Friday, December 20, 2013
Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
On sin and sinfulness
Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right
Almost overnight, Robertson has gone from a pop-culture star to a cause celeb on the American Right with the likes of Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin wading into the media waters to defend him. Most of those defenses echo the same "free speech" refrain -- Robertson was only speaking his mind and he has a first amendment right to do so.
And he does have a right to do that -- the trouble with it as a defense is that no one is taking that right away from him. Robertson's not in prison and no one is threatening him with anything like it. Invoking the 1st Amendment in Robertson's defense amounts to an endorsement of some kind of government regulation prohibiting businesses from firing people for things they say to the media. It's hard to imagine that Palin and Jindal would actually back such a measure.
Ultimately the problem with Robertson's comments isn't the faith behind them; it's the politics they inform. Suggesting that pre-civil-rights black people in Louisiana were happy and godly and that post-civil-rights black people aren't suggests that the systematic racism and oppression which characterized the Jim Crow south was somehow good for African Americans. That line of argument picks up the patronizing notion of a "white man's burden" lumps it together with an implied racial component to entitlement and welfare, and flings the whole sordid mess at the feat of the people who fought for equal rights.
Likewise, Robertson's judgments on sin -- ignoring the patent absurdity of placing homosexuality at the center of some kind of hierarchy of sinfulness -- has repercussions in the world of politics. While Robertson does condemn adulterers, idolaters, and prostitutes as well as drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers in the same breath, those people do not find themselves in the unenviable position of having their government judge them ineligible for participation in civil institutions by virtue of their sins. While Roberson's defenders point to an apparent lack of concern for his identification of drunks as sinners, the fact is that drunks are not out fighting for their right to sit by a loved one's deathbed and comfort him in his final hours.
Robertson's comments could thus be understood more succinctly to mean "ya'll don't need rights; you need Jesus."
For those fighting and sacrificing for those rights such a sentiment is deeply offensive.
Monday, September 30, 2013
What's happening in Washington right now amounts to the Republican Party threatening to wreck the nation and its economy if they don't get their way. It's government by hostage taking.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
As weird as that race is shaping up to be -- Cuccinelli is actively under investigation by the FBI and McAuliffe is featured in almost every Cuccinelli doing what looks like a shot -- it's nothing compared to the race for Lieutenant Governor featuring Republican E.W. Jackson and Democrat Ralph Northam, who's name I actually had to look up because he's so irrelevant to the race.
Northam is an unmemorable candidate and his presence or absence in the race will likely not move the polls one point in either direction. Jackson, on the other hand, is a loose cannon, espousing all manner of highly controversial, almost theocratic, views on a wide range of social issues. The most recent, though far from the most outrageous, of these was given voice in a sermon he gave at the Restoration Fellowship Church in Strasburg, VA in which he described non-christians as "engaged in some sort of false religion."
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Monday, September 9, 2013
Wesley Messamore, however, thinks that we lack "moral authority" to intervene in Syria because of "10 chemical weapons attacks Washington doesn't want you to talk about."
Let's run down Mr Messamore's list, shall we?
Friday, August 30, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Apparently the new revelation in the ongoing NSA spying story is that the agency used taxpayer dollars to pay for the participation of US communications companies.
Well of course they did. The NSA story is perhaps the most important political story since Watergate but that doesn't change that this is a fairly obvious point.
The NSA is a government agency. It has a taxpayer funded budget and expecting private corporations to pick up the tab for its operations in time of war or peace is arguably a great deal worse than using tax dollars to fund the latest NSA outrage.
Also, if the NSA were forcing private companies to cough up for its quasi military intelligence operations there would be a fair case for some 3rd Amendment violations on top of the trampling of the 4th and 5th.
It's not news when it's obvious and it's certainly not scandalous.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Thursday, August 8, 2013
The survey asked "Suppose the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary were held in your state today. If you had a choice between Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker or Paul Ryan, for whom would you vote?" The results break down as follows:
Chris Christie: 21%
Marco Rubio: 18%
Jeb Bush: 16%
Rand Paul: 15%
Paul Ryan: 13%
Scott Walker: 6%
These numbers show little movement from the results of a McCaltchy poll conducted last month which also showed Christie, Rubio, Bush, and Paul in close contention but there is, of course, much more to a primary than the numbers. The American primary system pits the candidates in a marathon like race across numerous states. It's about money, endurance, and not a small bit of quirky luck. Remember that in the run-up to the 2012 race the GOP primary saw moments where Perry, Cain, Gingrich, and Santorum all lead the polls.
Nonetheless, my money is on Rubio.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Now imagine that the US Congress took that away. Imagine how upset you'd be, how betrayed you'd feel. Now stop imagining because Congress did that as part of the PPACA -- the so-called "Obamacare" law.
Outrageous, right? We should repeal that part immediately, right? Surely the Republicans on the Hill have your back on this one!
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Would you want your kids there?
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
As the facts of the case stand, George Zimmerman is not guilty but neither is he innocent and the reason for this distinction is Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, a law which absolves those who carry concealed weapons from the responsibility to avoid conflict.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
I get that stuff like that sells games. I get that we'd like to believe ourselves a race of heroes and champions of honor but we're neither of those things. We're monsters. We're perfectly prepared to do the unthinkable to each other if the political stakes are high enough. Look at Syria right now - facing a serious military challenge from a rebellion, the government has turned to the use of nerve gas (if the Obama administration is to be believed).
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
This is the kind of attitude we need in this country when we confront sexual abuse in the military.
Friday, June 7, 2013
But before everyone freaks out about the NSA spying on their Gmail accounts and their Microsoft cloud services I'd like to ask a provocative question: what's the big deal?
Thursday, June 6, 2013
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
So Democrats have to got to be thrilled beyond measure to hear that not only is the GOP unable to find a middle ground on the issue that they can live with but that the sticking point is, as someone familiar with the recent history of the party might expect, predictably insane. From ABC News:
The stumbling block is GOP insistence that newly legalized workers now working in the shadows have no access to government-sponsored health care during their 15-year pathway to citizenship, according to two sources with access to the secret house “Gang of 8″ meetings.Yep. Obamacare. It's the political gift that keeps on giving.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
But I am not a Bostonian; I live in the New River Valley and for me April 15th will forever be "the day before the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings." When those shootings happened in 2007 I was writing for Newsvine and I provided a moment by moment account of what we were learning as we learned it: I camped onto every local news station in the area; listened to police scanner feeds; called friends who were on campus; checked little known web-cameras; and basically did everything within my power (from within my locked-down office building) to work out, for people scattered all over the country, many of whom were trying to figure out if their sons and daughters were alive, what was going on.
I did my best to verify things before posting them but even as close to the events as I was the media echo chamber distorted a lot of what I was hearing and I was, eventually, forced to retract several things I'd previously asserted as true.
That was in 2007; things move much faster now.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
But his latest album's big track, "Accidental Racist" is just rage-inducingly awful. Paisley's balad in the key of "whining about being a white guy" tells the tale of him walking into a Starbucks with a Confederate Flag t-shirt and how he's bitter that everyone treats him like a bigot. It also features L.L. Cool J rapping over-top of the latter half of the song in an attempt to validate Paisley's complaint which, while laiden with its own cringe-worthy lyrics and false equivalencies, at least serves to make the track sound a little more like a Confederate apologists' wet dream and a little less like a Klan anthem.
But back to that confederate flag t-shirt.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Friday, March 22, 2013
She writes this in response to the phrase's inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary, which itself catches some sarcastic flak from her for deigning to give legitimacy to the term. Marcotte's objection is that the phrase "friend zone" implies, in her view, some kind of obligation on the part of a woman that, to quote her, "shifts the locus of responsibility from the subject to the object of the crush. It implies that, as the object is at fault for "putting" her admirer into the friend zone, it is her duty to do something to remove him from it, preferably by getting naked. "
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
|Oh please oh please oh please...|
Now its effort to re-brand itself as something other than the party of the obscenely wealthy looks ready to keel over as well. None other than Mr 47% Himself, Mitt Romney, will be addressing the conference.
Maybe they'll rustle up George W. Bush to complete the trifecta.
What started out as a method of satirizing the positions of Joe Salazar, a Democratic legislator from Colorado, rapidly turned into a way for Republicans to swap rape jokes online.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
Or if they did, they're ignoring it. CPAC announced that the veritable incarnation of everything that's wrong with Republicanism -- Sarah Palin -- will be addressing the event. The Hill quoted Palin taking up a stance that is clearly in opposition to Karl Rove's Conservative Victory Project; Palin told The Hill:
“It’s going to be like 2010, but this time around we need to shake up the GOP machine that tries to orchestrate away too much of the will of constitutional conservatives who don’t give a hoot how they do it in D.C.,” Palin said.
Moments like that can, for stupid reasons, destroy a political career -- just ask Howard Dean.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Hagel isn't a Republican from Massachusetts or some other state where the GOP is just happy to have someone on which to slap its party label, much less someone who might manage to avoid an embarrassing defeat; Hagel is from Nebraska. Not only is he from Nebraska, he's a war hero from Nebraska. Hagel served in Vietnam, receiving the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Ronald Reagan tapped Hagel to serve as the deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration.
The purpose of this article is not to recount Hagel's qualifications but they do serve to illustrate exactly the sort of man that the Republican Party has chosen to filibuster in order to deny the President his choice for Secretary of Defense.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
|Source: The Atlantic|
The author offers a note of worthwhile explanation for the most correlative measure, the McCain vote share in 2008:
What about politics? It's hard to quantify political rhetoric, but we can distinguish blue from red states. Taking the voting patterns from the 2008 presidential election, we found a striking pattern: Firearm-related deaths were positively associated with states that voted for McCain (.66) and negatively associated with states that voted for Obama (-.66). Though this association is likely to infuriate many people, the statistics are unmistakable. Partisan affiliations alone cannot explain them; most likely they stem from two broader, underlying factors - the economic and employment makeup of the states and their policies toward guns and gun ownership.I think we're going to see this graph a lot in the upcoming gun control debate.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
|What's the likelihood this guy is going to be a split-ticket voter?|
As you might expect, the Tea Party folks aren't happy about that. There's a lot of talk right now that if Rove manages to succeed and torpedo more extreme Tea Party candidates, the Tea Party will either boycott the general election or run their own candidates as a third party.
This already sounds like a pretty bad situation for the Republican establishment, but it gets worse.
Democrats are going to have the worst of it. They've got to find some way to incorporate North Korea and its nuclear program into all of the things they were planning on talking about in anticipation of or reaction to the State of the Union address.
Republicans have a much easier challenge. They'll just point to North Korea's test as evidence of some failure of the Obama administration, as if the already crippling sanctions causing mass human starvation in North Korea aren't harsh enough or as if the President should have ordered airstrikes on the closest thing to a paranoid skitzophrenic in the international system.
At least the left and the right can agree on one thing: we all think North Korea shouldn't have a nuclear weapon.
Or should it?
Monday, February 11, 2013
|Screen capture of the TEA Party website... in 2002|
At this point it appears that the only thing keeping the Tea Party from becoming the most absurd idea in American political history is that the "No Nothing Party" clearly didn't think through all possible implications of their name choice.
Then again, to be fair, the Tea Party started out referring to themselves as Tea Baggers, so there's that.
"Built your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across."
|Somehow not the same as a gun shop|
The trouble is, implementing a universal background check is going to be very difficult. Right now background checks are only required for people purchasing firearms from a dealer. That's the so-called "gun-show loophole;" since you can buy a firearm from a private citizen without passing a background check and since lots of private citizens sell firearms at gunshows, you can fairly easily purchase a firearm from a complete stranger without passing a background check by just going to a gun show.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Apparently Dick Cheney managed to wind up his clock-work heart enough to deliver a few remarks to a Republican Committee fundraising dinner. Cheney used the opportunity to lay into President Obama's cabinet nominees as "second-rate."
Saturday, February 9, 2013
|A Hellfire missile hangs from a Predator Drone|
But Republicans aren't the only ones who do this.
Friday, February 8, 2013
89% -- nearly 9 in 10 Republicans -- are "Non-Hispanic white" and indeed white people are the only ethnic group Gallup tracks which identifies itself as more Republican than Democratic.
In 2012, seniors saved $2.5 billion on prescriptions, compared to $2.3 billion in 2011, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services. That's an average of $706 per person in 2012.$706 per person. For seniors on a fixed income, $706 is pretty significant but ignore the feel-good aspect of helping old people with their medicine for a moment and look at this politically.