Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Which, Oh No, That Bitch DID NOT Say That!

I was willing to forgo the politics tonight, but not when I saw Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" for tonight, Virginia Foxx, Congresswoman from North Carolina. Foxx "speeched" that Shepard's murder wasn't a hate crime, but a simple robbery, a hoax, even.

Seriously? Seriously? She said that in front of his mother? If I were Judy Shepard I wouldn't have been able to keep myself from committing my own "hoax."

From The Greensboro News Record:
A staffer for Foxx pointed to a report by the ABC program “20/20” that quoted a police detective as saying that drugs and money motivated the robbery-murder, not the fact that Shepard was gay.

News reports after the slaying indicated Shepard made a pass at one of the defendants. That man, Aaron McKinney, raised a “gay panic” defense at trial, saying he was so enraged because of traumatic boyhood experiences.

Foxx acknowledged using the word “hoax” might have been insensitive.

Really? You think so?

“The term 'hoax’ was a poor choice of words used in the discussion of the hate-crimes bill,” Foxx said in a statement Wednesday. “Mr. Shepard’s death was nothing less than a tragedy, and those responsible for his death certainly deserved the punishment they received.”

The News Record also suggests that in Foxx's conservative district there will be "no blowback for her."


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In Which I Continue In The Rachel Maddow Fangirl Vein

In the last couple of weeks, I have found it very difficult to wade into the political issues with the concentration they deserve, so I'm going "circle the watercooler" again. Hundred days; whatever.

Please click on the banner in the previous post to vote for Rachel in the "Cause You're Hot" category of the NewNowNext Awards. If she wins, she will squirm with 80% consternation and 20% "Yeah, that's right. You know it." satisfaction. We will never see that 20%, but it will be there, and we may take our pleasure from our imagined version of it.

Also on the subject of voting,'s Hot 100 of 2009 list will be out on May 11th. It's too late to vote now, but I have made a prediction: Rachel, while not appearing on the 2008 Hot 100, will be number 1 on the 2009 list. I have a bet with an online buddy about this, and let me just say that the terms are harsh indeed.

For those of you who wish I would get back to the seriousness of politics: I will, I will. To the rest of you: Heyyy!

ETA: Did I hear Rachel say off-camera, "Oh my God!" or something like it when the wicked awesome Melissa Harris-Lacewell said that African-Americans are just glad that "no one had shot at him (Obama) so far?"

In Which We All Try To Cause Rachel To Writhe In Discomfort

Vote for Rachel Maddow for the Cause You're Hot Award!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In Which There Is A Newsflash!

According to several Twitter updates, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is switching parties. If the Senate finally seats Al Franken of Minnesota, doesn't that give the Dems a filibuster proof 60 members? Awesome!

In Which We Circle The Watercooler

In other words, screw the tough stuff, let's dish. First, Lars Ulrich AND Rachel Maddow? My joy was nearly transcendent. I would have completely left my body had it been Magnolia Electric Co. But that is neither here nor there. However, did it not look like someone had photoshopped Lars' head onto someone half his size? If he hadn't moved, proving my hypothesis incorrect, I would have bet the farm on it. Well, my iPod anyway.

And speaking of size, please tell me this is just an illusion of perspective. I know Rachel's tall, but no one ever mentioned that Lars Ulrich was only 4'10".

So hypothesis number two on the night: Rachel's NYC hair and make-up person/s do not travel with her. Even at the best of times, there is a great variability in her appearance. Day 1-dark brown hair, distinctive-ish part in hair, medium colored and very glossy lip stuff. Day 2-auburnish hair, big cowlick visible in front of hair, and barely visible lip stuff. But when TRMS airs from afar, she kinda looks like somebody else. Like tonight. Who was that woman with the mauvish lip gunk and "almost Maddowish" hair. Maddow, yet not Maddow. Weird.

I am no expert in these things. When Little Conch wanted to learn about make-up, her other mom and I looked at each other, shrugged, and recommended she call her aunt. My only run in with make-up (see? i don't even know if it's hyphenated!) was way back in my drummer days, when other members of the band would slather some shit on my face before we went on stage. I suspect this is not unlike Rachel's experience, although she's probably mature enough to sit still. "Just, quick, get it on me, get it over with." "Ok, now, get it off. I said get it off!" I am projecting my own panicky tone onto the Maddow, but in my world, that's how she rolls. And, I do know what's it like to have, quoting Rachel, "unruly hair." So I can imagine it can be difficult to wrangle her hair each night into something that looks similar to the night before. But look! Devil horns!

DorkFactor of above: 3.4. Without grimace? 2.6

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In Which We Wonder, "Who Is This Dawn Johnsen?"

And the answer absolute badass. Seriously, if I were a Bushie on the wrong side of the torture policies, Ms. Johnsen would scare the everlovin' crap out of me. Which is no doubt the reason the capital Rs have their collective hair on fire about her nomination to head the Office of Legal Counsel. Yes, that OLC. As in OLC memos. As in John Yoo. At the Indiana University Law School she is the...wait for it...Ira C. BATMAN Fellow. Probably not the Gotham Batman, but still awesome.

When I wrote about His Hopefully-Soon-To-Be-Impeached Honor Judge Jay Bybee last week, I made hysterical noises at the thought that he was a former professor of Constitutional Law. Johnsen also teaches Constitutional Law. Whose students would you rather hire? The guy who thinks that the Constitution was merely a suggestion written by our founding fathers, or the woman who acts as if it's carved in marble?

In an article from this past January, Mother Jones makes reference to a couple of samples of Johnsen's work: An article titled, "Faithfully Executing the Laws: Internal Legal Constraints on Executive Power," and a paper, "What's a President to Do? Interpreting the Constitution in the Wake of the Bush Administration's Abuses." Mother Jones includes a couple of quotes from the articles that made me damn near gleeful. And I am not a gleeful sort of person.

Since she also has previous experience in the OLC, her confirmation should be a no-brainer, right? Except the Rs are the "Party of No," giving no-brainer a slightly different resonance. At this point, I would show up in front of the Capitol waving a "No Vice, Confirm Dawn Johnsen" sign if it would help.

Well I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you've been
It's all been a pack of lies

"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins

Can't you just see Dawn Johnsen, the Miami Vice theme thumping, whipping off her shades and saying, "Busted, asshole."

She looks a little like that Don Johnson, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Which We Nominate Patrick Fitzgerald As Special "Torture" Prosecutor

In last night's show, Rachel and Michael Isikoff discussed Attorney General Eric Holder's assertion that he is considering a torture investigation. So, who might be the DOJ's choice to run such an investigation? Why not Patrick Fitzgerald?

As an appointed Special Prosecutor, he successfully prosecuted Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame case. And of course he's the bad ass that arrested Blagojevich. So he's clearly non-partisan. As I Googled possible names for a possible special prosecutor in a possible case against those who either sanctioned or committed torture, his name was the only one I found. He has the reputation as a by the book guy with integrity and most consider him above reproach. What more could we want? So, let Obama wash his hands. Have Holder appoint Fitzgerald Special Counsel. He doesn't seem afraid to hold anyone accountable, and we could sure use a bit of accountability.

Plus, he's so super dorky, he's cool. And you know how much we love the dork in these here parts.

In Which The DorkFactor Is Squared

DorkFactor of 2.7:

DorkFactor of 7.3:

"Oooh! I got bubble stuff all over me."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In Which Jay Bybee Sucks Today Even More Than He Did Yesterday - Which Was A Lot

I spent most of TRMS today seething and spluttering, like we all do most nights. On the occasion of the release of the most inflammatory of the torture memos, Rachel and Jonathan Turley single out the opinion written by Jay Bybee in particular. So, in an impotent gesture of rage, I am going to continue the thrashing of one Judge Jay Bybee tonight.

Bybee graduated from BYU and the BYU Law School. You mean to say that Brigham Young University produced a conservate, right wing Bushie? Quel surprise. He has taught at both LSU and UNLV, where his areas of expertise are listed as: civil procedure, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW!, and Federal courts. "Ok class, quiet down! I have to say, that grading these tests of yours was excruciating! Absolutely agonizing! At times I thought I would die! It was, however, not tortuous, as you did not intend to cause me harm with your poorly written exams." He was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by GWB, and was confirmed in 2003.

Slate published an awesome article, "Impeach Judge Jay Bybee," written by Bruce Ackerman, in January 2009. Ackerman, a professor at Yale, writes that Bybee has his judgeship only through fortuitous timing (and of course, his excellent connections). The article uses William Haynes, former Defense Department counsel, as an example of what Congress did to Bush judgeship nominees with connections to torture after the torture memos were made public. After a great hue and cry from Democrats, Haynes removed his name from consideration.

MSNBC reported today that Spain has decided not to prosecute the "Bush Six," two of whom were Bybee and Haynes. Part of me is disappointed, but I would really rather see us prosecute our own war criminals, rather than have another country take out our trash. How do we have any credibility in the world with these crimes unpunished?

Consider signing the ACLU's petition to AG Holder, and maybe drop a few bucks on them too. You, like The Maddow, can be a card carrying member.

And just for the pure joy of it, below, at about the 1:20 mark, watch Rachel take Sen. Burr to the woodshed again. Seriously, he just needs to shut up and hope she doesn't notice him. If she spoke to me like that, wielding her Pen of Emphasis, I would probably pee myself.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In Which I Explain "In Which"

Several people have asked me why I start each post with "In Which." In the Winnie-the-Pooh books, each chapter is titled "In Which..." It has sort of become family shorthand over the years, used mostly as narration. For instance, one morning after a frantic phone call from my dad, my mom muttered, "In which Jack loses his Jag in a sinkhole."

Thusly, "In Which."
ETA: Saw an article today re: more Iraqi's dying from execution than acts of military in last 6 years. I don't know if TRMS will cover this, but I will try to learn a little bit more about it and write tonight.

E.T.A.A - NEJM article re: violent Iraqi deaths.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In Which...Alan Keyes' Daughter? Wha?

When Rachel said she was, "caught off guard" by Libertarian Stephen Gordon's remark about Alan Keyes turning his back on his daughter, I had no idea what they were talking about. I found a few articles from 2005, when the shit hit the Keyes' fan. From a February 13, 2005 Washington Post blog article by Marc Fisher: "When Sexuality Undercuts A Family's Ties:"

During his failed campaign last fall against Barack Obama (D) for the Illinois Senate seat, Alan Keyes lashed out at Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Cheney. Keyes told a radio interviewer that Mary Cheney was a "selfish hedonist." Then, without having been asked anything about his own family, he volunteered that "if my daughter were a lesbian, I'd look at her and say, 'That is a relationship that is based on selfish hedonism.' I would also tell my daughter that it's a sin and she needs to pray to the Lord God to help her deal with that sin."

Maya heard the comments and recoiled. "It was kind of strange that he said it like a hypothetical," she says. "It was really kind of unpleasant."

Maya returned from the demonstration to find that she had been let go from her job at her father's political organization. She says she was told to leave her father's apartment and not to expect any money toward attending Brown University, where she was admitted but deferred matriculation to spend a year teaching in southern India. "In my father's view, financing my college would be financing my politics, in a sense," Maya says, "because I plan to be an activist after college."

Strong, smart young woman, Ivy Leaguer, volunteering to teach in India, no wonder Mr. Keyes is so ashamed. So, if you didn't already think Alan Keyes is a lunatic, you sure...wait a minute...if you didn't, well, what are you doing here? 'Cause here be big ol' dykes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

In Which I Unearth An Awesome Navy SEAL Childhood Memory

My dad was a Navy officer in Key West when I was a kid. There was a sculpture on the base, in front of one of the buildings, of a Navy SEAL riding a shark. I did not make it up! I sort of thought I had, until tonight. After Rachel referenced the amazing feats of the Navy SEALS this weekend, I decided to go on a Google hunt, and voila!
How awesome is that?

So as I ease myself back into the blogging routine after my horrible week, (see below) I am avoiding discussions of war, illegally detained suspected terrorists, and anything else depressing or scary. I can't add anything of note to the hilarity that is the "teabagging" conservative fiasco. Thursday's Ana Marie Cox "interview" is perfection itself, and cannot be improved upon. How brilliant was AMC, completely deadpanned, asking, "Who doesn't want to teabag John McCain?" OMG. It came at a time when I needed a laugh so badly. I must have watched it a dozen times. Our girl Rachel however, not so deadpanned, which was a joy unto itself.

And then there's this:

If, Rachel is a "cross-dressing lesbian," I guess she's a cross-cross dressing lesbian when she's dressed for the tv machine. Or, in other words, she's in drag.

So my contribution to the blogging world tonight? "Go Navy!" Or as my dad's ubiquitous bumper stickers said , "Fly Navy!"

Friday, April 10, 2009

In Which My Heavy Heart Finds the Words

She spoke seven languages. She grew awesome tomatoes. She had a killer sense of humor: Me: Let me see if I've got this right-It's ok if I'm a lesbian, but it's not ok if I have a tattoo? Dad: (lowering Wall Street Journal) Lesbian? We thought you said "thespian." Mom: We wondered why you never invited us to see you in any productions. We just figured you couldn't act. No wonder I am just not right. Back in the day she showed up in the society pages frequently, all Jackie-O, but also argued that you could wear a sweatshirt 4 times: Frontwards, backwards, inside-out and frontwards, and inside-out and backwards. She could fly. Not metaphorically, but literally. The family motto is "The family that flies together, dies together." (See above about me not being right.) She could sew, but could also frame a garage. Could be traditional, yet was very independent. My dad thought she was perfect, and she was, for him. They had the best marriage I've ever seen. Met, and married 10 days later. Didn't have kids for 15 years because they were having too much damn fun. They traveled all over the world. Their passports were ridiculous: Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Japan, Philippines, a bunch of Northern African countries, most of Europe, Iceland, Mexico, Santa Domingo, Cuba, and I'm not done. I just can't remember any other this minute.

She was my mom.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In Which I Write About My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Since Rachel's taking the night off, I think I will as well. Had an awful day. I placed my mom in the care of hospice, and my dog is sick. So, no snark, no serious musings, from me tonight. I don't have a picture of my mom on my computer, but I do have one of my dog, Cagney. What a good girl!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

In Which I Commend Rachel for Going Toe-to-Toe

The story a couple of days ago about the Spanish judge who wants to indict six American policymaker types for their torture policies reminded me about a story Rachel did on Air America last June, the 18th, I think. She interviewed a representative of Physicians for Human Rights on the occasion of the release of their report, Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact. The study reported on eleven men who were tortured in American hellholes like Guantanamo, or Abu Ghraib, or other dark, dark places. The stories include testimony of physical, mental and sexual atrocities. The detainees were interviewed separately, yet their stories are similar. The PHR also did physical exams of the men which corroborated their testimony.

"Methods of torture experienced by the former detainees evaluated by PHR included interrogation and detention practices such as isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nakedness, severe humiliation and degradation,and sensory deprivation that were officially authorized by military and civilian officials during certain periods when these men were incarcerated. Additional practices recounted by the interviewees including beatings and other forms of severe physical and sexual assault that, while not officially authorized by government documents now part of the public record, came to be part of a regime of brutality at the facilities where the detainees were held."

In anticipation of Rachel's impending interview with Colin Powell today, I reread the report last night. As I was reading, my face became hotter and hotter. At first I thought it was my typical, "Prosecute these fuckers!" anger. Then I recognized it for what it was: shame. So it was in this frame of mind that I watched Rachel interview the former Sec. of State. And God love her, she sure as hell tried to get him to admit something; anything. It can't be easy to sit across from someone like him and press, press, press. But she did. And he would not be budged. I understand the cover-your-ass aspect of all this, but Powell has always seemed to be above that to me. He's a man who appears to value personal accountability, yet he hedged. Not that I really expected anything different. Although he might have blinked when he admitted that Susan Crawford, head of the military tribunals in Guantanamo, "was in a position of authority to make such a statement; has access to all the information" regarding her statement that we tortured.

But brava to the birthday girl. She asked the questions I wanted to hear answered. And she asked them over and over. Poor thing. I hope she got a great birthday cocktail out of the deal.

Happy place, happy place:

Portrait by

In Which I Sing About Obama's Curry and the Fringe Group Crop

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When a pun that bad, that wrong, just drops in your lap, you gotta grab it. With both hands.

As to the crop of fringe groups: There are lots of war protesters, organized under the Stop the War Coalition. Lots of groups protesting the financial institutions, my favorite of which is Financial Fools. The FF website calls for pranks against the banks on April Fool's Day, such as putting "out of order" stickers on ATMs. There are a lot of environmental groups, such as Climate Camp, protesting under the banner of "because nature doesn't do bailouts!" There are the anarchists, because what's a party without the "A" with the circle around it? Probably my favorite fringe group of them all is an artist/anarchist group called The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, "combining art (and) activism ... to actively imagine a postcapitalist world."

As to the curry: I prefer mine very hot.