Thursday Morning Reads

Good Morning!!

Today I’m going to start out with some stupid politician stories. And I’ve got some about politicians from both legacy parties.

First up, Rick Perry. At this point, I’m convinced this Texas good ol’ boy is dumb as a post. After the debate last night Perry spoke to Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Dartmouth College. Check this out:

“Our Founding Fathers never meant for Washington, D.C. to be the fount of all wisdom,” the candidate explained. “As a matter of fact they were very much afraid if that because they’d just had this experience with this far-away government that had centralized thought process and planning and what have you, and then it was actually the reason that we fought the revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown if you will.”

The Houston Press published a few of the Twitter responses to Perry’s moronic gaffe. Here are a few examples:

@drgrist Why else did Daniel Boone fight alongside George Patton if not free America from health insurance mandates? #perryhistory

@ ObsoleteDogma Ronald Reagan told Peter the Great to “tear down this wall”… and put it up on the Mexican border #perryhistory

@ FenrisDesigns In 1576, Teddy Roosevelt signed the Magna Carta, effectively inventing bald eagles. #PerryHistory

@ cheetapizza #NathanHale had but one life to give against General #CarlosSantana at #TheAlamo.” #PerryHistory

Dakinikat has been highlighting the nutty Republican candidates over the past few day. She mentioned this recently, but I just have to do it again. Texas is moving toward offering a license plate with the Confederate flag on it. What will Perry do? Probably something stupid.

Texas’ Department of Motor Vehicles will soon vote — or perhaps table — a Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate that features the Confederate flag. Proceeds will go to that group to help maintain grave stones and monuments. But the group also has a dark side: though they claim to be dedicated solely to history, a faction have recently become more aligned with extremist celebration of the Confederate States, crossing well over in secessionist and racist territory.

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee called on Perry to repudiate the license plate in last night’s debate. So far Perry hasn’t done so.

Salon’s Justin Elliott reported earlier this year that Perry has “warm relations” with confederate groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that once described him as a member, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. And in 2000, Perry went against the NAACP by defending two Confederate flag plaques on the state’s Supreme Court building.

“I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques, and memorials from public property. I also believe that communities should decide whether statues or other memorials are appropriate for their community,” he wrote at the time. The plaques, however, were ultimately removed.

The license plates differ slightly in that they explicitly benefit a specific organization, just like the Confederate plates they’ve championed in Mississippi and other states. The Mississippi plate, you’ll remember, honored late KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Herman Cain called Perry “insensitive.” I’d use a stronger word.

Yesterday Michele Bachmann displayed her ignorance of what really happens to poor people in America when she responded to a question from a toothless man in New Hampshire.

At a campaign event in New Hampshire yesterday, Bachmann fielded a thoughtful question from a man who asked about the future of Social Security and Medicare….”We have uncertainty right now,” Bachmann told him, launching into a wide-ranging answer that mostly focused on how Barack Obama will personally walk into hospitals and old folks’ homes and throw people out windows.

Turns out, this guy’s got enough uncertainty already: He’s losing his teeth. Bachmann’s policy answer: Maybe he should go to… a church? Or, oh! Better idea: Sit on the street corner and beg for change.

“We have charitable organizations and there’s universities who are willing to take care of people who are indigent,” she told him, lovingly. “If you’re indigent, there are programs set up for the indigent. But don’t destroy the finest health care system in the world to have socialized medicine.”

Now let’s look at some stupid Democrats. A Democratic Assemblywoman in California became concerned about young people attending raves after a young girl died of an overdose of Ecstasy.

A California assemblywoman on a quest to end raves was surprised to find that electronic dance music could not be outlawed. Democratic Assemblywoman Fiona Ma tried to ban the music after a 15-year-old girl died at The Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles, apparently from an ecstasy overdose.

“We found out later on that, constitutionally, you can not ban a type of music,” she told Reason.TV.

Where do they find these people? The last one is sad as well as stupid. Dakinikat sent me this article from the Daily Mail about Anthony Wiener.

Anthony Weiner accused his Muslim parents-in-law of being ‘backwards thinking’ and never accepting him because of his Jewish background, it was revealed today.

Newly released messages from the disgraced former congressman’s text conversations, obtained exclusively by MailOnline, show how Weiner had explicit exchanges with women comparing them to his wife.

OMG, what an a$$hole! I’m not going to quote anymore from that story, so as not to make anyone sick.

In other news, Anita Hill has written a book, so she’s making the media rounds. She gave an extended interview to NPR

On Oct. 11, 1991, Anita Hill told the Senate Judiciary Committee that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her.

Hill’s testimony was part of a second round of confirmation hearings to appoint Thomas to the court. He was ultimately confirmed by both the committee and the Senate, and has held the post for the past 20 years.

As for Hill, she has spent the past 20 years mostly out of the limelight, focusing on her academic work as a professor of social policy and law at Brandeis University. She says the tens of thousands of letters she has received since the hearings inspired her to write her new book, Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home.

“They’ve inspired me at times when I really did not feel very good about the subject of equality,” she tells NPR’s Neal Conan. “They’ve inspired me to keep pushing and to keep working and to keep really being myself.”

Listen to the whole interview at the link. There’s good article about Hill at the San Francisco Chronicle–first published by Bloomberg. And here is an NPR story by Nina Totenberg about Clarence Thomas’s 20 years on the Supreme Court. We can thank Joe Biden for that.

Eric Cantor has called for a floor vote on the “Let Women Die” Act of 2011, AKA HR 358. According to Care 2,

The deceptively-titled “Protect Life Act” will allow hospitals that receive federal funds to turn away a woman seeking an abortion in all circumstances, even if the procedure is necessary to save her life.

Under current law, any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds is legally required to provide emergency care to any patient in need, regardless of his or her financial situation. If that hospital can’t provide that service, including a life-saving abortion, it has to transfer the patient to a hospital that can.

But under the bill sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa), hospitals that don’t want to provide abortions could refuse to do so, even for a pregnant woman with a life-threatening complication that would require termination.

Because women’s lives aren’t human lives, you see.

Jonathan Schell has an article in The Nation that I highly recommend: Cruel America. Schell considers some of the horrifying things we’ve seen in the Republican Debates so far–cheers for the notion of letting a man die if he doesn’t have health insurance, a governor of Texas who sleeps just fine after learning that he executed an innocent man, the lack of concern over the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia–and argues that America is devolving into cruel society.

There have been many signs recently that the United States has been traveling down a steepening path of cruelty. It’s hard to say why such a thing is occurring, but it seems to have to do with a steadily growing faith in force as the solution to almost any problem, whether at home or abroad. Enthusiasm for killing is an unmistakable symptom of cruelty. It also appeared after the killing of Osama bin Laden, which touched off raucous celebrations around the country. It is one thing to believe in the unfortunate necessity of killing someone, another to revel in it. This is especially disturbing when it is not only government officials but ordinary people who engage in the effusions.

In any descent into barbarism, one can make out two stages. First, the evils are inaugurated—tested, as it were. Second, the reaction comes—either indignation and rejection or else acceptance, even delight. The choice can indicate the difference between a country that is restoring decency and one that is sinking into a nightmare. It was a dark day for the United States when the Bush administration secretly ordered the torture of terrorism suspects. On that day, the civilization of the United States dropped down a notch. But it sank a notch lower when, the facts of the crimes having become known, former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney publicly embraced their wrongdoing, as they have done most recently on their respective book tours. To the impunity they already enjoyed, they added brazenness, as if challenging society to respond or else enter into tacit complicity with the abuses.

And still there was little reaction. For in a further downward drop, President Obama, even as he ordered an end to torture, decided against imposing any legal accountability on the miscreants, and in fact shunned any accountability whatsoever. He did not even seek, say, some equivalent of the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa after the end of apartheid.

There’s more, please read it all if you can. In most of the stories in today’s reads, there is a thread of cruelty. The cruelty of ignoring racism, poverty, the inability of people to care for their health. The cruelty of men to women–the hatred that must be in the hearts of these Congressmen who vote to kill women rather than allow them to have an abortion; the repressed anger that leads a man to hurt his wife and future child by throwing away his career for a few fleeting moments of sexual arousal.

Schell is right. We are becoming a cruel and degraded culture. How can we rescue our country from the haters? I wish I knew.

So what are you reading and blogging about today?

24 Comments on “Thursday Morning Reads”

    • Woman Voter says:

      I am taking part of tomorrow off and spending the night in the city with the Occupy Wall Street people…they are planning some working meetings and will try and help where ever I can.

  1. Peggy Sue says:

    I think Taibbi’s onto something with his list of 5 and I agree that the time is approaching that OWS will need to coalesce around specifics, whether it be reinstating Glass-Steagall or supporting an Amendment to get the money out or concentrating on investigations of corruption and fraud. But something that people can get their minds around beyond hating all rich people. The criminals and crimes are specific and the demand will eventually need to follow suit.

    That being said, I think the initial 99er moniker is brilliant. People know what means: the majority has been screwed by a relatively small number of people. It’s time for the DOJ to do its job and for Mr. noeliberal Obama to get off his skinny butt and actually do something [yes, I know it’s a dream at best]. But if this movement can sustain itself, if it can avoid being co-opted and if it can get the right message out there, it can be an arm forcing reform. Lots of ‘ifs’ in all that but not beyond the realm of the doable.

    As for Schell’s piece [and thanks for putting that up BB] I think he has an absolute point. Frankly, I’m horrified by some of the things I read online and hear people say publicly. I mean look at that statement by Michelle Bachmann:

    “If you’re indigent, there are programs set up for the indigent. But don’t destroy the finest health care system in the world to have socialized medicine.”

    And she has the gall to call herself a Christian?? Do these people even listen to themselves?

    Or Herman Cain blaming the unemployed for their unemployment. WTF! Over 42,000 American factories closed between 2001-2008 with 90,000 other manufacturing industries left at risk after the financial meltdown. Every factory supports satellite businesses, places of employment for our workers. It’s a domino effect–take one out and you destroy a dozen other employment choices. Did the current unemployed have any control over that? No! Did they sign the NAFTA, CAFTA, take our jobs and sell them to the lowest bidder? No! Politicians and the corporations who brung ’em to the ball did that. Why? Money for them but not for thee.

    When you look at the real stats on this nightmare, it makes comments by the GOP, libertarians and neoliberal drum bangers all the more appalling. And yes, unforgiveably cruel.

    • bostonboomer says:

      While I was waiting for my mom at the eye doctor’s office this morning, reading Confidence Men, I got so angry I was about to burst. I can only read so much of that book before I have to take a break. It gets me so mad!

    • Woman Voter says:

      Maybe Dak can cover the new trade agreements when she gets back :

      Congress passes free trade agreements with South Korea , Colombia and Panama
      By Jim Abrams, The Associated Press

      WASHINGTON – Congress approved free trade agreements Wednesday with South Korea , Colombia and Panama, ending a four-year drought in the forming of new trade partnerships and giving the White House and Capitol Hill the opportunity to show they can work together to stimulate the economy and put people back to work.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    bb: Your post highlights the fact that the”Year of the Stupid” marches on.

    When elected officials officially declare their abject ignorance of American history there leaves little doubt. And they don’t seem too concerned about it either.

    Just throw any old thing out there and the public will applaud. My bad for thinking they could not get much dumber than Bush and Palin but Bachmann and Perry proved me wrong.

    They can and they do.

    If “ignorance is bliss” these people are rolling in it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      These people are sooooo stupid. George W. Bush looks like a brilliant intellectual next to Perry, Bachmann, Cain, and Palin.

    • Allison says:

      Another stupid thing about Perry’s reasoning is that he seems to be calling for a revolution to overthrow the government. Ummmm….isn’t that a little treasonous? And it was the progressives who rebelled against Britain. Conservatives of the day were happy with King Georgie. What a maroon.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Yes, year of the “stupid” is also year of the “cruel”

      These two post today are amazing, it makes me mad…I want to write and say something but my migraine kicked into full gear this morning. The discussion is wonderful…thank you to BB and Peg for these post…and thank you to all the people who comment on this blog.

  3. Woman Voter says:

    <blockquoteLAnd here is an NPR story by Nina Totenberg about Clarence Thomas’s 20 years on the Supreme Court. We can thank Joe Biden for that.

    Yes, we can thank Joe Biden for Clarence Thomans and frankly I can see past his new face…still the man of the Ole Boyz System.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Former NYPD Detective: We fabricated drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas

    • Woman Voter says:

      Yup, locking up people in private prisons has become a business that the 1% trade on the ticker, how else can we explain that we have 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prison population? NO ONE ON WALL STREET HAS GONE TO JAIL!

      • Pat Johnson says:

        And the GOP is screaming for PRIVATIZATION NOW! Holy cripes!!

        I’m just hoping that should I ever get hospitalized in the future my attending nurse is not just someone who read “Cherry Ames, RN ” and considers that enough background for reading vital signs.

      • bostonboomer says:

        LOL. Pat, I actually read some of those Cherry Ames books as a kid.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Yup, and we need to start doing more RN training here of our kids. Do you recall the big corruption mess in foreign training schools who paid to pass?

    • Gregory says:

      Oh my, the ultimate insult to our democracy and way of life. Being deprived of your liberty and your freedom for the sake of a quota system and protecting a job that frankly really isn’t worth having in the first place. Doesn’t pay enough, is to dangerous, and has poor working hours. Policemen are sort of like teachers and firefighters and heath care professionals. You just have to really love what you do and love helping other people because that is what those jobs are all about. Doing something like this is an atrocious abuse of authority and pretty much sociopathic behavior.

  5. Fannie says:

    Thank BB……I’ve been reading up on Dak’s “highlights concerning the nutty repubulicans” and in regards to the Black Wall-Nut, who is moving on up in the charts, he’s lacking 99.9% in my opinion.

    • Woman Voter says:

      It is truly sad that he is advocating redistribution from the top down and the press isn’t holding him accountable because it is a dream for them to have Cain vs Obama at the cost of the well being of the economy and more importantly the country’s people.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I need coffee, when I meant to say is that the Rich will get THE LARGEST TAX break under Cain’s 999 program, while increasing the tax on consumable to the 99.9%, and some economists say Cain’s 999 plan will be an 40% taxation on the 99.9%.

        So he wants the working people to pay more, and given more tax breaks to the 1%. Right now the CEO to worker ratio is (CEO) 474:1 (worker) and is quickly approaching third world levels. The working people need to wake up and let BOTH parties know we are tired, tired of the mess they create while expecting us to continue to pay for their mess.

    • Woman Voter says:

      The other thing the press hasn’t taken Cain to task on is his claim of being a successful business man. Both Cain and Romney made money by down sizing companies (laying people off) and getting BIG BONUSES for doing so. Cain took the pizza company and cut it in half, then he and others bought it, then the board let him go!

      Cain nor Romney represent small business, which is the economic engine and 78% of the US business which provides jobs and which is locked out from loans and which was not considered in the BailOut. The Wall Street Greedos didn’t make loans to small business they kept it all and had a cash bash of a party.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Occupy Wall Street is much more popular than either Obama or the Tea Party according to a new poll by Time Mag.

    The poll’s figures show that President Obama has an approval rating of just 44 percent, with 50 percent disapproving and six percent not sure. That stands in contrast to the 54 percent who say their opinion of “Occupy Wall Street” is either “very favorable” (25 percent) or “somewhat favorable” (29 percent).

    Comparatively, the tea party, which has essentially become the Republican Party’s attempt at a populist movement, only has a 27 percent approval rating, with just eight percent being “very favorable” and 19 percent being “somewhat favorable.”

    Overall, the poll found that 65 percent of respondents believe the tea party had either a “negative impact” (40 percent) or very little impact at all (25 percent).

    A full 86 percent also agree that Wall Street and its lobbyists have “too much influence in Washington.” Furthermore, 68 percent agree that wealthy Americans should pay more in taxes.

  7. northwestrain says:

    Adding to the stupid politicians —
    The 0bamas are playing the race card again. Although Mrs.0 isn’t overtly playing the race card — she and HIM are using key phrases —

    Ever so subtly, the Obamas – yes, her too – appear to be playing the race card. They are turning this into a “values” election, and one of the values they are suggesting, ever so subtly, that Republicans hold is a distaste for people who aren’t white.

    They got away with playing the race card last time — will they manage to shut up anyone who disagrees with the poor decision making ability and poor leadership exhibited by Mr. 0????

    This time Mr. votes present rather than create a record – has a record and he will be running on that record. I don’t care if he is a little green man from Mars. He has been a poor president of the USA.