Archive for April 30th, 2009

A Modest Proposal

So, as I understand it, the Voting Rights Act may be in trouble:

[T]he Voting Rights Act… among other things, requires a federal judge or the Department of Justice to “pre-clear” any changes to voting procedures in parts of the country that have a history of excluding voters on the basis of race.  White racists who try to exclude minorities as minorities have to justify their decision to do so, and their plans are frequently thwarted by the good folks in the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

If early reports from yesterday’s oral arguments in the Supreme Court are accurate, however, that may soon be changing.  Apparently, the five conservative justices are upset that the Voting Rights Act singles out a handful of largely southern states, while allowing states like Michigan and California to escape supervision under the pre-clearance provisions—so they look ready to strike the whole thing down.

If the problem is that southern states are being singled out when there are racists everywhere, how is that an argument for eliminating the VRA entirely?  If the conservative justices are so worried that northern racists are getting away with murder, then why not simply expand the pre-clearance requirement to all states?  I mean, their objective is to eliminate racially discriminatory election laws, right?

Right?

5 comments April 30th, 2009 at 10:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Elections,Judiciary,Politics,Racism,Republicans

Headline Of The Month

“Georgia candidate doesn’t think past sex with mule will hurt his chances for Governor”

No, seriously:

When you’re a reporter, you occasionally have to ask uncomfortable questions of someone. In this case, I landed an interview with the Georgia Creator’s Rights Party candidate for governor, Neal Horsley, who is running on the secessionist platform. During the course of my research, I stumbled upon the fact that Horsley had screwed a mule. (Horsely originally fessed up in an Esquire article, which was picked up by Alan Colmes.) At that point, the campaign, the crusade, everything else kind of takes a backseat to the fact that he screwed a mule.

(…)

Here’s a snippet of his confession on Alan Colmes:

NH: “Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule.”

AC: “I’m not so sure that that is so.”

NH: “You didn’t grow up on a farm in Georgia, did you?”

AC: “Are you suggesting that everybody who grows up on a farm in Georgia has a mule as a girlfriend?”

NH: It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from the reality… Welcome to domestic life on the farm…”

Colmes said he thought there were a lot of people in the audience who grew up on farms, are living on farms now, raising kids on farms and “and I don’t think they are dating Elsie right now. You know what I’m saying?”

Horsley said, “You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually. You’re naive. You know better than that… If it’s warm and it’s damp and it vibrates you might in fact have sex with it.”

Yep. There was no way we weren’t going to ask about that one….

(…)

“We’re talking about the mule now?”

Yes, he says. The mule.

“A small mule?” I ask.

“No, a full grown mule,” he says. “She loved me, though.”

(…)

“All I had to do was give her an ear of corn.” He laughs again. “She was a [prostitute] mule.”

….The kicker is, as soon as I was done she pissed all over me. It was embarrassing. I never told anyone that before.”

(…)

Not only that, but Horsley has had sex with men. He was in the Air Force, it was a cold night, yadda, yadda, yadda, he had sex with him, ahem, the way he did the mule. “It was gross,” he says.

Really? He hadn’t described the mule that way.

“I’ve [screwed] a watermelon,” he says. And that’s just for starters. He’s had sex with just about everything it’s physically possible to have sex with, and some that isn’t. “How many times have I masturbated in my life?” he asks. Now he’s 65 and orgasm-free for two years (his wife finally divorced him — too much “drama”, she said). “The bottom line is, I never treated it as if it were not a sin.”

Ho. Ly. Crap.

Also, he is willing to kill his own son to secede from the United States.  What’s not to like?

(h/t Phoenix Woman)

April 30th, 2009 at 10:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Republicans,Weirdness

When The Nazis Do It, It’s Not Illegal

Wow, Condi sure had an eventful Monday at Stanford…

Awesome.  A few more visits back to Stanford and she’ll have a legacy to rival Dick Cheney’s, and her “husband” will be in prison.

1 comment April 30th, 2009 at 09:30pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

Great Moments In Republican Messaging

This is absolutely hilarious:

ANNOUNCER:  (Disclaimer) Hello, this is Jack.
I’ve recorded this message on behalf of the National Republican
Senatorial Committee located at 425 2nd St, Washington, DC or
202-675-4260 to help you welcome your newest Democrat Senator, Arlen
Specter.

We wanted to make sure that we properly introduced him to you.  Former President George W. Bush said this about Arlen Specter.

PRESIDENT BUSH:  I’m here to say it as plainly
as I can, Arlen Specter is the right man for the United States Senate.
I can count on this man – see that’s important. He’s a firm ally when
it matters most.  I’m proud to tell you I think he’s earned another
term as the United States Senator.

ANNOUNCER: Now here is Senator Specter on important issues to Labor and Democrat interest groups.

SEN SPECTER: I will not be an automatic 60th
vote. And I would illustrate that by my position on employee’s choice
also known as card check. Uh, I think it is a bad deal and I’m opposed
to it and would not vote to invoke cloture.

“Hi, Pennsylvania!  We’re the Republican Party.  Arlen Specter agrees with us on almost everything.  Is that the kind of senator you want to represent you?  Vote against Arlen Specter… because he votes with us.”  And if they really want to screw him over, they should get Bush and Cheney to go campaigning for him.

Man, I wish I could have been at the meeting where they asked, “How can we make the fact that we suck and everyone hates us work in our favor?”

April 30th, 2009 at 08:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Photoblogging,Politics,Republicans,Specter

No! Really?

This can only be good for Republicans!

The AP obtained partial results from a GOP poll that showed Republicans “are widely viewed by the public as less competent than Democrats to handle issue ranging from health care to education and energy.”

“Democrats were favored by a margin of 61% to 29% on education; 59% to 30% on health care and 59% to 31% on energy. Congress is expected to consider major legislation later this year in all three areas.”

“Democats were also viewed with more confidence in handling taxes, long a Republican strong suit. The only issue among nine in the survey where the two parties were rated as even was in the war on terror.”

Wow, no-one could have anticipated that FUCKING UP EVERY SINGLE THING YOU TOUCH might have an adverse effect on perceptions of your competence.

And while that last sentence may sound like a bit of a silver lining, remember that terrorism is supposed to be the one issue that the GOP totally owns, and they’re tied with the Democrats?  The Republicans are so screwed right now, and they have no-one but themselves to blame.  Not only was their flagship administration criminal and incompetent, but they chose to completely abdicate their responsibility to rein in that criminality and incompetence.

Chickens, meet roost.

(h/t Phoenix Woman)

April 30th, 2009 at 07:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Terrorism

You Might Be An Unprincipled Hack If…

…Even David Broder doesn’t buy your I-did-it-all-for-the-centrism narrative:

But much as Specter’s decision reflects an increasingly serious weakness in the Republican Party, there is no escaping the fact that it is also an opportunistic move by one of the most opportunistic politicians of modern times.

The one consistency in the history of Arlen Specter has been his willingness to do whatever will best protect and advance the career of Arlen Specter.

In 2004, when some in the GOP caucus challenged his elevation to the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter assured them that he would not use the post to block any of President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees. And despite his sometimes liberal record, he voted for both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

Just a few weeks ago, when he was still calculating how he might survive a Republican primary against Toomey, he announced that — despite his friendship with labor — he would not support the so-called card check legislation that is the No. 1 priority of the unions.

This is the man who now has the strongest claim upon the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania.

Specter has been welcomed to the Democratic Party by President Obama and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, the most influential Democrat in Harrisburg. That makes it unlikely that Specter will face any serious challenge in next year’s Senate primary. And, if his health holds up, he will be a strong favorite against Toomey in the November election.

So, once again, Specter is likely to reap political rewards from his maneuvering. But the Democrats should be open-eyed about what they are gaining from his return to his original political home.

Specter’s history shouts the lesson that he will stick with you only as long as it serves his own interests — and not a day longer.

Broder is giving D-Arlen entirely too much credit – he won’t even stick with the Democrats now that he is one.  His defection may be a messaging disaster for the Republicans, but it’s going to be a practical disaster for the Democrats.

1 comment April 30th, 2009 at 06:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Specter,Wankers

The Law And The Government Are Supposed To Be On The Same Side

Yet another example of why the Bush administration was morally and ethically repulsive:

Karen Greenberg’s book, Least Worst Place, gives us a very compelling answer. It’s found in a passage in which Will Taft (who emerges from all of this as a minor hero who genuinely believes the values that he articulates) relays a discussion he had with John Yoo. He didn’t understand why there was such ferocious pushback against the Geneva Conventions–why not just accept and live with these standards? America had done so for fifty years. The room got quiet, and Yoo said, “We have an Article 17 problem.”

That was a key point. Article 17 says, “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war,” and John Yoo and the others did not want to have to agree to that. Taft understood what was going on, and he fought back. The State Department team wrote a memo calling Yoo’s opinion “seriously flawed” and “fundamentally inaccurate.” They were saying that John Yoo’s lawyering was incompetent.

But we learn from Greenberg’s book that there was a point to all of this. Yoo’s analysis of the law was dishonest. It was driven by a need to get a certain result–to introduce a system of torture of the prisoners. He was intent on twisting the law to get all the restrictions out of the way.

Good-faith opinion writing? I think not.

The whole purpose of the OLC is to tell the administration what it legally can and cannot do, not act like a mob lawyer finding loopholes or concocting bogus rationales for whatever sordid things the boss wants to do.  If (I repeat, IF) we still had functioning mechanisms for accountability, Yoo and Bybee’s legal malpractice would have exposed Bush and his inner circle to the risk of some serious jailtime.

The OLC is supposed to rein in the administration’s criminal impulses, not enable them.

April 30th, 2009 at 05:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture

If You Like Scaring Yourself…

Check out this post by Sara Robinson about how the right-wing extremists are working themselves into a frenzy over President Obama and his Islamosocialist plot to take away all our guns and money and give them to lazy minorities.  I really hope she’s wrong and reading too much into what they’re saying and doing, but I sure as hell wouldn’t bet on it.

I do think she’s right that if they start retreating into heavily-armed compounds, it’s going to get ugly fast.

It’s pretty long (and you should read the whole thing), so I’ll jump right to the conclusion:

[T]he most likely case is that vast majority of the folks now drunk on right-wing hate talk will ultimately sober up just soon enough not to follow the movement’s emerging leaders down this road. But, if the 1990s were any guide (and the DHS report seems to think that they are), there will also be a small but significant fraction of hardcore right-wingers who will zoom right through the flashing red lights and ride all the way to the bloody end. Without the moderating influence of the saner voices among them, they’ll quickly turn violent — and we could be in for an interesting few years before it all burns itself out.

And, in the end, it probably will burn itself out. In the 1990s, the violence escalated up until the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 — an event so gruesome and dramatic that it discredited the movement even among its own followers. Tim McVeigh’s capture and execution also scared tough-talking movement leaders with the threat of real consequences. And so that round ended.

What we’ve seen the past 100 days strongly suggests that, to at least some degree, we will be going there again. The right wing long ago accepted a foundational narrative that justifies violence. Now, the leaders of the movement are inciting their followers to take many (if not most) of the intermediate steps that signal a group actively gearing up for violence. From this point, it’s only a short slide to further separation, disengagement, and finally confrontation. What we’ve seen so far has been intense and surprising — but we should also recognize it as the first warning gusts of a rapidly gathering storm.

Well, that’s certainly something to look forward to.  If we are fated to live through a bout of scary violent right-wing craziness, I hope we at least get the silver lining of a discredited conservative movement, forcing the Republican Party to start coming back from the fringe.  Not going to hold my breath, though.

April 30th, 2009 at 11:37am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Republicans

Wait… What?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dUBdm25Nqo

Did Pat Buchanan just get on Chris Matthews for bigotry?

PAT BUCHANAN???

April 30th, 2009 at 06:55am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Racism,Republicans,Sexism


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