Love, Hate, and Huma’s Pathetic Weiner


“She said her husband should be elected mayor! You do not get to trash his candidacy and praise hers. Want to support Huma? Then vote for Anthony!”

Marc Tracy

Yes, really, it comes to this.

The thing is that I really, really don’t care. Really. I promise. The sad saga of the Little Weiner That Couldn’t Quit is all abstraction to me. Can he get elected? We’ll see when this is over.

But Marc Tracy’s article for The New Republic was one of those idiotic headlines I just couldn’t resist. I don’t know, maybe I was expecting satire.

Huma AbedinThere isn’t a transcript available yet, and I was too transfixed and oblivious of myself to take notes during this proverbial train wreck. But basically, she said that she determined that it was best for her, her marriage, and her child to stay together. It all seemed perfectly valid. And the Twitterati seemed to agree: My feed lit up with variations on a theme I have been seeing since Weiner announced his mayoral candidacy in late May—Huma is great; I love Huma; it should be Huma. As in: Weiner is the worst, and, relatedly, Abedin is the best.

Sorry, but no. Abedin spoke at her husband’s press conference (it was reportedly her idea, in fact), among the most important events of his political career, in the service of getting him elected mayor. This doesn’t mean you can’t agree with what she said. (Besides, to the extent that she was speaking about her decision to remain married to Weiner, it isn’t really our business.) But at least listen to what she said! She said her husband should be elected mayor! You do not get to trash his candidacy and praise hers. Want to support Huma? Then vote for Anthony!

Maybe Abedin should be mayor. Maybe she should be President Hillary Clinton’s chief-of-staff. Maybe she should divorce Weiner and marry someone better, like Eliot Spitzer. Or maybe she should be First Lady of New York City. But to deny that she is in the same boat as her husband as far as his political ambitions are concerned is to believe she is incapable of making informed decisions for herself. I doubt that is how her admirers feel ….

…. Abedin’s story isn’t over yet, either. But in this chapter, she is shilling for her husband to become mayor. If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with her.

(Sigh.)

Yes, really.

I don’t have a damn thing to say to disagree with Tracy. Like I said, it’s all abstraction, like whether Irv Halter can unseat Rep. Doug “Tar Baby” Lamborn in Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District.

But … I don’t know. Really? This is really what our political discourse is coming to?

The Ben Carson Phenomenon


“You know, they put you in a little category, a little box—you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?”

Ben Carson

Perhaps insensate equivocation is the sort of unfortunate outcome one should expect from a collective that views itself more as a marketplace than a community, but rising conservative star Dr. Ben Carson offers the latest reminder of obvious differences:

Dr. Ben Carson and President George W. Bush, 2008.Dr. Ben Carson, a black Johns Hopkins University neurosurgeon and conservative favorite after challenging President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, said Monday on “The Mark Levin Show” that white liberals are “racist.”

“And you’re attacked in many respects because of your race. You’re not supposed to think like this, and supposed to talk like this. A lot of white liberals just don’t like it, do they?” said Levin, host of the syndicated radio show.

“Well, they’re the most racist people there are. You know, they put you in a little category, a little box—you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?” responded Carson.

Let us start with the obvious: What does that even mean?

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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.

The obvious question: What is an ‘honest rape’?


Sometimes it’s the little things. Like Ron Paul’s recent appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight:

Ron Paul, the Rape Arbiter?MORGAN: Here’s the dilemma, and it’s one I put to Rick Santorum very recently. I was surprised by his answer, although I sort of understood from his belief point of view that he would come up with this.

But it’s a dilemma that I am going to put to you. You have two daughters. You have many granddaughters. If one of them was raped—and I accept it’s a very unlikely thing to happen. But if they were, would you honestly look at them in the eye and say they had to have that child if they were impregnated?

PAUL: No. If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room. I would give them a shot of estrogen or give them—

MORGAN: You would allow them to abort the baby?

PAUL: It is absolutely in limbo, because an hour after intercourse or a day afterwards, there is no legal or medical problem. If you talk about somebody coming in and they say, well, I was raped and I’m seven months pregnant and I don’t want to have anything to do with it, it’s a little bit different story.

But somebody arriving in an emergency room saying, I have just been raped and there is no chemical—there’s no medical and there’s no legal evidence of a pregnancy—

MORGAN: Life doesn’t begin at conception?

PAUL: Life does begin at conception.

So a question arises, and perhaps someone can help me out, here: What is an “honest rape”?

Anyone?

Please?

A picture is worth how many ideas?


Because it’s easier this way ….

On Friday, Glenn Greenwald noted:

So revealing: here's what Time Magazine thinks of its American readership

And just to save you the spare click, this is what he was referring to:

Cover images for Time magazine, Dec 2011

To be fair, maybe it’s not simply about Time holding Americans in contempt as emotionally immature consumerist dolts. It could be something about market dynamics. Maybe Americans just aren’t that into revolutionary politics. I mean, it’s nice to cheer for the underdogs, sure, but what with those weirdos occupying New York and other cities, it is entirely possible that people really are so unsettled that we need to be pepper spraying eighty-four year-old women.

And, you know, maybe the international cover for Time (v.178, n.22) just makes Americans unnecessarily anxious. So, you know, they run a much more appropriate cover explaining why anxiety is good for people. Rather than working to make life more satisfactory, we ought to just learn how to find greater satisfaction in the things that worry us. That way, well … you know … maybe revolutionary ideas won’t occur to Americans as possible solutions for anxiety. Or something.

Even more than raw politics, this could be about marketplace politics. Sure, this might be what Time thinks of Americans, but Greenwald overlooks the question of whether or not there is a reason for that.

Today in Talking Points


Tom Tomorrow, ca. 1997It’s almost like connect the dots. Of course, that’s why they’re called “talking points”:

  • Politico covers the latest conservative argument, that wealth and conscience don’t mix.
  • Steve Benen explains the obvious about that argument.
  • And Tom Tomorrow dusts fourteen years off an old cartoon, for obvious reasons.
  • Meanwhile, Rob Goodman hopes to intellectually validate equal criticism against all political players, the feelgood fallacy also known as “both sides do it”.
  • And why not get some election coverage from Karl Frisch, a Democratic strategist trying to explain what’s wrong with Republicans.
  • If that doesn’t do it for you, try the latest Obama-hates-Christians “war on Christmas” lament. (At least it’s not as mortifying as Rush Limbaugh’s astonishing defense of the Lord’s Resistance Army.)

Or, it’s just another day in the life. Something about decadence. Something about the fall of Rome. Something about what we do with what we are given.

    Let me say this is as clearly and as simply as I can: Republicans did not overreach. What they did is who they are. It is what they stand for. It is what they campaign on.

    To claim otherwise would be like saying fish live under water because they suffer from unquenchable thirst.

    Karl Frisch

Something about nothing, or, the question of advice columns


It is not that I disdain all advice columns, but sometimes I really do wonder about the purposes they serve. For instance, Carolyn Hax, whose column appears in The Washington Post:

Dear Carolyn:

I am 1½ years into a relationship and I have lost my libido. I have gone from wanting sex about three times a week to about once every two weeks. I’m young, I still like my boyfriend and I still find him attractive, but I find myself more interested in falling asleep than any other bedroom activity. Of course, he is still interested in having sex and has started to notice my indifference. I’ve been giving in to keep him happy, but I rarely really enjoy it. I think that’s been making the problem worse. I’m afraid this will ruin my relationship, but I have no idea how to fix it.

Adapted from an online discussion—and perhaps this should be our first clue—the resulting exchange is revealing, including the two cents we hear from other participants. Continue reading

Rupert Murdoch: Capitalist


Russ Baker offers a reminder amid the surprised murmurs and horrified gasps:

Rupert MurdochRupert Murdoch has had a profound influence on the state of journalism today. It’s a kind of tribute, in some sense, that the general coverage of his current troubles has reflected the detrimental effect of his influence over the years. Right now, the media, by and large, are focusing on tawdry “police blotter” acts of the very sort that have historically informed Murdoch’s own tabloid sensibility, while the bigger picture gets short shrift.

To be sure, the activities and actions of Murdoch’s that dominate the public conversation at the moment are deeply troubling, leaving aside their alleged criminality. Still, what is really pernicious about Murdoch is not his subordinates’ reported hacking of phones, payments of hush money, etc., or the possibility that Murdoch may have known about, tolerated, enabled, or even encouraged such acts.

It is, instead, the very essence of the man and his empire, and their long-term impact on our world and our lives.

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