Quixote wants the media to leave Ann Romney alone. In that spirit, I say it’s time for the media to get off Elizabeth Warren’s back about her Cherokee ancestry. Good Grief! This is the woman who stood up to Wall Street, Barack Obama, and Tim Geithner. Now she has to prove she’s 1/32 Cherokee?
Guess what? The Chief of Cherokee Nation is only 1/32 Cherokee. That ought to be good enough to satisfy the corporate media, although nothing will ever satisfy the right wing nuts, as we know from their continued demands to see a different birth certificate than Barack Obama has already provided.
Just plug in “Elizabeth Warren” on Google News, and all you’ll see are headlines about Warren’s Native American heritage, as if it mattered one bit as to her qualifications to serve in the Senate. Here are a few examples:
And in the midst of the madness, it looks like Warren is going to have to deal with a primary challenger.
At the Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky calls it a “witch hunt,” and I agree with him. He calls it “the biggest media-manufactured story since the Lewinsky scandal.”
So now Elizabeth Warren has to prove that she’s 1/32nd Cherokee? The temperature on the story is rising. There was a huge article in the Boston Globe on Friday written to raise a number of questions and suggest that Warren used the minority designation to get her job, or get ahead—exactly at the same time that a poll was released (PDF) showing that 69 percent of Bay State voters don’t consider her heritage to be a “significant” story. It reminds me of nothing so much as Monica Lewinsky, and of the media’s need sometimes to get a grip.
Why Lewinsky? The situations are in fact almost precisely the same. You had then a press pack that had decided that whether Bill Clinton was telling the truth about Monica was a question on which the fate of the republic hinged. The press became self-righteously consumed with its search for The Truth. Meanwhile, outside the Beltway, and outside of Wingnuttia (it existed then, just at about half of its current GDP), nobody cared what the truth was. The media kept producing revelations; surely, now, swore Maureen Dowd and Michael Kelly, America will see this man for the reprobate he is! America looked, yawned, told the press to start acting like grownups, and continued to approve of the job Clinton was doing as president at rates near 70 percent and to oppose impeachment at similar levels.
The appearance Thursday morning of this Suffolk University poll (linked to above) made me think: Well, this story line is about to wrap up. If more than two-thirds of voters don’t care, then that’s that. But no—still going strong! And now it’s not the loopy, right-wing, and pro-Brown Herald, which pushed the story first, but the Globe trying to play catch up. Yes, yes, it’s all in the public interest. What, you say, the public says it isn’t interested? Well, we’ll teach them what’s in their interest!
This is sheer insanity.
Are the Arizona and Tennessee state legislatures competing to see which state can pass the most bizarre, backward, and ignorant laws? Yesterday Dakinikat wrote about the latest anti-abortion bill signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer that defines gestational age as beginning on the first day of a pregnant woman’s last period. Peggy Sue has written about Tennessee’s new anti-evolution law, which could lead to a modern-day reprise of the Scopes Monkey Trial.
For the moment, I think Tennessee is winning the competition for most stupid, insane legislation with State Bill 3310, which defines holding hands and kissing as “gateway sexual behaviors.” From the Nashville Tennessean:
The Tennessee Senate voted 28-1 to amend the state’s sex ed curriculum by adding warnings against “gateway sexual activity.” Senate Bill 3310 does not explicitly define what those activities are, but it comes in response to controversies in Nashville and Knox County schools over instruction given to high school students that mentioned alternatives to sexual intercourse.
“ ‘Abstinence’ means from all of these activities, and we want to promote that,” said state Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, the bill’s sponsor. “What we do want to communicate to the kids is that the best choice is abstinence.”
The Tennessee House is working on a companion bill that is also expected to pass. Just one state senator, Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis) voted against the bill, but not because she thinks abstinence education is a bad idea. She just thinks that focusing on telling kids “don’t do it” won’t reach the kids who are most “at risk.”
According to Nashville Public Radio,
The bill, SB 3310 Johnson/HB 3621 Gotto, replaces three paragraphs in the current state law with nine pages of new definitions and rules. The new proposal even defines the word “puberty.”
The bill was rewritten in the Senate to broaden some definitions of sexual activity. The new amendment reads much like the old bill, except it deletes the words “penis” and “vagina” from the definition of “sexual intercourse.”
The Senate also added a further amendment defining “risk avoidance.”
specifically designating the “risk avoidance” means “an approach that encourages the prevention of participation in risk behaviors as opposed to merely reducing the consequences of those risk behaviors.”
The reference is apparently aimed at the post-activity procedure called “morning-after pills.”
Basically, the bill defines any pre-coital activity among unmarried people as “gateway sexual activity.” That means holding hands and kissing would be verboten for high school and middle school kids. The bill also allows parents to sue teachers who don’t follow the curriculum rules exactly or if they “demonstrate” any gateway sexual activities. In effect, while the legislature claims teachers can talk about contraception, they can’t spell out for kids what it is or how to use it.
And yet, in Tennessee:
According to a 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Study, 61 percent of Memphis City high school students and 27 percent of middle school students have had sex. That’s higher than the national average.
Planned Parenthood said these numbers are why a new sex education bill promoting abstinence is not realistic.
California State Senator and San Francisco mayoral candidate Leland Yee has been receiving death threats from right-wing nuts for “more than six years.”
In the past couple of days, Yee’s office has received more than one copy of the following threatening fax, which also includes slurs directed at President Obama:
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Mayoral candidate and state Sen. Leland Yee said racist death threats were faxed to his San Francisco and Sacramento offices today. They appear linked to his recent criticism of right-wing commentator Rush Limbaugh.
The anonymous faxes, laced with racial epithets and misspellings, were addressed to “JoBama Rectum Sniffing Moron LEELAND LEE” and call Yee a “fish head,” according to a copy provided by Yee’s office.
The faxes include a drawing of a U.S. flag-adorned pickup truck towing a noose that is looped around what appears to be a caricature head of President Barack Obama. The document says: “Without exceptions, Marxists are enemies of the United States Constitution! Death to all Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!”
The threats apparently are in response to Yee’s criticism of Rush Limbaugh for ridiculing the Chinese President Hu Jintao’s speech at the White House last week. Watch the video:
Yesterday, Sen. Lee gave a press conference and called for a stop to the racist, violent threats has been receiving by fax, e-mail, and text message.
“I thought our country and our community were a lot better than this,” Yee, D-San Francisco, said at an afternoon news conference in the Hiram Johnson building at 455 Golden Gate Ave.
“To see, and to hear, and to receive these kinds of horrible statements and racist threats is truly angering.”
According to the article “detectives are investigating.” They previously “investigated” faxes that were sent after Sen. Yee criticized CSU Stanislaus for shredding documents regarding the amount of money paid to Sarah Palin for a speech.
What does it take to get the FBI and/or Department of Homeland Security involved in the “investigation?” We know that the NSA can and does track the communications of American citizens–without a warrant if they are characterized as “terrorists.” Yet the claim is that no one “knows where the messages are coming from.” Come on. Don’t tell me there is no way to trace the origin of these faxes and e-mails.
What is going on here? The FBI has no qualms about breaking down the doors of peace activists, but they won’t deal with racist death threats to a California public official?