And now for the deeper dose of reality

Here’s the basic political reality right now: Hillary Clinton has the nomination. Trump is a colossal raging goon. I think the Democrats are going to have a field day romping over the Republicans.

But there is danger in that attitude, the problem of complacency and of being able to continue in the same old unsuccessful way, because the opposition is a lunatic. Matt Taibbi explains the problem brilliantly. If there’s anything we should learn from the Democratic campaign so far, it’s that there is a rising insurgency, a dissatisfaction with business as usual, and the victory of the establishment candidate means that the conservative leadership of the Democrats can heave a sigh of relief and can avoid making substantive changes in how power is administered.

[Read more…]

“thin-skinned racist bully”

I wish it were Bernie Sanders who had the nomination, but short of that, I am anticipating a spectacular campaign season, now that the Democratic focus is going to be exclusively on taking out Trump, rather than internecine warfare. Here’s Elizabeth Warren, taking the gloves off and giving us a preview of what is to come.

That’s a thing of beauty. Not only is she sinking Trump, she’s stitching the Republican establishment into the sack with him. This is precisely what we need, to not only campaign against the short-fingered vulgarian bigot, but to wreck the rest of party that’s propping him up.

Time to stop fighting, Bernie

The primary election season is fundamentally over. Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination. Compared to the 2008 election, it wasn’t even close.


The only way Sanders can win now, and he knows it, is to get all those undemocratic superdelegates to unilaterally switch over to vote for Sanders, ignoring the popular vote, which makes them even more undemocratic. He can’t do that without betraying the a core principle of his campaign, that he’s representing the will of the people.

My wife and I are Sanders supporters. He’s the guy we want, because we want someone to shake up the status quo (in a positive way, not a Trumpian way). We stayed up late to listen to his speech, because face it, the campaign has basically been over for weeks, and his further efforts are becoming quixotic. I wanted to see the man address the reality.

He didn’t. He lost California, New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota, and New Mexico, and won North Dakota. And he vowed to fight on to the very last primary in Washington DC, which is sort of defiantly virtuous, I suppose, but it isn’t going to help. Worse, I listened to his audience, and when he mentioned Hillary Clinton (graciously!), they booed. This worries me, because Sanders has two paths to take at this point.

One, he ignores the data and goes to the convention in Philadelphia, determined to get his way, with his supporters determinedly anti-Clinton. Clinton simply ignores him, takes the official nomination on the first ballot, and starts campaigning against Trump without looking back. This is where “fighting” gets him: he loses, and he loses influence.

Two, he recognizes reality, admits he lost to the better politician, and goes to Clinton and tells her that he can deliver the general election to her — he does have a solid base of support. Then he gets concessions on the party platform, maybe has a say in the vice presidential pick, and in return pledges to campaign for her against Trump. If he wants influence, he’s got to stay in the loop with Clinton for the next six months and beyond.

And to do that effectively, he’s got to stop fighting and start working to get his supporters who are booing Hillary Clinton on board with the election that counts.

Hillary Clinton is not the candidate I wanted, but she’s competent and will be decent middle-of-the-road president. She will be a better president if she listens to and respects the voice of Bernie Sanders, and that’s what I want to see happen in the near future.

My new answer to every question

When a student comes to complain about their grades, I will answer…

I’m building a wall.

When the local bank asks why I’m waving that gun in the clerk’s face, I will answer…

I’m building a wall.

When the police come to arrest me and tell me to come out with my hands up, I will say…

I’m building a wall. I’m building a wall.

It seems to be the answer to everything.

Great gog, but that man is infuriatingly obtuse. At least the press are beginning to look a bit exasperated with him, too.

OK, maybe I won’t bother to come home

I’m scared, Mommy. I just saw the latest NRA ad, which is a warning to the “ayatollahs of Iran” about what insane, violent, stupid people live in the “heartland of America”. The only true Americans are farmers and miners and policemen in our “urban war zones”.

It’s racist as fuck, and as simple-minded and macho as a fat old white man can be (I can say that, it’s my demographic). And the NRA thinks it is smart and a benefit to their cause to air this absurd ad.

Well, I’m from the “heartland of America”, and I’m a liberal college professor, the antithesis of the NRA, and I’m an American too. Some bigot in a bedazzled coat and a cowboy hat doesn’t get to decree what constitutes a real American.

Is this really what we want people abroad to see as the face of America?

Where it counts, at Liberty University

Liberty had a star-studded commencement, featuring…

  • A guy who sells duck calls!

  • A football player!

  • A movie star who gets drunk and rants about Jews!

  • Another movie star who made some crude comedies that students are prohibited from watching!

Because, if you’re Liberty University, these are the kinds of people who represent academic excellence or significant cultural influence.

Sadly missing from the gala was any acknowledgment of the quality of LU’s education. Here, let me help you out: as far as the employment prospects of its law school graduates, Liberty University ranks among the worst ten in the nation, with a quarter of LU graduates currently unemployed.

Of course, a lot of lawyers from reputable schools are also unemployed, but it’s still worth noting the special effort it takes to be the fourth worst in the country.

The Scopes Monkey Trial

The cool things I find in my mailbox…I just got a copy of The Scopes Monkey Trial by Moore and McComas, and it’s a fun read. It’s a slim book, and it is almost entirely photographs from around 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee. It’s a visual record of a time and a place and an event, well worth reading.

Now I’m thinking that someday I have to make a trip to Dayton.

What does it take to get rid of delusional public servants?

Let me qualify that: what does it take to give far right lunatics the boot in Texas? That’s a different ball game, I know.

Currently running for the Texas Board of Education is the infamous Mary Lou Bruner, who is way out there.

On her Facebook page, Ms. Bruner called Mr. Obama “Ahab the Arab,” and wrote that he “hates all white people and all wealthy people because to him wealthy means white.” Although she condemned the Ku Klux Klan in one posting, she wrote positively of its roots, writing that it started “as citizens trying to fight back against a corrupt government when there were corrupt officials or no officials at all to keep law and order in the rural areas.” Of Mr. Obama’s youth, she wrote: “I heard from a reliable source that Obama was also a male prostitute for a while when he lived in New York with his male ‘partner.’ How do you think he paid for his drugs?”

She’s got all kinds of wacky ideas.

On climate change, she wrote last June: “Climate change has nothing to do with weather or climate; it is all about system change from capitalism (free enterprise) to Socialism-Communism. The Climate Change HOAX was Karl Marx’s idea.”

On the Civil War, she wrote in 2014: “Slavery is not the Reason for the Civil War. by [sic] Mary Lou Bruner…. Historians waited until all of the people who were alive during the Civil War and the Restoration were dead of old age. THEN HISTORIANS WROTE THE HISTORY BOOKS TO TELL THE STORY THE WAY THEY WANTED IT TOLD.”

On the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, she wrote last November: “Many people believe the Democrat Party had JFK killed because the socialists and Communists in the party did not want a conservative president.”

Of course she’s a creationist.

When the flood waters subsided and rushed to the oceans there was no vegetation on the earth because the earth had been covered with water. It took a while for grass and trees to grow back and the big plant-eating dinosaurs needed lots of vegetation to live. The dinosaurs on the ark may have been babies and not able to reproduce. It might make sense to take the small dinosaurs onto the ark instead of the ones bigger than a bus. After the flood, the few remaining Behemoths and Leviathans may have become extinct because there was not enough vegetation on earth for them to survive to reproductive age. Most of the dinosaur fossils which scientists have found are permanently preserved in positions of great distress as if they were trying to keep their heads above water or above the mud.

She won 48% of the vote in her district in the Republican primary.

Any of those bizarre claims ought to have been sufficient to get her rejected by sensible voters; the long history and vast collection of infuriating stupidity ought to have been more than adequate to disqualify her.

But now, finally, a Texas Tea Party group has reconsidered their endorsement of Bruner. Was it the dinosaur story? Accusing Obama of being a drug addicted gay prostitute? The open hatred of “Middle Easterners”? No. It was this video of a speech she gave before a group of teachers, in which she misrepresented the number of teachers employed in a school district.

I guess I’ll take it, whatever it takes to discredit her in the eyes of Texas voters. But it’s just odd that it was this bit of casual ignorance, instead of her record of idiocy, that finally broke some of her support.