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Party Of Helms Watch

[ 5 ] July 7, 2008 |

How morally twisted to you have to be to mobilize hatred against the idea of gay soldier during a time of war? I guess you have to be at a Fred Barnes level of degeneracy. Fortunately, Fred’s projection of his views onto a majority of the public is so 1993:

Polling consistently finds that the public supports allowing openly-gay people to serve in the military. In fact, that support is growing even stronger with time.

Well, prominent conservative Republicans keep saying that Jesse Helms was an exemplary figure of their movement. It’s hard to argue…

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Don’t Forget the Mashed Potato!

[ 0 ] July 7, 2008 |



Avert your eyes!

Give Helms this: his embrace of the worst elements of wingnuttery was nothing if not comprehensive. Since it’s easier to laugh at than his more typical race- and gay- baiting and support for bloodthristy dictators, I also like this quote:

“The nation has been hypnotized by the swaying and the gesturing of the Watusi and the Frug.”

I, for one, would have been terrified.

Tito’s Players Home Cookin’ Aren’t Talent Evaluators

[ 0 ] July 7, 2008 |

I don’t mind the defending World Series manager favoring his own players in marginal cases, but seriously, Jason Varitek? What a disgrace. I mean, he was a fine player for a long time, but he’s turned into Brad Ausmus without the arm. Well, maybe he’ll hit a feeble popup in a key spot like he did Saturday, and the NL will get home field advantage for once…

UPDATE: Whoops–Varitek was actually voted on by the players. I remember Bill James once running down the history of awards voted on by players with frequently ludicrous results, and this fits right in. And yet I’m sure we’ll hear more broadcasters talk about taking the vote away from the fans and giving it to the players every year…

On the Radio

[ 1 ] July 6, 2008 |

I did a Supreme Court roundup with Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis, which is available in convenient MP3, XML, and ITunes formats.

Hacktastic!

[ 0 ] July 5, 2008 |

Hmm, bases loaded, none out, one run down, maybe Rivera will finally blow one, and…oh, Gawd, Crisp is up. One should take the hint and just turn the game off. The puzzling thing is how that stiff even hits his empty .260; combining the bat speed of the beyond-washed-up current version of Varitek’s with Alfredo Griffin’s plate discipline makes for unwatchable atbats. I guess there is a lot of bad pitching around.

Anyway, the outcome of the game can hardly be surprising. Given the chance to deal a serious blow to the Yankees’ playoff chances in recent years, we’ve established conclusively that the BoSox will inevitably extend a hand, help them of the canvas, and stitch up their eyes. At least today didn’t involve getting shut down for several innings by Kei Igawa…

Instructive

[ 6 ] July 5, 2008 |

Indeed:

One fascinating thing about the death of Jesse Helms is the conservative reaction…But instead conservatives are taking a line that I might have regarded as an unfair smear just a week ago, and saying that Helms is a brilliant exemplar of the American conservative movement.

And if that’s what the Heritage Foundation and National Review and the other key pillars of American conservatism want me to believe, then I’m happy to believe it. But it reflects just absolutely horribly on them and their movement that this is how they want to be seen — as best exemplified by bigotry, lunatic notions about foreign policy, and tobacco subsidies.

Reading the Corner’s unabashed celebrations has been especially remarkable.

Defining Civil Rights Down Out Of Existence

[ 11 ] July 4, 2008 |

Via Steve, this classic from John J. Miller:

He “opposed civil rights”? Uh, no. He opposed a particular vision of them.

Yes, if your “vision” of “civil rights” includes white supremacy, segregation, and no protection for civil rights at the federal, state, or local level, then Helms didn’t oppose them. For that matter, neither did Miller’s own publication! I think you can understand how Miller can consider the Clash right-wingers: when words mean nothing they can mean anything!

Jesse Helms 1921-2008

[ 0 ] July 4, 2008 |

The former North Carolina Senator has shuffled off this mortal coil.

All condolences to his family but — particularly given the media tendency to downplay these kinds of details when discussing Jim Crow politicians — like Matt I’m not inclined to pretend that he was anything but an unrepentant racist and someone who consistently opposed any kind of civil rights or racial progress. The symbols that stick most prominently in my mind are his use of the blue slip to prevent the integration of the Fourth Circuit and “whistling ‘Dixie’ while standing next to Senator Carol Moseley-Braun.” In fairness, he was consistent: he supported apartheid in South Africa almost as strongly as he supported it at home.

R.I.P.

…UPDATE: TBogg delivers a eulogy based on the man’s own words.

Jules Tygiel

[ 0 ] July 4, 2008 |

The great baseball historian has tragically passed away at 59. As goes without saying, Baseball’s Great Experiment is essential reading for anyone interested in the integration of baseball, ranking with the best work of James and Creamer and Alexander. R.I.P.

Criminalizing Abortion: Always A Disaster

[ 11 ] July 3, 2008 |

Roughly 1 in 10 pregnancies in the Arab world ends in an abortion, despite draconian abortion bans in most countries. Just another reminder that the reproductive policies favored by John McCain, the Republican Party, and Islamic theocrats are very ineffective at reducing abortion rates, but are very effective at increasing health risks to women.

Granting And Repealing Rights

[ 0 ] July 3, 2008 |

I agree with Sanchez and Patashnik that there’s no necessary contradiction between Obama’s nominal opposition to same-sex marriage and opposition to the California Restoration of Bigotry initiative. As I think I mentioned before, Dan Pinello found a significant number of Massachusetts legislators who didn’t initially support same-sex marriage rights but was opposed to repealing them once granted. Obama’s position isn’t terribly surprising or unusual, and nor is it incoherent on its face.

Still, I also agree with Matt that while this position as a coherent rationalization of his stated views, something simpler is probably going on. More likely, Obama supports same-sex marriage but doesn’t feel he can express this view while trying to hold a national coalition together, but will support same-sex marriage in cases where it’s more politically viable. At any rate, his subjective beliefs aren’t really important; as same-sex marriage becomes more popular Democratic politicians will support it in greater numbers. And while people often focus on the backlash successful litigation provokes among hostile to same-sex marriage, there’s another side to it: litigation also makes voting against same-sex marriage more difficult and provides political cover for politicians who would like to support it but are reluctant to support changes in legislation. In addition, having even a few states where same-sex marriage is instituted and doesn’t produce the hysterically anticipated social apocalypse makes arguments against it harder to sustain, which is why supporters of discrimination fight tooth and nail against expanding rights in every state and support uniform federal standards. They’re fighting a losing battle, and every state victory for human rights makes their defeat more imminent.

Sonics Gone

[ 0 ] July 3, 2008 |

This is djw’s department, but the Sonics will officially be leaving Seattle. As an NBA nonfan, it’s especially easy for me to be happy that the city and state refused to sub,it to the usual extortion demands from plutocrats. But having lost a favorite team (in especially agonizing fashion) myself, it’s certainly not the time to gloat either.

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