Sunday, May 31, 2009

In Which Somebody Helps Me Make Sense Of The SCOTUS Discussion

Jonathan Turley's article about Sotomayor cleared up a lot of questions for me. I recommend it highly for cutting through the bullshit.

In Which I Am Saddened And Shocked By Dr. Tiller's Murder

By now you will have heard about the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, KS. Dr. Tiller was often singled out by choice opponents because he performed late term abortions.

This Salon article about Bill O'Reilly's frequent diatribes about Dr. Tiller is a must read. He is not to blame, but he sure did fan the flames. You can't engage in the kind of rhetoric O'Reilly does without consequences.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

In Which I Try Bigotry On For Size

It's common knowledge that fat people are stupid. It is irrefutable. Bald men are impotent and hit their wives. Men over 60 are inevitably ruled by the vagaries of their prostate, precipitating irrational behavior, violent rages, and homosexual acts.

Well, that felt good. I feel so powerful. Some people actually enjoy treating people this way? What I want to know is: besides the crackpots who are saying this shit, who thinks it's ok to make personal remarks about Judge Sotomayor? She's abrasive, she's schoolmarmish, (read unattractive) she lacks intellect, and my personal favorite, she is a slave to her menstrual cycle. Unfuckingbelievable! Good for Sen Cornyn (R-TX) for calling bullshit on this...bullshit. It's almost as if many of those on the right think that being in the minority gives them license to be unprofessional, unkind, and make remarks beyond the pale of political discourse. Keep it up, assholes, and you will soon be reliving your glory days. You know, way back in May of 2009, when 25% of Americans identified as Republican.

ETA: Despite the picture on the clip above, I have edited out Mr. Limbaugh's statement. So it is safe (relatively) for your viewing. You are welcome. This is a Rush-free zone.

To cleanse your palate, a moment of adorkable squared:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In Which, I Know That Place!

"ConchExPat," you query, "why an Olbermann clip here in Maddow Land?" "Ahh," I answer, "because I know that place!" (see above)

While it is known here by my own admission that I am a Key West native, it is less known that I went to high school in Jacksonville, FL, where I lived right down the street from Clark's Fish Camp! I know! Amazing! Or maybe not that amazing. Chuck Clark and I had the same bustop. (This brush with greatness is giving you goosebumps, isn't it?) As far as 'gators go, one tried to eat my dog. Really. She had hundreds of stitches. And a great story to tell at parties! Hi Happy! You were a great dog. Miss you.

Just before TRMS came on tonight, I was on Jonathan Turley's blog, and I was just starting to read the post on the strange bedfellows of Olson and Bois. The phone rang, and I was trying to explain to my friend, from California, and STILL married, about the Bush guy taking on gay marriage rights. I had to repeat myself several times, and then we discussed the "what's the catch" angle that Rachel mentioned. Could it be that Olson is simply well-intentioned?
No props or DorkFactor moments tonight. Although the "FBI Wiretapping Theatre" thing itself was dorky, Rachel herself was not on camera being a dork, so it does not count. And no, I have not misunderstood the rules! I WROTE the rules! That's right. Mmmhmm.

As of today, in a little shy of three months since She Started It! launched, we had our 3,000th hit. Man, is my carpal tunnel acting up these days. All that clicking, loading the page over and over. Seriously, thanks for those of you that have been reading. All both of you.

In Which, Really Norm Coleman?

I started off seriously tonight, searching for some independent ratings on judges. I'm sure they exist, but once I found this quote in The Minnesota Independent, I was done:
Not to be outdone, former Sen. Norm Coleman sent out a confident-sounding statement of his own on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court. Just as Democratic Party rival Al Franken said he looks “forward to joining my colleagues as we examine Judge Sotomayor’s qualifications,” Coleman assumed an air of inevitability, stating that “when” he’s re-elected, he’ll apply the same standard for a “Democrat” nominee as he would’ve under a Republican president.
If it weren't so pathetic it would be awesomely funny. Oh, wait a minute, it IS awesomely funny. In a desperate, needy, schadenfreude-ian way.

And so is this: (awesomely funny, that is)
DorkFactor of 7.5.

And more props:
No DorkFactor here, more of a "coolness quotient."

Also, how much does Rachel love saying, "Sotomayor?"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In Which I Have A Feeling Of Dread

I have gone longer between posts than I usually do. The events of this week, with Obama advocating "preventive detention," and the Senate voting against the amendment to the war funding bill designed to procure funds to close Guantanamo, have pained me to the point that I didn't want to write about them. The Democrats jumped aboard the fear-mongering train, continuing the "not in my backyard" bullshit regarding accepting Gitmo transfers. Now, that pisses me off, and it's stupid, but it doesn't disturb me as much as "preventive detention" does.

I spent a lot of hours campaigning for Obama. I admire and respect him, so should I trust him on this? Is it Constitutionally sound? If it's as wrong as I think it is, am I complicit?

I'm no lawyer, so I sought the opinion of people who know these sorts of things. Frequent Maddow guest Jonathan Turley writes in his blog:

He promised “[w]e are not going to release anyone if it would endanger our national security, nor will we release detainees within the United States who endanger the American people.” Of course, this would mean holding people in violation of domestic and international law — precisely what George Bush did. It is part of the Administration’s effort to appear principled by doing an unprincipled thing. The reason that we cannot try these individuals is because they would win. The solution, according to both Bush and Obama, is not to give them a trial.

(2) Are defenders of Obama's proposals being consistent?

During the Bush years, it was common for Democrats to try to convince conservatives to oppose Bush's executive power expansions by asking them: "Do you really want these powers to be exercised by Hillary Clinton or some liberal President?"

Following that logic, for any Democrat/progressive/liberal/Obama supporter who wants to defend Obama's proposal of "preventive detention," shouldn't you first ask yourself three simple questions:

(a) what would I have said if George Bush and Dick Cheney advocated a law vesting them with the power to preventively imprison people indefinitely and with no charges?;

(b) when Bush and Cheney did preventively imprison large numbers of people, was I in favor of that or did I oppose it, and when right-wing groups such as Heritage Foundation were alone in urging a preventive detention law in 2004, did I support them?; and

(c) even if I'm comfortable with Obama having this new power because I trust him not to abuse it, am I comfortable with future Presidents -- including Republicans -- having the power of indefinite "preventive detention"?

It's "(c)" above that makes my head explode. My answer is, "No."

So, not a good week for those of the liberal persuasion.

My much needed "Moment of Dork:"

DorkFactor of 7.7. Deduction for absence of props.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In Which, Go AMC!

Ana Marie called this, her first WH briefing question, a FAIL. I disagree. Plus, nice glasses. She looks so cute when she's exasperated!

In Which...Yay! Dorkiness!

It's not really until the last three aaaghs! that you get the full DorkFactor. Until then, it's just funny. The judges give the last six seconds a DorkFactor of 5.8.

Only three guests tonight. Here comes a Rachel rant! I sure miss the 20-30 minute Maddow rants on AAR.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In Which...I Got Nothin'

See over there, just to the right of this post, where I say that sometimes I might "just want to dish about girls?" Tonight is one of those nights. But first, a couple of comments:

Did you ever think you might feel sorry for George W? Me neither. I think most of us assumed that he was just stupid, not evil, like say Cheney...or apparently, Rumsfeld. Now it seems as though he wasn't just a goober, but these guys may have really played him. I liked it better when I just hated him.

Secondly, how much do you love Col. Wilkerson? Seriously, dude is my new pretend boyfriend. Ew. I just made myself a little sick, but you know what I mean.

Regarding the 10k offered to the people on the Hudson River crash, (btw, how much does Rachel love saying, "Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger?") do you remember a couple of years ago when the cruise ship sank off Greece? My second mom, ShirleyMOM, was on that ship, and she barely got the cruise line to reimburse her for her lost belongings. I think they settled on $1400. Can you believe that?

So...dishing about girls. This is one of my favorite pictures of Rachel, courtesy Facebook, via MaddowFans.

And this one; same place.

And my umm, interests, (No, NOT obsessions. Seriously, what is wrong with you people?) are not limited to the Maddow. Sigh. The lovely, smart, funny Emma.

But it may have all started here:

For those too young to know that that is Kristy McNichol, I hate you.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

In Which We See Blago's Future

Coincidence? I think not.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Which I Go Full On Rant On Limbaugh

Forgive all the crass words I'm about to use.

That Fucking Racist Pig!!! How does he have any credibility AT ALL when he spouts shit like this? As the first part of his quote above came on the screen, I started screaming, "No, don't you fucking DARE go there!!!" My BFF said, "What's the problem? He's always an asshole." And I answered, "because of what's coming next," and sure enough, we got his unfuckingbelievable racist bullshit!!!

Ok. I'm better now. Melissa Harris-Lacewell's response was perfect. We are actually treading on ground with which I am very familiar. I studied Latin in college, but I also majored in history, specifically American women's history.

Since it is women's history I know, I will stick to that. The stereotype of the black welfare mother can trace its lineage directly to slavery, and specifically, Reconstruction. At this same time, white women, mostly middle class, were being told that their contribution and presence in the home was vital to the health and happiness of not only their families, but the country. The Cult of Domesticity, as this movement has been named, was strictly for white women.

Meanwhile, in the Reconstructionist South, black women who were able to, and wished to, stay home and raise their families, were vilified. For those very same choices for which white women were applauded, black women were called selfish, lazy, and much worse. Because the American economy relied on the labor of black women, when they dared to live lives on their own terms and leave the public workplace, terrified white people demanded that the black woman get back to work.

And we arrive here, some 140 years later, at the stereotype of the lazy, black welfare mother. White women are on public assistance in greater numbers than black women. What sort of "reparations" are being made to them? Not that I can't think of dozens of reasons that all women, regardless of race, are due reparations.

MHL, "There's a black man in the White House! Be afraid!"

In Which I Lose Sleep Worrying About Women And Girls In Afghanistan

There has been a recent increase in attacks on girls' schools in Afghanistan, presumably by either Taliban, or Taliban sympathizers. The picture of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is changing. We have a new general who is an expert on counter-insurgency. There seems to be a consensus that the Taliban forces are in Pakistan. If we are going to change tactics, what does that mean for Afghan civilians? What does this mean as far as peacekeeping forces are concerned? The always interesting Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security says that we will see a drop in civilian casualties along with the change in strategy.

What I want to know is, will there be more protection for Afghan women and girls, or less? The Feminist Majority advocates for more peacekeeping forces. Dr. Sima Samar, chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission just spent a week in Washington reminding the administration that human rights, particularly women's rights, must be part of the new strategy.

Sometime ago, I remember, or I think I remember, a guy that Rachel interviewed, who said something about giving up on winning in Afghanistan, and starting to smuggle out the women and girls. Anybody else recall this? It was one of those solar plexus collapsing moments for me.

When it comes to very, very complicated national security issues, I really miss Rachel's AAR show, where she went into great detail about such things as Afghanistan strategy. I need information from a source I trust! Is there another person on AAR that spends a lot of time on military issues?

ETA: Sometimes the video clip does not play, just often enough to make me crazy. I'm not sure where I'm going wrong. I apologize for the annoyance.

Monday, May 11, 2009

In Which I Lose My Bet

AfterEllen's Hot 100 for 2009 came out today. I had made a bet that Rachel would debut on the list at number 1. A bold bet, but a wrong one. She's sixth. Let's just say I'll be wearing a tshirt that says "I'm so-and-so's Web Bitch."

I know it's been said before, but the list is overwhelmingly of feminine women. There are very few androgynous women. Rachel, Ellen, Tegan and Sara and....I can't remember any more. I'm trying to figure out the correct question to ask. Are there very few butchier women because those of us who prefer them aren't voting? Is it because celebrities tend to be feminine, 'cause that's what sells, and because of that, there many fewer androgynous women in the celebrity world? The second seems more likely. I can't even remember who I voted for, except Rachel. Oh, Ana Marie Cox. Straight, but can be kind of skater butch, with her awesome tees and blazers. She didn't make the list.

On Twitter, doing a search on "Maddow," will find you all types professing their love or lust. Straight men, straight women, gay men, lesbians, of course. And there's the whole "I'm gay for Rachel Maddow" trend. So I guess butch women can find celebrity outside the butch/femme world. The question is, why do so few? And don't think I know of plenty of celebrities that rock the butch look in their private lives. But AE has correctly chosen pictures that show the celebrities the way they prefer to showcase themselves in their publicity shots. I'm looking at you Jodi.


Below is a tribute to some women who know you don't have to be wearing a cocktail dress to be hot. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

In Which There Is No U.S. Prison Tough Enough To Detain The Detainees

On Thursday's (May 7) show, TRMS did the very funny segment above on the ludicrous "Not in my backyard!" meme regarding the housing of Gitmo detainees in the U.S. You know, because those serial killers we have in prison are escaping ALL the time! How can we be expected to live with terrorists running through our streets?

What if you spent $27 million on a prison, and no prisoners came? According to an article in the May 18th issue of Time, that very scenario happened in the town of Hardin, Montana. Hardin built a state of the art, maximum security prison with the hopes that it would provide jobs for 100 of its local citizens. Due to politicking here and there, it is empty, and Hardin is going broke trying to pay for the prison. Gitmo detainees in Hardin. Seems a good fit, yes? Well, while some members of the town (there are 3600 of them) are open to the idea, Montana's Congressional members say, "no way!" Say it with me, "Not in my backyard!"

Former Michigan Governor John Engler (hate.) suggests that Michigan could make a billion dollars a year housing the dreaded Gitmo detainees in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Rep. Stupak who represents an Upper Peninsula district says he's open to the idea, but would want to see local support first. One of the prisons is a maximum security prison in Munising. I have been to Munising numerous times, and consider Alger County to be one of the prettiest places on earth. I have hiked it, I have biked it, I have driven ALL over that county, looking for waterfalls, and I never saw a prison. So I suspect having more prisoners in that prison will not impact the local scenery much. Locals are said to be cautiously interested. UPers are cautious about everything, so that's nothing new.

Let's be sensible. As Rachel says above, it's ridiculous to suppose we can't safely house criminals anywhere but Cuba.

Please to enjoy, these idyllic scenes from Alger County, Michigan: P.S. It really looks like this.

Munising Falls Trail
Wagner Falls

Pictured Rocks - Miner's Castle

ETA: "O Fortuna" from Orff's Carmina Burana, and played in the clip above about 82 times, has been scaring the shit out of me as long as I can remember. Whenever my father played it I would hide under my bed. Many years later, "friends" of mine tricked me into going to see a friend singing the cantata. Still scary after all these years. And sometimes I get it stuck in my head for days. I've even resorted to humming the horrific "Pina Colada Song" in attempts to dislodge it. Oh God. Sigh. "If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain..."

Friday, May 8, 2009

In Which The Dork Train Pulls Into The Station

The hat trick-DorkFactor of 7.3

The super cute sheepish look after-Adorkable factor of 8.7

(tm "adorkable" to...? Sorry. If you can remind who it was was who came up with that perfect Maddow moniker, I will gratefully give a h/t. I'm thinking someone at AfterEllen)

I love the Friday silliness at TRMS.

No mention of Rachel attending the WH Correspondents Nerd Ball, but the thought of her in a tux...'nuff said.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Which The "Shock Doctrine" Lady Confirms Some Of My Worst Fears

I can't even wager a guess of how many hours we dedicated fans of TRMS have spent watching segments on the economy since Rachel launched in Sept. 08. They are almost uniformly depressing. (Thanks, Rachel's pessimistic nature! And...the really depressing economy.) They are usually hair-on-fire sorts of reports and interviews. But none of them has made the impression on me that Naomi Klein's interview tonight made.

If you haven't read "Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," get going. I was late to the party, reading it last year when I heard it mentioned during election politics. It is chilling, and carries with it an authority built on logic and evidence. Her interview above seemed the same to me. When she said that we have had a "massive transfer of public wealth into private hands," I actually shuddered. To hear it stated so simply was like getting the news for the first time.

I have written about the Glass-Steagall Act before, and Klein mentions that FDR used the leverage of public outrage to have GSA passed in two days. Two days! Have we lost our leverage to force regulation? I can't imagine a time in which our government could move so quickly. I've not seen it in my lifetime.

Sometimes when I'm watching the MSNBC lineup, I am so filled with impotent rage against those who enjoy "the impunity of the elites," whether they be in the economic sector or the governmental sector. I have fantasies about all of us impotently angry people marching in numbers so great that we cannot be denied our satisfaction! And accountability will reign o'er their heads! Why yes, the mood leveling drugs are working great; thanks for asking.

Whew. On a lighter note, I noticed that Rachel was communicating via eye semaphore again: "Ana...Marie...Cox...&...Naomi...Klein...stop...too...much...brains...and...hotness...stop...head...may...explode...stop"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In Which We Celebrate A Friend Of TRMS

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Paul Rieckhoff
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage

Paul Rieckhoff, TRMS buddy from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was on Colbert last night, and I thought he did a great job. Additionally, he tweeted throughout the evening: "Out for drinks w Colbert Report writers and crew--many of them headed to the middle east. They very cool, and very afraid" - about 15 hours ago from TwitterBerry

So let's hit the Support Your Vet link and help them get their 100K views of the new PSA by Sunday.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In Which We Attempt To Break Rachel's Secret Code

As I have mentioned before, I am no expert when it comes to make-up. Having said that, I have noticed on several occasions that there seems to be some sort of white, reflective material over Rachel's eyelids. When she blinks, this white material flashes, not unlike a stranded boater signaling an SOS in Morse code with a mirror. I am only just starting to break the code, but I'm pretty sure it reads, in part, "Get me the fuck out of this make-up and these lady clothes!" But I'm not positive. Oh, and something about "goddamn something prissy drinks something something something show something something a cocktail is...I something something Angostura." Haven't really figured that one out yet.

Monday, May 4, 2009

In Which We Find Sen. Sessions To Be Scary, But Familiar

Today, after some creative wrangling, it was announced that Sen. Sessions (R-AL)would now be the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. You know, the committee that the Supreme Court nominee will have to face. This same Sessions was denied a judgeship in the mid-eighties because he was considered "racially insensitive."

I grew up primarily in Key West, but I went to high school in Jacksonville, Fl. And while it has been a few years, let me tell you, it was a racist environment. A KKK group actually met out in the open, at one of the public high schools. Just like the PTA, or Adult Ed. The most scandalous thing about that? Hardly anybody thought it was scandalous. I am not surprised in the least by the racist charges the Sen. Sessions faced when he was nominated by Reagan for a U.S. District judgeship twenty-plus years ago. I suspect he was very surprised to discover that his views were not the prevailing ones. (You have to watch the clip above to see Ted Kennedy unleash a little whup-ass.) The "good 'ol boy" network, of which Sessions appeared to be a member, was alive and well in the mid-eighties. Probably still is, but as I am no longer an eyewitness to the Bubba-ism of the South, I can only surmise.

Sessions new committee position will please the far right conservatives. And I think of him as a shining beacon of the Southern GOP that has hijacked conservatism, taking the Republican Party with it. Does someone with such a dreadful ideological past, or for that matter, ideological present, belong on the committee that will decide the fate of a Supreme Court Nominee nominated by an African-American President? What if the nominee is African-American? Hispanic? Female? The nominee will undoubtedly be pro-choice. Sen. Sessions is most decidedly not.

Perhaps Sen. Sessions learned from his failed judgeship nomination all those years ago, and can remove his right-wing, uber-conservative ideology from the process. Right about the same time those monkeys fly out of my ass.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

In Which The Judge Tells KBR, "Umm, No"

TRMS has aired many a story about KBR and the electrocutions they are accused of causing with shoddy workmanship. Yesterday, May 1st, a federal judge denied an appeal request by Kellogg, Brown & Root to appeal over a lawsuit which accuses the company of negligent homicide in the electrocution death of a U.S. soldier, Sgt Ryan Maseth. (above)

“KBR filed a motion with U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer asking her to amend a March order that will allow the case to move forward; the order prevented an appeal during the course of the case,” reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The contractor wanted her to change that order to allow it to appeal her decision on a motion for dismissal to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Now, I don't speak lawyer, but I do understand "Kellogg, Brown & Root" and "denied." Granted, it's usually in the form of "KBR denied any wrongdoing." To any one who does speak lawyer: I would like to understand this whole "appeal during the course of the case" business. I do know that a few articles said that Judge Fischer was "reaffirming" a previous decision. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

But anyway, KBR loses at least one to The Good Guys.