Late Night Open Thread: Yu Ming is Ainm Dom

A ten-minute diversion for a Saturday night…

Of course it’s not “realistic” to pretend someone could learn Gaelic in six months from a textbook, but realism is not an essential element of the motion-picture art, is it?

(H/t James Fallows at the Atlantic)

All In The Past

Digby on Shirley Sherrod, whose father was murdered in 1965 by a white man who wasn’t indicted:

Far too many people are acting as if this woman wasn’t a living witness to the horrors of Jim Crow and the fallout of 200 years of racist history and instead believe that she’s nursing ancient grievances. Her life is treated as the forgotten detritus on the trash heap of history, as if it’s all over, a museum exhibit.

It’s critical that 1965 become ancient history for a party that owes its current existence to a strategy of embracing those who were on the wrong side of the civil rights struggle. Similarly, it’s critical for them that a discussion of the fuckups of the last decade becomes a taboo subject. When your past is shameful, the faster it’s forgotten, the better.

The Obama administration’s promise to not dig into the past was politically smart in the short term, because the sound and fury that would accompany a careful investigation of the many follies of the last few years would be a diversion, and plenty of Democrats were complicit with the stupidity of the Iraq War and the financial meltdown. But it’s not good for the country, because it encourages revisionist history and the minimization of the authentic tragedies of people like Shirley Sherrod.

Also, too, this is a damn good question:

Here’s a little thought experiment: just imagine how this would have gone down if the white farmer and his wife hadn’t emerged to give testimony.


Kanawha County USA

One of you recommended this radio documentary on the Kanawha County text book riots of 1974. I just finished listening to it and found it very interesting, despite its public radio “shape of earth, views differ” viewpoint (which isn’t inappropriate throughout but certainly is when it equates “condescension” with school bombings).

If you’ve got time and haven’t listened to it before, I recommend it. There’s a lot there — the origins of contemporary curriculum fights (which we see now reaching their horrible conclusion in Texas), the birth of the Heritage Foundation, and other fun stuff.

One thing I’m always struck by when reading news from this era is the amount of right-wing terrorism that went on. I don’t know why the Joe Kleins of the world remember the Weathermen so well when they’ve forgotten all about Bombingham.

Open Thread

Off to a baby shower, of all things (I know- living the vida loca, aren’t I?). Here’s a picture of Tunch doing what he does best to hold you over:

He’s found his way into the spare bedroom again.

Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature

Via FrumForum, I found this interesting blog called Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature. Here, the blog reprints the famous Winston tunnel scene — the deaths-by-suffocation of several passengers on a train. Rand strongly implies that the passengers deserve to die because of their political opinions:

It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them.

The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 1, was a professor of sociology who taught that individual ability is of no consequence, that individual effort is futile, that an individual conscience is a useless luxury, that there is no individual mind or character or achievement, that everything is achieved collectively, and that it’s masses that count, not men.

The man in Roomette 7, Car No. 2, was a journalist who wrote that it is proper and moral to use compulsion ‘for a good cause’


And so on for another 2-3 pages.

I normally wouldn’t bring up something so grim this close to the cocktail hour, but the wooden writing and cardboard (at best) character sketches make it more comical than disturbing.

Headed Our Way

A good primer on what may be the next racial issue we’ll be hearing about, but not actually dealing with in any substantive or helpful way:

Another public conversation about race may be the last thing the Obama administration wants, but thanks to the Supreme Court, one is very likely on the way. It has been nearly three months since the court “invited” — that is to say, ordered — Solicitor General Elena Kagan to “express the views of the United States” on whether laws that take away the right to vote from people in prison or on parole can be challenged under the Voting Rights Act as racially discriminatory.

The bigger issue of restoration of voting rights to felons has been fought for 10 years at the state level. It’s not new, and it’s not an issue that’s specific to the Obama Administration.
However. Based on the increasingly insane way each and every issue that touches on race has been handled since Obama was elected, I think it’s safe to say this will be presented in the most explosive and least sympathetic way possible.
If one or another conservative activist submits a grainy, heavily edited video clip to major media that has any tangential relationship to “felons” or “voting”, all bets are off, and it could be a new low. On the current scale, as a reminder, our latest new low was Breitbart versus Sherrod, so lower than that.
Anyway, read the stories in the Sentencing Project Report, because it’s amazing what people will go through to vote.
More here

Meet the candidates

Congressional elections in my area this fall figure to be a snooze, but I decided to check in with people from NY-25, the district just to the east of me which stretches from Syracuse to the eastern suburbs of Rochester. It’s a classic Rockefeller Republican area, +3 Democratic Cook PVI but with a Republican representative (Jim Walsh) from 1988– 2008, now with a Democratic representative (Dan Maffei) — and a roughly equal number of Republicans and Democrats in terms of registration numbers. David Broder would like it if he visited — successful politicians in the area invariably portray themselves as centrist.

The Republican candidate for the district is a Sarah Palin-endorsed teatard who once carried a blackened fetus around in front of a local Planned Parenthood office; she’s never held office or done anything professionally. The race was probably a lost cause for Republicans because the Democratic incumbent raises a lot of money and generally strikes the right tone for the district. On the other hand, it’s the kind of “sleeper race” that the out-of-power party should try to make a contest out of in a “wave election” — freshman incumbent, Cook PVI under 5.

The obvious way to make a race like this competitive is to find a ostensibly non-ideological local businessman or office-holder and have him or her wank about creating jobs, the way Democrats did in the special elections in NY-20 and NY-23. Teahadism won’t cut it.

I don’t know how many possible outside chances Republicans like this are leaving on the table nationwide, but just about everywhere I look, I see one.