A Real Apology … For Joe Barton’s Grammar

Joe Linus Barton, a Representative from Texas
Joe Linus Barton (R.-TX)
Humorist Brian Unger: “…As the humble son of two English teachers with master’s and specialist’s degrees in speech and education who took pleasure in scolding me as a child in both Latin and Greek, I’d like to apologize to all English-speaking nations for Rep. Joe Barton’s apology for apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward while he apologized to America for turning the Gulf of Mexico into a sorry petrochemical spittoon…
…[W]hen a congressmen demands proper English be the language of the land, and then destroys that language in front of an Englishman — I must apologize for me, myself, or I to my mom and dad; I’m sorry.”  [read the entire piece] (NPR).

The Hutaree Militia bust

Teresa Nielsen Hayden at Making Light has a comprehensive and cogent take on the bust of the Michigan paramilitary group, for any of you as interested as I am in the extreme right. She concludes “Since I have no chance of getting called for jury duty on this case, I’m free to air my prejudices. I’m glad they busted the Hutaree. They’re not criminal masterminds, but few criminals are. These guys sound like they’re competent enough to be dangerous.”

A history of anti-government rage and violence

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‘The passage of President Obama's healthcare plan in the House of Representatives last Sunday has unleashed seething anger and rage from the far right. Protesters hurled racial epithets at Democratic lawmakers just before the final vote, and this week's news has been littered with unnerving instances of retribution against Democrats who voted for reform.

Sadly, this all has the ring of familiarity. The right's often hysterical resentment of Obama and what it perceives him to represent has resulted in similar episodes throughout his presidency. Think of the protesters who showed up outside his town hall meetings last summer with guns.

And rage toward a president — and toward the federal government in general — is hardly a new phenomenon. It has reared its head (sometimes even on the left) throughout American history. In this slide show, Salon looks back at some other notable episodes.’ (Salon)

Kristallnacht, Revisited

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United S...

Jim MacDonald writes at Making Light: ‘Today, at CNN. The story is called “House Democrats report increased threats since health care vote.”

An Alabama-based blog, called “Sipsey Street Irregulars,” says it has launched a so-called “window war” against Democrats and has kept a tally of the recent incidents of damage, including ones in New York and Kansas.

Blogger Michael B. Vanderboegh of Pinson, Alabama, said Monday that in a Friday blog, he called for people to break windows at Democratic headquarters at the city and county level. He said he didn’t call for the damages to congressional offices because, “I didn’t want to be responsible for anybody breaking a federal law.”

However, “I can understand how someone can be frustrated enough to throw a brick through a congresswoman’s window,” Vanderboegh said. He said he feels the health care bill is “unconstitutional and tyrannical.”

“My answer is violence, by getting their attention,” he said, adding, “If we can get across to the other side that they are within inches of provoking a civil war in this country, then that’s a good thing.”

Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal laws of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion, or ransom. I do wonder what the Homeland Security folks are doing about these guys. (Probably nothing, since they aren’t named Mohammad, don’t dress funny, and aren’t brown.)

There’s another name for what the Tea Baggers are doing. I’m waiting for a group of them to get together in a beer hall to install the Permanent Republican Majority.’

Limbaugh: Don’t give Haitians a penny

“Amid the rash of appeals for Haiti donations has come a call from one of the most prominent voices on the American right for people to hang on to their cash because Barack Obama might steal it.Rush Limbaugh, the most popular radio talkshow host, who is sometimes described as the real leader of the Republican party, says Americans should not give a penny to a population struggling for survival after the earthquake.” (Guardian.UK)

Speechless

Life Expectancy at birth (years) {{col-begin}}...

“Bill O’Reilly explaining that of course America has lower life expectancy than Canada — we have 10 times as many people, so we have 10 times as many deaths.

I need a drink.” — Paul Krugman (New York Times op-ed)

The Wages of Hate

‘ Like Scott Roeder, the man charged in the shooting of the Wichita, Kan., doctor George Tiller nearly two weeks ago, James von Brunn, the white supremacist charged with killing a guard in an attempted shooting rampage at the Holocaust museum in Washington on Wednesday, doesn’t have any current, overt links to extremist groups. Yet his violent hatred — of Jews, blacks, the government — echoes throughout the universe of right-wing extremists, who just a few years ago hailed and revered him as a “White Racialist Treasure.” ‘ — Judith Warner (New York Times)

From the get-go, media coverage of the Holocaust Museum shooting dwelled on the terms ‘lone gunman’ and ‘acted alone’, but in an information-immersed world one has to realize that that has little meaning. Earlier today, there was an extensive discussion thread lionizing von Brunn on the Storm Front website, but access is now denied to outsiders without a login. (One commenter lauded von Brunn’s action by saying that the real terrorism is the indoctrination of Americans into the myth of the Holocaust. Imagining that the Holocaust Museum will now be closed to school groups, the writer observed taht now the indoctrination will be less successful and pervasive because it will be restricted to adults.)

Can right-wing hate talk lead to murder?

“I was on Hardball today talking about the climate of extreme right-wing rhetoric today, and whether it had anything to do with Wednesday's tragic shooting at Washington's Holocaust Museum, or the May 31 murder of Dr. George Tiller by an antiabortion crackpot.

I tried to choose my words carefully. Unless it's shown that either man had accomplices, we have to be clear that the men responsible for those murders are the ones who pulled the trigger. Still, it's hard not to think about the extreme right-wing rhetoric, especially about Barack Obama, and whether it could conceivably lead to more right-wing violence.” Can right-wing hate talk lead to murder? – Joan Walsh (Salon)

The Howls of a Fading Species

Bob Herbert: “One can only hope that the hysterical howling of right-wingers against the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is something approaching a death rattle for this profoundly destructive force in American life.” (New York Times op-ed)

Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology

church of scientology ~ edmonton

Wikipedia has banned the Church of Scientology from editing any articles. It’s a punishment for repeated and deceptive editing of articles related to the controversial religion. The landmark ruling comes from the inner circle of a site that prides itself on being open and inclusive.

In a 10-1 ruling Thursday, the site’s arbitration council voted to ban users coming from all IP addresses owned by the Church of Scientology and its associates, and further banned a number of editors by name.” (Five Things – Salon.com)

The Culture Warriors Get Laid Off

Addams Family Values album cover

Frank Rich thinks the culture wars are over. I think he’s deluding himself.

“…The family-values dinosaurs that once stalked the earth — Falwell, Robertson, Dobson and Reed — are now either dead, retired or disgraced. Their less-famous successors pumped out their pro forma e-mail blasts, but to little avail. The Republican National Committee said nothing whatsoever about Obama’s reversal of Bush stem-cell policy. That’s quite a contrast to 2006, when the party’s wild and crazy (and perhaps transitory) new chairman, Michael Steele, likened embryonic stem-cell research to Nazi medical experiments during his failed Senate campaign.

What has happened between 2001 and 2009 to so radically change the cultural climate? Here, at last, is one piece of good news in our global economic meltdown: Americans have less and less patience for the intrusive and divisive moral scolds who thrived in the bubbles of the Clinton and Bush years. Culture wars are a luxury the country — the G.O.P. included — can no longer afford.” via New York Times op-ed.

Related:

Rebecca Traister on Bristol Palin’s televised interview

Location of Willow, Alaska

‘All over the news on Tuesday were clips of 18-year-old new mother Bristol Palin stuttering awkwardly in an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren and saying what many Americans already know all too well: that the idea of teenage abstinence is unrealistic.

But more than just sound bites, Van Susteren’s interview with Bristol (and her “surprise-guest” mom) was a vivid reminder of how, sadly, this unremarkable high schooler got dragged into the spotlight by a Republican ticket anxious to paper over its party’s family-values inconsistencies with the addition of a just-folks clan led by an Alaskan governor determined to use her family as an illustration of her policies. It was also an embodiment of all that was frustrating and tone-deaf about those policies, and about the governor’s candidacy for the vice-presidency.’ via Salon Life.

Related:

Suit contesting Obama’s citizenship heads to Supreme Court

Barack Obama 44th President of The United Stat...

“The U.S. Supreme Court will consider Friday whether to take up a lawsuit challenging President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship, a continuation of a New Jersey case embraced by some opponents of Obama’s election.

The meeting of justices will coincide with a vigil by the filer’s supporters in Washington on the steps of the nation’s highest court.

The suit originally sought to stay the election, and was filed on behalf of Leo Donofrio against New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells.

Legal experts say the appeal has little chance of succeeding, despite appearing on the court’s schedule. Legal records show it is only the tip of an iceberg of nationwide efforts seeking to derail Obama’s election over accusations that he either wasn’t born a U.S. citizen or that he later renounced his citizenship in Indonesia.”

via Chicago Tribune.

Christians AGAINST Cartoons!

A clay animation scene from a Finnish TV comme...A friend (thanks, julia), who herself happens to be a cartoonist, forwarded a link to this site to me and also mentioned she knows the writer of Pharyngula and had sent it his way. (Coincidentally, Pharyngula is on my reading list and I had already seen the blink to the CAC site there.) With Pharyngula having a much larger readership than FmH (or at least a more vocal readership), there have been in excess of a hundred comments to the post over there. Like my take on it, opinion is running in favor of its being a parody. Especially telling is that one reader tracked down the registered owner of the CAC domain and reports that it belongs to an animation studio! In any case, I learned a new, very useful, concept from the comments — Poe’s Law.