It wouldn’t be an LGM Christmas without a little politically-driven holiday cheer, courtesy of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Merry Christmas everyone. Yes, even you tgc.
It is pretty amazing that Jonah Goldberg would note that the rabidly homophobic Nazi Party also contained a substantial number of homosexuals and use this to draw an analogy with…modern liberalism. In fact, of course, by Goldberg’s Hitler-was-a-vegetarian logic because he’s a modern Republican he is therefore also a fascist. Granted, Goldberg and his allies prefer making gays second-class legal citizens, vulnerable to employment and housing discrimination, and fomenting hatred for political benefits as opposed to castration, torture, and murder, but according to his underlying premises these distinctions are irrelevant to whether or not you’re a fascist…
But never has a fascist argument been made in such detail or with such care.
Lest we think that pregnancy discrimination is a thing of the past, New Yorker Ron Blauchut is here to remind us. Upon learning that his Congresswoman, Kirsten Gillibrand, is pregnant, he wrote a charming letter to the editor to his local paper:
First of all, I must admit that I am a male chauvinist and that there are, thankfully, differences between men and women. There are many occupations suitable for women and their physical attributes. Carrying a weapon while serving in the Armed Forces and firefighting are not suitable lines of work for women to prove that they are physically equal to men. How many male police officers feel comfortable with a 100 pound female backup?
And now, I have to add serving in the U.S. House and Senate as an occupation that may not be suitable for women.
Ms. Gillibrand’s current pregnancy makes a strong case for my opinion. Ms. Gillibrand was elected to serve her constituency, and while she is away from her elected office she cannot perform those duties. The taxpayers who were duped into voting for her will have to pay for her medical benefits. Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, Ms. Gillibrand receives excellent health benefits, courtesy of her constituents. We will be without representation in Congress for a time leading up to and following the child’s birth. There will be times when she and the new baby will visit doctors. You can add those days to the total that she will not be serving her constituents.
The current base salary (2006) for members of the House and Senate is $165,200 per year. I wonder if Ms. Gillibrand will do the right thing and reimburse the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $452.60, her daily salary, for each day that she is unable to perform her elected duties. For some reason, I doubt it.
First of all, I will say that he could have skipped that admission bit at the front; it’s pretty damn obvious. Second, has Mr. Blauchut forgotten about all the other reasons that elected officials “miss” days of work, none of which seem to annoy him? What about open heart surgery? Or campaigning for president? I’m guessing that he’s not asking Senators McConnell or McCain to return their $452 for each day they have been absent from their senate offices or from floor votes. And, for what it’s worth, I’m guessing that Mr. McConnell’s medical bills were far higher than Rep. Gillibrand’s will be.
No, Blauchut’s problem is not so much that his representative (who, mind you, already has one child and seems to have managed fine thus far) will have to miss a few days of work, but that a woman is in a traditionally male position of power at all.
Blogging will be mercifully light from my end until the New Year, when I will return from two weeks of non-stop loafing and snacking in the Midwest.
For those who haven’t finished shopping for the holidays, however, I have a few unhelpful suggestions:
As they say, give ’til it hurts.
[Sorry to disappear for two days, kids. Was out of town surprising a friend who is getting married and who was in the states from Europe, where she lives. Am back. Obviously.]
The loud and clear lesson from this article in today’s Times: if you are an undocumented immigrant, ’tis better to stay under the radar than to take on a public service career. From the sad story of Oscar Ayala-Cornejo/Jose Morales:
Growing up here, Oscar Ayala-Cornejo recalls, he played chess and devoured comics, hung out at the mall and joined the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. After high school, he realized a childhood dream, joining the Milwaukee Police Department.
But when Mr. Ayala-Cornejo filled out recruitment papers, he used the name of a dead relative who had been a United States citizen. He had to, Mr. Ayala-Cornejo says, because ever since his parents brought him here from Mexico when he was 9, he has lived in the country illegally.
The life that Mr. Ayala-Cornejo carefully built here, including more than five years with the police force, is to end at noon on Saturday, when, heeding a deportation order, he will board a plane bound for the country he left as a child.
In May, acting on an anonymous tip, immigration agents arrested him on charges of falsely representing himself as a citizen. He pleaded guilty, and is now permanently barred from the United States.
It’s obviously a bad idea to take on someone else’s identity in this age of identity theft and terrorism. So strike one. But it seems to me that it’s in cases like this that some sort of amnesty program might make sense. He is a policeman, for chrissakes.
For example, if the immigration bill had passed last year, Mr. Ayala-Cornejo and others like him who graduated from high school in the United States would be eligible to adjust status without having to leave the country and re-enter — a process that is onerous, time consuming, and that takes years and years. Stories like this also put into sharp relief for me that the country’s immigration problems stem not only from undocumented immigration but also from the stinginess of our legal immigration system. Mr. Ayala-Cornejo, the article says, could have had his younger brother, a citizen, sponsor him to immigrate. But that would have required a long absence (10 years!) from the country and from his family. The sad irony is that he will now have to bear absences from his family of perhaps indefinite duration; unless his parents have adjusted status, they will not be able to leave the U.S., and he can now never return.
Seems to me there’s room to condemn identity theft in the service of undocumented immigration while also implementing a program that provides amnesty for people who immigrated as children and are now, as adults, dealing with the fallout of their parents’ choices.
Shorter Ross Douthat: The fact that a woman living in subsidized housing in New Orleans has a big T.V. means that there couldn’t have been any racism in Ronald Reagan’s invocation of apocryphal “welfare queens” with “Cadillacs,” and “strapping young bucks“* buying “T-Bone steaks” with food stamps. The logic is unassailable!
*Note: flagrantly racist term used only below the Mason-Dixon line, but I’m sure welfare recipients in New Hampshire weren’t strapping!
His relentless use of folksy aphorisms and corny rhetorical sleight of hand provokes visceral objections — but the criticism isn’t merely superficial. In the TNR I piece I linked to yesterday a member of the press corps observed, “He thinks and speaks in metaphors. And, often, they’re not right.” That, well, hits the nail on the head. [...] I don’t think I’m being uncharitable when I say that’s disturbingly authoritarian. He should probably start answering some critics instead of dismissing this all as “The Establishment” trying to keep a good ol’ boy down.
If you guessed “George W. Bush”, you’re wrong; it’s Mike Huckabee. But it’s difficult for me to understand how Hemingway distinguishes between the two…
Although her brother Henry has recetly been caught rogering my daughter’s stuffed animals, Emma is by far the more unhinged of the two. She has always devoted some part of her nights to carrying around fake mice and other cat toys, but in recent months — as our home’s canine-feline hostilities have escalated — she’s turned the crazy amp to 11. All but forbidden from the master bedroom, Emma has apparently decided to barricade her caretakers and their two dogs behind a wall of socks, washcloths, hand towels, diapers, computer cords, mittens, hats and garbage, all of which she drags into the hallway during the middle of the night to prop against our door. Most animal behaviorists would probably claim that she’s overcompensating for lost attention, or that old age has started turning her brain to fruit loops, but I’m convinced that she’s genuinely trying to entomb us.
The Clenis (TM) — now so powerful that he can control the GOP nomination:
The reader was convinced that none other than Bill and Hill were Huckabee’s ultimate backers. Given how divisive Huckabee is, how well they know know the passions of the Evangelical community (and deep anger there, if my inbox is any guide), and the magnitude of money in Bill’s “library fund,” well, it’s as plausible an answer as any to “how the hell did this happen?” Huckabee is the candidate easiest for any Democrat to knock off, by a long shot. And there goes the GOP coaltion for a long time to come. Now that would be quite a Clinton legacy.
Aside from the high comedy (Huckabee being propelled by Bill Clinton’s money would be rather more convincing if Huackabee actually had any money), the crackdown of GOP elites against Huckabee is instructive. After being told how immensely popular reactionary cultural positions were and how the Democrats had no choice but to throw most of their constituencies under the bus and let the Angry White Men have their way, conservative pundits now claiming that running someone who actually believes this stuff rather than somebody who cynically exploits a minority faction would be electoral suicide. I think the lesson is obvious.
Via Will Bunch, apparently Circuit City was begging some of its laid off employees to come back. Awwwww. As he concludes about the companay’s strategy of firing its competent workers, “[s]ince then, I’ve pretty much done any electronics shopping at Best Buy — and so does everyone else, apparently.”