Long Read: “‘Clock Boy’… can’t escape that moment”

Poor kid. I tell myself that many of us spent our adolescence waiting to escape the grip of our family’s dysfunctions, and mostly succeeded, or at least survived. From Jessica Contrera, in the Washington Post:

The news crew is here, but the famous boy is still asleep. He had just flown 22 hours, back to this squat stone house where he used to live when he was just a regular 14-year-old. His bright green go-kart is still out back. A year ago, he could have woken up and spent hours tinkering with its engine. He could have spent the day on his trampoline, or just watching funny YouTube videos on his phone.

Instead, he’s waking up to the sound of more reporters in the living room. Because he’s not Ahmed Mohamed, a regular 14-year-old. He’s “Clock Boy,” a viral sensation, the accidental embodiment of a national debate about Muslims being dangerous — or not. A black youth mistreated by overzealous cops — or an example of vigilance against potential terrorism…

The reporters are from Fox 4, a local TV channel. [Ahmed’s father] Mohamed invited them here, on Ahmed’s first day back in Texas after nine months in Qatar. They moved a month after Ahmed was arrested for possessing a homemade clock that his school deemed suspicious-looking. The move, it seemed, was an attempt to escape the spotlight, or at least the hate mail and death threats that came with it.

And yet, Ahmed’s summer homecoming was heralded to reporters with a news release sent out by the family and its supporters: Clock Boy is back, and ready to be interviewed…

… His parents had a choice: deal with this quietly, or tell someone. Their son had been placed in handcuffs and interrogated, in a town known for its resentment of Muslims. So they called the media, and soon Ahmed was trending on Twitter, and everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to President Obama was sharing messages of support.

Two days after he was arrested, the charges were dropped.

“This is what happens when we (IPD) screw something up,” one Irving Police Department detective wrote in an email later uncovered as part of a public records request from Vice. “That thing didn’t even look like a bomb.”

And so came the next choice: Let this all die down, or seize the platform they’d been given and use it.

So they put Ahmed on “Good Morning America,” MSNBC and “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.” He told reporters how kids in school called him ISIS Boy. Sympathetic crowdfunders raised $18,000 for his education. He visited the White House, the Google Science Fair and the president of his home country of Sudan (a wanted war criminal, but Mohamed said it would be rude not to accept the invitation)…

His dad tells him that this is God opening doors for him. Something bad happened, but God turned it to make it good. God chose him for this, so he can make the world a better place.

Only now, he feels safer on the other side of the world. As trolls tried to pick apart his story, someone posted the Mohameds’ home address on Twitter…
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They Are Who We Thought They Were: Georgia Senator Edition

I know that for some people it is literally impossible to get over their core belief:  presidenting while Black is a mortal sin.  But I have to admit that I haven’t lost all of my capacity to feel shock, outrage, loathing, whenever I hear something like this:

“In his role as President, I think we should pray for Barack Obama. But I think we need to be very specific about how we pray,” Perdue told the audience at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. “We should pray like Psalm 109:8 says, that says, ‘let his days be few.’”

 That’s a United States Senator representing a former Confederate state praying for the death of the President of the United States, someone who, it need not and must be said, happens to be the first African-American to hold that office.
Those who get the reference — which would certainly include Mr. Perdue’s audience of ostentatiously and ostensibly religious believers — would certainly get the reference in all its full flavor:

8: May his days be few;

may another take his office.

9: May his children be fatherless,

his wife, a widow.

10: May his children wander and beg,

driven from their hovels.

11: May the usurer snare all he owns,

strangers plunder all he earns.

12: May no one treat him with mercy

or pity his fatherless children.

13: May his posterity be destroyed,

their name rooted out in the next generation.

What kind of person wishes on President Barack Obama death and the utter destruction of his family?

Senator Perdue, that’s who.

It’s not just him, of course. Perdue didn’t come up with this “joke” on his own.  Via Wikipedia:

In 2009, the media has reported more widely on its usage in reference to President Barack Obama,[3] by those such as Pastor Wiley Drake.[4]

In January 2010, a Florida Sheriff’s officer was suspended from his force for circling the passage in a bible and scrawling “The Obama Prayer” beside it.[5]

In January 2012, Kansas Speaker of the House Michael O’Neal sent an email quoting Verse 8 to his Republican colleagues that stated:[6]

At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president! Look it up — it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!

Assholes.  Vicious weasels.  The kind of people who claim the mantle of religion, and yet, as Charles Pierce says of Ralph Reed, are all “future timeshare owner[s] in Hell.”


Senator Perdue does get a gold star, though:  he’s the most senior Republican elected official to offer up this knee-slapper. Remember him every time anyone tries to tell you that Trump is an aberration; that the Party of Lincoln™ would never truly condone his viciousness and vulgarity.

Trump’s only real diversion from GOP orthodoxy lies in his ill-mannered refusal to use the proper codes when spewing bile.

To echo Deuteronomy.  I do not wish their deaths — not Perdue’s, not the rest of the GOP thugocracy who just can’t seem to get past their fear of this president.

No. This is what I want:

I want them to suffer through Barack Hussein Obama’s brilliant post-presidency — and the reality of his successor’s ability to govern, despite her obvious chromosomal deficiencies.

IOW:  May they experience nether probing by oxidized agricultural implements.  (Which I believe is the central message aimed at falsely religious poseurs in Psalm 151.)  In aeternum.

Image:  Hieronymous Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights — Hell (inner right wing), between 1480 and 1505.

Mansplaining Feels The Bern

Not to put a downer on the site after the quadrapedal delights below, but this nugget from the festering gob of one Jeff Weaver caught my attention:

While he was not at Saturday’s convention, Weaver said that based on the account of Sanders surrogate Nina Turner, the reports of a violent atmosphere had been overblown.

“She said, no one went on the stage. No one had the right to feel threatened,”

Oh no — no right at all to think a howling claque might do harm, wasn’t already doing so.


Instead, Weaver argues, it’s all the fault of those facing what he sees as righteous fury:

“What happens is when you rig the process, and you get an angry crowd, you know they’re not used to that.”

Again with the bullshit about a rigged process — one in which Bernie’s folks failed to show up, didn’t register, and all that.  But that’s beside the point here.

Rather…what the f**k?

Here’s some  middle aged white guy telling those — headed by a women — running a meeting what they get to feel, what they’re allowed to view as a danger.

Makes me weep for my Y chromosome, as well as my party and my country.

I know this is piling on the Balloon Juice Bernie-bile, but I have to say — this one makes the MRA strain in the Sanders campaign shine in high relief for me, and it ain’t pretty.  More to the point — it ain’t what Bernie asked folks to sign up for months ago.  Power — just the whiff of power — corrupts even (or especially) those convinced of their own sanctity.

Image:  Thomas Gainsborough, Study of a Woman in a Mob Cap, undated (before 1788). [Sorry — couldn’t resist the pun]

Thursday Night Open Thread: Let’s You and Them Fight!

As a famous Republican strategist would say: Let. Us. Savor…

Any chance Trump will actually offer Sean Hannity his VP ticket, or is that a dream too far for us luzers & haterz?

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Long Read: “A Most Hated Man”

He gets a little too lit’ry in spots, but professor of philosophy Clancy Martin has an excellent TNR essay on “the virtues of being Ted Cruz”:

Cruz and Trump are in fact appealing to different segments of the Republican Party, and they know it. Trump is the candidate of the disoriented, the confused, the needy; Cruz is the candidate of the dogmatist, the moralist, the convicted. Trump gets the voters who fear and adore; Cruz gets the voters who hate and resent. Trump is all show; Cruz means what he says. Trump wants to be everybody’s boss; Cruz wants to be everybody’s master. Ted Cruz is much, much more dangerous than Donald Trump.

But I only realized this after following Ted Cruz for a month or two. I began with an uninformed repugnance for his views, with which I had only a vague familiarity; then I got to know him, a little bit, as an unlikely presidential candidate, a probable third or fourth place finisher; I watched the dark horse win in Iowa; and somewhere along there I came to understand that, in my opinion, no one currently running for president would be worse for the country than Ted Cruz. Not necessarily because there’s something wrong with his policies, though I consider them to be completely misguided. But because there is something frightening about this person, and there is something frightening about the way he can make people feel…

At 4:30 p.m. on the eve of the caucus in Marion, Iowa, a side door opened to the assembly room of Grace Baptist Church, and Ted Cruz entered along with a chunky bodyguard and his thirty or so of his team members in their signature dark navy blue jeans. Cruz stood quietly as the pastor introduced him. He wore a blue zippered sweater over a button-down shirt, brown leather work boots, and new-looking Levi’s jeans. A few people in the first pew, near the door where Cruz stood, rose to shake his hand. Some handed him campaign posters to autograph. One parishioner passed up a leather-bound Bible and Cruz took time to write something long in the front pages. A second Bible was handed to Cruz, who again paused to write something thoughtful. More posters and more Bibles were passed up, and Cruz didn’t have time to write a message in each Bible, so he started simply signing them on the page that was held open for him: on the fly page, where a book’s author would sign…

Cruz took the stage. In the friendly, intimate atmosphere of the small church, he was comfortable. I’d been to many Ted Cruz events in the past couple of months, and it was the only time I’d seen him genuinely at ease. He seemed happy and not at all exhausted from the grueling schedule of his 99-county Iowa tour. Though rested, his face had an unfortunate lizard quality to it—adult Ted Cruz can never overcome the Komodo dragon quality of his skin and chin—but he wasn’t repellent. He spoke with the almost squeaky register he adopts in a religious setting, waving his arms evangelically when appealing to Christian scripture and stabbing his finger down in his debater’s manner when making a political promise. He didn’t have the chip-on-my-shoulder-but-quick-on-my-toes expression that he wears during televised debates, and he was neither obsequious nor smarmy, two typical Cruz styles I’d come to expect since following him.

“When I’m president you can bet there’s going to be some changes in Washington! On day one in the Oval Office we’re going to prosecute every member of Planned Parenthood who has committed criminal acts!”

“Yes!” the husband of the woman in the tall leather boots shouted, pumping his fist in the air and rising to his feet…

“If we get a president who appoints a left-wing judge…” Cruz said.

“Stone him!” came a voice from the crowd.

“I’m a true conservative!” Cruz shouted. Suddenly I understood something about Ted Cruz and his followers that I hadn’t clicked into before: The proof of Cruz’s merit, as a candidate, was that he he ought to be at the bottom. The proof of being “a true conservative” is that everyone is against him. Being hated is a mark of entitlement.
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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Some Folks Don’t Learn

scotus refusal burns gop eagan

Timothy Eagan via GoComics.com

Yet Dana Milbank is fretting…

… In his introduction of Garland, Obama quoted past praise for the nominee by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the longest-serving Republican on the Judiciary Committee. Hatch supported Garland’s nomination to the circuit court two decades ago. He has since said that Garland would be a “consensus nominee” to the high court and that there’s “no question” he would be confirmed. Just last week, Hatch predicted Obama wouldn’t nominate Garland, because he’s too moderate.

But minutes after Obama nominated Garland, Hatch told reporters that he would continue opposing consideration of any nominee until after the election. And McConnell said Obama “made this nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed but in order to politicize for purposes of the election.”

Obama had done just the opposite: He picked an old white guy whose centrist views do not excite the Democratic base — an olive branch to conservatives in (vain) hopes that they would relax their lock-step objections. In the process, he antagonized allies on the left, raising the possibility that Democrats won’t get a political benefit from the standoff — and that Obama still won’t get his nominee confirmed…

I have not always been serene in my faith regarding the Eleventh-Dimensional Chess Master, but let’s give President “Rhymes with Bucket” Obama some credit here, okay? There are already ads on my tv (Boston being what passes for a NH media market) attacking Kelly “Handmaiden of Gilead, also of McCain/Graham” Ayotte for ‘refusing to perform her Constitutional duty’ when it comes to scheduling a hearing for Judge Garland. I’m sure Grassley and the other GOP senators running this year are watching similar ads and popping antacids. Either they stand on their principles, such as they are, and give both-sides! voters another reason to sit on their hands come Election Day… or they break down, let President Kenyan Muslim have his lousy “hearings”, and risk getting primaried by an even further-right purist next time. Not to mention the rich pickings any such hearing is liable to provide for future attack ads, per the last eleven hours of Benghazi-gate.
Apart from rolling our eyes, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Open Thread: Not Much Daylight Between Trump & Cruz

Meanwhile, per the NYTimes:

BALLWIN, Mo. — A brief accounting of Senator Ted Cruz’s arguments against Donald J. Trump on Friday evening:

— He “affirmatively encourages violence.”

— He “disrespects the voters.”

— His campaign is “facing allegations of physical violence” against a reporter.

— He has created an environment that all but ensures future clashes.

And so, Mr. Cruz was asked on Saturday morning, can you still support Mr. Trump if he is the Republican nominee?

“My answer is the same: I committed at the outset,” Mr. Cruz told reporters, before a rally inside a high school gymnasium here. “I will support the Republican nominee, whoever it is.”

On Saturday, when asked again about Chicago, Mr. Cruz began by criticizing “protesters that resort to violence” in a bid to “silence speech that they don’t like.”…

Asked again to explain the prospect of eventually supporting Mr. Trump anyway, Mr. Cruz walked away to begin his rally.

Yeah, Cruz would accept Trump’s VP offer in a heartbeat. A racing, accelerated heartbeat: