Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Short and sweet today, my darlings. It’s not just because I have to pack for the trip, but also because the stupid’s not quite as thick on the ground as usual. I think the right tired itself out frothing over Judge Sotomayor this week.

But there are still a few Cons out there keeping up appearances.

Let us begin with John Yoo, who apparently has the self-awareness of a shrubbery:

From John Yoo, who seems intent on setting a Guiness world record for total lack of self-awareness:

Conservatives should defend the Supreme Court as a place where cases are decided by a faithful application of the Constitution, not personal politics, backgrounds, and feelings. Republican senators will have to conduct thorough questioning in the confirmation hearings to make sure that she will not be a results-oriented voter, voting her emotions and politics rather than the law.

This from the same man who twisted the law into pretzels to justify Bush’s torture regime.

I owe the shrubberies of the world an apology. Comparing John Yoo’s self-awareness to theirs was a grave insult, and I’m deeply sorry.

Perhaps we could compare him to Bill O instead, whose self-awareness is so infinitesimal that electron microscopes have difficulty spotting it:

Yes, Bill O’Reilly, it really is a crappy thing when major public figures — or pissant ankle-biters — can outrageously smear other public figures as “racist” and do so with impunity and repeatedly. That’s what BillO was on about last night, anyway.

But no, he wasn’t talking about Sonia Sotomayor. She’s just a minor figure, after all. O’Reilly was talking about his own august self. Of course.

It was really quite the stomach-churning whinefest. He started off ranting that “my civil rights” and “my rights as an American” had been violated because he’s been branded a “racist” on numerous occasions, which he claims is “libel.” Then he indulged one of his periodic bully-the-women routines (“My rights were violated here!”), where he had on two female lawyers who proceeded to explain to him that he was full of crap. This, of course, did not sit well with O’Reilly, who ended up shaking his finger at them and accusing them of enabling the destruction of America.

Along the way, he managed to emit some momentous howlers:

If I were a minority, they couldn’t do this to me. You know it. You know it, Tonia. If I were African-American like you are, and they started to do all this kind of stuff, I could kill ‘em. And that’s my point now. White Americans, Miss California, their rights are being violated, at least the spirit of their rights, by these unbelievable attacks, personal attacks.

They’re attacking people who disagree with them in very personal ways. That’s what they’re doing. Don’t dodge it.

Then, when they pointed out that the same could be said of his own behavior, he flew into a barely contained rage:

Wait a minute! Hold it! Tonia, keep quiet. I don’t dish it out, madam. I don’t do that stuff. Don’t sit here and say I do. … We don’t do that here. Ever.

And then, at the end of the show? His usual segment of “Pinheads and Patriots.”

You know, I’m starting to feel sympathy for Bill. It’s hard to blame brain-damaged individuals for their lack of brain function.

Speaking of brain damage, I’m not quite sure what Sarah Palin was thinking:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) will appear on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” next month in a pre-taped message, the GOP governor said Friday.

On her Twitter page, Palin announced she’d make a cameo on the satirical news show, known for skewering lawmakers and sending-up bombastic conservative television hosts.

Palin tweeted Friday:

Getting ready to tape shout-out for our awesome US troops serving overseas! Will be on ‘Colbert Report’ next month, broadcast from Iraq…

Um. Sarah? The location was supposed to be a secret. And, also, Stephen’s not really a conservative pundit. Just ask George Bush, who found that out the hard way.

While I’m passing out advice, I’ll give some to Michael Steele for free. Michael, you may really want to rethink babbling praise for G. Gordon Liddy:

Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that former Watergate crook and current hate radio host G. Gordon Liddy had launched perhaps the most offensive attack against Judge Sonia Sotomayor yet. “Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something,” said Liddy, adding that she speaks “illegal alien.”

One day after Liddy put his over the top sexism and racism on display, RNC Chairman Michael Steele called on conservatives to quit “slammin’ and rammin’” Sotomayor with personal attacks. Presumably, Liddy’s offensive rant is exactly the message Steele wants to cease, which raises the question of whether Steele will continue to associate himself with Liddy.

As ThinkProgress reported in March, Steele appeared on the Feb. 5, 2009 edition of Liddy’s radio show and told the hardline right-winger that he follows in his footsteps:

STEELE: So, I, you know, I follow the footsteps of guys like you who, you know, who, you know, set the bar and pushed and pushed and pushed and made sure that we could obtain the results that would benefit people in communities, fighting for the rights of individuals and making sure that, you know, we don’t back down. Our opponents don’t back down. Why do we?

Wow. Just… wow. And the fact that the chairman of the RNC fawns over this radioactive fucktard should tell you all you need to know about the GOP.

What Hilzoy Said

Hilzoy explores Obama’s recent bit of political aikido, and gets right down to the heart of things:

Seriously: Obama is a serious student of the civil rights movement, which in turn drew a lot of inspiration from Gandhi. Both Gandhi and the Civil Rights movement made brilliant use of the following method: you do something right, which you suspect might lead your opponents to do something wrong. If you are right about them, they discredit themselves, without your having to lift a finger. If you’re wrong, you are pleasantly surprised. But you do not have to do anything wrong or underhanded yourself, nor do you in any way have to hope that your opponents are bad people.

That’s what he’s doing now. He has chosen a judge who is by any standard exceptionally qualified, and who has, in addition, a fairly conservative judicial temperament. She sticks close to the law; she follows precedent; having read several of her opinions, if I have any criticism of her, it’s that not seen much evidence of an overarching judicial philosophy other than restraint. (To be clear: if a judge has to lack something, I’d rather it be an overarching philosophy than devotion to the law as written. But I’d rather have both.)

But she is also a Puerto Rican woman. If the Republican Party were led by sane and decent people, this would not matter. But they aren’t. As a result, they seem to be unable to see anything about her besides her ethnicity and her gender. The idea that she must be a practitioner of identity politics, a person whose every success is due to preferential treatment, etc., is apparently one they absolutely cannot resist.

All Obama had to do was nominate an excellent justice, and all that is made plain.

And I hate it. I want to have a reasonable opposition party. I also don’t want people of color, and especially kids, to have to listen to all this bigotry. We should be better than this.

She’s right. We should.

Incidentally, if you find yourself debating a snookered Independent or one of those rare Cons who can actually process facts and might possibly let go of Faux News-style talking points, Hilzoy had a piece up linking to SCOTUS blog, where Tom Goldstein combed through Sotomayor’s opinions and managed to thoroughly maim, annihilate, and otherwise debunk the current right wing blather about how her race means she’ll toss out the law and side with the icky brown people. Upshot:

Other than Ricci, Judge Sotomayor has decided 96 race-related cases while on the court of appeals.

Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.

Good luck hammering that through their thick skulls.

Bush: Still Stupid After All These Months

Yes, I admit it. I sometimes miss Bush bashing. He possessed a quality of stupid that was one step above the rest.

He’s still got it:

President Bush — in contrast to Dick Cheney — has insisted that President Obama “deserves my silence.” Yesterday, in his largest domestic speech since leaving office, however, Bush would not rule out whether Obama is a socialist, saying that “people are waiting to see what all this means.” In the same breath, Bush defended his own massive intervention in the financial system:

[snip]

Bush was asked what he thinks about conservative pundits who claim the Obama administration’s fiscal policies are opening the door to socialism. “I’ve heard talk about that,” he said. “I think the verdict is out. I think people are waiting to see what all this means.”

[snip]

Note to Bush: the correct use of the phrase is “the jury is out,” not “the verdict is out.”

Glorious. And here I was afraid we’d left the Age of Bushisms behind.

He’s also still happily ensconced in his bubble:

Throughout George W. Bush’s presidency, his handlers always made a special effort to ensure his appearances with regular Americans were scripted in such a way that shined the best possible light on Bush and his polices. Whether he was meeting troops in Iraq, leading “Ask President Bush” re-election campaign events, or trying to sell his (failed) Social Security reform plan, Bush always had a friend in the audience ready to ask a softball question or heap praise on the president. It appears that old habits die hard, as those attending Bush’s upcoming speech in Michigan will be forced to submit their questions ahead of time:

Former President George W. Bush will make a stop in Michiana on Thursday. He is scheduled to speak to the Economic Club in Benton Harbor this evening. Mister Bush will answer questions that have been submitted.

Poor Georgie. Still afraid to answer unfriendly questions. I hope they remembered to bring his security blankie and binky.

Consequences

So, what have all the grandstanding NIMBYs accomplished? Looks like they’ve inspired others to follow their lead:

It appears that our European allies have noticed the rhetoric — and recent bipartisan votes — from Congress on Gitmo.

The Obama administration’s push to resettle at least 50 Guantanamo Bay prisoners in Europe is meeting fresh resistance as European officials demand that the United States first give asylum to some inmates before they will do the same.

Rising opposition in the U.S. Congress to allowing Guantanamo prisoners on American soil has not gone over well in Europe. Officials from countries that previously indicated they were willing to accept inmates now say it may be politically impossible for them to do so if the United States does not reciprocate.

“If the U.S. refuses to take these people, why should we?” said Thomas Silberhorn, a member of the German Parliament from Bavaria, where the White House wants to relocate nine Chinese Uighur prisoners. “If all 50 states in America say, ‘Sorry, we can’t take them,’ this is not very convincing.”

Imagine that. These European governments were largely inclined to help out when they assumed a wide variety of nations would share the detention burden. But now that these foreign officials have heard U.S. lawmakers — from both parties — suddenly come to believe that Guantanamo detainees are far too dangerous for U.S. soil, their willingness to cooperate is waning.

America’s acting like a spoiled little brat that’s refusing to clean its room. You can’t blame the rest of the world for not wanting to clean it for us.

This is something those assclowns should think about, but of course, they’ve proven themselves incapable of thought.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I’m sure all of you have noticed by now that the right’s come completely unhinged. Well, more completely unhinged. Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination’s released liberated them from the last thread of restraint.

Some of you may point out a few of the right-wing voices denouncing the right-wing fucktards. And to that I say: bunkum. At least so far as official Cons are concerned. Do I believe Cornyn’s found his last remaining drops of decency and decorum in a forgotten corner of his sock drawer? Do I think Michael Steele’s had an epiphany? Do I think Karl Rove’s suddenly on the side of angels because he’s lost his stomach for ugly smears?

Simply put: not no but fuck no. After all, the handwringers were merrily bashing Sotomayor for all they’re worth just a few days ago. Rove insulted her intelligence, Steele insulted her job performance, and Cornyn’s still got Gingrich fundraising for him. Convincing outrage: FAIL.

Besides, it’s a little hard to take their mild fussing seriously when they’re administering gentle rebukes in the face of inflamed rhetoric like this:

And here I thought Tom Tancredo, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh would be the most offensive conservative critics of Sonia Sotomayor. How could I forget this clown?

Yesterday on his radio show, conservative host G. Gordon Liddy continued the right wing’s all-out assault on Judge Sonia Sotomayor. [...]

“I understand that they found out today that Miss Sotomayor is a member of La Raza, which means in illegal alien, ‘the race.’ And that should not surprise anyone because she’s already on record with a number of racist comments.” [...]

“Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.”

So, according to this prominent conservative media personality, the Spanish language is synonymous with “illegal alien,” and women are, by nature, poorly suited to serving as justices.

Do I hear anybody denouncing their good buddy Liddy? Going once? Going twice?

Right.

The right’s problem is that Sotomayor’s incredibly hard to attack. So they’re reduced, as per GOPSOP, to totally making shit up:

Here’s [Weekly Standard's Michael] Goldfarb:

Stuart Taylor digs up another example from Sotomayor’s Princeton days:

In October 1974, Princeton allowed Sotomayor and two other students to initiate a seminar, for full credit and with the university’s blessings, on the Puerto Rican experience and its relation to contemporary America.

I went to Princeton but somehow I never got to teach my own class, or grade my own work. One wonders how Sotomayor judged her work in that class, and whether the grade helped or hindered her efforts to graduate with honors.

And here’s the Princeton press release Taylor cites:

So they [Sotomayor and two other students] did what scores of other Princeton Students have been able to do for the past six years: they initiated their own seminar … The seminar is being taught by Dr. Peter E. Winn, Assistant Professor of History and a specialist in Latin American affairs. Under a plan adopted by Princeton in 1968 students are free to propose seminars on special topics to a faculty Committee on Course of Study. … In the past 12 terms 132 such courses have been approved and offered.”

The release also makes clear that the seminar Sotomayor initiated had been offered twice before.

So Goldfarb’s snide comments about Sotomayor teaching her own class and grading her own work seem to be completely baseless: she didn’t teach the class.

Stuart Taylor, just for the record, is the genius who said that Paula Jones had a strong case. A person with a functioning brain might have fact-checked him before swallowing his bullshit. Goldfarb didn’t. Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my own case.

I encourage the right-wing frothers to stay on the attack. It’s always amusing when Nooners starts calling people in her own party idiots and tells them to start playing grownup. And I’d like to see how long it takes before Hispanic support for the GOP completely vanishes:

Top-ranking Republican strategists who specialize in Hispanic outreach say they are outraged, disturbed and concerned by the type of reception Barack Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court has received from conservative activists.

[snip]

The rhetoric has been enough to make Republican strategists in heavily Latino states cringe — concerned that such slights could cement Democrats advantages among a growing and increasingly influential political constituency.

“Of course this disturbs me,” said Lionel Sosa, one of the more influential Hispanic media advisers in the GOP. “I’m not surprised at Rush Limbaugh but I’m very surprised at Speaker Gingrich because he is one of the key people who knows the importance of the Latino vote to the Republican Party. He must realize how his rhetoric, if it does influence any Hispanics, how damaging it could be. This [confirmation] is something that is going to happen anyway. For a senator to have strong opposition to her, they are either not aware of the impact Latinos will have on the next election or they don’t care.”

I’d say both, actually.

Another right-wing smear against Sotomayor is her supposed abrasiveness. Christie Hardin Smith has the right quote for the occasion:

I’ll let Kevin Russell, who was on a WH-sponsored call I sat in on the other day, speak for me with his manly wisdom:

I understand that she has the reputation for being tough and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

I understand some of those fools may not be happy about that.

Indeed.

What Did We Tell You?

Remember how Brian and PZ and about twenty bajillion other science bloggers warned us that all the hype over Ida was going to become a creationist field day? It did:

Right on cue, the Worldnutdaily shows us why what the scientists, PR people and media outlets who overhyped the find of an early primate fossil did was detrimental to the public’s understanding of science. Such exaggerations and overblown statements are easily turned around and made to cast doubt on the validity of science and the theory of evolution.

[snip]

Of course, the Worldnutdaily also has to add their own distortions to the list:

History is replete with discoveries initially proclaimed as some sort of missing link, but later proved to be hoaxes.

And then, of course, they can only name two – Archaeoraptor and Piltdown Man. The Archaeoraptor hoax was perpetrated by a Chinese farmer, not by a scientist, and the Piltdown Man hoax was nearly a century ago – and was discovered by scientists.

Ironically, the article also mentions Nebraska Man, which was another textbook example of the media overhyping a fossil find and building far too much out of a simple tooth. The scientist who actually reported the find, HF Osborn, authored a careful and tentative identification of the find; it was a popular British magazine that turned that into a picture of an ape man, complete with wife and child.

But in this case, the scientists themselves have been caught up in the hype and participating in the very thing that destroys their credibility. I hope this will serve as a warning to other scientists not to do the same thing, but I fear it won’t.

Probably not. But for once, just once, I’d like to see people learn from boneheaded mistakes.

Hell, while I’m wishing, I’d like a ranch with horsies, too.

Erick Erickson Loses the Last of His Marbles

And I know he’s lost them, because only a mableless man would compare Rush Limbaugh to Jesus.

That’s right. Jesus. Christ.

Peter, under pressure and fear, denied Christ not just once, but three times. Peter, though, feared death. The strain on Peter was great. The rest of us, though, typically fear the opinions of others.

The incidents of late with Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Dick Cheney, and others is why I raise this. Putting it bluntly, were these guys on the left, their fellow leftists would at best be cheering them on and at worst silently nodding along. There wouldn’t be any on that side rushing to the nearest microphone to condemn them.

It gets much worse.

I’m sure it does, but I’m too busy barfing through the gales of laughter to go look. If you guys survive it, let me know how bad it was.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Today is a day filled with OMFG moments. It’s a day when you risk shattering your skull, because there’s only so many times your head can hit a desk before structural weaknesses emerge.

Let’s begin with perhaps the biggest *headdesk* moment so we can just get it out of the way:


Seizing the opportunity to vilify a female, Hispanic Supreme Court nominee, noted bigot Tom Tancredo has emerged from obscurity to denounce Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Earlier this week, Tancredo declared her to be a “racist” who should be “disqualified” from serving on the bench.

This afternoon on CNN, he went further, attacking her affiliation with the National Council of La Raza as equivalent to being a member of the Ku Klux Klan:


TANCREDO: If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case, which is, from my point of view anyway, nothing more than a Latino — it’s a counterpart — a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses. If you belong to something like that in a way that’s going to convince me and a lot of other people that it’s got nothing to do with race. Even though the logo of La Raza is “All for the race. Nothing for the rest.”

[snip]

Of course, the characterizations are wildly false. La Raza is the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization that focuses on such nefarious issues as “civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health.” Used to these attacks, La Raza has a long fact-sheet debunking the unhinged claims of the right, including pointing out that “La Raza” translates as “the people,” not “the race,” as the right wing suggests.

And, of course, he’s got their slogan completely fucking wrong. What a disgusting douchebag.

Then we have Jon Kyl, Arizona’s eternal shame, wanting to delay Sotomayor’s confirmation because – well, just because he’s a dumbshit Con:


Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is now saying the confirmation process for Sonia Sotomayor will likely have to wait much longer than President Obama wants — going into September rather than happening before the August recess.

“My guess is that if you apply the same general standards as were applied to the Roberts and Alito nominations that probably it goes into the first part of September,” Kyl told Fox News.

Simply put, this is baloney on multiple levels. For one thing, John Roberts was first nominated for the Supreme Court in late July 2005, then confirmed as Chief Justice in late September 2005 — a period of just over two months. Alito took a bit longer, being nominated in late October 2005, and confirmed in late January 2006 — a period of three months. Kyl is using these two examples to justify a period of nearly four months.

Sometimes, I’m tempted to move back to Arizona just so I can help vote his sorry ass out of the Senate.

Another major *headdesk* moment came when I caught wind of the latest and greatest right wing conspiracy theory about Obama:


A whole lot of right-wing blogs are worked up today over a report about the political affiliations of Chrysler dealers who’ve been shut down.


Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans [sic]. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the Right side of the Blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership chain partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty.

The basic issue raised here is this: How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), who has a dealership that will close, called this “an outrage.” A variety of far-right bloggers chose more colorful language.

And what is the “evidence” of a partisan conspiracy that “appears to be mounting”? As you might have guessed, like most conservative theories, this one is extremely thin. The argument, in a nutshell, is that Chrysler dealers owned by a variety of Republican donors are being closed, the government is now involved with Chrysler’s restructuring, so that points to “evidence” that the Obama administration is deliberately punishing GOP contributors.

As per usual with Cons, they haven’t the slightest bloody clue how to evaluate “evidence.” Nate Silver did them the favor, and discovered a possible reason. When looking at dealerships overall, he discovered that the vast majority of them donate to Cons. Let me put it this way, in simple words they might be able to understand: if you have 27,000 red apples and 4 green apples in a barrel, and you remove a bunch of bad apples, chances are most of the bad apples will be red, simply because you had more red apples to start with.

I know. I know. They probably won’t get that analogy, either. Look, I tried.

By the way, the next time a Con tells you they have a health care policy position, tell them Republican Rob Portman’s called them a bit fat bunch of fucking liars:


Wh
oops. Rob Portman, a Republican Senate candidate in Ohio, has now admitted in an interview that the GOP doesn’t have a position on health care. Worse, he says he came to that conclusion after multiple discussions with GOP Congressional leaders about the issue.
Check out this nugget buried in a National Journal article (subscription only) about Portman:


Republicans have also taken some heat nationally for not focusing on health care in their campaigns in recent years, but Portman already has been speaking on the issue frequently.“We have to have an alternative. … I will tell you, I don’t think there is a Republican alternative at this point,” he said. He said he reached that conclusion after talking to Senate leaders and lawmakers about the GOP’s position. “There isn’t one,” he said. “There’s a task force, and I applaud them for that.”


Oh, well, a task force. Well. That changes everything. They’re thinking about thinking of maybe eventually coming up with some ideas. Wonder how new those will be?

And, finally, some kind soul needs to be dispatched to take Mark Krikorian’s shovel away from him asap:


The National Review’s Mark Krikorian received quite a bit of criticism yesterday (including some from me) following a couple of posts about the pronunciation of Sonia Sotomayor’s name. Krikorian argued that the proper pronunciation, preferred by the judge and her family, is “unnatural in English,” and “something we shouldn’t be giving in to.” It wasn’t clear which group of people constituted “we.”

[snip]

Today, after noting the variety of responses to his argument — Olbermann labeled him the Worst Person in the World last night — Krikorian thought it wise to return to the subject again today.


[F]or those actually interested in the point, here’s what I was trying to get across: While in the past there may well have been too much social pressure for what sociologists call Anglo-conformity, now there isn’t enough. I think that’s a concern that most Americans share at some level, which is the root of the angst over excessive immigration, bilingual education, official English, etc.


I’m not sure how this helps.

I think it only helps if the poor fucker’s trying to dig his way to China.

Excuse me, please, my darlings. It’s time for my MRI to see how much permanent damage my skull’s sustained.