Where were our leftist riots?

Gosh, this has been a busy week of late nights and paperwork and search committees and trying to catch up with my backlog as the semester winds down to a close. And then I realized…I forgot something. Something something something I’d been planning to attend on Monday. D’oh!

I completely missed Dinesh D’Souza’s visit to our campus. I’d noted it, and there are great big posters everywhere of his gormless goony face, but still — on the appointed day and hour, I had so little interest in the event that I didn’t even remember it enough to tell myself I was too busy to waste an hour on it.

I wondered how it went, but when I asked around, no one else had attended either, or remembered that it was going to happen. We just didn’t care. I’m sure the UMM College Republicans were disappointed, too. Where was antifa? Where were the shrill mobs of feminists and progressives and radical leftist students and old hippies?

So I thought I’d look in on the UMM College Republican web page. Surely they’d have a report on the talk by their hero, brought in to antagonize a liberal campus. They’ve got nothin’. Well, not exactly nothing: they mention their victimhood at length (someone let the air out of one of their tires; probably a black op. One of their members found a used condom thrown at their door…which sounds like an icky college student prank, but you never know where the tentacles of George Soros will strike), and talk about the party they threw for the graduating president of the club, who was given a “Most Hated Person at UMM” award. I felt bad for them. I don’t even know who they are. If it would be validating, I might be willing to muster a vague feeling of pity, but sorry, not hating.

They had photos of the party. They are very sad.

So their big event of the semester with a nationally known speaker was kind of a pathetic bust. They’ve got like four people at their graduation party. I guess I am feeling that vague pity after all.

If I knew who they were, maybe I’d raise a fist and say “Comrade! Workers of the world, unite!” as I passed them in the hall, just so they’d feel like their life goals had meaning.

I guess this is the forlorn, empty fate of conservatives, eventually. I don’t think Trump has helped their brand.

Oh. I checked the facebook page for the event. Even sadder.

A good response…a bit late, but good

Hank Azaria has responded to the Apu controversy on The Simpsons. Recently, people woke up to the fact that the character is a terrible stereotype (Hari Kondabolu made a whole movie about it), and Azaria finally thought about it and publicly recognizes that Kondabolu is right, and that the show should change.

They need real representation in the writer’s room? Yep, that’s always true. If you’re going to feature an ethnic character, you better talk with someone of that ethnicity.

He could have gone the Mickey Rooney/Breakfast at Tiffany’s route.

Rooney, who occasionally shows the Mr. Yunioshi clip as part of his traveling stage show, added, that “Never in all the more than 40 years after we made it — not one complaint. Every place I’ve gone in the world people say, ‘ … you were so funny.’ Asians and Chinese come up to me and say, ‘Mickey you were out of this world.'”

Don’t worry. Rooney forgave people who were offended.

Rooney said that if he’d known people would have been so offended, “I wouldn’t have done it.”

“Those that didn’t like it, I forgive them and God bless America,” he said. “God bless the universe, God bless Japanese, Chinese, Indians, all of them and let’s have peace.”

Azaria’s response is real progress.

Like nabbing Al Capone for tax evasion

I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Capone was a murder and thief, an amoral gangster — and the law was unable to bring him down for the truly evil things he did, but could jail him for the lesser crime of tax evasion. It was a useful tactic for ending a criminal regime, but two things are bothersome: that we were inadequate to the task of stopping a murderer, and isn’t it revealing that the more easily prosecutable crime in a capitalist was society was a crime against property?

It just seems like we’re constantly pussy-footing around the gross corruption of the Trump regime, and have dispatched people like Mueller to investigate and find some little hook, a violation of campaign finance law, perhaps, or lesser offense that, because of the ways our laws work, are easier to nail him on. That seems like a bad precedent to me. The man is openly incompetent and dangerous, and we pin our hopes for getting him out of office on a badly filed form, or a personal peccadillo, and we can’t remove him for being terrible at his job? Something is wrong here.

Case in point: Scott Pruitt.

It is ironic and pathetic and dangerous how the media, the Democratic party leadership and too many liberals are now focusing everyone’s attention on Scott Pruitt’s expenses and petty scandals to discredit him. When we look at who Scott Pruitt really is, and what he’s really done, we can see that going after him this way is like catching a naked mass murderer right in the act and then charging him with indecent exposure. It is hugely dangerous because it mis-directs people away from the immense real danger represented by Pruitt.

It’s the same thing! The man is ragingly bad at what ought to be his job.

Pruitt is a Hard Core Christian Fascist Playing a Key Role at the Core of the Trump/Pence regime.

For years Pruitt has been one of the most prominent right-wing attack dogs against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when (during previous administrations before Trump/Pence) it was still in the main carrying out its stated mission of protecting the environment using science and scientific principles to monitor and assess the health of the environment.

He has been an open unapologetic lobbyist for energy firms for many years.

But more than this, Pruitt is a Christian fascist. He sits on the board of directors of the Southern Seminary, one of the largest seminaries in the world and the largest of the denomination’s (Southern Baptists) six seminaries. He is one of the main sponsors of the weekly cabinet-level biblical study group along with: Vice President Mike Pence, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, CIA Director (and now Secretary of State designate) Mike Pompeo and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

This study group is run by Ralph Drollinger an infamous far-right extremist pastor who was disavowed by his own church for his bigoted ideology. His group also has similar study groups in the U.S. House and Senate and in 43 State assemblies. In a September 2015 interview, Drollinger described his mission as creating a “factory” to mass-produce politicians like Michele Bachmann, who is on the Capitol Ministries board. “She thinks Biblically,” Drollinger said. “She doesn’t need a whole lot of time to figure out how to vote because she sees the world through a scriptural lens. We need more men and women like her in office.” Drollinger has praised the new (Trump/Pence) administration for its power to “change the course of America in ways that are biblical.”

Yet none of that is indictable. We can have a radical religious bigot placed outside of his qualifications in a high position with the specific purpose of destroying the office under his charge, and nothing can be done. But hey, maybe he filed an inappropriate expense report! Maybe he spent too much on office furniture!

It’s too much to hope that failing to meet the obligations and trust expected of a political servant might be grounds for dismissal. That’s all I ask — not that they go to jail (although they should) or be hung from a lamppost or be water-boarded at Gitmo by our pro-torture government, but that they be dismissed from the jobs they cannot do. And that maybe our vetting process for high office involve less about ideology and more about basic competence.

Sam Seder vs. Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson was on Bill Maher’s show, and I didn’t watch it — those are two names I find utterly repellent. Bill Maher is a terrible host, because he loves to pack his little panels with politically diverse people, and then preside over some of the most inane, horrible apologists for idiocy who have nothing to add to the conversation, and Maher not only nods and strains to find something to agree with them on, but will then invite them back over and over again. Case in point: Jack Kingston, Trump apologist, seemed to have a permanent slot on the show.

So you knew that when he had Jordan Peterson on, there would be little pushback, and as a centrist, he’d agree with every criticism made of the left…and you knew he’d only criticize the left, not the right, will playing the non-partisan. And that’s what happened.

But Sam Seder does not feel any need to fawn over Peterson, and in this clip, jumps all over the stupid arguments Peterson makes in the way Maher should have.

Seder would be a far more interesting talk show host than Maher. Unfortunately, he’d also have the conservatives frothing rabidly for his blood in a way that Maher doesn’t get. They may not like some of Maher’s views, but they know that at his heart, Maher is a warrior for the status quo.

Way to annoy the Mormons, Orrin

Senator Tammy Duckworth had a baby, and Orrin Hatch stuck his foot (his own foot, not the baby’s) into his mouth. I’m not surprised that the Salt Lake Tribune took notice.

Sen. Orrin Hatch said this week he was fine allowing babies on the Senate floor, but then he asked a follow-up question of his own.

What, he mused, would happen “if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?”

It seems to me that that would mean either a) there were a lot more women senators, or b) a lot more senatorial men were taking their paternal duties seriously. Both sound like good outcomes.

Leave it to a Minnesotan to make the nicest comment, though.

“We could only wish we had 10 babies on the floor,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told The AP. “That would be a delight.”

I had to choke back a comment about how there were far more than 10 Republicans already on the floor.

If you ever wondered why Minnesota has a Democratic-Farmer-Labor party…

Here’s the answer for you. In the 1930s, Minnesota had an extraordinarily successful third political party, the Farmer-Labor Party, or FLP. And I mean really successful.

In 1930, the steady work paid off. Floyd B. Olson defeated the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor, beginning the third and most successful period of Farmer-Labor history. A gifted orator, Olson voiced the feelings of Minnesotans struggling with unemployment and economic hardship. Voters re-elected Olson as governor in 1932 and 1934. He was a sure winner for the U.S. Senate before he died of a stomach tumor in 1936.

Olson’s success, combined with skillful organizing, sparked dramatic growth in Farmer-Labor participation. Dues-paying membership in the party’s association rose to almost forty thousand as organizers set up clubs across the state. Hundreds of Farmer-Laborites held elected offices at all levels of government, from city council to U.S. Senate. In 1936, the FLP captured six of nine congressional seats, the governorship, and a solid majority in the state House of Representatives.

It was a progressive, socialist-leaning political party. It merged with the Minnesota Democrats in 1944, which brought it closer to the center, unfortunately, but at least it had those strong progressive roots. The name means something. This was a party with a tradition of standing strong for labor unions, small farmers, and the social safety net.

Our local Republicans, on the other hand, have always stood for the opposite, which makes it rather ironic that some of them (including our rep, Jeff Backer) have decided to form something called the Republican-Farmer-Labor caucus, or RFL. It’s trying to steal the sentiment, but not the substance, of the DFL. It’s also trying to steal something else. Here’s the logo for the RFL:

‘Round these parts, we’re all familiar with the DFL logo, but maybe you aren’t. Here’s that:

Notice any similarities?

Not even a spark of creativity, or an ounce of effort was put into that. These are terrible, lazy people who are also dishonest.

I volunteered for this?

Warning: posting may be intermittent, and I may be particularly cranky. I volunteered to chair two search committees at once — we’re trying to find sabbatical replacements, and since I’m a terrible person abandoning my colleagues for a year, I felt obligated to put in one last surge of work to get it done. Unfortunately, it’s all coming down in the last two weeks of class, so I’m a little overwhelmed right now. A little. May break down in tears soon.

Also, stress means I wake up at 3am now and can’t get back to sleep, which further increases stress. Who designed this physiology, anyway? This is not the place to stick a feed-forward loop.

I just have to hang in there for a few more weeks, and then as a reward for when everything is all done, I’ve scheduled a colonoscopy.

I don’t think I’ve ever read Writers of the Future

I’ve been an avid devourer of science fiction for decades, so it’s a little odd that I’ve missed out on this anthology, Writers of the Future. It’s been cruising along for 34 years, and apparently they throw a colossal, glitzy gala in Hollywood every year, flying in the authors and partying…for a week? Jeeez, writers…so spoiled, they’re all just rolling in the dough.

And here I’ve never even seen the books, let alone paid for one. How are the publishers paying for this? Oh, here’s the answer.

Yikes. “L. Ron Hubbard presents…” — that’s as good as slapping a glowing green Mr Yuck sticker on the cover as far as I’m concerned. No way would I ever pick up something like that, but at least we know how a few authors can get treated swankily. It’s by selling out to a corrupt criminal cult. Tony Ortega has been writing about this PR gimmick for years, but still authors fall for it and still participate, and they should be embarrassed. Also because paying homage to an extraordinarily schlocky pulp author who founded a religion should be something to be ashamed of.

The bad news is that if you get published in Writers of the Future, no one will read it except Scientologists, and everyone who sees your name listed there will know you’re a sellout. The good news is that no one will crack the cover to see your name on the roll of the shameful.