Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nope--got no sole.

Okay--that title is lifted from a tweet from Jonathan Capehart, who documents the silliness of the "Shoe Truthers" with a trace of the exasperation any sane person might feel when examining the actual serious thought processes of people who might be a wee bit paranoid a lot.

I'm kind of an uptight thinker who seldom strays into the fanciful except to atomize a yet-more out-there notion--so let me boringly put a damper on this thing: there is obviously no way for any person to aim a shoe that they were wearing at a public figure and then hobble off scot-free. They are certain to be apprehended--any fancy of flight would prove, well, bootless.  Any collusion to plant a person in an audience to launch a shoe would involve some connecting factor, because once charged with a federal offense (and a savvy lawyer like Hillary Clinton would have known this much) any stooge paid off to, for some kind of reason, launch a shoe at her, would roll like the mighty Mississippi. Who would bargain away their freedom for X-untraceable amount of funds for a PR scheme? The sane folks who'd go for that are few and far between, and there are many limiting factors involved in employing someone who would not be classified as mentally fit.

And let's consider the PR downsides, which are numerous. Getting smacked upside the old bean with a sneaker would be ungraceful, so one might study to avoid head to tennie contact. Ducking is, itself, a kind of submissive posture. The actual fact of anyone launching an athletic shoe at one implies unpopularity--there is no good reason anyone would want to portray that level of unpopularity. A "lone shoe-er" is a poor representative of anything like a "vast, right-wing conspiracy", so activating sympathetic historical memes is out...leaving what exactly? A footwear fetish?

So fine, you are left with the spectacle of a former First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State ducking and covering from a podalic projectile because that's the way she likes it. Uh huh? Uh huh. That is some serious stupid.  I do not know what to make of anyone who would stupid that hard.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Belated Comment on Ben Shapiro's Race Thingy

I've been linking a lot to TPM lately, but there you go: fangirl, thing I do. But I want to punctuate this thoughtful comparison of Jonathan Chait's slightly flawed long piece on conservatism and race and Ben Shapiro's much shorter and dumber piece on Colbert's parody of conservatism with an observation. When I read Chait's piece, even if I thought he was bending over backwards to not depict conservatives and specifically the GOP party message all this while as racist per se even if the results tend that way in practice in terms of income inequality and legitimate claims of inequality of access to the ballot, education, etc., I understood he was well-intentioned.

When I read Ben Shapiro's piece, I was overcome by the black face picture of Al Jolson. Seriously? Whose editorial decision was that picture? (Does, um, Shapiro have editorial control over his thing over there?) Because when Shapiro makes the claim that Stephen Colbert's satirical representation of conservative thought is a minstrel-show of it which should revolt any conservative watching, I kind of tended to recall that some conservatives watched the show and thought it was great fun because they took it at face value. Indeed, there is an Internet concept of Poe's Law--where it is known to be impossible to distinguish between true extremism and parodies of same, because extremists are so very. And parodies are supposed to depict the so very--so they have considerable overlap.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eternal Vigilance

It was five years ago that the Department of Homeland Security issued a report that indicated that right-wing extremism was on the rise in the US. Although criticized by some on the (moderate) right, this prediction has born out. I found myself thinking about that dynamic with the threat of possible violence looming over the militia-minded defense of rancher Bundy's welfare queen cows (thankfully, averted), and even more so with the fatal shooting of three in an attack on a Kansas Jewish Community Center.

The alleged shooter, Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., was a long-time white nationalist, and (keeping in mind he hasn't been convicted) apparent first-time mad-dog killer, but an interview with a friend of his, Craig Cobb, suggested a possible trigger--a lung disease that was slowly taking him off. That's kind of what I always suspected set off James van Brunn, who at age 89 opened fire in the Holocaust Museum killing one, a security guard--seeing the end of life coming, he simply saw murdering some innocent people in the name of his twisted world view a thing to cross off his bucket list. But there's this other, ominous thing that Cobb said:

"People are fed up."
 Makes one wonder--of what, exactly?

I tend to look at these fringe characters as most likely having some deep issues that they probably carried around well before they even latched on to groups that gave them a sense of meaning they could weave around their dissatisfaction. I think the white supremacist movement, among them, are the sorriest of the lot--when I hear "White power", my brain translates it as "white impotence". But if there is a feeling among any of these fringe groups that they are being oppressed by some nebulous, insidious, and probably ethnic forces of tyranny, it should be pointed out that individuals taking means into their own hands can be as unjust as any tyrant, as indiscriminate and cruel. 

I don't think I can understand the kind of hate that makes shooting at innocent people any kind of "message" that anyone ought to listen to. I do, just about, understand the fears that make it plausible that one might need to defend oneself from one's government (as persons mistakenly killed by LE throughout our misguided drug wars might have needed defending--but in my opinion, by clearer laws that protected their rights and met overreach with swift and certain justice). But who protects regular citizens from self-appointed "irregular" armies that clash by night?

(And by "night", I mean with some very dark methods in mind, indeed. )

It is a duty to be critical of one's government, especially in a democracy. It is imperative to be skeptical of its discontents. And as for society's chronic malcontents, like hate groups--of which doubtless, we can agree the KKK certainly is?

We ought to be vigilant. That's what freedom demands.

Scott Brown: Just a New Hampshire Boy

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown's campaign has warned New Hampshire voters about the "third senator from Massachusetts" in the race

And no, they did not mean himself.

Let former Romney Presidential campaign spokestroll John Sununu explain:

“[Shaheen] votes with Elizabeth Warren. She votes with [Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed] Markey. She is the third senator from Massachusetts,” Sunnunu said at Brown's Portsmouth, N.H. rally, according to Yahoo's Chris Moody. “Scott’s happiest days as a young man were in New Hampshire. … So it’s going to be great to have a senator that was born virtually in the state of New Hampshire. Jean Shaheen, by the way, was born in Missouri!” 
Brown was born in Maine, and as Moody put it, the Republican "quite literally was, and very much wanted to remain, a senator from Massachusetts."
Some people fear that the problem with modern society is irony. Well, don't you worry, folks.  The Brown campaign is gonna run irony right into the ground.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Climate Sunday--Time to Take Care of Business

It's apparently 99% likely that global warming not from natural causes, 

If human activity got us into this mess, it will have to get us out of it too. Luckily, it looks like we'll be able to afford it. 

There really isn't time to waste on this.

There are a number of changes that can, and should be made.

Still Being A Pimp.

I think it has been a hard week for Young James at the pimping game. He has not yet understood that pimping has to be non-egregious and if not beneficial, at least, be nontoxic to the communities it services. But he is not adept at following the simple rules of conscious pimping, Apparently.

So, let's talk about Veritas acting like a gun for hire to get an inconvenient pol (GOP) out of the way.  That is pretty interesting. Making intraparty hits could either be seen as an act of integrity, or, an in-house drive-by. That's only a little sketchy though.

But here's a slam by a Texas court over some pretend journalism trying to prove some voter fraud:

The judge dismissed a complaint that arose from an incendiary video made by O’Keefe’s organization, which purported to show illegal activity by Battleground Texas, a Democratic group that’s working to register Texans to vote. The judge acted after investigators derided the video as “little more than a canard and political disinformation.” 
The news is a win for those looking to expand access to the ballot in the Lone Star State—and for state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democratic candidate for governor there.

It's like people are seeing right though him! That pimp suit doesn't only fit the B-roll of Young James' ACORN hit piece. His life is about pimping.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

These People Worry Me.

This Bundy Ranch thing is really taking me back to the heady, Ruby Ridge/Waco days of spooky mid-90's militia/black helicopter wackiness. I get that there's a kind of underdog appeal to the idea of an ornery old coot who is just trying to pasture his cattle! Same as his ancestors did! Ain't that America! But give me an ever loving break, here--this is not about freedom--it's about license. My POV about this guy's actions pretty much does coincide with the BLM's position as well as that of local conservationists:

“Mr. Bundy has long falsely believed that Gold Butte is his ranch,” said Terri Robertson, long-time advocate for protecting the rich cultural and natural resources of Gold Butte and currently president of Friends of Sloan Canyon. “We all know that is not the reality, and it is time for him for obey the law.” 
“Mr. Bundy's defiance of the law and decades-long free grazing on public lands is a poke in the eye of every rancher who rightfully pays for their use of the public lands, and a further thumb of the nose to those responsible, progressive ranchers who graze sustainably, allowing for threatened species to survive on their allotments,” said Karen Boeger, a former BLM advisory committee member. 
The BLM estimates several hundred thousand dollars in unpaid grazing fees and penalties are due, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars the BLM and NPS have spent monitoring and addressing the ongoing problem of the trespass cattle. 
“From the standpoint of wildlife, the springs and riparian areas in Gold Butte are vital,” said Red Rock Audubon’s conservation chairman John Hiatt. “The most immediate result of the removal of the trespass cattle will be the recovery of the vegetation around these water sources which will benefit all wildlife species.”
Basically--he's a freeloader. He's grazing his cattle, for free, on government land and profiting off of them. What if everybody did the same thing?