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I Didn’t Hear Nobody Pray

[ 4 ] December 31, 2012 |

Happy, safe, holiday, etc.

Seriously, no one wants your life to end up befitting a Roy Acuff song. That’s really never ended well for anyone.

Grifters

[ 32 ] December 29, 2012 |

I was thinking of watching The Grifters again. Instead, I just watched the Rick Warren interview on Piers Morgan. Might as well see the real thing.

The White Race Cannot Survive Without Dairy Products

[ 66 ] December 27, 2012 |

I occasionally get the question of what the above phrase means. It was my tagline when I wrote at my own blog and it is on the rotating lines at the top of this blog. It is a quote from Herbert Hoover, a strong believer in eugenics along with everything else. The full quote is as follows:

“In its broad aspects, the proper feeding of children revolves around a public recognition of the interdependence of the human animal upon his cattle. The white race cannot survive without dairy products.”

In a sense, what Hoover is doing here is combining his very real concern for nutrition and food distribution with his racial sensibilities. The intertwining of racial ideology and social reform was all too common in the early 20th century and engaged in by figures ranging from Theodore Roosevelt to Margaret Sanger.

You can see this quote on Google Books in the very exciting journal The Dairy World (and what a wide world it is), 1922, Volume 1, p.18. Also, the equally thrilling publication The Milk Dealer, Volume 11, 1921, p. 86

…..Yglesias makes the connection between Hoover’s remarks and the soon skyrocketing milk prices (due to the Truman-era poison pill on milk without a farm bill). Obama’s plot to destroy white people is now clear for all to see!!!!!

Markey

[ 148 ] December 27, 2012 |

Some of you Massachusetts experts will have to inform me of Ed Markey’s capabilities to defeat Scott Brown.

I don’t think any of us directly addressed the Kerry nomination. One of Obama’s many weaknesses is his belief that leading elected politicians are the primary proving ground for leading administration jobs. He’s gone to this well time and time again, effectively destroying the political careers of top Democrats in red states for no real reason. In this case, the Kerry selection gives Republicans the chance to get Scott Brown back in the Senate. Republicans played Obama like a violin since part of destroying Susan Rice’s credibility was to help retake the Senate in 2014 by taking the Massachusetts special election.

Let’s hope Markey or whoever comes out of the primary can beat Brown.

The Year in Labor

[ 27 ] December 26, 2012 |

Pretty bloody awful, at least according to Ned Resnikoff. The exception was the Chicago Teachers Union strike. As Ned states:

If there’s a common theme to the labor movement’s recent victories, it’s that they occurred outside of the American unionism model which has persisted since the second half of the twentieth century. The CTU strike was the closest thing to a mainstream labor negotiation, since it involved collective bargaining over a contract; but strikes are exceedingly rare in modern America, and CTU is an unusually democratic and community-based union. The fast food and Wal-Mart strikes resembled labor actions of the Gilded Age and the thirties more closely than any major union campaigns in recent American history. Even UNITE HERE’s explicitly electoral campaign focused on consolidating a permanent base of power within the state instead of rallying behind a single candidate.

For the large unions operating within America’s post-World War II status quo, the past year was a nearly unmitigated disaster. However, in low-wage service and retail workplaces—arguably America’s new economic center of gravity—labor was able to make some small but significant gains by reverting back to an older, more militant for of unionism.

I would generally agree with this analysis.

Ronald Reagan: Gun Control Advocate

[ 80 ] December 26, 2012 |

Adam Winkler reminds us of something always worth remembering: Ronald Reagan advocated for gun control.

Republicans in California eagerly supported increased gun control. Governor Reagan told reporters that afternoon that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” He called guns a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” In a later press conference, Reagan said he didn’t “know of any sportsman who leaves his home with a gun to go out into the field to hunt or for target shooting who carries that gun loaded.” The Mulford Act, he said, “would work no hardship on the honest citizen.”

Now of course context is always important. Reagan was responding to black people defending themselves against institutionalized racism by carrying firearms. As Winkler notes, the history of gun control and race in this country is deeply intertwined as racists and conservatives wanted to ensure their power over African-Americans by keeping the weapons in the hands of whites. Challenging that paradigm was central to the Black Panthers’ ideology. How many of today’s gun nuts would be happy to pass laws restricting the rights of black people (or liberals) to own firearms remains unknown, but there’s no question that at the center of today’s gun culture, with an increasing divide between gun owners and non-gun owners that reflects larger partisan divides in American politics and life, that the need and even requirement to use violence to protect “our way of life” (read white, Christian, conservative) is at the heart of the movement. Thus the threats against President Obama, the very real and non-metaphorical eliminationist language, and the deep-seated fear at the heart of the rhetoric.

It’s also very much worth noting that the NRA traditionally supported gun control as well. The organization’s current extremism only dates to the 1970s, a period where not coincidentally, conservative whites were increasingly nervous about the direction of the country, what with the blacks and the gays and feminists and the UFW hunger strikes and such.

I also appreciate Winkler closing his piece with a shot at Scalia’s so-called originalism, which of course means nothing more than the august jurist claiming the Founders believed the current Republican policy positions of the moment.

Morons

[ 142 ] December 26, 2012 |

All of our favorite conservative writers are up in arms because David Gregory brought a high-powered ammunition magazine onto Meet the Press yesterday in order to discuss gun violence.

William Jacobson is calling for Gregory’s prosecution and wants more of this kind of thing (Legal Insurrection!!!!32131!!!!) Glenn Reynolds of course agrees, etc.

There’s only one logical solution to this problem.

We need to arrest George H.W. Bush for possession of crack cocaine.*

If the problem is really going on television with a proper visual to demonstrate a political problem despite technically breaking the law, consistency demands Bush’s arrest. After all, we all know that crack went to W after the press conference so I feel an intent to distribute charge may be in order……

*Since some in the conservative world are too uneducated to understand metaphor, let me introduce them to another part of the English language. This is called sarcasm.

Coup d’FreedomWorks

[ 44 ] December 26, 2012 |

What the what?

Until this year, the partnership between Kibbe and Armey worked well. Armey’s renown as a former House member drew media attention and crowds of conservative activists — most of them old enough to remember Armey’s role in the Republican revolution in Congress in 1994. And Kibbe’s youthful intellectualism drew a new generation of libertarian soldiers into the FreedomWorks fold. In 2010, the two co-wrote a book, “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto,” that became a New York Times bestseller and a successful marketing tool for FreedomWorks, which collected the book’s proceeds and used it to attract donations.

The partnership came to a crashing end when Armey marched into FreedomWorks’s office Sept. 4 with his wife, Susan, executive assistant Jean Campbell and the unidentified man with the gun at his waist — who promptly escorted Kibbe and Brandon out of the building.

“This was two weeks after there had been a shooting at the Family Research Council,” said one junior staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. “So when a man with a gun who didn’t identify himself to me or other people on staff, and a woman I’d never seen before said there was an announcement, my first gut was, ‘Is FreedomWorks in danger?’ It was bizarre.’ ”

By nearly all accounts, including from those loyal to him, Armey handled his attempted coup badly. Armey says he was stepping in because of ethical breaches by Kibbe and Brandon, accusing them of improperly using FreedomWorks staff resources to produce a book — ironically, named “Hostile Takeover” — for which Kibbe claimed sole credit and was collecting royalties. The use of internal resources for Kibbe’s benefit could jeopardize the group’s nonprofit tax status; the group denies any impropriety.

“This is not only about this one incident,” Armey said. “But that one incident was a matter of grievous concern.”

Armey also accused Brandon, Kibbe and other staff members loyal to them of squeezing him out of media appearances and management decisions while using his name to market the group.

Armey appeared out of touch and unsure of how FreedomWorks operated when he took over that Tuesday morning, according to interviews with more than a dozen employees on both sides who witnessed the takeover. Sitting in a glass-walled conference room visible to much of the staff, he placed three young female employees on administrative leave, then reversed himself when they burst into tears; his wife lamented aloud that maybe they had “jumped the gun.”

Jumped the gun indeed. Of course, given the reality of gun-nut power-hungry conservatives, the idea that Dick Armey would lead an armed rebellion against the leadership of his own organization makes sense. Unfortunately for him, he seems to have read the Guidebook to Overthrowing Mikhail Gorbachev before doing so.

QOTD

[ 78 ] December 25, 2012 |

My brother bought me Jason Wilson’s Boozehound for Christmas. In the introduction is a 1959 quote from A.J. Liebling that should be good for a few comments here:

The standard of perfection for vodka (no color, no taste, no smell) was expounded to me long ago….and it accounts perfectly for the drink’s rising popularity with those who like their alcohol in conjunction with the reassuring tastes of infancy–tomato juice, orange juice, and chicken broth. It is the ideal intoxicant for the drinker who wants no reminder of how hurt Mother would be if she knew what he was doing.

Since the book also discusses the “overrated” in spirits, I assume there will be a whole chapter on absinthe, a liquor that so far as I can tell has its primary value in its small but important role in the sazerac. Otherwise, it’s entire value comes from pretending like I’m in a Hemingway novel.

So I hope you enjoy your Christmas drinks. Just remember that we here at LGM are judging your choices.

The .223 Used Again

[ 204 ] December 25, 2012 |

Another horrible massacre, another high-powered rifle supported by the NRA used for the killing.

Chief Pickering also said that it was likely that the gunman used a semi-automatic rifle, one of three weapons recovered from the shooting scene, to kill the firefighters. He identifed the semi-automatic as a .223 Bushmaster rifle, the same weapon used in the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

At the very least, can we make the ownership of this gun illegal?

Ideological Summer Camps

[ 173 ] December 23, 2012 |

This amusing piece by Charles Davis on how he went to capitalist summer camp and became a communist reminded me of this old Yglesias approval of a pretty cheap shot at Pete Seeger’s communism seventy years ago. Yglesias’ major complaint with his summer camp was that he was forced to sing terrible folk songs, including many by Pete Seeger, and thus learned to hate him for it.*

There’s a whole historical literature on red diaper baby summer camps and how 20th century radicals attempted to inculcate their children into their value systems through these camps. I don’t know if there’s a similar literature on conservative camps. If not, someone should look into this. But I have to wonder how effective these camps are? How many commie kids turned into capitalists and how many Randian kids learned to hold human values as an adult? Not sure how you could quantify something like this, but it’s an interesting question. I’ve often wondered if the only way to give any children I might have in the future the values I cherish is to raise them to be cold-hearted capitalists.

* Although I recognize that I am ideologically wrong about this, I wholeheartedly share Matt’s disdain for sing-alongs. I was once at the Highlander Center in Tennessee, where Guy and Candi Carawan were still the resident folksingers. This was probably 1999 or 2000. Guy Carawan is the individual who taught the old spiritual “We Shall Overcome” to the SNCC students in 1960, making it the anthem of the civil rights movement. Despite recognizing that I was in the presence of greatness, I really didn’t want to sing along. Neither did most other people under the age of 30. Disdain of pure raw emotion is an unfortunate byproduct of the Ironic Age. Contemporary writers about the IWW like Nels Anderson noted the power that common song had to unite the poor. We’ve lost that. Part of that is the greater diversity of musical styles in the 21st century–even if there were anthems to sing along to, what could we agree on? But an equal or greater part is dislike of the style.

Lincoln

[ 76 ] December 23, 2012 |

I finally saw Lincoln last night. I doubt what I have is to say is anything others haven’t verbalized. But a couple quick points. As a film, it’s classic Spielberg. Well made entertainment in the broad and often obvious populism of D.W. Griffith and John Ford. Several eye-rolling lines, BIG music. It’s also hard to believe that someone could make a film about the end of slavery in 2012 and neglect to have a single vital African-American character, but it’s Spielberg so there we have it. On the other hand, the film does do a good job on focusing on the political machinations of the 13th Amendment, with generally very good casting, pacing, and editing. Daniel Day-Lewis is always good, David Strathairn seems destined to play Forces for Good through his career but he does it well, Tommie Lee Jones was sufficiently cranky as Thaddeus Stevens. The movie definitely should have finished 20 minutes earlier, with Stevens in bed with his black partner. This would have avoided the pointless march through time to Lincoln’s assassination, though there was something so old-school Fordian about how it ended with Lincoln’s second inaugural address that it was hard not to feel a little warm about it.

What really matters here though is Spielberg’s point about politics. He so obviously wants to give today’s Americans a lesson on how to GET THINGS DONE IN WASHINGTON! So here’s how you do it. First, 35% of the country secedes. Every single one of the politicians from the seceding states opposes your platform. Without that 35% of the nation, you have a bare legislative majority that allows you to pass legislation if you hold your fractious party together. For situations that need a supermajority, you need your president going into a sort of mid 19th century Green Lanternism on politicians, combining LBJ style physicality with endless yarn spinning tales of life in Illinois and an appeal to morality that will convince them to Do The Right Thing. You also need the kind of patronage positions to buy off your opponents that mercifully began to end after the Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883. And then, with luck, you can get your supermajority.

In other words, Spielberg’s film has absolutely nothing useful to say about modern political life.

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