The Appearance of … Well, Something


George Washington BridgeIs it fair to say that by the time the key players lawyer up, as such, we can start taking what should have been the silliest political conspiracy theory of the year seriously?

Even worse … well, the transition from silly to serious seems nearly obligatory, doesn’t it?

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Fetus Dolls and Candy


Right.

Um … how about we just check in with Katie J. M. Baker of Jezebel?

A box of fake fetuses.Want a squishy toy fetus with your corn dog? If you’re visiting the North Dakota State Fair, you’re in luck! Last weekend, local anti-choice advocates slipped soft fetal models into kids’ candy bags without parental permission during the fair’s gigantic parade. “I don’t know exactly where I stand on abortion,” one mother told Jezebel, “but I believe in my rights as a parent.”

The North Dakota State Fair boasts a bevy of attractions, including performances by Tim McGraw and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. But Minot Right to Life spent the weekend giving away creepy little fetuses to kids without asking parents’ permission first. “It was really disturbing watching children run around with them,” one recalled. A federal judge recently temporarily blocked enforcement of the state’s highly unconstitutional six-week abortion ban; perhaps appealing to elementary schoolers’ interests is the group’s Plan B?

The Precious One” fetal models are manufactured by Heritage House, a “pro-life supply store,” for $1.50 a pop — cheaper if you buy in bulk. “Its beautiful detail, softness and weight can really move hearts and change minds!” the website promises. A customer service representative told Jezebel that the models are most often given to pregnant women at “pregnancy centers” and kids at school presentations. The customer reviews on the site (it’s like Yelp for fetus-lovers instead of foodies) further imply that the doll-like figures are great for kids. “Children especially like to hold them,” one satisfied customer wrote. “No other item that we hand out has the amazing effect that these fetal models have — instant attachment to the unborn!” said another. “So many times, we hear, ‘Awwwww! That’s adorable!’ Or we just see a girl’s tears begin to form and fall.”

Point number one: You know how we hear conservatives complain, from time to time, about how we need to just let children be children, and thus never teach them that gay people or birth control exist? So … er … yeah. This doesn’t fall under that rubric?

Point number two:

Devyn Nelson, Executive Director of North Dakota Right to Life, said he hadn’t been contacted by organizers and claimed that the booth ran out of “Precious Ones” because there was such a high demand for the mini fetuses. “Kids like them, but adults like them too,” he said. “They have nothing to do with abortion. You don’t have to bring abortion up at all.”

Uh-huh. Right. Makes perfect sense.

Just sayin’.

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The Drowning Game


“Yes, we’re only half-way through the calendar year—or, roughly one-fourth of the way through the current Congress—but federal lawmakers are already behind the last Congress’ pace, and it was the worst in modern times.”

Steve Benen

Conservative Wet DreamWhat we’re essentially dealing with is a means of rendering government weak enough to drown it in a bathtub; simply make it so incompetent that it cannot lift its head out of the water. After all, that would require House approval, and the Republican majority certainly isn’t in an approving mood.

Update: Ben Carson’s Fake Apology


“What really saddens me is that my poorly chosen words caused pain for some members of our community and for that I offer a most sincere and heartfelt apology. Hurting others is diametrically opposed to who I am and what I believe. There are many lessons to be learned when venturing into the political world and this is one I will not forget. Although I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman, there are much less offensive ways to make that point. I hope all will look at a lifetime of service over some poorly chosen words.”

Ben Carson

Bush, CarsonPerhaps it adds some clarity to an earlier consideration: It didn’t really mean anything.

Dr. Benjamin Carson has offered an apology for having reiterated a twenty-year stale talking point about homosexuals, child molesters, and cross-species rapists, but it is nonetheless a strange apology:

Step One: The pseudo apology: Last Friday, Carson told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell he was sorry “if anybody was offended” by his anti-gay comments. No one seemed especially impressed by the quintessential non-apology apology.

Step Two: Lashing out at critics: When the criticism continued, Carson appeared on a right-wing radio show to blame his detractors, insisting that white liberals are “the most racist people there are.” He added that his critics are outraged because he dared to “come off the plantation.”

Step Three: Contrition: Dr. Paul Rothman, the dean of the medical faculty at Johns Hopkins and the CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, where Carson has been a celebrated colleague, condemned Carson’s “hurtful, offensive language” that was “inconsistent with the culture of our institution.” Immediately thereafter, Carson published an apology to “the Hopkins Community.”

If nothing else, it (ahem!) colors the context of Carson’s “plantation” remark.

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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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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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