Posted: April 28, 2014 Filed under: Discrimination against women, Economy, Feminists, morning reads, U.S. Politics, War on Women | Tags: Donald Sterling, female gamers, Fukushima workers, Game of Thrones, homophobia, Ichiefu, Japanese Manga, Johnathan McIntosh, Kazuto Tatsuta, LA Clippers, male-dominated culture, middle class, misogyny, NBA, NRA, on-line gaming, Racism, rape, Sarah Palin, waterboarding
Good Morning! Quelle Surprise! Pop Culture is still Misogynist, Racist, and Homophobic!
I found some interesting reads over the weekend so I hope you’ll enjoy them! They are all sort’ve stories that actually reflect a lot of the things that fascinate and entertain me. I love strategy games and have been playing them on line for quite some time Actually, it’s been since the early 1990s when most of the games were simply text oriented. I also love animation art, and books, and of course, music. So, here’s a little bit on that and a little bit of stuff that has to do with social justice too. If I do a have a consistent train of thought here it is that so much of what should be entertaining and could be informative can sow bad seeds. I’ve a few examples where the pop and geek culture are taking on hard topics. Some are successful and examining crucial human stories. Some rely on the same old misogyny, racism, and homobigotry.
Japanese Manga is a way many creative people in Japan explore how they feel about a variety of things. This article is about a new manga book on the lives of the Fukashima plant workers.
A manga that describes the reality of daily life at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant through the eyes of a worker is enjoying popularity.
“Ichiefu” (1F), written by Kazuto Tatsuta, 49, first appeared in autumn 2013 as a serial comic in the weekly magazine “Morning,” published by Kodansha Ltd. Ichiefu stands for the Fukushima No. 1 plant among locals.
The comic was published in book form on April 23. The publisher shipped a total of 150,000 copies of the first volume, which is an unusually large number for a little-known manga artist.
Tatsuta said he changed jobs repeatedly after graduating from university. At the same time, he also worked as a comic strip artist.
It was when he was considering another job change that the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami occurred, triggering the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant.
While seeking a better-paying job, Tatsuta also wondered what part he could do as a citizen of Japan to help. As a result, he began to work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant from June 2012 for a total of six months.
“Ichiefu” describes the situation at the plant in great detail. The descriptions of equipment, such as the masks and protective gear the workers used, and the procedures they took to measure radiation levels make readers feel as if they are there and reading actual worker manuals.
The comic also depicts intimate practices only workers there would know. For example, the workers always say “Be safe” to each other before starting their shifts.
Each of the workers was also required to stop working when his dosimeter issued a fourth warning sound.
I quit playing a few games last year that I had really grown fond of because of the rampant misogyny and homophobia of many of the white male players. I had repeatedly asked them to constrain their language, behavior, and what they posted. I am fortunately playing a game right now where that’s not the case. I am still one of the few female players in my alliance. I believe I am one of two but I have found that I generally enjoy better game play if I am in an alliance where there are many openly gay men. This NPR article summarizes a series of articles that are focused on white male privilege in the online game atmosphere.
In video games, sexism often comes in the form of male-dominated storylines and character archetypes. In the video game community, it takes a more menacing shape.
It ranges from attempts to silence female critics to the harassment of fellow players. Some harassment even goes so far as phone calls and rape threats, as one female game developer found out last year.
“The issue is often framed as a women’s issue, but sexual harassment, sexism and misogyny in gaming is not a women’s issue — it’s a gaming community issue,” says Jonathan McIntosh, a producer for the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Web series.
Last week, McIntosh wrote a piece for gaming website Polygon about what he calls the “invisible benefits” that males experience while playing video games. In the post, he lists 25 effects of “male gamer privilege.” Here’s a sample:
- I can choose to remain completely oblivious, or indifferent to the harassment that many women face in gaming spaces.
- I am never told that video games or the surrounding culture is not intended for me because I am male.
- I can publicly post my username, gamertag or contact information online without having to fear being stalked or sexually harassed because of my gender.
- I will never be asked to “prove my gaming cred” simply because of my gender.
- I will almost always have the option to play a character of my gender, as most protagonists or heroes will be male by default.
- If I am trash-talked or verbally berated while playing online, it will not be because I am male nor will my gender be invoked as an insult.
- My gaming ability, attitude, feelings or capability will never be called into question based on unrelated natural biological functions.
So far, the reaction to his post — both in the more than 700 comments on the piece and elsewhere — has been relatively civil. As McIntosh pointed out on Twitter, he doubts it would have been as civil if he had been a female writer raising the same points.
“I’m saying the same thing that women have been saying for years,” McIntosh says. “There’s nothing in my piece that’s really new, it’s just that it’s coming from me. If my name was Joanna McIntosh … I’d be called irrational, I’d be called hysterical and I’d be called too sensitive.”
One other thing that I did not mention last week but I would like to mention this week is the rape scene between the Lannister twins in Game of Thrones. The same scene in the book actually was rough but consensual.
There’s been a lot of discussion, Internet rage, and general overall hoopla following Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones, as the television show made the most shocking book-to-screen deviation to date. *Spoiler free for future books.*
Jaime and Cersei finally had their reunited love scene, and suddenly for book readers, Jeyne Westerling seemed like a small cinematic sacrifice to make in comparison. I don’t want to get into a philosophical discussion on whether or not this scene constitutes as rape. Smarter people than I have alreadydonethat.
What we have to work with in the scene is what the characters said and did because we can’t know how they felt. And whether or not the scene was intended to come across as consensual sex, the way the scene was cut by the director makes it definitive to the audience that it was not consensual. Cersei repeatedly said no while Jaime forced himself on top of her and answered that he didn’t care as his creepy voiceover carried out onto a shot of Arya staring at mountains. If that’s all we know about the scene, then yes, in the television show Jaime raped Cersei.
The “debate” about the rape has been nearly as upsetting as the rape itself. I liked this take clearly stating that rape is not a “narrative device”.
In some ways, it’s useful for television shows to acknowledge the extent of sexual violence in our culture. These narratives allow necessary stories to be told. But the execution is too easy. From daytime soap operas to prestige cable shows, rape is all too often used to place the degradation of the female body and a woman’s vulnerability at the center of the narrative. Rape is used to create drama and ratchet up ratings. And it’s rare to see the brutality and complexity of a rape accurately conveyed on-screen. Instead, we are treated to an endless parade of women being forced into submission as the delicate and wilting flowers television writers and producers seem to want them to be.
I am still wondering why there seems to be a renaissance in misogny, racism and homobigotry. You would think that the sports arena would have made better strides against racism given that teams and fans are fully integrated to the idea that there are players of many races. However, it seems the real money and power behind the bread and circuses are still those rich, horrid, white men. We talked about the Clippers’ owner last week. There is, of course, more on that.
Deadspin has acquired an extended, 15-minute version of the conversation between Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his then-girlfriend V. Stiviano. If the original nine-minute tape acquired by TMZ left any questions about Sterling’s opinions regarding minorities, the audio here should remove all doubt that he’s a doddering racist with views not too far removed from the plantation.
The Clippers themselves showed some class this week in a protest that was priceless. There will undoubtedly be more coming and hopefully the NBA can find a way to strip Sterling of the franchise.
The Clippers gathered at center court before a118-97 Game 4 loss in their first-round series against the Golden State Warriors and took off their Clippers warm-up shirts and left them there. They then warmed up wearing inside-out red shooting shirts that did not display the Clippers name or logo. During the game, players wore black arm or wrist bands and black socks.
In other news, water is still wet and Sarah Palin is still one of the dumbest people on the planet. This is the money quote she gave the NRA: ‘Waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists’.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) defended the controversial enhanced interrogation technique of waterboarding this weekend, and implied that the practice would still be commonplace “if I were in charge.”
“They obviously have information on plots to carry out Jihad,” she said at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting on Saturday evening, referring to prisoners. “Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”
The remark stands in stark contrast to the opinion of her former running mate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
The former Republican presidential nominee, who spent more than five years in a prison camp during the Vietnam War, has repeatedly denounced the practice, which he says is torture.
In her speech, Palin praised the NRA, a group whose members “are needed now more than ever, because every day we are seeing more and more efforts to strip away our Second Amendment rights,” she said.
I am still waiting for some examples of how any government in the US is stripping away the second amendment rights. I do, however, have thousands of examples of how women are losing their right to self determination.
My last offering this morning is yet another in depth article on the demise of the middle class in the USA. Middle class Americans are an endangered species.
Wages for millions of American workers, particularly those without college degrees, have flat-lined. Census figures show the median household income in 2012 was no higher than it was 25 years ago. Men’s median wages were lower than in the early 1970s.
Meanwhile, many of the expenses associated with a middle-class life have increased beyond inflation. This includes college tuition, whose skyrocketing cost has laid siege to a bedrock principle of the American Dream: that your children will do better than you did.
A recent poll conducted by the Washington Post and the Miller Center at the University of Virginia found that 40 percent of those calling themselves middle class felt less financially secure than they were just a few years ago. Forty-five percent said they worry “a lot” about having enough money stashed away for retirement, and 57 percent said they worry about meeting their bills. Less than half said they expect their kids to do any better.
Fewer Americans find themselves in the heart of the middle class with every passing year.
In the mid-1970s, the majority of Americans were in the middle, with 52 percent earning the equivalent (in today’s dollars) of $35,000 to $100,000. Today, according to census figures, the share of households earning under $35,000 is virtually unchanged, 35 percent. The shift has occurred in the other two categories. Households with incomes over $100,000 have doubled, to 22 percent, while less than 44 percent are in the middle cluster.
So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: May 7, 2013 Filed under: Gun Control, open thread, Political and Editorial Cartoons, SDB Evening News Reads, Second Amendment, Sky Dancing Blog, The Little Blog that could | Tags: Glenn Beck, GOA, Google Searches, Jon Stewart, NRA, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Wayne LaPierre
Hey, how is everyone doing?
Hope you will bear with me a few paragraphs while I ramble on a little, with a quick observation and story before I get to the few links I have for you tonight.
Y’all know that I was recently put on Topamax for my epilepsy…and as a bonus, it would help my debilitating migraines. I’ve mentioned the dopamax effect it has had on me, and you have probably noticed the other side effect, shall we say dopamax induced blogging Tourette syndrome.
My mom was the one who pointed it out to me last week. While reading one of my posts she said out loud, “JJ, what a foul mouth you have.” Of course, her bit of criticism surprised me, considering that the woman knows every other word out of my mouth is damn, shit, asshole….well, you get the picture. But, what my mom was commenting on was that my posts of late have become more “colorful,” in that I was dropping shit bombs left and right. (Not only shit bombs, but several ass holes and even a few fuck wads.)
I think this is a side effect of the topamax. What I usually could control in my writing is now finding it’s way in uncontrollable outbursts…dopamax induced blog…shit…swear word…damn…Tourette syndrome….ass…ass…asshole fuck fest.
Wow, don’t know where that came from. (My apologies to anyone who may be offended by my comments…this is meant as a joke, to be taken in a humorous way and not intended to degrade or demean anyone who suffers from dopamax induced uncontrollable curse word blogging or Tourette Syndrome.)
Which leads me to this little story…here in the land of Banjoville, we have a bit of an ongoing scandal, what I call Cheergate. It seems that a lot of the parents are pissed off that their girls did not make the competition cheerleading team. So, it was decided that a new open tryout will be held. Obviously, this is not fair, and reeks of sour grapes and bullshit…so being the woman I am, I took it upon myself to call the powers that be and voice my opinion.
Now, since the dopamax makes me completely loopy, imagine my surprise when I had a few moments of lucidity and spoke in a coherent manner….even talking in words more than three syllables long. According to my mom, who was listening to most of my side of the conversation, I was impressive…sounding like a real professional, mentioning Georgia High School Sports Associations, Rules and Regulations and I have to say, whatever was said, it sure did shut the principal up…they had no response. Of course, moments after I hung up the phone I couldn’t even remember what the hell I said. It was so bad that when I tried to explain to my daughter what happened, all I could get out was…”It had to do with lying and making something up, it begins with an f or an s and it has more than 2 syllables.” Who the hell knows what word I was trying to tell her.
Well, now and then we all have our moments of clarity…even if they are just fleeting at that.
One more thing, a mention about the blog. Wow, we have had so many hits the past couple of weeks. It is quite something to see the numbers of people visiting our little blog that come from all over the world…Google is a strange and wondrous thing. Kind of like the catch 22 you have with the SAG card in acting. You can’t get an acting gig without a SAG card and you can’t get a SAG card without the acting gig. We got big notice with the Google gods a couple of weeks ago with Boston Boomer’s Too Good Looking post, and with that surge in hits and outside links…it makes getting those higher ranking search results a lot more frequent.
So, the reason I mention this is just to say hello to any new readers out there who do come back and give Sky Dancing another look, we are glad you are here! (And to our regular readers, y’all know that obviously goes without saying…)
Now…for the links.
Y’all may have missed this, it is magnificent!
Jon Stewart Tears Apart NRA’s False Choice Between Freedom And ‘Obama-Sponsored Government Mom Rape’ | Mediaite
Jon Stewart opened Monday night’s edition of The Daily Show by looking back at the weekend’s NRA convention and its not-so-singular focus on guns. With Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and others in attendance, Stewart realized, “this is the same lineup, with the same laundry list of conservative grievances, that we saw at CPAC a month and a half ago.”
Eventually the speakers did get to the primary issue of guns, with Glenn Beck going after President Obama for his “tactics of fear and darkness.” Stewart congratulated Beck for acknowledging that “fear mongering is wrong” before playing another clip of him saying, “the only difference between your mom and sister getting raped and then walking home unmolested is a gun.”
“At the heart of the NRA’s message,” Stewart said, is “don’t let liberals say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun control. Let us say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun-a-pa-looza!” But, of course, the NRA’s real mantra comes from executive Wayne LaPierre: “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”
Based on Beck’s warnings against tyranny, the “government is the bad guy.” But based on LaPierre’s praise of the Boston police, “government is the good guy.” By the end of the segment, Stewart said he believes we all want the same thing: for “bad guys not to have guns.” While he and other Democrats want background checks, it appears some on the right want to “wait for a bad guy to draw and then draw faster.”
But if that’s the case, he said, “stop pretending that background checks are the last barrier standing between a free America and Obama-sponsored government mom rape.”
You have to go and see the clip…I know that I quoted most of the Mediate post, but seriously, Stewart just nails it…and that summary is just right.
There was also this from Ian Reifowitz: Gun Owners of America Is ‘Primarying’ the NRA From the Right
The NRA is even more extreme than it was just a few years ago. And that’s saying something. We’ve seen the shift in their rhetoric and in their policy positions. They just elected a new president, James Porter, who called the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression,” who referred to Barack Obama as a “fake president,” and who believes that one of our highest priorities should be to train and arm all our citizens so that, when the time comes, they can “fight tyranny.”
Wow. Take a deep breath. Yes, the new NRA president is a far right-wing extremist whose rhetoric makes his predecessor, David Keene, look like a Rockefeller Republican.
That is no news to us of course,
There’s no one simple reason why the NRA has moved even further to the right in recent years. Certainly, the right wing overall has become more extreme and paranoid since the election (and reelection) of President Obama. The Southern Poverty Law Center has plenty of material on the most extreme among them.
But within the gun movement, we are seeing something very specific, something that has a parallel within Republican electoral politics as a whole. In the last few years, conservative — not moderate but conservative — Republican senators like Richard Lugar of Indiana and Robert Bennett of Utah were defeated in reelection bids by insurgents who have come at them from the right. This is exactly what is happening to the NRA.
I didn’t see much room to the right of the NRA. At least I figured that any group to their right would have to be so extreme as to be unable to achieve any kind of influence. Wow, was I wrong. Gun Owners of America, led by its executive director, Larry Pratt, has done exactly that. The New York Times gave them a large degree of “credit” for mobilizing conservative opposition to the recent gun control package on Capitol Hill.
And I don’t think the word “extremist” truly captures where Pratt stands. Pratt’s been fomenting hatred and paranoia about President Obama’s desire to create a private army, and claimed that the president was “definitely capable” of using that army to start a race war.
The things Pratt has said should have made him 100 percent persona non grata to any senator or congressman. That he and his organization were able to spearhead a lobbying campaign in the halls of Congress tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party’s tolerance of hateful, bigoted extremism.
Again nothing new there….
But this kind of extremism represents a real challenge to the NRA. If they don’t step up, they could lose credibility and eventually even leadership of the gun movement to a group like Gun Owners of America. GOA’s website prominently features a statement from former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the gold standard for extremism among national politicians, praising it as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.”
Notice who that praise is aimed at. The implication is that the NRA is a bunch of weak-kneed compromisers, squishy moderates. You want a real gun rights organization, then come over to the GOA.
There’s no formal primary, no election day where the NRA and the GOA are on competing ballot lines. But make no mistake that there is a competition. The NRA has a huge head start, and should have no trouble winning. But they aren’t taking any chances. The NRA won’t be out-crazied by anyone.
Personally, I think they are all batshit crazy fuck-faced asshole bastards with tiny dicks and even smaller brains! (Same goes for the women gun-nuts too…sans penises.)
Anyway, I will end this post with this cartoon…
NRA Takes a Turn to the Right – Political Cartoon by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Inc. – 05/07/2013
Y’all have a great evening, my daughter has a chorus concert tonight so I won’t be around until late.
This is an open thread.
Posted: February 14, 2013 Filed under: Media, morning reads | Tags: cosmo centerfold, Fox News, Massachusetts Republicans, Megyn Kelly, Sarah Palin, Scott Brown
I have exciting news this morning! Former great Republican hope Scott Brown has been hired as a Fox News contributor! You just knew Fox had to find another pretty face to replace Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods (h/t Charles Pierce). Brian Stelter wrote about it in yesterday’s NYT Media Decoder:
Fox News on Wednesday added the former Republican Senator Scott Brown to its contributor ranks, two weeks after Mr. Brown decided against another run for a Senate seat in Massachusetts.
Mr. Brown will make his debut as a paid pundit on Wednesday night’s edition of “Hannity,” the channel’s 9 p.m. program. “I am looking forward to commenting on the issues of the day and challenging our elected officials to put our country’s needs first instead of their own partisan interests,” Mr. Brown said in a statement.
Politico reported last week that Mr. Brown was in talks with the network. His hiring is the latest in a series of contributor changes Fox has made this winter; last month the network renewed Karl Rove’s contract and parted ways with Sarah Palin and earlier this month it declined to renew Dick Morris’s contract.
Mr. Brown became something of a hero to Republicans in 2010 when he won a special election for the seat formerly held by Edward M. Kennedy, thereby becoming the first Republican senator to represent Massachusetts since 1972. But his time in the Senate was brief: he lost to a Democrat, Elizabeth Warren, last November.
Hey, two years in the Senate, two years as Governor of Alaska–just auditions for Republican politicians who want to sell out to the right wing noise machine.
Brown made his Fox News debut last night on Sean Hannity’s show. The Boston Globe reports:
Former senator Scott Brown made a transition from potential comeback politician to pundit in just two weeks, making his debut as a contributor to Fox News on Wednesday night in an appearance also billed as an “exclusive” by host Sean Hannity.
Fans and skeptics alike saw the move as a plush landing pad for Brown, a telegenic former model who used his regular-guy appeal to great effect in his campaign for US Senate and whose upset win in 2010 was championed and chronicled on Fox….
Wearing a suit with an American flag on his lapel, Brown started off his appearance on the “Hannity” show smiling uncertainly, but he soon hit his stride with campaign-style talking points.
Asked by Hannity why he did not run again for “Kerry’s seat,” Brown said, “Well, it is the people’s seat, as you remember,” echoing the phrase he coined in the 2010 election to replace the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Ooooooh, isn’t he brilliant? Politico has more of Brown’s clever remarks for those of you who–like me–who missed the scintillating interview last night. Brown shared with Hannity the reasons for his decision not to run for another of “the people’s seats” as well as his evaluation of President Obama’s SOTU:
“To do five races in six years and raise another $30-$50 million and then and participate in a Congress that’s really dysfunctional and extremely partisan — I felt I could make a difference being on this show and doing other things,” Brown said. “I plan to stay involved certainly, but, you know, I’m going to continue to work and be part of the election process back home and other elections around the country.”
“We welcome you to the program and the network,” Hannity said. “Thanks so much for being here.”
Brown and Hannity then discussed the State of the Union, with the former senator saying he felt Obama proposed “things that we can work on, but the key is to do it together.”
“There weren’t too many olive branches being passed out to the members of Congress, especially the GOP, but there certainly were things that I felt have some promise, for example the trade with Europe and trying to develop jobs, but the problem is, everything he’s laid out — and he certainly laid out his priorities very clearly — how are you going to pay for them?” Brown said.
According to Politico, Hannity ended the interview by telling Brown, “Welcome to the family.”
Brown modelling a sweater back in the day
The NYT’s Brian Stelter (linked above) says that Brown might still run for Governor of Massachusetts; but I think he’s dreaming, and so does Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan, who knows a thing or two about Massachusetts politics: Scott Brown can’t lose as top Fox hunk.
Scott Brown isn’t running for governor next year. That’s my bet.
Fox News, where he debuted last night, is a terrific paycheck. Good for him.
But you just don’t help your political career in the bluest of blue states by working for Fox, which spent the past election cycle bashing immigrants, Obamacare, higher taxes for billionaires, the Rev. Wright, our “socialist” president — and any tighter gun control laws because they would be an outrageous, unpatriotic, unconstitutional assault on Second Amendment rights.
Poor Massachusetts Republicans. They’re still pining for their main squeeze, the guy they hoped would run for U.S. Senate. And now Brown could become a regular on “Geraldo at Large.”
You have to go read Eagan’s piece–it’s priceless. Here’s just a tiny bit more:
I for one expect that Brown will do for the men of America what he did for the boyos of Massachusetts: He’ll make them swoon.
That alone could prove a ratings bonanza. Fox News may have thought they could never, ever find a contributor better looking than Sarah Palin. Now they have.
Brown looked a little like Rick Nelson in those days.
After I heard the news yesterday, I decided to do a little research on Scott Brown’s past, and I came across this October 2012 Boston Globe article by Sally Jacobs: Modeling years gave Scott Brown an early boost
It was approaching midnight inside a throbbing Studio 54, New York City’s nightclub extraordinaire and nocturnal epicenter of excess in the 1980s. As bartenders naked to the waist filled goblets of champagne, club cofounder Steve Rubell, famous for plucking favored guests from the surging crowd outside, was showing off his latest “pick.”
His name was Scott Brown. But Rubell, who recognized the 22-year-old Massachusetts man, who had recently won Cosmopolitan magazine’s 1982 “America’s Sexiest Man” contest and posed nude for its centerfold, promptly dubbed him “the Cosmo boy.” When Rubell spotted R. Couri Hay, The National Enquirer celebrity columnist and stringer for People magazine, he led Brown toward him, hoping his guest’s sudden renown might garner the club a mention.
“Rubell introduced me to Brown,” recalled Hay. “He said, ‘Here’s the Cosmo boy . . . How cute is he!’
Ah… the ’70s. Hays wasn’t all that impressed, but Brown managed to turn his Cosmo spread into a 7-year modeling career.
Julieanne and Scott
Brown was awarded a $20,000 contract by Jordache jeans, and his muscled body was splayed on a billboard overlooking Times Square in New York. For one of many sweater shoots, he stared moodily at the breaking surf on a Fire Island beach curled up in the lap of model Julianne Phillips, later the wife of Bruce Springsteen….
And when Boston columnist Norma Nathan dubbed him one of “Boston’s Most Eligible Bachelors” in 1982, Brown did not hold back. “ ‘I’ve always felt that I’ve done well with older women,” says Scott, who scores sex as ‘very important,’ ” according to the accompanying write-up. “ ‘I have the appetites of a 22-year-old man. It’s very important to me to satisfy a woman I am with.’ ”
Finally, Brown’s hard work has been rewarded with an opportunity appropriate to this “talents.” Maybe he’ll even get his own show! Margery Eagan suggests that our former two-year Senator would look good on a morning program next to “drop-dead stunning and really smart” Megyn Kelly.
I ask you, Fox fans, who’d you like to wake up to every morning: Gretchen Carlson or Megyn Kelly? Steve Doocy or Scott Brown? So what if Brown lacks edge. Leave that to Megyn. Just sit back and stare.
I’m not sure who those people are, but as long as Brown is out of the running for Massachusetts Governor I’ll be happy, so I hope his Fox Noise career will be a long and successful one.
Posted: August 23, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: GOP, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Scott Brown, the Stupid Party, Todd Akin
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity — Rev. Martin Luther King
Over the past year, we have been exposed to the amazing ignorance of members of the Stupid Party, formerly the GOP. We sat through countless inane Republican primary debates, listened to idiotic speeches by stupendous morons like Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain. We’ve watched Congressional Republicans like Paul Ryan propose crazy budget plans and wage and insane war on women’s rights and women’s access to health care. If it weren’t for the Democratic Senate, we’d goddess only knows where we’d be right now.
Mitt Romney finally won the Republican Primary by flooding the airwaves with millions of dollars worth of negative ads against other members of the Stupid Party. And now we’ve watched for months as this blithering idiot repeatedly changes his mind on every possible issue and contorts himself into whatever he thinks the most extreme and ignorant members of the Stupid Party want him to be.
For the past few days we’ve dealt with the fallout of an interview with Missouri Stupid Party Senate Candidate Todd Akin in which he opined about “legitimate rape” vs. … what? The kind where she was asking for it and then lied about it afterward? The kind where she didn’t fight hard enough to get bad enough wounds to prove she didn’t ask for it? Who the hell knows? All I know is that those ignorant words from a very ignorant man have angered a hell of a lot of Americans and probably reset the presidential campaign.
I have to admit, I’m a bit fed up at the moment. So in the spirit of the insanity we’ve been living through, I’ve gathered some wacky reads for you this morning–mostly on the theme of ignorance. Here goes.
If you’re a woman, you must read this hilarious post at Jezebel on one of those stupid interviews the entertainment media loves–where they talk to men about what’s wrong with women. Lindy West writes:
I’ve been doing some scholarly research, and I noticed this thing that’s been really dragging society down for the past few millennia: it’s that everything is wrong with you. You are gross. First of all, your hair is gross, because it is not long and thick enough. But don’t strap fake hair to your head! That’s also gross! Also, what the fuck is up with your skin? It is so dry and scaly like a lizard (but not one of those sexy lizards)! Except uuuuuuugh, do you have to take so long putting on your idiotic woman-lotion? This penis isn’t going to fondle itself! CHOP CHOP. Now, I know all this contradictory minutiae regarding your attractiveness can get confusing (especially with your lipstick-encrusted walnut brains!), but luckily, plenty of guys are generous enough to explain what they don’t like about you in great detail. Over and over. You’re welcome.
For your edification, the good folks over at Yahoo have compiled a list of the “15 Biggest Beauty Turnoffs from Real Guys”—yet another survey of “real guys” to reinforce the precise line of shit we women need to walk to remain attractive to them (it’s the least we can do, really). Because that media trope never gets tired.
Click on the link to read the whole thing. If it doesn’t touch a nerve, I’ll be shocked.
And speaking of beauty, here’s a great piece about Scott Brown, or as Charles Pierce calls him, Senator McDreamy.
Soon after the congressman, Representative Todd Akin, said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that women who are victims of “legitimate” rape rarely become pregnant, both Senate candidates here seized on the comments for their own benefit.
Senator Scott P. Brown, a Republican who is locked in a tight re-election battle against Elizabeth Warren, used them to distance himself from his party — a necessity in deep-blue Massachusetts. He was the first Republican senator to call on Mr. Akin to quit his race for the Senate. As Mr. Brown told a group of women here on Tuesday, he was feeling a little heady from the experience.
“Gail and I were laying in bed last night and talking a little bit, as we do every night,” he said, “and I said: ‘Honey, can you imagine? Here I am, Scott Brown from Wrentham, and I’ve got a truck that’s got 238,000 miles on it and, you know, something like this comes up and I’m the first guy in the country to even bring it up and tell the guy to step down,’ ” Mr. Brown said.
He said his denunciation of Mr. Akin’s comments was “really kind of amazing, kind of eye-opening” and “led to other senators and other people and other groups to say, you know what, that conversation has no place in the public discourse.”
Ooooooh! Isn’t he wonderful? He’s my hero — NOT. And Senator, please learn to use the grammatically correct form of the verb “to lie,” okay? It should be “Gail and I were lying in bed…”
My sister sent me this satirical HuffPo post by Jeremy Blachman: Todd Akin, Chief of Police. Here’s just a sample:
“Folks, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: In a legitimate terrorist attack, the Earth will open up, and a giant claw will pluck the perpetrator right off the surface of the planet and launch him into space. And even if that doesn’t work, the automatic force field should take care of any problem. And if those two things don’t work… well, if those two things don’t work, I suppose you’re also going to tell me that there’s such a thing as gravity. It should be pretty clear to all of us that since no one was plucked off the face of the Earth by a giant claw emerging from within, this must have been merely a misunderstanding. Yes, a misunderstanding that has left half of our community dead, but it’s not a police issue. And, no, just like last time this happened, I will not be considering any alternative explanations.”
Read it all at the link.
On Tuesday, I heard part of the Morning Joe Show. Joe Scarborough went into one of his rants, this time complaining about how stupid the Stupid Party is. From Raw Story:
On Tuesday’s edition of “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough vented his frustration with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin (R)’s refusal to drop out of the race for U.S. Senate and said that he’s tired of his party being the “Stupid Party.” Akin is the Republican congressman who said in an interview earlier this week that a woman’s body can stop conception in the instance of a “legitimate rape,” thus obviating a need for exemptions from abortion restrictions for the victims of rape and incest.
On Monday, Scarborough said that Akin was evidence of a Republican party that had placed ideology ahead of actual electability and fitness to govern. On Tuesday, with Akin (thus far) refusing to get out of the race, Scarborough made it clear that, to his thinking, the mortally wounded Akin campaign could be spoiling the chances for Republicans to take the majority of seats in the Senate.
“Congressman Akin, you’re in denial,” said Scarborough as if he were addressing Akin, “You’re gonna lose if you stay in the race. And, by the way, your loss could make the difference between a Supreme Court justice that could make all the difference in the issues you claim you care about and having a Barack Obama fifth appointee for majority. So you think about that today when you do your little commercial. And think about destroying the Republican majority. Good on ya.”
Mind you, Scarborough wasn’t upset about the content of Akin’s remarks–just their possible effect on the Stupid Party. Scarborough also noticed that Romney and Ryan have been flat-out lying about Obama and welfare reform. Scarborough:
“I’ve been looking for a week-and-a-half to try to figure out the basis of this welfare reform ad,” Scarborough said, concluding that that the attack is “just completely false, and I’m pretty stunned.”
Here’s what Charles Pierce had to say in response to Scarborough:
Please to be giving me a break here, Squint. What Romney and Ryan are doing has been the off-tackle slant, the most fundamental play from scrimmage, in the Republican playbook on a class basis since forever, and on a racial basis since Harry Dent convinced Richard Nixon that, in many dark places in its heart, the whole country was Alabama. The lies that Romney and Ryan are telling about the president’s views on welfare are no more truthless than were Ronald Reagan’s vicious parables about welfare queens driving their young buck sons to the Piggly Wiggly in their Cadillacs in order to pick up a couple of T-bones. (And, not for nothing, but isn’t this the network that kept shoving Pat Buchanan in our faces long past the time it should have stopped doing so?) Romney and Ryan are race-baiting because they are the members of the Republican ticket and that is what the people in that position have done for almost 40 years now. I will grant you that Willard really has become quite a remarkable liar, but his material is far from original.
JJ sent me this one from New Hampshire: Sheriff candidate says he wouldn’t reject deadly force to stop abortions
A Republican candidate for Hillsborough County Sheriff said Wednesday that he believes elective abortions are unlawful and he wouldn’t reject the use of deadly force to stop them.
Frank Szabo said that as sheriff, he would arrest any doctor performing elective or late-term abortions in his jurisdiction.
“There is a difference between legal and lawful,” Szabo said.
Szabo explained the difference by referring to the issue of slavery, which he said used to be legal but was never lawful under the Constitution. He said that even though elective abortions are legal in New Hampshire, with some restrictions, he doesn’t consider them lawful.
But Szabo may have inflamed the issue further when asked if he would use deadly force to prevent an abortion.
“I would respond specifically by saying that if someone is under threat, a full-grown human being, if they’re under threat, what should the sheriff do? Everything in their power to prevent them from being harmed,” he said.
Yes, he would use deadly force to protect the fetus. BTW, what is an “elective abortion?” Aren’t they all elective? We don’t have forced abortion in the U.S. as far as I know.
Remember how enraged the Stupid Party people were when Joe Biden use the word “chains” in a recent speech? Now don’t go any further if you have PTSD (Palin Trauma Stress Disorder), but the “P” woman did the same thing in a recent Fox News interview.
Are the Stupids outraged about this? I haven’t seen any articles about it.
Next week is the Stupid Party National Convention, and we’re going to be seeing a lot more ignorance on display. I hope this post helped prepare you for the coming onslaught.
Now what are you reading and blogging about today?
Posted: October 20, 2011 Filed under: abortion rights, Republican politics, U.S. Economy, U.S. Military, U.S. Politics | Tags: 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama, book promotion, Herman Cain, motivational speaking, Newt Gingrich, Republican presidential candidates, Sarah Palin, self-aggradizement
candidate or conman?
We live in an increasingly shallow and commercial culture, so I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked to learn that some people run for President of the United States specifically in order to enrich themselves rather than because they want to serve our country. To be honest, I’ve often speculated that Obama wanted to be President so he could move up to the investor class, and that he might even prefer to serve only one term and then get on to the business of becoming filthy rich.
Sarah Palin became a celebrity by running for Vice President, after which she resigned her job as governor of Alaska, wrote a couple of books and became a Fox personality. She continued to allow her deluded supporters to believe she intended to run for President in 2012, and then pulled the rug out from under them. Did she do all this just to get rich?
Newt Gingrich’s entire campaign staff resigned in June, reportedly because they felt he was more committed to promoting the books and movies he produces with his wife Calista than to doing the hard work needed to win presidential primaries.
It appears Herman Cain is another example of the largely self-interested, phony presidential candidate, according to an article by Joshua Green at Bloomberg Businessweek.
Green writes that Cain’s occupation over the past fifteen years has been traveling around the country as a “motivational speaker.” He is also promoting his new book, This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House while he is supposedly running for President–and presumably accepting contributions from supporters. Green writes that Cain recently told an audience in Phoenix, AZ that “My American dream,” he boomed, “was, when I grow up, I want to make me some money!” More from the article:
Cain is making money, alright. Bloomberg News reported on Oct. 17 that his campaign paid more than $65,000 to his personal publishing company to buy copies of his books and pamphlets. In an interview before his address to the Arizona GOP, he told me that he continues to give motivational speeches to corporations at $25,000 a pop even as he campaigns for President. “I’m still doing paid speeches,” he confirmed. “But I have not raised my prices. This economy’s on life support, so I’m very mindful of those companies that would like to have me come and speak. But I’m not gonna take advantage of my newfound popularity just to put more dollars in my pocket.” Even so, Cain estimates that he has earned $250,000 this year through his speeches.
Running for President has been good to him, even if no one is certain that the White House is his most coveted destination. Opponents, reporters, and many of his own aides are skeptical. In June, four of his top staffers in Iowa and New Hampshire quit because, as one of them put it, Cain “wasn’t willing to make the commitment to Iowa necessary to win.” Over the past few months, as his popularity has swelled, he has turned his back on the early primary states he once courted diligently and set off on a national book tour to promote This is Herman Cain! He has a bare-bones staff, a thin calendar, and hasn’t registered his name on the ballot in numerous primary states, although he has registered appearances on the Today show and dozens of others to pitch his book.
Cain claims he’s a serious candidate, even though he isn’t making the slightest effort to compete in the early primaries.
Cain insists he’s serious about becoming President and dismisses any suggestion otherwise. “People who criticize me for our strategy, they don’t know what our strategy is,” he says. Cain claims that he has passed over early primary states to sell books and speak to audiences in places like Tennessee and Ohio because he is running primary and general election strategies at the same time. “I have an unconventional campaign,” he says.
Nevertheless, by pretending to be a candidate, he has certainly raised his own visibility and celebrity, just as Palin did. I always had the impression that Cain was nothing but a cheap huckster; but after reading Green’s article my opinion of him has gotten even lower, if that’s possible. And yet this man is currently the Republican frontrunner. Sometimes I feel as if I don’t fit in this new America at all. What has happened to patriotism and idealism?
I’ve started seeing a few stories suggesting that Cain’s support may have peaked. Jonathan Bernstein at the Plum Line asks if Cain’s fifteen minutes are over.
Last night, Herman Cain made a big splash when he backed into pro-choice language on abortion last night on CNN — apparently by accident — when he said he is personally fully against abortion but doesn’t think that the government should tell women what to do. This is already shaping up as a very big deal. Cain is leading in some polls, so other Republicans may use this slip up to try to take him down, and he’ll have to address it.
In other words, this could mean the end of Cain’s 15 minutes.
Republicans certainly would never nominate anyone who was actually pro-choice, and anti-abortion activists won’t forgive anyone who stumbled this badly on the issue, even if he walks it back back (as I expect he will) and clarifies that he misspoke himself and he’s actually 100% pro-life. So this is at the very least a severe blow to his campaign. Given that he’s not a serious candidate, it gives Republicans a clean shot at bashing him for long enough to finally remove him from the top of the polls. As such, it can be seen as a lucky break for Republicans who know that it’s really not a good idea to have a presidential candidate who can’t manage to put three sentences together on most topics without an embarrassing gaffe.
At the right-wing Boston Herald, Wayne Woodleif writes that is “already deflating” because of another embarrassing gaffe:
The air is gushing out of Herman Cain’s balloon in the Republican presidential race after his rivals battered his beloved 9-9-9 tax plan Tuesday night in Las Vegas and the former pizza mogul, co-leader in recent polls, made a huge gaffe on terrorism in post- and pre- debate interviews.
In the debate, Cain had brushed off CNN moderator Anderson Cooper’s question of why the candidate had told Wolf Blitzer in an earlier interview that he would consider negotiating the release of all the terrorist detainees at Guantanamo for the return of a single American held hostage (a la Israel’s deal with Palestine). “I would never negotiate with terrorists,” Cain answered.
But when Cooper, post-debate, played video from the earlier interview, Cain was caught clearly saying, “I could see myself as president authorizing that kind of transaction.” Once he had all the facts, Cain sang a different song. “I misspoke,” he said. “Things were going so fast” in the interview.
So Cain may soon join Palin as a Fox News Host or perhaps become a more high-profile talk radio host than he was before he “ran for President.” But whatever he chooses to do, he’ll be a lot richer and more famous because pall the free media exposure he received while pretending to be a serious candidate.
Am I the only one who finds that deeply disturbing?
Posted: July 19, 2011 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Health care reform, Hillary Clinton, Planned Parenthood, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, SDB Evening News Reads, Women's Rights | Tags: Birth Control, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin
Get it all at the Midget Market!
Is everyone having a good summer? I don’t know about y’all but I am ready to have some fun…
Okay, we’ll start with a quickie, this time another sound bite from Herman Cain: Mitt Romney Can’t Win GOP Primary Because Southerners Are Bigots | Firedoglake
I’m paraphrasing, but make no mistake — that’s exactly what he said.
That whole “no religious test” part of the US Constitution seems to have escaped these patriotic freedom-lovers. Anyway, this latest outburst by Cain is ironic, since it seems to have escaped him, as well.
Looks like New Agenda is getting some press, most of our readers know our “opinion” of New Agenda…but to catch some of you up, I don’t think having a politician with a vagina is reason enough to vote for a candidate. I do not and will not support a candidate, who does not support a woman’s right to choose and a woman’s right to affordable reproductive healthcare. Whether they have a coochie or not. So I will post this link because I am sure it will get some play in the blogosphere. However, be certain that in no way do I support Palin or Bachmann…
I also must state that I still hold a grudge with the Democratic Party for what they did to my candidate. Just because I agree with the statement below by Wasserman-Schultz…does not mean I agree with all the other stuff she says in the article. You got it? Especially the crap about Obama doing so much for women…that is a load of BS.
So, with my position clear, here is an article that you should read in full…From Clinton to Palin to Bachmann: Why some Dems now support GOP women – CNN.com
After Clinton’s failed Oval Office bid, Siskind and a small group of women who had supported Clinton decided the best way to break the glass ceiling in presidential politics was to put ideology and partisanship aside and support any woman seeking a top political office — including Bachmann and Palin, two darlings of the tea party movement known for their conservative views on economic and social issues.
But some Democratic leaders dismissed the idea, arguing the electorate is more sophisticated.
“Women don’t support women candidates simply because of their status as women, simply because of their gender,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee.
We’ll see what discussion follows.
Moving on, this is something I don’t think we have written about on Sky Dancing. Pelican Bay Prisoner Hunger Strike: Prison Staff Not Following Medical Protocol | The Dissenter
Prisoners engaged in a hunger strike at Pelican Bay supermax prison have been on strike for more than fifteen days now. With a growing group of supporters on the outside, the strike against solitary confinement and other conditions in the prison has spread to at least thirteen other prisons. But, those providing support for the prisoners are concerned about the deteriorating physical conditions of the prisoners and whether the prison will be able to provide the prisoners with proper medical care.
Carol Strickman, staff attorney for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and staff to the mediation team representing the hunger strikers, reports medical protocol is not being followed. They are supposed to be doing “daily assessments after two days and that includes weighing, physical condition, emotional condition, vital signs (such as blood pressure) and hydration status.
“We know that these things are not happening, either at all or sporadically,” says Strickman.
Scales for weighing prisoners are not synchronized and sometimes the prison staff weighs prisoners with chains and sometimes without chains. So, the accuracy of information is questionable right now. Additionally, the doctors are supposed to be performing physical exams. Strickman reports, instead of providing physical exams, “The medical staff is doing what I have been told are called drive-by exams, where they stand outside the door with no physical contact and just ask if people are okay, which is basically saying, ‘Are you alive?’”
For some background on why the prisoners are in a hunger strike,
The prisoners have five core demands and, according to Molly Porzig, Critical Resistance representative in the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, they are asking for “incredibly standard” and “basic” adjustments to prison policy.
“The changes in policies and procedures that the prisoners are demanding are standards in other supermax prisons, like Florence, Colorado, and in Ohio,” explains Porzig. “Or, they refer to policy change that have already been recommended, promised or offered but never actually implemented.”
These five core demands, for those unaware, are the following: end group punishment and administrative abuse, abolish the “debriefing” process [the practice of offering up information about fellow prisoners in return for better food or release from the SHU] and modify active/inactive gang status criteria, end long-term solitary confinement and comply with US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 recommendations, provide adequate and nutritious food and expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates.
If anyone saw the testimony today over in England, you probably got the same feeling I did, the Murdoch’s are going to get away with whatever they did. For some analysis, give Cannonfire a read: Murdoch matters: Deep-dish paranoia
About Sean. How can any death of a young-ish person be considered “unexplained” but “not suspicious”? How can such a statement be issued even before the results of an autopsy are known?
About Becky. I didn’t know, until just recently, that Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Alsaud (the second largest investor in News Corp.) had called for the resignation of Rebekah Brooks. Her Wikipedia page offers a tidbit that demonstrates the true mental age of the kind of people who get their news from Murdoch:
While at the News of the World, she oversaw its controversial campaign of “naming and shaming” convicted child sex offenders, after the murder of Sarah Payne. The paper’s decision led to angry mobs terrorising those they suspected of being child sex offenders, which included several cases of mistaken identity and one instance where a paediatrician had her house vandalised, apparently by people who misunderstood her occupational title to be the same as paedophile.
That is just a tease, go to the man’s site for the rest.
And lastly, this report is surely to get some PLUBs in a tizzy, Institute of Medicine Report Recommends Free Birth Control – Maggie Fox and Meghan McCarthy – NationalJournal.com
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Dr. Jim Spears examines Sarah Ittner, a New York-based actor who does not have health coverage. The 2010 health care law seeks to cover 32 million uninsured Americans and new recommendations from the Institute of Medicine released Tuesday say preventive screenings for women should be covered for free.
Health insurers should pay for a range of services for women at no cost, including birth control, counseling on sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS screening, the influential Institute of Medicine recommended on Tuesday.
The recommendations on birth control, especially, angered anti-abortion rights activists, who consider some forms of birth control akin to abortion. But they are sure to thrill some Democrats on the Hill, who have been pressing for the policies for years.
The committee of experts appointed by the Institute named eight preventive services that women should get for free, with no co-pays. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, an independent organization that advises the federal government on health and medical matters.
It will be up to HHS to decide what goes into the final regulations, and Congress may decide to weigh in. “They asked for the guidance on what the evidence and science says, so that’s what we’ve given,” said Christine Stencel, a spokeswoman for the Institute.
But when has scientific evidence been taken seriously by the likes of the Fetus Fanatics?
Some of the recommendations may also give pause to spending conservatives. One calls for fairly pricey testing for the human papilloma virus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, in addition to the cheap annual Pap smears that most women are used to getting. Another calls for insurers to pay for renting breast pumps for nursing mothers.
The eight recommendations include:
- screening for gestational diabetes
- HPV testing as part of cervical cancer screening for women over 30
- counseling on sexually transmitted infections
- counseling and screening for HIV
- contraceptive methods and counseling to prevent unintended pregnancies
- lactation counseling and equipment to promote breast-feeding
- screening and counseling to detect and prevent interpersonal and domestic violence
- yearly well-woman preventive care visits to obtain recommended preventive services
Paying for birth control is especially important, said the panel.
“Women with unintended pregnancies are more likely to receive delayed or no prenatal care and to smoke, consume alcohol, be depressed, and experience domestic violence during pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy also increases the risk of babies being born preterm or at a low birth weight, both of which raise their chances of health and developmental problems,” the report reads.
I wonder with all the defunding of Planned Parenthood, if any of this will get past the standard PLUB ideology. The article quotes Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
“Today’s IOM report means we are one step closer to saying good-bye to an era when simply being a woman is treated as a pre-existing condition,” Mikulski said in a statement. “We are saying hello to an era where decisions about preventive care and screenings are made by a woman and her doctor – not by an insurance company, members of Congress, or a stranger – and women are guaranteed preventive screenings and care with no additional copays or deductibles.”
I certainly hope so, but my skeptical nature says no. Anyway, that is it for me today…what do you think? Any other news you want to share? Let’s have it.
Posted: June 27, 2011 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Democratic Politics, Republican politics, Republican presidential politics, Team Obama, The Media SUCKS, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics, unemployment, We are so F'd | Tags: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, Federal debt limit, Iowa, Michele Bachmann, Republicans, Sarah Palin
Michele Bachmann announcing her presidential run in Waterloo, IA
Michele Bachmann officially announced her candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination today in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa. In her speech, she talked about growing up in Waterloo and how as a young girl she didn’t want to move away to Minnesota.
I often say that everything I needed to know I learned in Iowa. It was at Hawthorne and Valley Park Elementary Schools and my home, both a short distance from here, where those Iowan roots were firmly planted. It’s those roots and my faith in God that guide me today. I’m a descendent of generations Iowans. I know what it means to be from Iowa—what we value and what’s important. Those are the values that helped make Iowa the breadbasket of the world and those are the values, the best of all of us that we must recapture to secure the promise of the future.
I’m also here because Waterloo laid the foundation for my own roots in politics. I never thought that I would end up in public life. I grew up here in Iowa. My grandparents are buried here. I remember how sad I was leaving Iowa to go to Minnesota in the sixth grade, because this part of Iowa was all I knew—I remember telling my parents that we couldn’t move to Minnesota because I hadn’t even been to Des Moines to see the state capitol.
I’m guessing Bachmann’s recollections of Iowa probably made a good impression on her audience, but multiple media outlets are focusing on a gaffe Bachmann made in talking to a reporter. She claimed that John Wayne was from Waterloo, but the only John Wayne born there was serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Sure, that’s funny–and it’s one of many embarrassing gaffes made by Bachmann during her brief political career. But what is the point of ridiculing her about it while ignoring the scary policies she proposed in her speech? George W. Bush made lots of silly gaffes too, remember? But he was [I won't say elected] President for two terms.
Furthermore, at conservative blog Hot Air, I learned the following.
It turns out there is a Waterloo connection for John Wayne:
Bachmann’s campaign pointed out to ABC News today that actor John Wayne’s parents did live in Waterloo, although the actor himself did not.
And a little internet research proves that point correct.
According to the book “Duke: We’re Glad We Knew You” by Herb Fagen, Clyde and Molly Morrison – actor John Wayne’s parents – lived in Waterloo early in their marriage – but they moved to Winterset before the birth of son Marion Mitchell Morrison (he changed his name to John Wayne professionally).
Says Dave Weigel, “I’m not from a small town, but I’m from a pretty anonymous place (Wilmington, Delaware), and I know that when you’ve got a tenuous local connection to a celebrity, you flaunt it.” Someone probably once told her that John Wayne’s parents met in Waterloo and either she wrongly assumed he’d been born there or else she’s fumbling a talking point about John Wayne’s family being from Waterloo. But this is simply too stupid a story to devote any further thought to, so let’s move on.
I agree with Weigel. I’d rather focus on making sure Bachmann doesn’t manage to soften her extremist image enough to get the nomination and have a shot at beating Obama.
The most important part of the speech, according to Jonathan Chait is this:
“We can win in 2012 and we will,” said Bachmann in launching her campaign. “Our voice has been growing louder and stronger. And it is made up of Americans from all walks of life like a three-legged stool. It’s the peace through strength Republicans, and I’m one of them, it’s fiscal conservatives, and I’m one of them, and it’s social conservatives, and I’m one of them. It’s the Tea Party movement and I’m one of them.”
Here’s Chait’s argument:
Bachmann is trying to break out of the box of the social conservative movement candidate and define herself as a mainstream Republican. First, she declares she can win. Then she pledges her fealty to all three issue families of conservatism, leaving social conservatism for last.
One reason commentators have so grossly underestimated her chances is that they have an antiquated model of the Republican Party in their minds. In that model, religious conservatives are a faction set off from the rest of the party. Pat Robertson could finish a strong second in the 1988 Iowa Caucus, but his appeal was completely limited to right-wing Christians brought into politics by social issues. But the religious right has changed — its power to bend the party to its will has decreased, and its focus has largely merged with that of the GOP as a whole, so that the religious right is almost as concerned with economics and foreign policy as with social issues.
Bachmann represents that transformation. She came into politics through Christianity, but has broadened that style of apocalyptic thinking to economics and foreign policy. There is hardly any difference in the way Bachmann warns that Obama’s policies will destroy the traditional family and the way she warns his economic policies will destroy the economy, or that his foreign policy will lead to the triumph of our enemies. And there’s hardly any difference in the way she discusses these issues and the way most other Republicans do. They are all speaking the same apocalyptic language now.
Unfortunately, Chait is right. The Republican party has moved so far to the right that the nutty fringe is now becoming mainstream. If Bachmann runs for President the whole public conversation is going to move even further right. Just look where Obama is now. He’s more conservative than Nixon–hell he’s more conservative economically than Reagan! Reagan worried about unemployment and social security. Obama couldn’t care less if we have 10% unemployment and old people dying in the streets.
But what’s the “progressive” response to all this? Juli Weiner ridicules Bachman’s “favorite metaphor,” the three-legged stool.
Not to be obtuse, but we counted four (4) legs on the metaphoric stool: “peace-through-strength Republicans,” “fiscal conservatives,” “social conservatives,” and “the Tea Party movement.” Is the Tea Party movement the stool itself, and not one of its legs? We’re English majors with no background in carpentry, but we feel confident in our interpretation.
Who knows? Who cares? Not the Republicans in Iowa, and apparently not in Florida either. Do progressives really think Mitt Romney will win primaries in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania over Michele Bachmann? I don’t. Can Romney beat Bachmann in the south? Give me a break! We need to see the serious threat her candidacy poses.
Is the ridicule just because she’s a woman? Because it sure looks like Bachmann is going to get the same treatment that Palin got in 2008. That is a big mistake, in my opinion. And how is the Obama administration responding to Bachmann’s speech? I found this statement from spokesman Ben LaBolt at MSNBC.
Congresswoman Bachmann talks about reclaiming the American Dream but her policies would erode the path to prosperity for middle class families. She voted for a budget plan that would extend tax cuts for the richest Americans on the backs of seniors and the middle class while ending Medicare as we know it. Congresswoman Bachmann introduced legislation to repeal Wall Street oversight – risking a repeat of the financial crisis — and while she voted to preserve subsidies for oil and gas companies she opposes making the investments necessary to enhance America’s competitiveness and create the jobs of the future.
What is Obama doing about those issues? A great big nothing, as far as I can tell. I’m expecting him to give away the store to the Republicans during his “negotiations” on raising the debt limit. If Obama doesn’t offer something besides “I’m less horrible,” we could very well end up with our first woman President–and not the woman we all wanted back in 2008.
Bachmann should not be underestimated.