Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Which I Struggle With Intellectual Integrity

Crap. Did you see Rachel's awesome interview with Alcee Hastings (D-FL) tonight on DADT? His arguments against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" were cogent, and well presented, and most importantly, he's willing to speak out. Vehemently. Unusual in Congress these days. But since last night, when he was mentioned on TRMS, I have had this niggling thought. The name Alcee Hastings rings some sort of bell for me. So I Googled. And I remembered. In the early '80s, when I wasn't an ex-pat yet, Mr. Hastings was a judge in South Florida, who was considered so corrupt he was that he was synonymous with moral debasement in a city that breathes it. If you are corrupt enough to get the attention of South Floridians, you are bad. Really bad. He was impeached.

So, as I mentioned, this was 25 years ago or more. I am all for letting this slide, because he's on my side now, and in a big, courageous way. But, I didn't let Sen. Sessions slide on his racist comments from approximately the same time period. So, reluctantly, I feel it is only fair to hold Rep. Hastings responsible for his past actions, the same way I do with conservatives who have a past they would prefer to disavow. Or, alternatively, I vow to let those with whom I disagree slide on their unsavory past. Which I don't plan to do. So here I am, outing a man who I now admire, as a man with a very unsavory past. So, I write this in order that I not be hypocritical. But...I am also very willing to believe in this particular person's redemption.

I hated writing this post. Sorry to pee in everybody's Wheaties.

Clearing the mental palate:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In Which We Respectfully Request That North Carolina Rein In Congresswoman Crazypants

Seriously, what are they putting in the Republican's Kool-Aid? Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) took the floor to decry the killing of senior citizens everywhere, as outlined by the President's health care plan. She, of the Mathew-Shephard's-death-wasn't-a-hate-crime-it-was-a-hoax fame. The most generous interpretation I can offer is, she's off her meds; my actual opinion, she is batshit crazy. To underscore the finer points of "batshit," I refer to this Wiktionary entry:
Adjective - batshit 1. (slang) Too irrational to be dealt with sanely. "Don't take any courses from that professor. She's completely batshit."
Adverb - 1. (slang) Used as an intensifier. "When we heard about it he went batshit nuts."
To clarify, I am using it adverbially. On a brighter note, the Republicans are making themselves unelectable. Except in North Carolina. And Texas.

Also, it's mine! My cute little house on the lake.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In Which I Offer What Little I Have On Race

First I offer Obama's historic speech on race during the primaries.

Maddow, et. al. parsing that speech on "Race to the White House:"

And finally, Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Rachel discuss race the night before the Inauguration:

My take on the Professor Gates debacle? I have seen racial profiling at work, and have little doubt it was a factor. But, like MHL said tonight, I wish Obama had avoided the question about it during his press conference last night, for all the same reasons. I am sick at the idea of giving any more ammunition to those who would use race to divide us. The Pat Buchanan vitriol shows that there is no lack of white rage available to be exploited. Is it really going to be that easy?

Please weigh in with your take.

P.S. Dear TRMS, Not all midwesterners come from Chicago. For Michigan, you have to flatten your As. For instance, "jacket" becomes "jyaacket." Thank you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Accidental Martyr

The Senate passed the 'Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act' today. But there are caveats, per usual, with Congress. The biggest caveat is the F-22 issue that Rachel and Rep. Barney-His-Awesomeness-The Curmudgeon-Frank were talking about. Obama has said he will veto any bill funding the F-22, so getting the monkey off the back of the hate crime legislation is a big step forward. Now Sen. Sessions, he of "the NAACP is a commie organization" fame, has added an amendment that allows for the death penalty in certain hate crimes. Sessions does not do this because he wants the ultimate punishment for those that may commit hate crimes, but because adding it makes it harder for a lot of Democrats to support it. He hopes. Now, in a similar move, Sen. Thune (R-SD) has added another amendment, this one some guns rights thing. Seriously. Of course, all of this is because the hate crimes bill is itself an amendment to the defense spending bill.

Have I just not been paying attention all this time? What a clusterfuck!

The ripples from the rock you throw with deliberation into the lake spread no further than the ripples from the rock you accidentally kick into it. Lack of intention often has little to do with the progression of events. The ripples from Matthew Shepard's death are still spreading, sweeping us all up in concentric circles of consequences. I am sure that Matthew's family is feeling a sense of triumph tonight. Triumph that good came from horrific, and Matthew's death has meaning far beyond the event. But, as a parent, no such sense of satisfaction could ever balance the grief. And Matthew is an accidental martyr, a man who surely, as he hung from the fence, in the cold, alone, could not have imagined the effect his death would have on millions of people. Do the martyrs ever know?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In Which We Witness A Wonk Smackdown Heard 'Round The InterWebs

By now all of you have seen this clip, probably 2 or 3 times. It doesn't get old, really. It was shocking to see such racist opinions aired in such an unapologetic way. Rachel held her own, but her natural instinct to be polite and not interrupt her guest gave Buchanan too much of a platform. I wish, the rules of fair debating aside, that she had shut him down. At the end, when she gets all fierce and tells Buchanan he's playing with fire, I felt she was only beginning to get to the heart of the matter. I couldn't believe it when she let his statement about white men building this country go basically unopposed. It is logically, historically, demonstrably false, and should not have gone unchallenged. Of course, that's easy for me to say, sitting here in the comfort of my living room, with no camera on me, and no producer screaming in my ear to go to commercial. Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a favorite of ours here at SSI, saying it much better than I ever could, had some very interesting tweets about the smackdown:

MHL - I also think @maddow looked professional and reasonable in comparison.38 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - It's over. I'm definitely of two minds. I think spewing racism and uncountered racist falsehoods on TVNews is not Ok.39 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - I'm not sure I agree that it's "obvious" what's wrong with Pat. Huge gaps in racial & ideology perceptions are part of what I study.41 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - The funniest part to me is that nearly 100% of MSNBC shows are anchored by white guys. It's like SCOTUS.43 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - Ok black people run fast. That is clear madness.44 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - In the Ivy League we give out grades?!? Kiss my ass Pat.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - These are the death throes of Americas white supremacy. But I do think @maddow could have countered his false factoids.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - Ok the worst part is "white people built this country". That's just a lie. @maddow not effectively countering.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - Ok I think @maddow is clearly giving him way too much time to say things that aren't true.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - There seem to be 2 opinions here. 1 group thinks @maddow did great. Others think giving Pat a hearing was wrong. Tell me what u think.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

I'm sure Professor Harris-Lacewell was apoplectic at the Ivy League comment. Check that; at the whole, damn, sorry diatribe.

I guess that I am shocked that Buchanan is so enraged. I expected resentment, but the rage scares me. It makes me fear that there is probably a much bigger chunk of our country that is virulently racist than I realized. I am praying that Buchanan is a voice for only a small, bitter segment of society. So much for post-racial, huh?

ETA: Perhaps my favorite Tweet of all time, courtesy of MHL, "Ok so I wake up to my Twitterverse to learn the SCLC is ousting it's Pres because he opposes Prop 8. Lord a mercy I'm on it."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In Which Forbes Recognizes The Power Of The Maddow

The Most Influential Women In Media Forbes July 14, 2009
No. 15: Rachel Maddow
"Maddow's eponymous cable talk/news/events show debuted last year and now regularly beats her CNN competitor, Larry King Live, in the ratings. Maddow, 36, quickly established a reputation as someone who could tackle issues with intelligence and irreverence. With her embrace of Twittering, podcasting and fan art, she appeals to a younger, hipper audience. Her Web site is even designed like an iPod, with a "playlist." She also has a regular show on Air America, the liberal radio station."
Rachel is one of three out lesbians on the list, Ellen at number 4, and Suze Orman at number 18. In celebration, here is Rachel in media influencing mode:

Friday, July 10, 2009

In Which Ann Coulter Lusts After Rachel Maddow

Sarcasm? I think not. Just check out the first thirty seconds of the clip below from 2006.

I knew it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Which My Sad, Sorry Life Regains Meaning

My keyboard runneth over! There's so much to be grateful for. Rachel's back, and she's using props and acting dorky. I haven't been this happy since...well... since...ok...since last night's awesome dinner - but you know what I mean.

First, the waders. The awesome waders. Is it wrong of me that I thought she looked hot in them?

And, please to notice: still holding her ubiquitous pen.

Now, some actual news: Al Franken is finally a senator! Senator Klobuchar mentions that Senators Kennedy (D-MA) and Byrd (D-WV) are gravely ill, which could affect the Democrats supermajority. Before you start wringing your hands, I'd like to share this from Politics Daily.
It remains one of the most dramatic scenes in Senate history. California Democrat Clair Engle -- dying from a brain tumor -- was wheeled onto the Senate floor, attended by a nurse, to vote to end a Dixiecrat filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As civil rights historian Nick Kotz tells it in "Judgment Days," Engle valiantly tried to speak but could not form the words. So he slowly lifted his hand and pointed to his eye as the Senate clerk declared, "Senator Engle votes aye."
Teared up a little, didn't you? Kennedy and Byrd are two guys I won't count out until they are truly gone.

If you haven't seen the Oscar winning documentary about Robert McNamara, "Fog of War" that Rachel makes reference to, you can watch it free here. It is not to be missed.

And, apropos of nothing, other than Holly Hunter is awesome as ass-kicking Grace in "Saving Grace," I present the theme song by Everlast. It has been in heavy rotation in the iPod for several months. (best heard cranked, with a subwoofer)

In celebration of Rachel's return from her fishing trip on Cape Cod, I would like to share a poem. Mary Oliver, a lesbian, is known as "The Bard of Provincetown." In the linked NYT article Oliver describes her relationship with Molly Malone Cook as a “40-year conversation."
She moved to Provincetown to be with the woman she loved, and to whom she has dedicated her books of poetry, Molly Malone Cook. As Ms. Oliver explained it in “Our World,” a collection of Ms. Cook’s photographs that she published two years after Ms. Cook’s death in 2005, the two of them had met at Steepletop, the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay, when both of them were there in the late 1950s visiting Norma Millay, the late poet’s sister, and her husband. “I took one look and fell, hook and tumble,” Ms. Oliver said in “Our World.”
I am a relationship cynic, but that does melt my heart.

On the Beach

Some herons
were fishing
in the robes
of the night

at a low hour
of the water’s body,
and the fish, I suppose,
were full

of fish happiness
in those transparent inches
even as, over and over,
the beaks jacked down

and the narrow
bodies were lifted
with every
shining sally,

and that was the end of them
as far as we know—
though, what do we know
except that death

is so everywhere and so entire—
pummeling and felling,
or sometimes,
like this, appearing

through such a thin door—
one stab, and you’re through!
And what then?
Why, then it was almost morning,

and one by one
the birds
opened their wings
and flew.

Perhaps more dark than celebratory, but excellent just the same. This little picture is the only one I could find of the two of them:

Monday, July 6, 2009

In Which...

Yeah, I hope she feels better...blah, blah, blah...sorry she's under the weather...blah, blah, blah...freaking needs to feel better tomorrow...blah-freaking-blah!!!

ETA: Sorry. My tone was a little harsh, but mostly I meant it. Which I'm sure says way too much about me. Cheers to Rachel's improved health! (That seems nicer, doesn't it?)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In Which We All Mutter, "Really, MSNBC?"

Seriously. Breaking news! MJ still dead. I have nothing to write about, so, as is usual in these circustances: gratuitious Maddow.

If I don't know who they are, I just crop 'em right out.

Rachel wears orange!

You can't really see her, but this picture cracks me up because she is dressed like nearly everyone I know.

Pictures all courtesy of MaddowFans.