Political Oddities

By about halfway through this video, I kept watching just to see if this guy would have enough breath to finish his walk. (Here’s the site of his better-financed opponent, for South Dakota race watchers.) That video has nothing on the kinds of stuff posted at Pro Publica’s Tumblr site collecting odd political statements, outbursts and pictures. Here’s a sample:

Geppetto’s Conundrum

Glenn Kessler:

Few things are more bothersome than that rare instance when fact checkers disagree. Our column last week, in which we awarded Three Pinocchios to Carney for citing a MarketWatch column on Obama’s spending patterns, stood in contrast to PolitiFact awarding a “Mostly True” to a Facebook post based on the MarketWatch column.

After that pompous throat-clearing, Kessler doesn’t change his mind, of course. The reason is the question of “Obama’s spending patterns” is as big as all outdoors, comprising hundreds of “facts” that can be checked, leading to an overall conclusion that depends on how you arrange those facts. Assigning some reductive measurement (like Pinnochios) to something that broad is impossible, as is clearly shown by the two leading fact checkers giving one statement about it essentially opposite ratings.

Some of you disagreed with my view that saying that birtherism was “long discredited” or “long debunked” isn’t good enough, but I think that’s a real symptom of one of the major issues in journalism that fact checking has done nothing to change. Being “discredited” or “debunked” are different ways of saying that a statement isn’t believed by the community, but it’s not a categorical statement that something is false. The statement “the sun rose in the west this morning” doesn’t need to be “debunked” or “discredited’–it’s plainly, verifiably false. If the fact checking movement in journalism were having any real impact, wouldn’t journalists just say that birtherism is, similarly, “false”? It’s a simple, discrete and verifiable fact that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Yet four years after the fact checkers called out the birthers, journalists just can’t say that Donald Trump made a false accusation about Obama’s place of birth. It’s a “long-discredited accusation” in the Times and a “long-debunked contention” in the Post. I don’t know where to look to find better examples of the total failure of the fact checking project.

Thursday Morning Open Thread

(Jeff Danziger’s website)
Cannot resist sharing the latest from the best political cartoonist now working, and the complimentary excerpt from my favorite professional political blogger:

… Have you watched those lop-ears fall in line over the last month, since it’s been clear that I’ve cleared the deal for the mortgage on their minds and levied the lien on their souls? I mean, seriously, have you? Perry was out the other day defending me on Bain and all, and every verb had a subject and an object. Finally got the dosage right, I guess. And Gingrich? Geez, he was on TV just the other day acting like private equity was the best damn thing he’d heard of since the last time someone told him about that hot number that the Appropriations staff just hired. They’d all form a kick line at the Venetian if I asked them to, and I just might, because I sealed the deal last night in Texas, and they all know just as you all know that…

I’m Mitt Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.

So, on the night I sewed it up, I went and hung with Trump. So what? You got a problem with that? Here, let me lay a couple hundred thou’ on you and make that problem go away. You think it’s going to matter in a week? A month? Or, as we figure things in the campaign, 9000 commercials from now? Give me a freaking break. George F. Will is puzzled by why I’m hanging out with Trump? What do I “hope to gain”? Let me clear it up for you, George. Right now, I could go to California tomorrow, hang out with Charlie Manson at Corcoran for a few hours, and come away with the buck-and-a-half a week he makes folding sheets in the prison laundry. We could both carve X’s in our foreheads and call in the AP for a photo op. Watch this: “HELLLLLTER SKELLLLTER! SHE COMIN’ DOWN FAST!” You think it’s more than a one-day story, a bunch of people I wouldn’t hire to clean out the dressage barns mouthing off on TV about what I “hoped to gain” from associating with crazy-ass mass murderers? You keep worrying about LaRussa’s bullpen, or that 36-ounce Mizuno you’ve had stuck up your ass since the Carter Administration, and you let me worry about what I hope to gain from things. I remember guys like you from prep school, hanging back while guys like me did the real work of bullying the people who didn’t look like me. Back up on the roof rack, George. We’ll be in Ontario in no time…

Thank you, Mr. Pierce, for saying what needed to be said. Believe in Amercia!

What’s on the agenda on the day when it becomes overwhelmingly clear that five days’ work into a four-day week won’t go?

Triglyceride Hell

I’ve been watching BBQ Pitmasters marathon on TLC or one of those channels, and I am struck by how much focus is on beef, whether it be tri-tips, burnt ends, brisquet, etc. Am I the only one who prefers swine to beef when it comes to bbq? I love beef, whether it be tenderloins, rib-eyes, flank steak, hamburger, and what not (mmm corned beef), but is there really any question that the high holy of meat is the pig? It’s the miracle beast. It’s where all good things start in the kitchen. I know everyone is all about bacon, but, really, the pig is where everything stops and starts in the kitchen. Lardo, people. Fucking lardo. Without the cow, there would be no McDonalds. Without the pig, there would be no prosciutto. I rest my case.

If I was stuck on a desert island, all I would want is fresh water, coconuts, tropical fruits, and wild boar (I’m assuming there would be ample seafood). Well maybe an island girl. But I could definitely go without beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, etc. As long as there was swine, I would be ok.

Oklahoma Doctor Refuses to Provide Emergency Contraceptive to Rape Victim on Basis of Religious Conscience

Doctors across the nation are now free to refuse medical care to women on the basis of their own personal beliefs. What follows is a particularly egregious application of these “religious conscience” laws, and underscores why women nationwide are standing up and fighting back:

An Oklahoma mother brought her daughter to a local hospital after she was raped only to be turned away and refused help by a doctor, purportedly because the hospital lacked the staff to properly process the victim’s claims and injuries. Welcome to the reality of processing sexual assault crimes in GOP-land.

The woman and her daughter were reportedly turned away because the hospital did not have any nurses who conduct rape exams on staff. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are specially trained professionals who deal only with the delicate process of conducting rape exams. The SANE program is coordinated through the YWCA and is a collaboration with local law enforcement, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office and public health officials. The collaborative effort is designed to ensure evidence is properly collected and stored without re-traumatizing the victim and ensuring the most effective prosecution of the perpetrator possible.


In this case the doctor involved refused to conduct any exam, nor would he dispense any emergency contraception. The hospital issued a statement grounding those decisions in the need to coordinate through the SANE program. It could also be that this doctor had a moral objection to treating rape victims and dispensing emergency contraception, and thanks to abusive expanses of the conscience-clause by the right, simply refused to deal with her. Either way it’s a lose-lose for rape victims who now face the prospect of looking for treatment after an assault only to be turned away because of a lack of resources or because of religious objections.

The young woman asked the doctor whether or not emergency contraceptives were available and whether the doctor was simply refusing to provide them. The nurse told her “I will not give you emergency contraceptives because it goes against my belief.” The doctor refused to help her, even though she had just been raped, and refused to find another doctor to help her. 

[read the rest at TRS-ABLC]

Finding a one word description…

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/59124558@N06/7305563348/” title=”Coward_the-word-that-describes-Mitt-Romney by dengre.bj, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7218/7305563348_469951b22f_z.jpg” width=”434″ height=”640″ alt=”Coward_the-word-that-describes-Mitt-Romney”></a>

I’ve been trying to think about a one-word description for Mitt Romney. Is there a single word that captures his essence? I think there is and that word is “Coward”.

For a while I thought the word was “Liar”. The word does fit him as Mitt Romney proves every week that he cannot go 24 hours without lying, but there is more to him than just mendacity. Other words like “prick” or “jerk” or “ass” could also fit aspects of his character. “Greedy”, “shameless”, “bully” and “weird” also come to mind.

And yet, the more I watch and listen to him the more it seems that “Coward” is exactly the right word to describe Mitt Romney. I mean, can anybody give any example of Mitt Romney EVER standing up to the people he wants to please? Is there any example of him showing any courage–moral, political or otherwise? Is there any issue that he hasn’t flipped on or flopped on depending upon which way the wind was blowing or where he thought the “cool kids” running his school/business/party wanted him to be?

Take the story about Mitt being a bully in High School. I think Emond White captured it exactly in his New Yorker essay about Mitt and the alma mater they shared:

On the one hand he had an embarrassingly famous father, the governor of Michigan, whom he idolized as the youngest child. On the other he was the sole Mormon, a member of what was definitely seen as a creepy, stigmatized cult in that world of bland Episcopalian Wasps (we had Episcopalian services at chapel three mornings a week). When his father was president of American Motors, he lived at home and was a day student, an envied status. When his father was elected governor and moved to the state capital of Lansing, he became a boarder. Suddenly he was surrounded by other Cranbrook students and the strict “masters,” 24/7. He no longer had the constant support of his tight-knit family. Now he had to win approval from the other boys.

Seeking the approval of the entitled and fear of their rejection drives Mitt Romney. In High School it led him to become a bully, this week it inspires him to kiss Donald Trump’s ass.  Next week he’ll bend over anew to appease some other faction and/or potentate of wingnutopia. When Mitt is told to jump, he has trained himself to always answer “how high”. So, they work and spend to buy/steal another election for a chosen stooge–and in Mitt Romney they found somebody with even less courage, spine and integrity than George W. Bush. As Grover Norquist said, Mitt is a reliable rubber stamp for the wingnut agenda.
Mitt Romney is a coward and that makes him the perfect Republican nominee for President.

‘Thunderclap’ the Dodd-Frank Deniers?

I’m not a Twit Tweeter, so I can’t help, but commentor Currants linked to Matt Taibbi’s latest effort to annoy the Vampire Squids:

… To get the word out about Wall Street’s anti-reform push and stiffen spines in congress, we’re trying out Thunderclap, a cool new technology that lets groups of people tweet a single message together at the same time, breaking through the din and reaching a potentially massive audience. (Learn more here.) But we need your help!

Here’s how it works: Go here and click to “join” Matt Taibbi’s Thunderclap. On June 6 at 12 pm, together with hundreds of other Twitter users, you will automatically tweet a message –”.@senjohnsonsd @stabenowpress Hear our voices and stop the rollback of Dodd-Frank http://thndr.it/JBZD9Z” – to Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, the chairman of the Senate banking committee and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over financial derivatives.

We need 500 people to join the Thunderclap by June 6 or the tweet won’t be sent, so please join today and help Matt stand up to the Wall Street lobbyists.

Anybody got more information they can share — beyond the inevitable “Matt Taibbi is an evil loudmouth who doesn’t understand how finance works” comments?