Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday to Mickey Rooney

I never got around yesterday to wishing Mickey Rooney a Happy Birthday - a day late and a dollar short, such is the story of my life. Anyway, here's a clip. I don't know that I'd care much for the man on a personal level, what with all his "born again" nonsense, but then again, maybe I would. It's impossible for me not to appreciate his incredible talent and zeal for living:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

With friends like these...

You know, the Democrats really don't need an opposition Party.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time Travel!

Gayle has taken a bit of artistic license with an oft-told legend from our youth, but the essential elements remain true and are, in fact, enhanced by her skillfull narrative. Not to mention great pictures of the old spooky place in both its past and present glory.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Red meat for the howling mob

Look at the AP headline and story that my local newpaper put on its front page website today. Well, that ought to raise ol' TexasFred's blood pressure a bit. Let's see how long it takes him to feature this item on his blog. As of 2:15 CT this afternoon, he's only yowling about guns n' Messicans.

Monday, September 20, 2010

On Tone and Substance

Glenn has a post up about false equivalencies which is characteristically good, but I especially liked this bit added at the end:
One other point about this fixation on the "tone" of our politics. Political debates are inherently acrimonious -- much of the rhetoric during the time of the American Founding, as well as throughout the 19th Century, easily competes with, if not exceeds, what we have now in terms of noxiousness and extremity -- but far more important than tone, in my view, is content. For instance, Bill Kristol, a repeated guest on The Daily Show, is invariably polite on television, yet uses his soft-spoken demeanor to propagate repellent, destructive ideas. The same is true for war criminal John Yoo, who also appeared, with great politeness, on The Daily Show. Moreover, some acts are so destructive and wrong that they merit extreme condemnation (such as Bush's war crimes). I don't think anyone disputes that our discourse would benefit if it were more substantive and rational, but it's usually the ideas themselves -- not the tone used to express them -- that are the culprits.
Thank you, Glenn. I'm sick to death of the "civility" directed by Serious People toward George W. Bush and members of his despotic administration. They are war criminals who should be in jail. It's like having to be polite to that wife-abusing murderer, O.J. Simpson (not that I've ever been called upon to be polite to O.J. - I wonder if anyone has? - but if I were, that is how I imagine it would feel. Bleh!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

I feel her pain

Amanda despairs:
What’s fascinating to me is that all this goes on while the Republicans---the party that prioritizes cutting taxes for the very richest above all other concerns---have unblinkingly adopted anti-elitism as their garb. It’s a lie that is so profound that its most naked manifestations make the non-wingnut parts of the audience wonder how they just get away with it. For instance, Carl Paladino spent most of his victory speech railing on about toppling the “ruling elite”, so much so that if you had no context and wandered in, you would swear that you had walked into an early 20th century communist rally. Paladino, of course, is a millionaire who had $10 million of his own money just laying around to spend on a primary campaign for an election he has to know he’s going to lose. He decried the “elite” in front of a crowd that I guarantee has an average income a couple of brackets over the average. To look at his policies, you’d think the “elites” that he’s out to get are exactly the same as the poor and unemployed.

The lie, in other words, is so big that I don’t even know if there’s a name for it. Is it an existential lie? The Big Lie? The biggest? It was such a whopper that I can’t believe that the folks listening didn’t get headaches from the straight cognitive dissonance between the claims being made---that they are the rabble fighting off an elite that is defined by being poorer than they are---and reality. I spend a lot of my time chronicling right wing lies. Many of them are factual. Many are more just disingenuous poses ("Liberals are the real racists!” “Abortion hurts women!"). But these insanely rich Republicans talking about how they’re going to kick out the “elite”? That’s such a reality-destabilizing lie it’s like me belligerently insisting that I’m Marilyn Monroe, and anyone who points out that I’m not simply hates gerbils. It. Makes. No. Sense. It’s maddening. I’m sure it’s meant to be.

More than any other lie they tell, the one about how Republicans defend the little guy against the “elite” is the one that makes me despair the most for my country. The only proper reaction to these claims is hysterical laughter, and yet they’re being offered as if they’re serious, and taken in that spirit. It’s complete madness. When you have so much of the population indifferent to basic reality, what do you do?

We got her anyway....

I was rummaging through some old email files and came across this gem from our dearly beloved Molly Ivins which I am reprinting in its entirety:
Molly Ivins

I will not support Hillary Clinton for president
January 20, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas --- I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.

Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.

The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.

If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator from Minnesota with the guts to do it. In 1968, Gene McCarthy was the little boy who said out loud, "Look, the emperor isn't wearing any clothes." Bobby Kennedy -- rough, tough Bobby Kennedy -- didn't do it. Just this quiet man trained by Benedictines who liked to quote poetry.

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

I listen to people like Rahm Emanuel superciliously explaining elementary politics to us clueless naifs outside the Beltway ("First, you have to win elections"). Can't you even read the damn polls?

Here's a prize example by someone named Barry Casselman, who writes, "There is an invisible civil war in the Democratic Party, and it is between those who are attempting to satisfy the defeatist and pacifist left base of the party and those who are attempting to prepare the party for successful elections in 2006 and 2008."

This supposedly pits Howard Dean, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, emboldened by "a string of bad new from the Middle East ... into calling for premature retreat from Iraq," versus those pragmatic folk like Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emmanuel, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman.

Oh come on, people -- get a grip on the concept of leadership. Look at this war -- from the lies that led us into it, to the lies they continue to dump on us daily.

You sit there in Washington so frightened of the big, bad Republican machine you have no idea what people are thinking. I'm telling you right now, Tom DeLay is going to lose in his district. If Democrats in Washington haven't got enough sense to OWN the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely.

Do it all, go long, go for public campaign financing for Congress. I'm serious as a stroke about this -- that is the only reform that will work, and you know it, as well as everyone else who's ever studied this. Do all the goo-goo stuff everybody has made fun of all these years: embrace redistricting reform, electoral reform, House rules changes, the whole package. Put up, or shut up. Own this issue, or let Jack Abramoff politics continue to run your town.

Bush, Cheney and Co. will continue to play the patriotic bully card just as long as you let them. I've said it before: War brings out the patriotic bullies. In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were "German dogs." They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds. The MINUTE someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this war, turn on them like a snarling dog and explain what loving your country really means. That, or you could just piss on them elegantly, as Rep. John Murtha did. Or eviscerate them with wit (look up Mark Twain on the war in the Philippines). Or point out the latest in the endless "string of bad news."

Do not sit there cowering and pretending the only way to win is as Republican-lite. If the Washington-based party can't get up and fight, we'll find someone who can.

To find out more about Molly Ivins and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2006 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.
UPDATE: Obama: Not helpful.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

America's Dirty Little Secret

It's not so little, and not so secret. Amanda, as usual, is spot-on:
The Tea Party revolt increasingly seems mostly motivated by anger at the Republicans for putting on a politically correct face instead of letting the bigot flag fly.
I've been observing a proto-typical Tea Cracker for some time now who goes by the moniker "TexasFred" and Amanda's statement here is the most concise and accurate encapsulation of the predominant attitude I see reflected in not only Fred's posts but also in those of his commenters. The fact that this angry movement has gained such traction in this country, aided by a hapless Democratic response and a trivia-hungry national media, should be cause for considerable alarm.

UPDATE: e.g.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Protected Power

Wonder what such a study would uncover about life among Catholics in America? We'll never know, of course, because that study will never, ever be commissioned.

But, hey, here's an idea: Tell 'em you're going to study about Muslims and pedophilia, and I'll lay odds the money comes pouring in.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11

Where have I been? Well, like Dr. Leo Marvin in What About Bob? I've been on vacation and, no, I didn't go anywhere and, yes, I could have blogged from home but I just didn't feel like it, okay? And actually, yes, I've been back at work this last week but as is always the case when one goes on vacation, I have been swamped and am still catching up.

Thanks to all of you that sent me lovely birthday wishes! I had a fine day, very low-key, very appropriate for an old biddy such as me who is, as they say, "getting on in years". The wonderful folks at World O'Crap even gave me my own little moment in the spotlight which is about all the thrill this old lady can handle these days.

Besides, the news sucks. There was one item I came across about a week or so ago that was talking about how our Democratic contender for Governor of Texas, Bill White, may actually have a chance to unseat that asshole, Rick Perry, and sure that would be great but I know better than to get my hopes up. Wake me up when it happens, and THEN we'll talk!

Meanwhile, it's 9/11 and I'm quite sure there's some idiot somewhere who is burning a Koran but apparently not the idiot in Florida who has had the entire news media in thrall for the last 2 weeks as he made an embarrassing spectacle of himself and them. But speaking of embarrassing ourselves, Glenn Greenwald pointed us to this excellent editorial from a couple of days ago that says all that needs to be said about the effect that 9/11 has had on us. Read it all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Credit where it is due

I, for one, am quite happy to give George W. Bush and his entire supporting cast all the "credit" they so richly deserves for the Iraq War. May they all burn in hell for eternity after spending the rest of their miserable lives in jail.

There. I feel better now.