Reasonable Republican = Extremist

Dean Young and Bradley Byrne: both extreme and unreasonable

Ed Kilgore provides a good rundown of one race we haven’t heard much about: the Republican primary election in Alabama’s first congressional district—the Mobile area, In Alabama GOP, It’s Hard to Be Too Radical. It is an election between Tea Party nutcase Dean Young and the Republican establishment candidate Bradley Byrne. What’s important here is that from a policy standpoint, there is pretty much no light between these two men. So the question is, how exactly is Byrne the “reasonable” Republican?

The answer is that he isn’t. Over the weekend, I discussed this very issue as it applied to Virginia, Business Will Not Give Up on GOP. The business community is not for moderate or reasonable candidates. They want candidates who will do exactly as the big corporations want. The only concern they have about the supposed extremists is that they won’t win. Otherwise, they are fine with them.

The same thing is true of the Republican establishment. In fact, we might as well say that corporate America and the Republican establishment are the same thing. They want the same policies and their only real concern is winning elections. If there is a difference, it would simply be that the Republican establishment are slightly more willing to compromise in the pursuit of their goals.

Kilgore sums up the situation in Alabama, but the same thing could be said about any Republican primary anywhere. You may remember Roy Moore, the Alabama judge who put a two-and-a-half ton Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama Judicial Building. He’s supporting Young. Here’s how Kilgore puts it:

If Young wins, you can be sure Roy Moore will be by his side tonight, and his presence in the campaign, along with Byrne’s serial descent into Christian Right rhetoric of his own, is a reminder that for all the efforts of national observers to distinguish the “Tea Party” from the “Christian Right,” they’re pretty much the same thing, especially in the Deep South.

We’ll see if Byrne’s money can offset Young’s fervor today. But if Byrne wins, let’s please don’t call it any sort of victory for “moderation” or a rebuke to conservatism. Jacobs is right; these birds disagree on some small elements of tactics and rhetoric, but in Congress, you can bet that Byrne will continue his career-long effort to protect his right flank with every vote.

Exactly! And I’m glad to read more and more people saying this. Now if we can just get the mainstream press to stop saying that Chris Christie is “reasonable” we’ll be onto something!

Welcome to America, Now Bend Over

Anal ProbeThis shouldn’t surprise anyone. To many people in the United States, nothing (And I do mean that: nothing.) is more important than stopping people from using drugs. You know, Jaycee Lee Dugard could be held as a sex slave in a backyard shed for 18 years. How could the police have known? And really, they have priorities. Like the cops in Deming, New Mexico. They thought a guy they pulled over, David Eckert, was “clenching his buttocks.” The cops burst into action: there might be drugs in that thare anus! So off to the court they ran to get a judge to okay a cavity search. And why not? After all, the cops thought the man was clenching his buttocks. It’s a good thing we have courts to look after the our rights!

Off the police went: a doctor shopping they did go! They finally found one who didn’t have an ethical problem with ripping into the guy’s ass. It didn’t take long. It is normally a lot harder to find a doctor with ethics, not without. So they prodded him, then x-rayed him, then penetrated him, then enema-ed him, then colonoscopied him. Along the line they made him defecate for them. No drugs were found. Of course, you would think that after him defecating, they would have been satisfied. But maybe at that point, it wasn’t about the drugs. I think it was to send a message: stop clenching your buttocks!

In addition to everything else, the search—even so far as the ridiculous court warrant is concerned—was illegal. The doctor shopping took the police outside the county where the warrant was legal. So hopefully there will be some small amount of justice. After all, the guy was proven as not guilty as anyone ever could be. And the search was illegal. But even if the guy gets a nice settlement, all the police department will have learned is, “When you are giving a suspect an anal probing, make sure you are in the right county.”

Oh, and the topper of the topper: the medical clinic that did the prodding, x-raying, penetration, enema-ing, and colonoscopying? They are charging the man for the procedures and claiming that they will take him to collections if he doesn’t pay up. Quick!

And the la-hand of the Freeeeee!
And the hoooome, of thhhhhe, braaaave!

Here’s a great report from KOB 4 in New Mexico:


I know my tone on this article was glib, but regular readers will know that I am livid. This is the kind of shit that conservatives brush aside as an exception—no kind of indictment of the whole system. Well, that’s not even true. But they say such things at the same time that they claim that it is tyranny to increase the taxes of the rich by a couple of percent. Of course the New Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (both admitted felons) are also to blame for this kind of thing.

News You Can’t Use

Fox Not NewsI’ve been reading Joe Muto’s excellent (And funny!) An Atheist in the Foxhole, which is subtitled, “A liberal’s eight-year odyssey inside the heart of the right-wing media.” One of the things I learned is that Fox News was not always the way it is now. Of course, they were always going after the right wing hate radio listeners. But at first, their focus was on “news you can use!” By this he means that they had more segments on consumer issues and religion which have since gone away. Why would they need them? They can use the commercials for consumer information. And Christ is the one true way and anyone who doesn’t believe that (along with being anti-choice and anti-fag) is an agent of Satan.

I was thinking about this last night. The Fox News coverage of Obamacare has explicitly been: news you can’t use. The biggest story out this last week has been that insurance companies are using their ended policies to mislead customers into buying much more expensive policies. This is the kind of stuff that conservatives normally get outraged about. They have this childish notion that capitalism would work fine if it weren’t for those occasional bad apples. That’s right: most conservatives do not understand how capitalism is supposed to work, much less how it actually does work.

Now Fox News wouldn’t say anything about these practices regardless. It’s only the conservative voter who believes such fairy tales. The elites know what conservatism is all about: keeping the weak down and funneling as much money to the powerful as possible. But in this case, Fox News has an even higher calling: destroying Obamacare. So it is with great relish that they are reporting insurance company malfeasance as a problem with Obamacare.

So Fox News is purposefully keeping their viewers in the dark about news that actually affects them in order to push their ideological agenda. For most Fox News viewers it won’t matter because they are already on Medicare. But the behavior is still disgusting. For a small partisan advantage, the network is more than willing to cost each of its “young” viewers thousands of dollars per year.

I remember a poster in my high school library that read, “Ignorance is NOT bliss!” Maybe yes, maybe no. But one thing is for sure: ignorance is expensive. And anyone who chooses to feed his angry id rather than filling his empty cortex is getting a very bad deal. And so are we. Remember: such people vote!


It is election day in many parts of the nation. If it is election day where you are, please vote! And remember the next general election is 4 November 2014. It’s important!

Paper Mooning for Tatum O’Neal

Tatum O'NealOn this day in 1850, the great poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born. Now I don’t go in for all that positive nonsense, but I appreciate it. For example, she wrote, “Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes.” I don’t believe that, but it is a beautiful sentiment. She also wrote:

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth
But has trouble enough of its own

Again: bullshit! But I love the thought!

I almost gave this day to Ike Turner who was born in 1931. Yeah, there’s the whole thing about the domestic violence. Having had a wife who brutalized me and who was eventually arrested for it, I understand things from Tina’s perspective; even under the best of circumstances, it can be really hard to manage such situations. (I hate the question, “Why did you stay?” It shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation.) On the other hand, that very same brutalizing wife told other people that I had attacked her, which I never did. That was the source of her power; all I would do was fend off her attacks because I was far more afraid of being labeled a “wife beater” than of the severe physical abuse she administered. So I worry about any claims coming from one side. Of course, I don’t really doubt that Ike was a violent asshole. Still, he was a great musician. Here is “Rocket 88,” arguably the first rock song from way back in 1951:

Art Garfunkel is 72 today. I’m not that fond of him as a singer, but he’s always had excellent taste in songwriters. Here he is doing Gallagher & Lyle’s “A Heart in New York”:

Other birthdays: union organizer Eugene V Debs (1855); Natalie Schafer, best known as Lovey Howell (1900); actor Joel McCrea (1905); child actor Baby Marie Osborne (1911); the great actor Vivien Leigh (1913); playwright Sam Shepard (70); basketball player Bill Walton (61); one of the most underrated character actors Robert Patrick (55); musician Bryan Adams (54); actor Tilda Swinton (53); crush of my youth, singer Andrea McArdle (50); crush of my old age, actor Famke Janssen (48); and one of my favorite actors Sam Rockwell (45).

The day, however, belongs to probably the greatest child actor of all time, Tatum O’Neal who is 50 today. In general, I have a problem with the praise we heap on children for various things they do. But O’Neal’s work in Paper Moon absolutely deserved the Academy Award. Her performance is incredibly deep and nuanced. And it’s all her—director Peter Bogdanovich shot the film with very long takes. If you haven’t seen the film, you really must. It is one of the great ones and O’Neal is the high point of it. Here is the first scene where her character Addie joins in the family business:

Happy birthday Tatum O’Neal!