Marsha Blackburn

An Important Difference (Play Like a Girl)

United States Women's National Team forward Abby Wambach celebrates victory at the 2015 Women's World Cup in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 5 July 2015, with her wife, Sarah Huffman. (Detail of photo by Elaine Thompson/AP)

“Abby said that she wanted her final World Cup to be like a fairytale. And I’m not sure she could have written a better ending: a world champion at last, draped in the Stars and Stripes, showing us all how far we’ve come―on and off the field―by sharing a celebratory kiss with her wife.”

President Barack Obama

This is an illustration of the difference.

President Barack Obama, on Tuesday:

President Barack Obama holds a jersey and poses for photographs during a ceremony to honor the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup champion U.S. National Soccer Team, Oct. 27, 2015, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Detail of photo by Evan Vucci/AP)This team taught all America’s children that “playing like a girl” means you’re a badass. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that phrase. Playing like a girl means being the best. It means drawing the largest TV audience for a soccer match―men or women’s―in American history. It means wearing our nation’s crest on your jersey, taking yourself and your country to the top of the world. That’s what American women do. That’s what American girls do. That’s why we celebrate this team. They’ve done it with class. They’ve done it with the right way. They’ve done it with excitement. They’ve done with style. We are very, very proud of them.

Two days later, over at the Capitol:

On Thursday, Senate Republicans blocked a resolution that called on soccer’s global governing body to “immediately eliminate gender pay inequity and treat all athletes with the same respect and dignity.”

“It is a shame that in the Senate, we cannot even agree to pass a resolution that calls for the equal treatment of male and female athletes. If we cannot even pass a non-binding resolution, how can we ever achieve real pay equity for women?” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who introduced the resolution this summer.

Earlier this year at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the pay disparity between male and female soccer players was put into sharp focus when it was reported that while the U.S. Women’s National Team received $2 million for winning the championship, men’s teams who lost in the first round of the 2014 World Cup, including the U.S. men’s team, received $8 million.

(Gibbs)

Remember this, when people tell you there is no difference, that they’re all the same.

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Congressional Speculation

Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate, does a sound check during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Ryan delivered his speech at the convention Wednesday night, 29 August 2012. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“One senior GOP aide familiar with discussions between leadership and the Freedom Caucus used Dante Alighieri’s description of hell in ‘The Divine Comedy’, with its varying concentric circles, to describe the HFC. No candidate will get to the innermost circle. But Ryan could pick off a lot of members on the outer rings.”

Matt Fuller

The upshot here is that the idea of static or patterned chaos, which really does sound somewhat counterintuitive until you do the thing with a triangle and dice, but in this case we mean something yet altogether different: Meet the new chaos; same as the old chaos. House Republicans seem caught up in some sort of loop, waiting for Ryan while trying to deliberately ignore the gigantic question mark they keep glancing aside in hopes of checking.

Matt Fuller of Roll Call explains:

If the HFC, after largely taking credit for pushing out Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and blocking the ascension of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is seen as having scuttled a Ryan speakership, the divide between the ultra-conservative group and the rest of the conference could become even more unmanageable.

Without Ryan, the speaker’s race threatens to turn into a free-for-all. On Tuesday, there were at least a half dozen new names of Republicans quietly testing the water for runs of their own, including a couple of Texans (Reps. Bill Flores and Michael McCaul), the wealthiest man in Congress (Rep. Darrell Issa) and a woman, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn ....

.... Sources close to Ryan say the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee has no intention of putting up with an insurrection on his right flank. If Ryan agrees to take the speakership, he will tell colleagues he’ll only do it with all of their support. What’s more, he is making no promises about overhauling the process, shaking up the Steering Committee or any of the other concessions being floated by conservatives.

If that’s Ryan’s position, there will almost certainly be Republicans who will oppose him. And then conservatives will have a choice of their own. They can either hold fast to their procedural demands, or they can get on board with a Ryan speakership.

In truth, Mr. Fuller’s running commentary about sources is much more enlightening. After all, Congress is Congress, and reporters are merely human. Every little piece, you know? It’s not just the stories they tell, but also whether or not we are capable of understanding them. In communicative relationships, the burdens of transmission are much more apparent than the obligations of actually being able to receive.

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Image note: Detail of photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Fuller, Matt. “Oh, and another thing I noticed”. Twitter. 13 October 2015.

—————. “Ryan’s Choice and the House Freedom Caucus Fallout”. 218. Roll Call. 13 October 2015.

The Ben Carson Show (Interesting Pilot)

Ben Carson announces his candidacy for president during an official announcement in Detroit, Monday, May 4, 2015.  Carson, 63, a retired neurosurgeon, begins the Republican primary as an underdog in a campaign expected to feature several seasoned politicians.  (Photo: Paul Sancya)

This is going to be interesting.

As you might have heard, Dr. Ben Carson is running for president:

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson slammed “slick politicians” in both parties as he launched his bid on Monday for the 2016 Republican nomination for president, casting himself as a problem-solver whose experience sets him apart from the field.

Carson, a favorite of conservative activists, said the upcoming elections should bring in leaders with “common sense” to enact policies like reversing President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul and revamping the U.S. tax code.

“I’ve got to tell you something. I’m not politically correct, and I’m probably never going to be politically correct because I’m not a politician,” Carson said in a speech in Detroit, his hometown.

“Politicians do what is politically expedient, and I want to do what’s right,” he said.

Carson, who is 63 and the only black person currently seeking the nomination in either the Republican or Democratic parties, is a political neophyte. In polls of the Republican Party’s wide field of likely candidates, he currently gets about 4.8 percent of the vote, according to Reuters/Ipsos polls.

(Stephenson)

It is hard to know where to start. To the one, Dr. Carson presents the possibility of simply being yet another clown with delusions of the White House. Or maybe he is looking forward to book sales. Nonetheless, inasmuch as any candidate can tell us why he or she is running for office, a certain question sometimes remains, like, “But why are you running for office?”

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Prognostication

Detail of 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow, 23 March 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.You know, with all the diversity in the right-wing tinfoil and wingnut sectors, it is sometimes hard to choose. Then again, misogyny tends to stand out. Trump talks to plot a place in politics; Lindsey Graham belabors Benghazi; a sense of inevitability about a Bush-Clinton grudge match has a wearying effect even as the ponies register for the sideshow.

But misogyny perches on a precarious pedestal. The 2012 debacle caught so many off guard, yet the signs were all there. The Tea Party Revolution set out to remake the House in its own image, trying to distinguish between statutory and other forms of rape. Even Ron Paul had his go, waxing furiously about “honest” rape, but perhaps we gave him a pass for being from Texas, or simply for being Ron Paul. Mitt Romney stumbled over Blunt-Rubio, and Republicans dragged birth control back into controversy.

And this year everyone looks to Hillary Clinton, the one person in Washington who should be sick and tired of State of the Union Addresses, having attended some twenty of them as First Lady, United States Senator, and Secretary of State. If men have reason to fret about their penises, they ought not wag them about as the glass ceiling shatters.

Misogyny really could be the show. As Republicans hope to lipstick wage inequality (Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN07) and women’s health (Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC05), compel rape and trafficking survivors to bear assailants’ children, and, well, run a presidential election against a female candidate, don’t ignore this impish hatred.

No, seriously, at this point, who will be the least bad on women’s rights? Jeb Bush? Perhaps the most alarming aspect of that suggestion is that even having seen just how poorly Mitt Romney’s campaign went over, we might wonder how well Jeb will or won’t handle these issues. Certes he can’t be as bad as Romney was on Blunt-Rubio; then again, after Cory Gardner’s ascension to the Senate, we might have reason to wonder if it really matters one way or another. They are, in the end, Republicans.

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Tomorrow, Tom. “A sneak peek”. This Modern World. Daily Kos. 23 March 2015.

Stupid: The Kentucky Come-Hither

Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell, left, and Rand Paul address the media during a press conference following McConnell's victory in the republican primary Friday, May 23, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

As photographs go, this otherwise unremarkable example from Timothy D. Easley offers two brief amusements. To the first—

Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell, left, and Rand Paul address the media during a press conference, May 23, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo)

—someone botched the caption; that is, of course, Sen. McConnell on the right, although one might understand how, compared to his junior colleague from Kentucky, the Senate Minority Leader might be seen as being to the left.

To the second, though, is a simple evaluation of the aesthetics. Sens. Paul and McConnell are wearing those weird matching expressions, like a May-September couple that simultaneously spied a dashing young potential third for the evening’s enjoyment.

Seriously: Kentucky come-hither.

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