15 More Minutes

May 13, 2009

straitjacket_new1

At least SOMEBODY finally said it:

President Barack Obama ended up in the middle of an unlikely controversy this morning — the debate over Miss California’s position on gay marriage.

At a press conference addressing Carrie Prejean’s disputed title in the Miss USA competition, pageant owner Donald Trump compared Prejean’s stated views on gay marriage to Obama’s.

It’s the same answer that the president of the United States gave,” Trump said. “She gave an honorable answer. She gave an answer from her heart.”

In her own remarks moments later, Prejean echoed Trump’s statement, telling reporters: “The president of the United States, the secretary of state, and many Americans agree with me in this belief.”

In the final round of the Miss USA pageant, Prejean told judge Perez Hilton: “I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.” (emphasis added)

This whole kerfluffle is absurd. Why does anyone really care what a beauty pageant contestant thinks about an issue? She’s not running for political office.  Attacking her only gave her a platform to speak from.

The pageant paid for her to get a boob job and paraded her around in a swimsuit, but they’re angry because she had photos taken wearing lingerie.  People call her a hypocrite because she claims to be a Christian, but one of the pageant officials criticizing her for posing in her skivvies is a former Playboy centerfold.  Hypocrisy overload!

Now today we find out she took some other photos where wasn’t wearing ALL of her skivvies.

You may as well get used to the name Carrie Prejean, cuz she’s gonna be around for a while.  She’s famous now.  Any bets on whether she’s a contestant on next season’s Celebrity Apprentice?

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Wanda Syke(ophant)s

May 13, 2009

Ben Shapiro writes at Big Hollywood:

Wanda Sykes, by contrast, is the most gutless and feckless performer ever to grace the White House Correspondents Dinner.

[…]

She recently proclaimed during the California Prop. 8 debate that “Everybody that knows me personally, they know I’m gay … Now, I gotta get in their face.  I’m proud to be a woman.  I’m proud to be a black woman, and I’m proud to be gay.”

Well, apparently she’s not so proud to be gay.  Because when given the opportunity to make jokes about the nation’s leading proponent of opposite-sex marriage, President Barack Obama, she said precisely nothing.  Instead, she chose to gently stroke his ego with jokes about his pecs, his dog, and his basketball skills.

[…]

Nobody has the obligation to “speak truth to power” when given the opportunity.  Sometimes it’s okay just to be funny.  But if one is given the opportunity to speak truth to power, sees him/herself as a champion of “speaking truth to power,” and instead chooses to spend the time excoriating the power’s opposition, that would be sycophantic stupidity of the worst kind.

You don’t speak truth to power by kissing its ass until your lips are chapped, meanwhile saving your worst attacks for people who aren’t even there.  This is how you do it:

Read the rest of this entry »


Keeping your eyes on the prize

May 13, 2009

All of us have issues we care about, some more than others.  Some of us have one or two issues we are very passionate about.  That’s usually a good thing, unless our passion causes us to lose perspective.  It becomes a problem when we are so emotionally invested in an issue that we can’t tell friend from foe, and it becomes a serious problem when we start attacking our allies because they disagree over strategy or tactics.

The Civil Rights struggle was fought on three fronts.  There was the legal front, where court cases were filed challenging discriminatory laws.  One of the big victories in that front was Brown v. Board of Education which reversed Plessy v. Ferguson and struck down “separate but equal.”

There was the political front, where blacks were encouraged to vote and politicians were pressured to pass new laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places, and employment, and Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated discriminatory practices that kept blacks from voting in many states.

The third and arguably the most important front was the battle for public opinion.  Led by Martin Luther King this effort set out to win the hearts and minds of white America and convince them that segregation and discrimination were wrong.  They used a strategy of peaceful non-violence, where all the hatred, anger and violence flowed one direction.  It was enormously successful, as love literally conquered hate.  In a few short years racism went from being common and in many places enforced by law to being socially unacceptable everywhere.

Racism isn’t dead, but it’s been driven underground.  But another form of bigotry is still out in the open, although it too is under assault.  That bigotry is homophobia.  The good news is we appear to be reaching a tipping point where the last vestiges of legal discrimination will be wiped away.  The bad news is we aren’t there yet.

Women are the majority in this country.  If every woman joined with all the others and voted as one for the same woman candidates they would hold every elective office in this nation within six years.  In just four years they would hold the White House and would control Congress.  The only remaining stronghold of male domination in politics would be the life-tenured judiciary.

African Americans are about 12% of our population and LGBT’s about 3% so neither group can prevail politically just by standing united.  Nor can they count on the law because as 52% of California voters showed last year the law can be changed.  That’s why the battle for public opinion is so important.

In this kind of civil rights  struggle there are basically five groups of people:

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Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?

May 13, 2009
Who ordered the one with extra arugula?

Who ordered the one with extra arugula?

The more things change, the more they remain insane.  From Willam A. Jacobson at Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion:

My post the other day, MSNBC Hides Obama’s Dijon Mustard (aka Dijongate), has hit a nerve unlike anything else I have written.

The post concerned the lunch trip of Obama and Biden to a burger shop to get a “Hell Burger.” I accept that this should not have been news, but the White House image makers wanted to portray the two as just regular guys out at the local diner, so the event was hyped. MSNBC just happened to be in the burger place with cameras rolling when Obama and Biden came in and ordered. Again, not sure why MSNBC had to cover it, but they did, on live TV with Andrea Mitchell at the news desk and Kelly O’Donnell on scene. The dialogue between the two harped on how the trip had a “real guy kind of quality.”

And that was the story line. Two regular guys out for a guy kind of meal. A script written in the White House and read by MSNBC.

But MSNBC edited out the audio when Obama ordered his Hell Burger just at the moment when Obama asked for Dijon mustard. Now I have nothing against Dijon mustard, but the image didn’t fit with the image being spun by the White House and MSNBC. Dijon mustard on a Hell Burger had a very John Kerry-ish quality about it.

So I did the post, made note of the Dijon mustard, the MSNBC editing, and quipped how Obama must have sought Kerry’s counsel. Instapundit (which dubbed the scenario “Dijongate”) and Hot Air linked to the post, with the commentary that they thought the mustard thing was a non-scandal and non-issue.

Like most of my posts, Dijongate could have and probably should have fallen into the black hole of internet punditry, never to be seen or heard of again. But the reaction from the nutroots was widespread and swift, and they have kept the story alive.

Check out the links to the original post, and you will see that many of the high profile nutroots blogs have linked. If you check out the links and comments, you will see that the full foul-mouthed, abusive intellect of the nutroots has been brought to bear.

So BO and Joe go out for a burger just like regular guys, and the whole press corps tags along. BO does something that Jacobson finds snark-worthy and the nutroots gets its two-minute hate on.

Meanwhile important news like the lastest on Joe the Plumber and Carrie Prejean’s allegedly gay father get pushed off the front page.

I’m either drinking too much or not enough.


Bob Somerby Howls (UPDATED)

May 13, 2009

olbermann14

This is one of the most succinct (for Bob) explanations of what’s wrong with our news media:

The bailout will go down as the biggest heist in monetary history?
[…]
Is there any chance that’s true? For ourselves, we have no idea—in part, because we watch Maddow and Olbermann. At a time of massive upheaval, they flood their domestic coverage with utterly silly pseudo-events, giving almost no coverage at all to the monumental events Klein was discussing. (Or to health care. Or to low-income schools. Or to Obama’s budget, for good or for ill—except as a chance to shout sexual insults at the rival tribe.) A few weeks ago, we wondered why someone as smart and as central as Klein had never appeared on Maddow’s show—had appeared on Olbermann’s show only once. (In 2007, during her book tour. Right before Paris Hilton.) Today, we raise that question again, pointing to last evening’s statement.

Is there any chance the ongoing bailouts will go down as history’s biggest heist? We don’t have the slightest idea! We watch progressive news programs.

We now have several 24/7/365 “news” channels in this country and we still don’t know what the f*ck is going on.

BECAUSE THEY WON’T TELL US!

But they will tell us (ad nauseum) that Carrie Prejean had a boob job and Bristol Palin didn’t use protection and the Obamas got a dog and  we’re all gonna die from swine mexican flying devil pig flu (or maybe not.)

____________________________________________________

UPDATE:

I must be psychic.  From Tennessee Guerrilla Women:

MSNBC is reporting that the biblically correct Miss California will be stripped of her crown today. Carrie Prejean has apparently broken pageant rules, or lied to pageant officials about nude photos in her past.

Carrie Prejean was 1st runner-up.  Can anybody name Miss USA?

She got ambushed by Perez Hilton, the media trashed her, and now she’ll be famous.

I’ll bet Ms. Prejean will be crying all the way to the bank.


What Does “Qualified” Mean?

May 13, 2009

strawman

With the announcement by David Souter that he intends to retire from SCOTUS at the end of this term the usual suspects are getting their panties in a twist over the possibility that white men will be discriminated against in the selection of a replacement.  They are worried that gender, race and/or sexual orientation will matter more than qualifications, raising the spectre of an unqualified vajajay-possessing “w-word” getting the job.  That’s bullshit!

First of all, “qualified” is a vague term.

There are many people with the education and experience to be appointed to SCOTUS, including most federal appellate justices, many state appellate justices, as well as some scholars and politicians.  As far as education we would expect someone who graduated from a nationally accredited law school.  That would imply that they also had at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

We would expect that any appointee would have practiced law for a substantial period, generally including some time as an appellate justice on the state or federal bench.  There are notable exceptions.  Earl Warren was never a judge, prior to his SCOTUS appointment he was a district attorney, Attorney General and Governor of California.  Thurgood Marshall was chief counsel for the NAACP and won a number of civil rights cases including Brown v. Board of Education.

Those are the qualifications we would expect, and many people meet that threshold.  Age and ideology are desirable characteristics, not qualifications. But even if you narrowed the “qualified” group by considering only candidates who are moderate to liberal and within a range of 40 to 60 years of age, there is still a sizable group to choose from.

Since all of that group are “qualified” it is perfectly appropriate to consider characteristics like gender, race and/or sexual orientation in order to provide more diversity to SCOTUS.  At that point what other characteristics matter more?

In our 200+ year history we have had two women and two black justices on the highest court in our land.  There have been no hispanics or asians, nor any known gays or lesbians.  It’s time for a change.

Does the name of the school on their diploma matter more than the body of work they have completed in the two to three decades since they graduated?  Does it really matter that much what grades and/or honors they recieved, or what student offices they held?

Keep in mind that institutional sexism and racism will have affected the educational and professional careers of women and minorities, and doubly so minority women.  Their gender and/or race made it harder to get into good schools, get hired, promoted, and/or receive recognition.  To use that against them now is to perpetuate the discrimination.

But if you think white men in this country are being discriminated against then I have a bridge I want to sell you.


Buyer’s Remorse

May 13, 2009

lemon-law1
You gotta read this article by Chris Hedges:

Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, our elected officials continue to have their palms greased by armies of corporate lobbyists, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East. Brand Obama is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, we are being duped into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest.

[…]

Brand Obama offers us an image that appears radically individualistic and new. It inoculates us from seeing that the old engines of corporate power and the vast military-industrial complex continue to plunder the country. Corporations, which control our politics, no longer produce products that are essentially different, but brands that are different. Brand Obama does not threaten the core of the corporate state any more than did Brand George W. Bush. The Bush brand collapsed. We became immune to its studied folksiness. We saw through its artifice. This is a common deflation in the world of advertising. So we have been given a new Obama brand with an exciting and faintly erotic appeal. Benetton and Calvin Klein were the precursors to the Obama brand, using ads to associate themselves with risqué art and progressive politics. It gave their products an edge. But the goal, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand with an experience.

[…]

Obama, who has become a global celebrity, was molded easily into a brand. He had almost no experience, other than two years in the Senate, lacked any moral core and could be painted as all things to all people. His brief Senate voting record was a miserable surrender to corporate interests. He was happy to promote nuclear power as “green” energy. He voted to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He reauthorized the Patriot Act. He would not back a bill designed to cap predatory credit card interest rates. He opposed a bill that would have reformed the notorious Mining Law of 1872. He refused to support the single-payer health care bill HR676, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers. He supported the death penalty. And he backed a class-action “reform” bill that was part of a large lobbying effort by financial firms. The law, known as the Class Action Fairness Act, would effectively shut down state courts as a venue to hear most class-action lawsuits and deny redress in many of the courts where these cases have a chance of defying powerful corporate challenges.

Too bad there’s no “Lemon Law” that covers Presidential elections.  I had to laugh at the defensiveness of one of the Obot trolls reacting to the post on this same topic over at Cannonfire.  It looks like 2012 will feature the most bizarre reelection slogan ever:

Do you think McCain could have done any better?