrian
Cynthia Yockey @conservativelez
Palin at CPAC: He’s got the rifle, I’ve got the rack (of husband Todd and their Xmas gifts to one another.) Then sips Big Gulp.
to the arguably ill-advised
Michelle Malkin ✔ @michellemalkin
CPAC podiums need to be stocked with 32-oz Big Gulps, not teeny water bottles.
to the marginally more excitable!!!
Roel Marasigan @HeadsWillRoel
Classic Sarah Palin giving nanny Bloomberg a jab at #CPAC!!! pic.twitter.com/bngVu81ZUm
So far, so lame. I’ll kick you off with the first comment over there, then after that you’re on your own if you’re wingnutcurious enough to get off the boat, and don’t say you haven’t been warned, as it gets worse from here on in (though there is some evidence of sedition). Behold the yawning sinkhole in perception:
nc • 2 days ago
Her comedic timing was dead-on perfect! She tells the “rack” joke with a dead pan straight face, then immediately reaches for the Super Big Gulp to deflect any sense of impropriety. Comic genius!
This would be tragic and humorous in a relatively mundane way (“dead pan straight face” *snork*) in itself, but as Wonkette reports, we’re now headed back into the realms of full-on icon-worship again, as the old fanbase at Conservatives4Palin apparently hasn’t entirely been reduced to living under bridges and toasting pigeons on curtain rails through over-donating to The Palin Family and Friends Holiday and Meth Fund SarahPAC, or if it has, it seems to have access to Obamaphones and the Internet down there. Venture after the fold if you dare/can be arsed.
We’re not here to re-brand a party, we’re here to rebuild a country. We’re here to restore America and the rest is just theatrics. The rest is sound and fury. It’s just making noise.
The next 37 long minutes were indeed taken up with sound and fury—the familiar gurns, squawks, shrieks, and dribbling, punctuated by the novel sound of slurping, to rapturous applause. It’s 2013. It’s CPAC. And it’s Sarah Palin.
Yep, the Grifta from Wasilla, having added Fox News pundit (failed) to her résumé, is BACK. And she’s still totally bonkers. And not in a good way.
Lord knows, when the éminences grises behind CPAC booked her, they knew what to expect. It’s an easy call, because whatever else she’s been doing in her copious spare time since bombing out of the ‘08 election in tears, in between lush speaking gigs and boring the pants off Greta van Susteren she hasn’t come up with much new material.
I’m very grateful to Jim Newell, now liveblogging in the unlikely environment of The Guardian, for keeping tabs on the parade of fail at this year’s Gathering of the Indescribables as I really wasn’t feeling up to it. Also to my co-bloggers marindenver and Vixen Strangely, who’ve been taking up the slack. However, when somebody as absolutely desperate for attention as Sarah Palin bobbles along, it would be downright cruel of me not to indulge her at least a little, so here goes.
Her turn wasn’t totally lacking in some semblance of political gravitas, as she insisted that enough with the navel-gazing already, Republicans just need to hit the streets and get persuadin’:
They’re not our enemies. They’re our sisters and our brothers. They’re our neighbors, they’re our friends. It’s imperative to reach out and to share that conservative message of liberty and less government and lower taxes.
So double-bolt your doors and bar your windows before you turn in tonight, just in case.
Boob jokes. They featured, as Jim notes:
Palin sets up a quite extraordinary breasts-and-ammo joke by telling the crowd that for Christmas, her husband had bought her a rack to hold guns on the back of her truck. Then comes the sexy punchline:
He’s got the rifle, I’ve got the rack!
As attendants carried the coronary casualties in the audience out to the waiting fleet of ambulances, as an example of “less government” Palin chose Mayor Bloomberg’s War on Soda (this is where the slurping comes in), ostentatiously sucking on a mammoth serving through a straw in a manner which suggested that if there was a baseball in there, goshdarn she was havin’ it. If she followed it up with a burp, the networks cut it and the written record is silent. But it did lead to a new party game:
If, as Mitch McConnell claimed at CPAC today, the Democrats’ 2016 “presidential ticket looks like a rerun of the Golden Girls,” given that the all-star lineup at CPAC 2013 includes in its cast Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor, Steven Crowder, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Ron Johnson, Wayne LaPierre, Dana Loesch, Reince Preibus, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Wayne Allyn Root, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Ben Shapiro, Allen West, the ghost of Andrew Breitbart, and Mitch himself, what rerun shows would best encapsulate:
(a) CPAC 2013?
(b) the Republicans’ prospective 2016 presidential ticket?
You know, I really don’t want to be back talking about 2016, but Jeb was all over the Sunday shows, and it was hard not to look at it as being possibly just as much about 2016 as about peddling his book. And yes, maybe it’s a little bit like being a “crack addict” to speculate about this—but really? Are we going to shrug off the legacy of big bro’ as “not baggage”?
Heavy sigh. The last quarter-century is all about Bushes. There is no escape here. How to explain?
That outsider artist reinventing himself as a premier puppy painter? Is forever linked with an Administration that oversaw a war in Iraq that will always be associated with gross abuse. (I wonder if there isn’t something in W that makes him uniquely suited to capturing the soul of puppies. They, too, are scolded for making messes they don’t entirely understand and aren’t sure what they should do to fix.)
But Jeb himself isn’t quite ready to articulate a vision for the future, at odds with his book, at odds with interviews of mere days ago. He can invoke the Reagan Administration of which his own father was a part as a time of less partisanship—but it doesn’t help him begin to explain how to arrive at a less-partisan future—anymore than his brother’s “compassionate conservatism” did. Not when the 1988 campaign of his father against Dukakis was one of the most wedge-issue-tainted smear-jobs. Not when the first Gulf War has so much to do with a very specific vision of power and patriotism. That is what W inherited—and it’s Jeb’s legacy, too, like it or not. Which is why he’s spinning like a tire in a damp rut over immigration. Does he, like his father, supposedly lack “the vision thing”? Or has he only seen too much?
No matter. Na’gonna happen. Not even if folks in the Beltway bubble want to make it happen.
WASHINGTON—A new short-term budget bill introduced on Monday by House Republicans includes a bizarre provision banning federal funding to anti-poverty group ACORN, despite the fact that the group has already been stripped of federal funding—and has been defunct for nearly three years.
ACORN leaders announced that the group was disbanding in March 2010, after Congress cut off all federal funding to the organization. The provision in the current GOP budget bill [PDF], buried on page 221 of 269, would duplicate legislation that has already passed, to target an organization that does not exist.
ACORN, also known as the Alliance of Community Organizations for Reform Now, came under heavy fire in the fall of 2009 after conservative provocateur James O’Keefe released a set of selectively edited videos that appeared to show employees of the organization offering advice on tax avoidance related to prostitution and child smuggling. Independent investigations by the California attorney general, the Massachusetts attorney general and the Brooklyn, N.Y. district attorney would later clear ACORN of criminal wrongdoing, and an investigation by the Government Accountability Office would clear ACORN of charges that it mishandled federal funds.
So, in actual “reality-reality”, ACORN was defunded and disbanded three years ago due to a pretty much now-mostly-discredited (I hope!) RW faux journalist who smeared them all over the place. In the mainstream (because these are elected officials, mind you) Republican bubble reality, ACORN is still an ever-present threat that is probably registering legions of zombies to vote in the 2014 mid-term elections even as we speak.
But I also think it’s about an almost magical need to “repeat often” in order to banish the evil spirits of liberalism. Every now and again, resolutions need to be made to ensure that abortions aren’t federally funded (though they aren’t except in cases of rape and incest) or to ban gay marriage (no matter how many times it’s been resolved, previously) to make damn sure people remember that, while your GOP elected representative might not seem to be doing anything for you in the way of making sure your government works well, or at all, they will reinforce the bejesus out of your biases until the cows come home.
I’m not sure why their base is heartened by these things, but, hell. Maybe they are.
A short clip of this Stones song was featured in “Argo.” The lyrics are obviously the result of a prolonged heroin binge, but the song rocks nonetheless:
In a comment on an Oscars thread yesterday, Robin G praised “Moonrise Kingdom.” I’d been meaning to see it and finally did last night. Awesome movie—highly recommended—and thanks for reminding me of it, Robin G: It was exactly the thing I needed to see.
Why People Hate the Government
My teenage daughter will soon go on a class trip that involves a domestic flight. Among the many neuroses her father and I share is an aversion to flying, but we try not to allow our eccentricities to completely dominate our child’s life, which is some of the hardest work in parenting. However, our ignorance of the demands of modern air travel nearly put the kibosh on a trip for which we’d already paid $1,400 (non-refundable!).
We foolishly assumed minors accompanied by fellow students, teachers and chaperones on a school-sponsored class trip would be allowed to board a winged bus to a destination within the United States with only common forms of identification like a student ID card and birth certificate. Not so; now, even a child must have an official state ID card from the DMV to board a plane. (Because of 9/11? If so, that’s reason enough to take a scuba trip to the North Arabian Sea, find Osama bin Laden’s skull and fashion it into a poop-scoop.)
Anyhoo, we learned that to obtain an official state ID card, a kid must have a Social Security card or a specific printout from the Social Security Administration verifying her application for a Social Security card. The form containing the same information that is issued to new parents to enable them to deduct children from their taxes doesn’t count, or so I was told by the DMV.
To obtain the magical correct form, one must have many additional forms of ID, which may or may not be acceptable to the person at SSA who ultimately reviews it. County school district vaccination records are considered a kind of gold standard, though. I learned this after finally reaching a human being following multiple excursions into the SSA’s hellish, circular automated call menu, which is designed to automatically dump callers if too many other luckless supplicants are in queue, a situation that is apparently the case 90% of the time.
Thus it came to pass that the kid and I took a day off of school and work last week and visited the Three Circles of Bureaucratic Hell in a nearby city. First we sat in the overflow holding area at the county health department to secure the vaccination records, occupying a zone teeming with screaming toddlers, anxious children and nervous families applying for citizenship or refugee status.
Then we languished in the waiting room at the local branch of the Social Security Administration with many crabby elderly folks, some of whom seemed to be practicing outraged speeches to unleash on the indifferent heads of bureaucrats seated behind numbered, Plexiglass-barred window openings in a vast, echoing hall that would make a great set for a MiniTruth scene from “1984.”
After emerging from that ordeal limp and exhausted by ennui, we made our way to the DMV for another crushing round of paper-shuffling and waiting. All told, it took around seven hours (not counting transportation), which was actually less than I thought it would. But it occurred to me that perhaps the experience of being gnashed in the gears of bureaucratic machinery is a more potent driver of people’s reflexive hatred of government than I’d realized.
I’m a confirmed fan of Big Government. I don’t enjoy paying taxes any more than I look forward to dental work, but I understand the necessity of both. The only thing that pisses me off about my tax rate is that Mitt Romney pays a lower percentage, and I’d gladly exchange a larger chunk of my income for a Scandinavian-style social safety net.
But I flatter myself and the Balloon Juice / Rumproast communities by believing that we’ve thought this through more than Honey Boo Boo’s core audience has. To them, the silly hoop-jumping requirements, appalling run-arounds and astoundingly inefficient service on display at the customer-facing outlets of local, state and federal agencies are The Government. Which makes it easier to understand why assholes like Rand Paul get elected.
Maybe better customer service would help consign Reaganism to the political dung heap it so richly deserves? It’s a thought.
Please feel free to discuss movies, music, parenting, soulless bureaucracy or anything else. In other words, open thread.
By which I mean, questioning the foundation of several centuries worth of scientific inquiry by providing students with the option of a “Build Your Own Bullshit” Bar at the old studiatorium we used to consider a classroom.
In biology class, public school students can’t generally argue that dinosaurs and people ran around Earth at the same time, at least not without risking a big fat F. But that could soon change for kids in Oklahoma: On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change.
Gus Blackwell, the Republican state representative who introduced the bill, insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion; it simply encourages scientific exploration. “I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks,” says Blackwell, who previously spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. “A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.”
HB 1674 is the latest in an ongoing series of “academic freedom” bills aimed at watering down the teaching of science on highly charged topics. Instead of requiring that teachers and textbooks include creationism—see the bill proposed by Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin—HB 1674’scrafters say it merely encourages teachers and students to question, as the bill puts it, the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of topics that “cause controversy,” including “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”
If someone wants their kid to be a nice little coddled egg or shit-fed mushroom, why is it so difficult to just homeschool the little larva without trying to impose one’s vast ignorance on everyone else’s brat? I mean, really! Making up stuff as you go along is to science as drinking cleaning fluids found under mother’s sink is to eating. In other words—that’s just wrong, son. The freeedom to write a paper claiming that the earth is held up by an infinite number of turtles is the freedom to step out in traffic—just because you can, doesn’t make it right. To understand science is to be able to ably defend your propostition because it has been tested and you understand what the tests meant and what the results meant. Parroting back the bullshit you were raised with is no more science than a dog shaking hands means that the canine in question is attempting to introduce itself into human society—except that a dog, at least, might expect a treat. Or petting. But a child who parrots nonsense and expects an A for failing to be educated isn’t introducing hirself to science. That child is rejecting it. And is no more educated than a child who rejects spelling or claims 2x2=a million.
Making bullshit a law doesn’t make it anything more than bullshit. They might as well call ice cream a vegetable.