Month: November 2015

Way Too Much Effort for a Cheap Joke

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 30 November 2015.“That the words uttered by the brave Tazendra are not as grandiose and full of pomp as Kieron the Conqueror’s, ‘The sea has brought our salvation’, or Undauntra the First’s, ‘Let him who doubts the victory wrest the banner from my hand’, or Sethra Lavode’s, ‘I speak for the Mountain and the Mountain speaks for the Orb’, or Lord Kuinu’s, ‘By all the Lords of Judgment, it is proved at last’, or expressive of the elegant understatement of Tigarre’s famous, ‘Turn around, my lord; I am behind you’, or Deo’s, ‘Welcome, my lady, to my home’; still, they are what was said, and so our duty as historian places before us the necessity of laying them before the reader.”

―Paarfi of Roundwood

See what I did there?

Never mind. Paarfi does.

Adam doesn’t, but that’s not important. In fact, Adam is only important on this occasion because it’s his fault I thought of Tigarre at all; and maybe I should be at least somewhat distressed about the proposition that I have yet to figure if Tigarre is the historical figure or historian.

And, yes, I would feel really stupid if someone has done that bit before, but I would still blame Adam because it was either the Tigarre joke or Facebooking my sister-in-law.

Oh, and we can safely ignore Steven; he’s just a set piece and occasional washing-machine leveler.

You know. Ironic counterpoint. Subtext. Dark side of the moon flashing like a drive indicator.

A tangent to the contextual orbit ’round my head.

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Image note: Tigarre the Turtle? ― Detail of Bug Martini by Adam Huber, 30 November 2015.

Brust, Steven. “Official Biography”. The Dream Café. 5 November 2015.

Paarfi of Roundwood. “The Lord of Castle Black: Describing Certain Events Which Occurred Between the 247th Year of the Interregnum and the 1st Year of the Reign of Empress Zerika the Fourth”. The Viscount of Adrilankha, vol. 2. Adrilankha: Glorious Mountain, 179 NOR2.

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The Shadow (Talk the #TWOC)

#StandSpeakFightWin #FightWinLoveLive

Harrowing charm? How about charmingly harrowing?

I kept hearing this statistic that struck me as terrifying and ludicrous when transphobic violence was peaking over the summer. The statistic said the average life expectancy for a trans woman of color is 35. As an otherwise healthy TWOC who turned 31 this year, this tragicomic countdown to my imminent death at least warranted further investigation.

Gravity will as gravity does, and Trav Pittman’s reflection on the intersection of violence and transgender women of color really isn’t charming, despite the author’s brave façade.

This is a disaster.

Yes, yes, there are myriad disasters going on every day. But, you know, think of a disaster like the number of people hungry or homeless, out in wicked cold tonight, and all for the sake of a post-capitalist distribution system that functionally requires this manner of suffering.

The disaster harrowing the transgender community is happening for even dumber reasons.

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Pittman, Trav. Four Years to Live: On Violence Against Trans Women of Color”. The Huffington Post. 24 November 2015.

Clowntastic

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

“The truth is that Republicans are at a crossroads. What we are seeing is a surrogate battle to determine whether the GOP will be a sort of populist/protectionist party, or a more cosmopolitan and compassionate one. And if those are the two world views that will eventually clash, Cruz and Rubio are much better representatives than, say, Trump and Bush.”

Matt Lewis

Conservative stalwart Matt Lewis offers an intriguing commentary considering the real potential of a marquee showdown between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The junior U.S. Senators from Florida and Texas respectively enjoy competitive positions in the polls, and thus stand out as leading candidates to ascend as Dr. Ben Carson tumbles and pretty much everyone else wonders when Trump will follow. The Roll Call op-ed opens:

“The two people to watch are Cruz and Rubio,” Charles Krauthammer declared on Tuesday’s episode of Fox News’ “Special Report.” Call it wishful thinking or conventional wisdom (or both), but there is an assumption that this clash of titans might eventually occur—and I, for one, am rooting for it.

And we can skip ahead to the ending, a pretense of obvious afterthought―that both Cruz and Rubio can win the general against Hillary Clinton―long enough to remember that Lewis is, after all, a conservative pitch man. Cruz can’t win; Rubio has a chance if he can overcome the deer and headlight air of youthful inexperienceα he often demonstrates so aptly when rattling through talking points that thoroughly defy his comprehension. That is to say, we can attend the pretense of afterthought long enough to dismiss it.

Nonetheless, Mr. Lewis offers an insightful analysis that includes the benefit of also sounding reasonable:

Most people I know think a Trump candidacy would be disastrous, but there is division regarding just how freaked out we should be. Some, like statistician Nate Silver, argue that we are putting too much stock in these early polls showing Trump ahead for a variety of reasons, including the fact that “the vast majority of eventual Republican voters haven’t made up their minds yet.”

Others argue that this is fantasy. All the previous predictions about a Trump collapse were premature, and besides, he’s a paradigm-shifting candidate; the old rules no longer apply.

Having said all that, it’s not absurd to believe that voters will finally come to their senses, and that Cruz and Rubio might eventually emerge as representatives of their various “lanes” to face off in a sort of championship battle to determine who will represent the GOP in the general election.

(more…)

Required Reading (Hilariousless)

"All of a sudden, I could do anything." ― Mikasa Ackerman

It’s one of those things where an associate throws down one day and flies unimaginable colors, and we are so amazed, and appalled. Never mind. That’s my business, not my soapbox. The end result is that I had occasion to recall Melissa McEwan’s “Rape is Hilarious”, which in turn is at least as horrifying as it sounds.

If not laughing at a bunch of men sitting around talking about fucking women to death makes me a humorless feminist, then I wear the badge proudly—because I’m not just a humorless feminist; I’m a bitch who was nearly fucked to death. Isn’t that just fucking hilarious?

It is about as devastating as you would expect. Go. Read. Now.

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McEwan, Melissa. “Rape is Hilarious”. Shakesville. 11 May 2007.

The Marco Rubio Show (Fabulous Retro Chic)

Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gestures while speaking in Davenport, Iowa on 11 November 2015. (Detail of photo by Charlie Niebergall/AP Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) would like American society to please turn back the clock.

Marriage equality, for example, is already the law of the land in the United States, but Right Wing Watch flagged Rubio’s new interview with Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, where the senator made clear he’s not done fighting against equal marriage rights, calling the status quo “current law,” but “not settled law.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called on to participate in that process to try to change it―not ignoring it, but trying to change the law.

“And that’s what we’re endeavoring to do here. I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman.”

For most of the country, there’s a realization that there is no credible proposal to turn back the clock. Rubio didn’t elaborate on how, exactly, he wants to “change the law” to prevent same-sex couples from getting married, and if he tried, he’d likely fail.

But the key here is understanding just how far the Florida senator is willing to go with the culture war. For Rubio, it’s still not too late to bring back discriminatory marriage laws.

Steve Benen of msnbc also reminds of Mr. Rubio’s odious regard for women; we are already familiar with the Florida junior’s nonsense, but neither should his absurdity about marriage equality overshadow his desire to forcibly insert the government between women and their doctors.

(more…)

Kermit and the Bug

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 25 November 2015.Uh-huh.

No, really, what am I supposed to do with that?

Then again, how could I not?

These are the days of our lives.

Tune in next time, and I might actually make sense.

Maybe.

I mean, you know.

Somebody has to.

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Image note: Detail of Bug Martini, by Adam Huber, 25 November 2015

One of Those Bad Ideas (Minnesota Seven Mix)

Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished. (Darker Than Black, ep. 14)

And then there is Minnesota, specifically the Seventh Congressional District―a rural swath in the west of the state currently represented in Congress by Rep. Collin Peterson (DFL)―and its GOP. Or, as Ed Mazza explains:

The head of the Republican party in Minnesota is apologizing after one of the GOP’s district branches tweeted about a “negro problem.”

MN #DFL now propose a "special session" to deal with their self-created "#Negroproblem". (Minnesota 7th Congressional District GOP, via Twitter, 22 November 2015)The tweet, sent out by the state’s 7th Congressional District GOP on Sunday, was a response to the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party’s call to make joblessness and poverty in the black community part of a proposed legislative special session, the Star Tribune reported.

“MN #DFL now propose a ‘special session’ to deal with their self-created ‘#negroproblem,'” the tweet said.

Now, come on. Really? Look, you might be a Republican but at what point does this sound like a good idea? Alright, alright, alright. That’s not fair, is it? Try it this way: At what point did this fail to seem like a bad idea?

This is the question the Republican Party in Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District must answer: Why are you in politics?

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Mazza, Ed. “Minnesota GOP Apologizes For ‘Negro Problem’ Tweet”. The Huffington Post. 24 November 2015.

The Mike Huckabee Show (Great Guy)

"Mike Huckabee, who apparently is still running for president, said yesterday that President Obama's 'new domestic terrorism plan probably requires Americans to memorize Koran verses.' Dear Beltway pundits who told the public Huckabee is a great guy: you were wrong." (Steve Benen, msnbc, 24 November 2015)

“Mike Huckabee, who apparently is still running for president, said yesterday that President Obama’s ‘new domestic terrorism plan probably requires Americans to memorize Koran verses.’ Dear Beltway pundits who told the public Huckabee is a great guy: you were wrong.”

Steve Benen

Just to be clear, yes, Mr. Huckabee actually said that.

Armed with grenades and guns, Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic radicals struck again, taking 170 people hostage at the Raddison hotel in Mali. These barbaric terrorists spared the lives of hostages who proved their Islamic bona fides by reciting the Koran, while 27 innocent civilians were killed.

After this attack in West Africa, Obama’s new domestic terrorism plan probably requires Americans to memorize Koran verses.

(sigh)

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Image note: Source photo by Associated Press.

Benen, Steve. “Tuesday’s Campaign Round-Up, 11.24.15”. msnbc. 24 November 2015.

Huckabee, Mike. “Huckabee: Obama’s idealistic and outright dangerous Syrian refugee relocation plan”. FOX News. 23 November 2015.

The Szubin Question (Forty-Seven Rise Again Remix)

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) speaks with reporters before the Senate luncheons in the Capitol, 15 May 2012. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s grossly irresponsible of McConnell and his colleagues to keep government from doing what they say it should do: operate efficiently and protect its citizens.”

Jonathan Bernstein

Perhaps some recall an occasion not so long ago when the United States faced such a potential health crisis that small-government conservatives, Republicans who purport to disdain the idea of an American czar, called for President Obama to appoint a new policy czar to deal with Ebola.

The White House, Democratic supporters, and many others pointed out that the Senate could start by simply confirming the nominated Surgeon General; Vivek Murthy’s nomination languished for over a year because Republicans objected to the idea that gunshot wounds are a health issue.

With a potential health crisis pitching Republicans into panic, they sought another executive-appointed czar, instead of confirming a qualified nominee to lead the uniformed service whose job it is to respond to public health threats.

The president already has a “czar” to deal with Daa’ish; his name is Brett McGurk, and last month he replaced Gen. John Allen (USMC, Ret.) as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL”, but he also needs his Undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial crimes, currently occupied as an interim appointment for over two hundred days because Senate Republicans refuse to slate his confirmation hearing.

Szubin’s nomination got a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on Sept. 17, and Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) praised his past work in countering terrorist financing during his time with both Republican and Democratic administrations.

“He is eminently qualified for this,” Shelby said at the time.

But Szubin’s nomination hasn’t moved since. There’s no clear reason why, beyond trying to make it difficult for President Barack Obama to fill administration posts.

“Treasury must have in place an experienced watchdog, with the know-how and authority to lead U.S. efforts to track and choke off the financial lifeblood of terrorist organizations,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, said Wednesday. “Republicans in Congress need to stop holding our national security apparatus hostage to political demands, and allow Adam Szubin and other national security nominees to be approved as soon as possible.”

A Shelby spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), noted that Republicans recently lined up a confirmation vote on a separate nominee, Gayle Smith, for USAID administrator, but couldn’t say when Szubin might move.

Stewart dinged Democrats for “politicizing Paris” with this week’s push on stalled national security nominees.

(Bendery)

(more…)

The Ben Carson Show (Falter)

Host Chris Wallace, left, and guest Rush Limbaugh talk on 'FOX News Sunday', 22 November 2015.

It is well enough to note how strange it is we might find some object of utility at the intersection of Rush Limbaugh and World Net Daily, but Joe Kovacs reports on what could be a milestone in the 2016 Republican presidential nomination contest:

Front-running GOP candidate Dr. Ben Carson is “probably not” equipped right now to be president, according to talk-radio star Rush Limbaugh, but the top-rated host in America says he’d “absolutely” vote for the former neurosurgeon over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

There will come a point at which Republican voters driving Mr. Carson’s standing in the polls must necessarily confess to themselves what pretty much everyone else knows. And there really isn’t any way of sugarcoating it:

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Limbaugh was asked by host Chris Wallace to comment on some of the major players in this election cycle’s hunt for the White House.

World Net DailyWhen Carson’s name was mentioned, Limbaugh said Carson is “one of the most decent human beings in this country. He’s one of the finest men. I’ve met him. The things he has done, the places he’s come from … and I cringe when I see that they (the media) are trying to destroy him.”

Wallace asked Limbaugh if Carson is “equipped to be president.”

“Probably not at this stage,” said Limbaugh, “but any of these Republicans running would be better than Hillary or better than anything we’ve got now. So, based on that comparison, yes. I would vote for him if it was up to him and Hillary. Absolutely! Without a doubt.”

The idea that Republicans hate Hillary Clinton so much they would see the nation wrecked before supporting her is hardly new. Still, though, at a strange nexus of FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, and World Net Daily, the fact of Dr. Carson’s incompetence unquestionably rises toward prominence.

Only time will tell what such a notion does to Dr. Carson’s standing; perhaps his core support doesn’t care, and it’s simply the conservative remainder who hear or read Limbaugh’s words and nod at the feeling that it sounds about right.

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Image note: Host Chris Wallace, left, and guest Rush Limbaugh talk on FOX News Sunday, 22 November 2015.

Kovacs, Joe. “Limbaugh: Ben Carson not equipped to be president”. World Net Daily. 22 November 2015.