TGFriday Reads

Good Morning!

I’ve thought about writing some posts about the CPAC circus but frankly, any thing that gives Donald Rumsfeld a “Defender of the Constitution Award” plus features Dick Cheney and Donald Trump is just way too over the top for me.  There were several interesting things and most of it came via Ron Paul and his very dedicated groupies.  One of them shouted Dick Cheney down as a “war criminal”.  Most of the Fundies were AWOL because they didn’t want to be seen networking with folks that might be out there trying to convert them to the “radical homosexual agenda”.   Then there was The other Donald with your zen moment of the day saying that Ron Paul was a nice guy but had “zero chance” of get elected.  Next question, Mr. Trump.  What are your chances of being elected then?

One shout of “where’s Bin Laden?” rang out as Cheney spoke of Rumsfeld.

That led to the pro-Cheney contingent (which it should be said greatly outnumbers the opposition) to shout the hecklers down with the familiar “USA, USA” chant.

It was all very odd, especially considering that when Cheney appeared as the “surprise guest” at last year’s CPAC he was greeted with the kind of cheers generally reserved for a rock star.

But Team Paul — whose numbers appear to have grown at CPAC in 2011 — were not going to let that happen this time around.

“Uh, Defender of the Constitution?” Justin Bradfield of Maryland scoffed when I caught up with him after he walked out of Rumsfeld’s speech. “Let’s see: he expanded the Defense Department more than pretty much any other defense secretary and he enforced the Patriot Act.”

“[Speaking] as a libertarian, that’s not really the type of person who should be getting Defender of the Constitution,” he added.

Wow, this is the sort’ve thing that calls for popcorn and chagrin.  The Hill covered the Trump card.

Business mogul Donald Trump said Thursday that Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) could not possibly win the 2012 presidential race.

“By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I’m sorry to tell you,” Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday. “I like Ron Paul, I think he’s a good guy, but honestly he just has zero chance of getting elected.”

Then, the Caucus at the NYT covered the background on the Trumped-up decision to run for President.  Oh, the drama!  Oh, the pathos!  Oh, the ratings boost!

“Obviously, it’s a tremendous forum to espouse his views and to express the fact that he is legitimately contemplating on this run,” said Michael Cohen, the executive vice president of the Trump organization, who confirmed his attendance at the forum. “He is seriously considering doing this because he’s disgusted with how the country is being run.”

Mr. Cohen, a special counsel to Mr. Trump, has started a Web site,, to serve as something of a draft movement. But the Web site is far from an organic outpouring, considering that it is run by people on Mr. Trump’s payroll.

Advisers to Mr. Trump say that he will decide by June whether to go forward with a Republican presidential bid. The timing is built around his television program, “The Apprentice,” which is scheduled to end by June.

I have to admit that I was more interested in who WASN’T as much as I was in hearing about the theatrics concerning the attendees.  What does it say when two of the top draws in Republican Straw polls find better things to do?

I’m not sure if you caught the WAPO editorial written by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abedel Moneim Abou el Fotouh but you may want to give it a read. I’m basically of the opinion that we should worry about the Fundies in our back yard before we worry about the Fundies in some one else’s back yard. El Fotouh tells us we shouldn’t worry at all.  He also reminds us that peoples of a nation have a right to self-govern. That’s the basic American principle that does make the US exceptional.

Contrary to fear-mongering reports, the West and the Muslim Brotherhood are not enemies. It is a false dichotomy to posit, as some alarmists are suggesting, that Egypt’s choices are either the status quo of the Mubarak regime or a takeover by “Islamic extremists.” First, one must make a distinction between the ideological and political differences that the Brotherhood may have with the United States. For Muslims, ideological differences with others are taught not to be the root cause of violence and bloodshed because a human being’s freedom to decide how to lead his or her personal life is an inviolable right found in basic Islamic tenets, as well as Western tradition. Political differences, however, can be a matter of existential threats and interests, and we have seen this play out, for example, in the way the Mubarak regime has violently responded to peaceful demonstrators.

We fully understand that the United States has political interests in Egypt. But does the United States understand that the sovereign state of Egypt, with its 80 million people, has its own interests? Whatever the U.S. interests are in Egypt, they cannot trump Egyptian needs or subvert the will of the people without consequences. Such egotism is a recipe for disaster. With a little altruism, the United States should not hesitate to reassess its interests in the region, especially if it genuinely champions democracy and is sincere about achieving peace in the Middle East.

I have to admit that any one who lives in Louisiana usually has a huge number of Mississippi jokes up their sleeve.  The same was true for Nebraska on Iowa.  Nebraska had a red and white license plate design and we always called Iowa Drivers out as ‘blue plate specials’ for there blue tags.  I got to use that same joke down here on the folks from Mississippi; especially my New Yorker transplant boyfriend who taught molecular biology and lived in Forrest County.  I just learned where the Forrest came from and  I’m not even sure I can express what I want to say about this tidbit on a proposed Mississippi license plates: ‘Mississippi May Honor Early KKK Leader On Commemorative License Plate. Some historical figures are best left dead  and  buried’.

Controversies over honoring Confederate heritage are not uncommon in the South, but some activists in Mississippi are pushing the envelope even further. The Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans is proposing a license plate that honors Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was also an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Following the Civil War, Forrest was involved with the very first incarnation of the KKK. He was so closely associated with the group’s formation that he is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the KKK’s founder — though he was quickly elected Grand Wizard, and began centralizing disparate KKK groups under his authority. He believed that while blacks were now free, they had to continue to toil quietly for white landowners. “I am not an enemy of the negro,” Forrest said. “We want him here among us; he is the only laboring class we have.”

Perhaps even more disturbing, however, were Forrest’s violent actions during the Civil War, specifically a massacre of black soldiers at Fort Pillow, TN in April 1864.

Yup, this guy slaughtered black union troops that had already dropped their rifles.  What is wrong with modern Mississippi and what will its Governor Haley Barbour say about this?

So, here’s an interesting YouTube with Noam Chomsky on ‘How Climate Change Became a ‘Liberal Hoax’ in a series from The Nation’.

Known for his criticism of the media, Chomsky doesn’t hold back in this clip, laying blame on mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times, which will run frontpage articles on what meteorologists think about global warming. “Meteorologists are pretty faces reading scripts telling you whether it’s going to rain tomorrow,” Chomsky says. “What do they have to say any more than your barber?” All this is part of the media’s pursuit of “fabled objectivity.”

Of particular concern for Chomsky is the atmosphere of anger, fear and hostility that currently reigns in America. The public’s hatred of Democrats, Republicans, big business and banks and the public’s distrust of scientists all lead to general disregard for the findings of “pointy-headed elitists.” The 2010 elections could be interpreted as a “death knell for the species” because most of the new Republicans in Congress are global warming deniers. “If this was happening in some small country,” Chomsky concludes, “it wouldn’t matter much. But when it’s happening in the richest, most powerful country in the world, it’s a danger to the survival of the species.”

Okay, so, just so you know that our Congress is on the up and up these days, I’m going to leave you with this headline: ‘The Pajama Party Is Over, Ethics Group Tells Congress’.

A Washington ethics watchdog says it is time for Congress to crack down on lawmakers who sleep in their offices rather than pay for a place to live. Reacting to a surge in lawmakers’ bunking down in their work spaces, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wants the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether the politicians are getting an unfair tax break and violating their own rules by making personal use of public resources. “House office buildings are not dorms or frat houses,” Melanie Sloan, the group’s executive director, said Thursday. “If members didn’t want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn’t have run for Congress in the first place.” Aside from the legal and rules questions, Ms. Sloan said she has heard reports from Congressional staffers about uncomfortable work environments. “Especially if you’re a woman and you’re working late and your boss is there getting ready for bed, that seems designed for discomfort,” she said.

They should just be glad their Senator isn’t David Vitter who probably uses campaign funds for hookers and diapers. Don’t make me think about what he’d be up to in his office!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

39 Comments on “TGFriday Reads”

  1. I liveblogged some Egypt developments late last night, early this am:

    There’s a really incredible photo there of 12:20 in Cairo. I’ll give a quick summary of the rest. Army leaders met, gave a statement that was billed as very important but turned out to be very vague and substance free, more of the same neutral stance, the army not willing to do anything more than it has said before. Said emergency law would end ONCE the protests basically end and “normal life” returns and everybody goes back to work, then “peaceful transition” can happen. They mentioned free and fair elections, but no specifics. Said “honest men” who have demonstrated against corruption wouldn’t be prosecuted. People not happy. Begging army to join the people. A major joined the protesters and told Reuters “the armed forces’ solidarity movement with the people has begun.” The major says 15 other mid level officers will be joining too.

  2. zaladonis says:

    Dear Eugene Robinson:

    Today’s Democrats being “the Gipper’s true heirs” is nothing to be proud of.

    Although the truth of it is evident in Obama’s tax cuts for the rich, health care “reform” benefitting corporations, and cutting billions from energy assistance for the poor.

    Is there no perverse narrative ObamaCo can’t convince his loyalists is a good thing?

    Best wishes from under the bus.

    • Eugene Robinson:

      The Republican Party tries to claim the Reagan mantle but has moved so far to the right that it now inhabits its own parallel universe. […] Democrats sound and act almost like Reaganites.

      Now there’s a 2012 pitch made of backfire and fail.

      Might we remind Robinson of what a DEMOCRATIC president once said:

      I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

      –Harry S. Truman, Address at the National Convention Banquet of the Americans for Democratic Action (17 May 1952)

      • zaladonis says:

        Now there’s a 2012 pitch made of backfire and fail.

        If it were merely the candidate saying it, I’d agree, but ObamaNation is much bigger than that. When you have MSNBC and Time and hundreds of reporters and columnists and bloggers, to say nothing of hundreds of thousands of anonymous commenters online, repeating the narrative, it becomes something else.

        The propaganda possibilities this generation is creating and carelessly exploiting is the true unprecedented historic part of all this. It’s going to bring Western Civilization to its knees.

      • I actually think Obama Nation’s power has waned–for the time being. These narratives are echo chambers for a certain segment–the chattering classes and Obama’s true believers. But, they don’t have the power to shape majority opinion anymore. It’s like in that post I wrote about the progressive village going on and on about how Obama was King of the Polls again and *literally* the next day his polls sank back to 45-47%. The propaganda works on the smaller segment that still buys the BS, but I don’t think it works on nearly the same scale it worked in 2008 at all.

      • zaladonis says:

        Of course it’s waned – they haven’t been pushing it the past two years. The Time cover was the unveiling of Obama 2.0.

      • The power of Obama 2.0 is more iffy to me than 2008. I think it could just as easily work as it could be a dud. At any rate, we’ll find out soon enough.

      • zaladonis says:

        I’m doing a little experiment this weekend and I’ll make my solid prediction after that but right now I’m thinking Obama 2.0 will be even more successful than 2008. Not in level of exuberance, the 1.0 Hope & Change has been reconfigured to a 2.0 Reality and nobody faints over that, but in support. ObamaCo is going for Reagan’s landslide. And I think they might do it. With apologies to Mencken, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Americans.

    • bostonboomer says:


  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    Interesting that those Sons of Confederacy waited until February (Black History Month) to start this campaign for N.B.F. license plates.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    The irony of our “concern” regarding the possibility of religious fundamentalists taking over Eqypt is amazing.

    Right here, in our own nation, the same radical strain of fundamentalism is at work without much of an outcry.

    The state of Kentucky has just passed a law granting schools the right to offer “bible study” as an elective in their classrooms. Not too far into the future I can almost guarantee that this “elective study” becomes mandatory across the board and predict that as KY goes so will more states adopt the same curriculum.

    Anyone assuming that these “fundies” don’t mean business when it comes to inserting their religious beliefs into our nation’s laws need to pull their heads out of their butts.

    Our primary concern should be what is happening right here in the US before we lash out at similar intent being played out elsewhere. Our own nation is facing the same idea of “theocracy” on our own shores while our attention is focused on what is happening in other parts of the world.

    Look for a movement, starting state by state, to institute school prayer back into the system.

    Anerica needs to wake up to this tsunami of fundamentalist renderings that is taking place right here.

    • zaladonis says:

      And remember that nauseating Obama performance at the National Prayer Breakfast and how Democrats weren’t appalled by it. We’re used to the religious right but as you point it, it’s spread.

      Pat, American capacity for self delusion has become epidemic.

    • bostonboomer says:

      The ironies in this entire situation are too numerous to count.

    • cwaltz says:

      Who cares if Johnny can read, do math, or understands scientific witchcraftery? All that matters is that he can quote scripture from the King James version(because any other version is blasphemy).

      If they are going to teach religion it ought to at least be taught in a non discriminatory manner alongside other religious philosophies(not a science no matter how much you want it to be fellow Christians. Faith is not Fact and Facts are not Faith.)

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    Jim Demint would like to see gays denied the right to hold public jobs.

    Mike Huckabee would prefer to insert bible teachings in place of the Constitution.

    Most of the Tea Party candidates would work to restrict abortion rights.

    GOP candidates refer to the US as a “Christian nation”.

    Many of these candidates promote Creationism being taught alongside science in the public schools.

    Anyone paying attention to the rhetoric that is being thrown out there by these fundies should be paying closer attention to what it is they promote and seek as it is truly eye opening.

    It is religion that is dominating the dialogue. The separation of church and state is fast becoming obliterated.

    Nothing good can come out of this evangelical movement in league with corporate complicity.

    And where are our Dem leaders in all this? If I can see it why are they unable to make the case that these policies can only lead to disaster?

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s a nightmare we can’t wake up from!

      • zaladonis says:

        It’s the Wizard of Oz subtext.

        Witches of the East and West (supposedly the political right and left – as east and west appear if you look at a map) are the Wicked Witches. And remember after the Wicked Witch of the East has been killed and the Wicked Witch of the West pops in, Glinda tells Dorothy, “She’s worse than the other one.”

      • cwaltz says:

        I love Wicked. The GOP doesn’t get to claim Elphaba. She’s one of my sheros.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Huckabee is an idiot. He was on Fox, spreading more lies and mis-statements again this morning. Trying to look presidential, he looked like a dumbass…but of course, it will fly with the people he is targeting.

      • dakinikat says:

        I just don’t get this fascination with the governors from the worst performing states on EVERYTHING on the planet. If the state’s a mess why would we want that for a president? He’s doesn’t appear to know much about anything. I wish someone would just give him a church and a pulpit and get him out of sight and out of mind.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Oh Dak, I know…right?

  6. Branjor says:

    What is wrong with modern Mississippi

    Just a guess, from NJ at that, at what is wrong with modern Mississippi – many modern Mississippians may be descendents of those confederate and kkk guys, so honoring them is honoring family (??)

    • dakinikat says:

      Nope. This guy is a mass murderer. Who would want to claim a family member that did that? This guy is a state’s rights hero to them. His acts are seen as heroic.

      • dakinikat says:

        This is a state that refuses to celebrate memorial day to this date because it’s a ‘Yankee’ holiday. They’re doing it to get as a political statement, believe me.

      • cwaltz says:

        I about died when I moved here and they informed me that MLK Jr day was Jackson-Lee Day and when our idiot of a Governor declared Confederate History month last year I jokingly informed my children that next we were going to celebrate Japanese Interment Month in March and Giving the Indians Smallpox in November and I could think of all sorts of historic atrocities to commemorate while out and about in Roanoke. I’m one of those mean ol’ yankees who refuses to suffer fools gladly or remain quiet about discrimination. When one of the gals next door told my daughter she couldn’t be friends with her because she was friends with a black girl, I told her to inform her friend that there are black people in uniform sacrificing for her right to say such horrid things and she should be ashamed of herself.

        Blech, I hate bigots.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Confederate Day here in “Banjoville” is like a self imposed government holiday…the Court house and other county government offices are closed. (And just another tidbit…When Jerry Falwell died in 2007, our courthouse put it’s flag at half-staff.)

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    The problem is of an “uninformed public”.

    Unless what is happening can be captured by 140 characters then it is not worth bothering with.

    “Dumbing down” is no longer a joke but a reality. Half the population does not give a damn and the other half is taking advantage of that fact.

    More people could probably accurately describe Lindsay Lohan’s shoe size but would be unable to answer how many justices sit on the Supreme Court.

    Sad but true.

  8. cwaltz says:

    The Muslim Brotherhood sounds like a decent group with some common sense advice. Sigh. Too bad common sense is a rare commodity in our own government these days. We’re all about meddling and making sure our interests usurp whatever anyone else’s interests are. We only want democracy when it’s convenient for us, otherwise we are quite content to install a despot willing to further our agenda. we’ve proven it over and over. Double sigh.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Well, IMO I am a bit concerned with this Muslim Brotherhood. From my perspective, it seems to neglect the fact the women are part of the Muslim community as well. I have never heard a woman’s voice within this group, no women have been presented as “members” or representatives of the group. I have never heard them discuss the importance of Women’s rights within the Muslim community…so to me, this group is another religious group that does not put women on the same level as men. I do not think it is “secular” in any way. Sorry, I know that my opinion on this is a bit different from many, but I cannot escape this feeling that if this “Brotherhood” had any say in the matter, Muslim women would loose whatever freedoms they have gained. (Again, that is why I am leery of the Muslim Brotherhood.)

  9. Teresa says:

    This is sort of news-ish, but maybe input from a developmental psych would help too.

    I read on a blog that many of us used to frequent, about how bad Christina Aguilera(sp) sang the national anthem. In the same blog post, I saw a video of that blogger’s daughter singing the national anthem, to illustrate how you’re supposed to sing it. I couldn’t get through more than 30 seconds of the child’s version. Bad Christina Aguilera(sp) was certainly better than that.

    I am not a mom, and so I ask you. I’ve seen many examples of mothers who think their kid can sing when the kid can’t. Examples occur on TV shows like American Idol, with some of my relatives, and now with this person who I shall not name. What is it about motherhood that makes you tone deaf to your own child’s tone-deafness?? Is it that the child has inherited the mother’s tone deafness so the mother just thinks the singing is correct? Or is it that maternal hormones just do that to a person.

    Some parents can look objectively at their own kids. Others are just completely incapable of doing so. The latter set of parents are quite phenomenal to me. Explain them, would you?

    • cwaltz says:

      Meh, objectivity is incredibly difficult when you are emotionally invested and generally GOOD PARENTS are emotionally invested. Every parent wants to believe the physical, emotional and financial “sacrifices”(and yeah the blogger in question probably would have a cow that I used that word)will result in a difference that spans a lifetime(and it does although not always in a good way).

      Anyways, I’m kinda sad that everyone is making a big deal about Christina’s mistake. She’s apologized for it and I tend to believe that everyone should be entitled to an off day. I happen to love some of Christina’s earlier works. Fighter, Can’t Hold Us Down, Beautiful, and Reflection are all songs that portray strength in women and I admire that. One mistake can’t erase that for me. Christina seems to have had a rough year with her marriage dissolving and this as well as a movie that didn’t seem to do well. I feel for her. Therefore I only briefly glanced through the castigation.

  10. jawbone says:

    Oh, Melanie, Melanie! Aren’t there ethical (verging on illegal) actions of our CongressCritters that are a hell of a lot more important than a few sleeping in their offices? Good grief!

    Like, how about this one, picked up on by Twig over at Corrente? It’s about how funds intended for poor areas’ development are going to the very wealthy. Gee, how could that happen? The main example is from Bush II’s administration, but the program has been extended and Treasury still calls the shots as to who gets the big bucks.