Ramirez, Lowry, Alito: The Speed Bump Trio


Michael Ramirez* on last week’s marriage equality arguments before the Supreme Court:
Shotgun Wedding
I suppose the shotgun wedding is an obvious punch line; it has percolated for a few days.

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Ignorance of History


“Does the House Report say that? Of course, the House Report says that.”

Paul Clement

Chief Justice John RobertsThere really is no point in gloating, fretting, or prognosticating about what we’ve heard from the Supreme Court this week. Indeed, even Justice Scalia—the Great Grumpus Cat of the Supreme Court—can still surprise, and when weighing his homophobia in a tax fight, it’s hard to figure which way he’ll go.

Still, though, Chief Justice John Roberts provided an interesting, tangential branch in the discussion that some have noted.

Ryan Grim summarizes, for Huffington Post:

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday reacted incredulously to the notion that members of the Senate or the U.S. president may have been motivated to pass the Defense of Marriage Act by animus or moral objection to gay and lesbian couples. It was a window into his apparent belief that the U.S. is simply not a place burdened by such things as bigotry or racism.

When I read about Roberts’ remarks, I thought of a conservative associate who has a similar argumentative style; it is almost as if history doesn’t exist. It is a problem in our public discourse. Two people who are reasonably educated about history can have a thoughtful discussion about historical issues; it’s not the same, though, if one has to spend the whole time reminding the other of what is actually in the historical record. Obviously, the Chief Justice isn’t the only one; listen to how many educated pundits and analysts can’t seem to think back to recent history.

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Jacked


Flapjack disambiguationIt’s one of those things that gets lost in translation. I don’t know which movie it was, but at some point during the Harry Potter saga, I had to look up the word “jumper”, because it clearly didn’t mean the same thing in England as it does in the States. And so it goes. Lorry, flat, lift, jumper … flapjack?

A school has banned triangular flapjacks after a pupil was injured by one.

Dinner staff at Castle View school in Canvey Island, Essex, were told to cut the treat into squares or rectangles following the incident.

It is understood that the triangular version was banned after one was thrown, hitting a boy in the face.

Americans reading those sentences will naturally be aghast: How th’fuggidy get hurt by a flapjack? And, naturally, there is an answer.

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Slice of Life


NYDN: Most read, March 21, 2013File under, “Depressing”. I mean, to the one, it’s nothing big insofar as one might follow up on the latest tales of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) craniorectal clownery; that phenomenal train wreck in slow motion has transcended any such consideration of merits. After all, it’s Michele Bachmann.

But check out the “most popular” sidebar. Yeah, now that is depressing.

Gemini Spectres


But, yeah, a commenter on Daily Kos called George W. Bush a Nazi in 2004, so … both sides do it, right?

Dan Savage

The Face of Hatred: Scott TerryConventional wisdom often pays homage to the belief that there really isn’t much difference between the two main American political parties; indeed, if one party displays problematic behavior, the response is often to point out that both parties do it.

And it’s true that bigotry is not confined to Republicans, or conservatives in general. But, as Savage notes, it’s kind of hard to find a similar Democratic- or liberal-side episode that rivals reports coming out of Maryland, where the Conservative Political Action Committee endured an encounter that, well, therein arisies the problem. Scott Keyes and Zack Beauchamp explain for Think Progress:

The exchange occurred after an audience member from North Carolina, 30-year-old Scott Terry, asked whether Republicans could endorse races remaining separate but equal. After the presenter, K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by referencing a letter by Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master, the audience member said “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst.

After the exchange, Terry muttered under his breath, “why can’t we just have segregation?” noting the Constitution’s protections for freedom of association ….

ThinkProgress spoke with Terry, who sported a Rick Santorum sticker and attended CPAC with a friend who wore a Confederate Flag-emblazoned t-shirt, about his views after the panel. Terry maintained that white people have been “systematically disenfranchised” by federal legislation.

When asked by ThinkProgress if he’d accept a society where African-Americans were permanently subservient to whites, he said “I’d be fine with that.” He also claimed that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa,” and that “all the Tea Parties” were concerned with the same racial problems that he was.

At one point, a woman challenged him on the Republican Party’s roots, to which Terry responded, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public.”

He claimed to be a direct descendent of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

At some point it seems nearly comical, like the easiest agent provocateur gig in history; just get up and play whatever bigot caricature comes to mind, and find people in the conservative audience rallying to the cause. And it is true; there are times when one would be forgiven for thinking they were not dealing with a genuine conservative, but instead some overzealous, half-witted provocateur trying to discredit a movement.

One of my favorites was a conservative associate who reckoned that Obamanoia had nothing to do with racism, but rather that a fantasy president Obama was victimizing good, decent people by forcing them to resort to racist slings and arrows. “Race is absolutely not the motivation for opposition to Obama,” he explained, “but it is used by some as a tool in the fight against him.”

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The Requisite Papal Post


“And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis, by Milt PriggeeAmong the billions of people around the world who are not Catholics, many look upon the papal pomp and circumstance with a certain measure of curiosity ranging from the benign to the banal to the belligerent. The personality cult surrounding the pontiff is a strange enough, given the bland personalities required for such a storied and bound office, but even those who see nothing more than a bunch of old men playing dress-up might take a note about reverence. In tumultuous times that often seem devoid of solemn respect—well, that is the question, is it not?

Modern perceptions of religion are sharply caricaturized. One need not give over to religious belief in order to acknowledge that cynicism toward mystical fantasy need not include derision of ideas like sanctity and veneration. Perhaps this is a classic first world problem, a contrast that stands out clearly amid American affluence; we have the luxury of such discussions.

But the world needs next Medici pope only slightly less than the next Honey Boo Boo; there is only so much modernization critics of the Catholic Church can reasonably demand. Imagine Rick Santorum as pope.

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