Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stuart Saves America

The Minnesota Supreme Court has spoken and the former head writer of Saturday Night live, the man who invented self-help guru Stuart Smalley, the man who famously called Rush Limbaugh a Big Fat Idiot, is now a US Senator.

Could politics get any more surreal?

I've been a Franken fan since the first season of SNL. I lvoe his books. I also think he will make a very good senator. But he will not, my liberal brethren, save America. Because Franken represents the magic 60th vote in the Senate, giving the Democrats a supposedly filibuster=proof majority, the liberal base of the party now thinks that they will no longer have to compromise, that they will be able to ram-rod through legislation the way the Republicans managed to without a ten vote majority during President Bush's administration (the Republicans didn't need a super-majority because they had terrorists). The rabid base, having been kicked around by the elephants with their big feet during the no compromise, scorched earth Bush years smell blood and want revenge. They are no interested in bi=partisanship any more than Bush was, and they now believe the road is wide open for them to push through truly progressive and far-reaching legislation on Universal Health Care, tough environmental standards, education reform, and a total re-structuring of the American economy into a democratic-socialist state with very high taxes, a huge welfare state, government regulation of industry, gay marriage, euthanasia, atheism, paganism, satanism, and legalized prostitution, drugs, and man-boy love. For forty years the liberals in the United States have been looking wistfully at the Netherlands and saying "why can't that be us?"

Am I sounding to much like Fat Rush? I don't intend to. Not really. But the extreme edge of our party is just as extreme in many ways as the extreme edge of Bush's party, and which governed Bush's policy for most of his tenure as President. I know: I'm one of them (ok, I've mellowed a bit). I am hoping and praying that we get real health care reform, not the watered down version Obama is proposing now; that we get rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell right now; that we have a more progressive tax code; and that we continue to strengthen the social services net. I do. I'm also deathly afraid of what a truly liberal majority could do to gun rights, property rights, and individual liberty in general.

But it's not going to happen.

The last time the democrats had 60 seats in the Senate was during the Carter administration, and look what good that did. They fought constantly amongst themselves, they didn't get anything meaningful done, and they laid the groundwork for the Reagan revolution. The Democratic majority in congress relies heavily on pro-gun, pro-business Senators who are fiercely independent and don't mind bucking the President or the liberal base. And the President, much to the frustration of gays and environmentalists and just about everyone else in the party, is a pragmatist who believes that, even if he's not being bi-partisan with the Republicans, that he has to be bi-partisan with independents if he wants to secure a second term and keep that democratic majority.

Republicans can govern from the right but Democrats must always govern from the center. There is no real left in American politics these days--in spite of what blow hards like O'Reily and Hannity and Fat Rush try to put over on us.

So sorry, my liberal kin, Stuart is not riding in to save America.

Musings on

Last night John Stewart began his show by saying "anybody who ever meant anything to anybody died over the weekend." It sure seems like the seventies are dead and over now. But our obsession with celebrity is a cancer (one that I suffer from as well as the rest of you). It makes us think people we've never met before are somehow family. It makes us mourn people we've never met. It raises in some persons feelings of affection or even rejection toward stars they obsess over, and this can lead to the Mark David Chapmans of the world. What makes thousands of people stand outside the courthouse of Michael Jackson's trial and voice their support? Guilty or not (not, officially) what do they know about this guy other than how his music makes them feel?

That is, of course, the issue: he makes them feel something special. Hell, he made them feel something at all. He was the brightest musical genius of his (my) generation, give him his due, and that means something in this world (and why couldn't I have had Pete Townsend instead? Pete was singing about my father's generation, and that always bothered me).

I'd say the worst part of it is how people are complaining that he upstaged Farah Fawcet. And what about Billy Mays and Ed McMahon? Don't they deserve their moment of mass mourning?

And look at how it distracts us from real news: no, not the South Carolina thing. That's just as bad. Michael Jackson knocked Iran right off the front page. Did anybody notice there was a coup in Honduras over the weekend? Or that we pulled out of Baghdad? (the Iraquis noticed: they declared a national holiday)

I know: it's useless trying to tell people what they should care about. What makes your (our) tastes in news or in anything else so superior?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


What's the bigger news? Seriously: Mark Sanford's political career imploding, or the USA beating Spain in the Confederation Cup? I'll give you a hint: I learned about the soccer win on Colbert.

The Sanford drama has been playing itself out all over the news and internet today. I came home tonight to find it on every channel and, like witnesses to train wrecks everywhere, I just couldn't look away. I watched the coverage on Colbert's, Maddow's, Olberman's, Stewart's, and Chris Mathews' shows. Maddow, Olberman, and Mathews, MSNBC drones all (meaning they are *my* drones) each devoted as much as half their air time to the Sanford story. As usual Maddow was the most thorough, while also being the most biting and acerbic. Mathews was the most sober. Hell, his guests were Howard Feinman and Dan Rather: how much more sobering can you get? He called it "an affair of the heart", distinguishing it from the normal shenanigans with interns or hookers or undercover detectives in mens rooms, and treated it with dignity--probably far more than it deserved. Olberman, of course, mocked and gesticulated and feigned outrage.

So what is it about Sanford? Is it newsworthy? I've always said that a person's personal life is just that--personal. Where the governor of South Carolina dips his penis is between him, his god, his wife, and whomever he is dipping it into. And nobody else. This is really only news because he disappeared for five days and started a mini-national panic, and because it seems to make him out to be a hypocrite. But really, while his going "out of pocket" is certainly the business of the South Carolina voters, his affair is none of our business at all.

And yet I couldn't look away.

Only John Stewart on the Daily Show, who can never be accused of having dignity, treated the story as it deserved. He pulled out popcorn and a soda, made a bad joke about the governor being a bottom (via selective editing) and then played the clip where the governor said he'd been unfaithful to his wife. And Stewart said "that's it? You're human?" and moved on to talk to a little animated Kim Jong Ill, and then about Iran. In other words, he gave the story less than two minutes, which is about how much time was warranted, land went on to REAL fake news.

Oh, did I mention that the USA beat Spain?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sports Thursday

It's time for us to take one of our occasional forays into the world of sports. Because Politics can be so depressing....

But not as depressing as seven losses in a row to the Red Sox.

TEXTBOOKS? Are you freaking kidding me? When the story of Alabama having to vacate 22 victories from 2005 through 2007, I was sure it had something to do with recruiting violations. Team supplied testosterone. Hooker parties after games. But no. Alabama is accused of "improperly distributing textbooks to students." I am a college professor, and I can attest to this simple fact: textbooks are insanely overpriced. My students have to pay over $100 for their speech text. The reason there is a new eddition of a textbook every one or two years is so the old ones will become obsolete and the students will have to keep buying new ones. It's a racket. I try to keep it less expensive by tellng them they can use any used edition later than the seventh. So, yes, distributing textbooks to athletes amounts to remuneration. But if you won't let them have an f*ing job, how in the hell do you expect them to buy textbooks??? This is insane! The problem here is not that Alabama distributed textbooks to its students, the problem is that textbooks are like popcorn in a movie theater: an artificial monopoly. With only one supplier of the text a student is require REQUIRED to use, and no real competition to control prices, textbooks are priced insanely high. I realize the other side of that argument is that since only students buy textbooks not a lot of them are sod, so if they didn't have a high price nobody would be able to stay in business. But that's belied by the fact that the most popular textbooks are also the most expensive textbooks. I teach Public Speaking, for instance. We use the most popular text, The Art of Public Speaking by Stephen E. Lucas. It sells in our bookstore for $100 with all the doodads like an interactive CD ROM and a pamphlet they call a "topic generator". It's $85 at most stores without that stuff. Other, perfectly reasonable texts, tend to cost around $50. I know some teachers who use O'Hair and Stweart's Pocket Guide to Public Speaking, which costs twenty bucks. But we have a contract with the publishers of Lucas, and that means the students who take public speaking, which has the highest enrollment of any class at school, use Lucas. This is why textbook reps employ the very hard sell, and why I keep getting my mailbox crammed with free samples. It is one of the biggest rackets in publishing. Now, Lucas is a great text, and school is expensive, I'm not saying none of this should be happening. I am saying that if the athletics dept at Alabama is trying to help out its students by distributing textbooks to them, more power to them! The crime here is the way the NCAA refuses to allow student athletes to be compensated at their full value to the university. But that is for another blog.

The Times is noted for particularly poor sports reporting. How poor? Last Friday they reported that the Redwings looked old and tired and that this was looking like the Penguins' year; and that Tiger's return was marked by inconsistency. The Redwings then went out and beat the Penguins 5-0, and Tiger hit 14 of 14 fairways on Sunday, and birdied 17 and 18, to win the Memorial by one stroke. Insightful.

Kyle Bush smashed a guitar. He is a punk. Not for smashing the guitar (I'm a big time Who fan: guitars are made to be smashed). He's just a punk in general. A punk who wins more races than anybody else. I now understand how older NASCAR fans must have felt about Jeff Gordon.

Lakers in 5.

My favorite player on my favorite Soccer team (inasmuch as I care about soccer), Christiano Renaldo, is moving from Man-U to Real Madrid. He'll make a lot of money for the move. But so will Man-U. they are getting a $131,000,000 transfer fee from Real Madrid. That's $131,000,000 that goes to Man-U, which Renaldo will never see. On top fo that he's likely to make $200M. That's a lot of money for one guy in a sport where you are lucky to see three goals in a game.

What is it?

So what is it that makes governments dysfunctional?

I live in New York. Before that I lived in California. I love New York--the whole state, and I do look on California as the Promised land. But if you look at their governments right now you have to say they are both a mess. In New York, a one seat majority for the democrats on Monday turned into a one seat majority for the republicans, with turn-coat democrats taking part in a coup. In California, voters continue to pass initiatives that demand services without passing the taxes necessary to pay for them, bankrupting the state. This has been going on since Proposition 13. I guess the New York problem occurs whenever the party in power has a razor thin majority. I remember when Willie Brown was speaker of the house and the Republicans thought they were going to oust him, until, in the vote for a new speaker, one republican voted for Brown, taking everyone but Willie by surprise. When the tallys are close horse trading can occur that can shift power from one party to another.

I really don't want to talk about Cali.

Could it in fact be that every system, every form of government, every political party, just like every economic theory, eventually collapses in on itself, as fresh ideas become dogmatic and reforms create new avenues of excess? This is certainly what happened (rather quickly) to communism.

I don't know.

I believe in liberal democracy. Don't I? I mean, I believe in the state as an engine for positive change. I believe that "We The People" means exactly that, that the government is the people. I believe in majority rule. And I believe in the Bill of Rights (all ten amendments, not just nine like some people). But look at what democracy has wrought in New York and California. One is a circus and the other about to become a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

Of course, Churchill was right. Look at the alternatives.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Do you think Shelby Steele believes what he writes?

Mom sent me a link to a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece by Shelby Steele, a black intellectual who is a fellow at the Hoover Institute. She sent it to me (I presume) because she sees it as bolstering the anti-Sotomayor rhetoric of the right. Or perhaps she wanted to open my eyes to some sort of “truth.” She also begged me for a balanced response, as she has been quite offended by my “squeal little piggies” attitude of late.

Fair enough. We don’t want to upset mother.

I think all the Steele op-ed shows is that the Hoover Institution is still a bastion of conservative ideology. The only truth I can find in it is the truth that conservative intellectuals, even black ones, are still willing to promote racism in the guise of a merit system, but one which is biased in favor of whites. But I don’t want to sound guilt ridden over the actions of my ancestors, nor do I want to sound like some politically correct drone, so I’ll just look at Steele’s words for a moment.

First, he seems to suppose, as do many, that Obama is supposed to be a “post-racialist” president. First of all he is using the term “post-racialist” incorrectly. Racialism means the assigning of characteristics or traits to a group of people based upon their ancestry. Steele is using it to refer to the use of race as a basis for identity politics. By the actual definition of the word, the Obama presidency absolutely is post-racialist. In mainstream American media and politics it was argued and believed, right through the 1970s and even, in some quarters, to this very day, that Blacks lack the intellectual capabilities to lead. African American leaders from Frederick Douglas onward have struggled against this racial identification. Obama’s presidency proves that a majority of Americans do not agree. In that sense he is a “post-racialist” president.

What Steele is trying to say is that Obama’s mixed race background, removed from the identity struggles of the civil rights movement and the counter-culture revolution, was supposed to move us beyond race based identity politics. Indeed, he is correct insofar as Mr. Obama declared himself to represent a generation after the baby boom and therefore ready to move beyond the so-called struggles of the sixties (Obama and I are both technically baby-boomers, but so late that we are more akin to Generation X). But the idea that his campaign was not on some level about race ignores the fact that a majority of whites voted against him. It also ignores the celebrations that occurred after his election, both among African Americans and among liberal whites who saw this as a step to that post-racialist world Steele seems to think Obama represents. Those celebrations in Chicago and Atlanta on election night, the number of African Americans on the mall at his inauguration, the almost tearful editorials about how impossible it would have been to believe, just two years ago, that America would have a black president, in fact show the opposite: they show that the Obama candidacy was all about race. My African American students up in Harlem never had any illusions about that: they supported Obama because he was black. End of statement. And, I guarantee, some white people voted for Obama, if not because of his race, then gleeful that he might somehow give them absolution for the oppression of blacks, the benefits of which they have reaped (my own vote for him was certainly racially tinged: I would have voted for any of the democrats over McCain, but with Obama was the added satisfaction that it would piss off David Duke and Rush Limbaugh). Far from indicating that we have some how moved into a “post-racialist” society, the Obama presidency has proved that race still matters.

Steele shows that race, or at least racial struggle, also matters, because apparently, in Steele’s world, anybody who recognizes, admits, or struggles to amend the injustices of the past is playing identity politics and therefore should be dismissed. Fine. He’s made his career out of being one of the few black voices who agrees with the right, kind of like Clarence Thomas or Clyde on Doonesbury. Of the nomination of Judge Sotomayor he says “The Sotomayor nomination commits the cardinal sin of identity politics: It seeks to elevate people more for the political currency of their gender and ethnicity than for their individual merit.” First of all, he is an idiot if he doesn’t think that politics play a part in Supreme Court nominations. If they didn’t we would not have five Catholics on the bench, and the 2000 election would not have been decided by the 5-4 majority of conservative vs. liberal justices (as Dershowitz noted speaking of Bush v. Gore “[T]he decision in the Florida election case may be ranked as the single most corrupt decision in Supreme Court history, because it is the only one that I know of where the majority justices decided as they did because of the personal identity and political affiliation of the litigants. This was cheating, and a violation of the judicial oath.”) But this isn’t an “everyone does it” defense.

That Obama nominated someone who will help with the Latino vote is true, but he also nominated someone who is unassailable by anyone who wants to attract the Latino vote. Knowing that the Republicans were primed to play politics with the nomination and try to block it no matter whom he nominated, Obama trumped them by nominating someone they could not oppose, a moderate jurist with seventeen years of experience who is also Latina, meaning any attack on her would alienate what is being touted as the most important voting block in the next several election cycles. In a way Steele doesn’t want to admit, the idea behind Sotomayor’s nomination has far less to do with identity politics than it does with politics.

And Politics obviously plays a part in Steele’s opinion too. Like all of the righty talking heads he was going to oppose whomever Obama nominated.

Steele implies two things throughout his article in addition to the direct statement that Obama is somehow expected to be “post-racialist”. The first is that Sotomayor is unfit for the bench because she plays racial politics with her decisions. The second is the implication that her promotion has nothing to do with merit. Both of these are incorrect, and since it is obvious that they are incorrect to those who have studied her career, the only conclusion I can come to is that Steele is deliberately obfuscating the truth.

Later, steel writes “Throughout her career Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated a Hispanic chauvinism so extreme that it sometimes crosses into outright claims of racial supremacy, as in 2001 when she said in a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, ‘a wise Latina woman . . . would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male.’” This is a carefully constructed sentence on Steele’s part, one that shows an Orwellian mastery of doublespeak. The “wise Latina woman” statement has been hashed and parsed again and again. I don’t find it particularly racist, and taken in context it doesn’t’ offend this old white guy in the least. It was simply a statement of pride in herself. We hypocritically call America tells people that they should be proud of their heritage, and then when they express pride in their heritage we condemn them as racists. But that can sound racist to many people, especially people already suspicious of ethnic pride and see it as a form of identity politics, so Steele uses it to bolster the first part of his statement: “Throughout her career Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated a Hispanic chauvinism so extreme…” Remove the word “so” from here, and say instead that ‘throuhout her career Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated extreme Hispanic chauvinism.” This is what Steele is saying, and this is a bald-faced lie. There is nothing in her career, at least not as a judge (I haven’t studied her career as a prosecutor) which indicates any form of chauvinism, so Steele uses the now infamous Berkeley quote, taken out of context, to imply that there is. But the quote has little if anything to do with her career.

It was from a speech she made to a symposium in Berkeley called “Raising the Bar: Latino and Latina Presence in the Judiciary and the Struggle for Representation.” Steele leaves off the last part of the sentence, “who hasn’t lived that life.” She was actually commenting on a statement often attributed to Sandra Day O’Connor. Here is the whole quote: “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.” It is worth pointing out that O’Connor often broke with her conservative colleagues on gender issues, even voting to uphold Roe v. Wade, even though she was otherwise reliably conservative. This tends to be true of most women on the bench.

The speech obviously provides a lot of ammo for the conservatives who think there is no such thing as ethnic experience in this country (something only the majority can believe). Sotomayor was treading dangerous ground from the beginning, when she said “I intend tonight to touch upon the themes that this conference will be discussing this weekend and to talk to you about my Latina identity, where it came from, and the influence I perceive it has on my presence on the bench.” Since conservatives believe that that personal identity should have no influence on judicial decisions (our greatest jurist, Thurgood Marshal argued exactly the opposite) I’m surprised this statement hasn’t made the rounds of the nattering class. Sotomayor’s point is that everybody brings their experiences to the table, and that diversity is a good thing. Even Scalia noted this in an oblique way when he acknowledged the power with which Marshal spoke of race, and how heavily his words were weighed, when cases involving discrimination came before the court.

Sotomayor even addressed the tension between personal identity and politics in the speech, discussing the conflict between the “melting pot vs the salad bowl”: “America has a deeply confused image of itself that is in perpetual tension. We are a nation that takes pride in our ethnic diversity, recognizing its importance in shaping our society and in adding richness to its existence. Yet, we simultaneously insist that we can and must function and live in a race and color-blind way that ignore these very differences that in other contexts we laud.” There is so much fodder for the right’s argument against Sotomayor that I’m surprised more from the speech hasn’t been published outside the rabid tabloids and the reactionary blogs, because she says outright that her experiences do affect her decisions. Perhaps it’s because what the Berkeley speech amounts to is not only a compelling argument as to why that should be so, but also demonstrates concrete examples as to how white male often let their own politics, identity, gender and experiences, color their decisions. Or it might be that they’d have to acknowledge that Sotomayor said this:

“Each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion. I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.”

In other words, we must be thoughtful jurists. This is the rhetorical petard on which they hope to hoist judge Sotomayor.

Now, perhaps I don’t find this bothersome because I believe that every judge brings his or her own experiences and biases to the table, and that’s why we have nine of them instead of just one. But maybe I’m too cynical. But I think that the tempest over this quote is in a very small teapot. Steele probably doesn’t like it because it was made at Berkeley and he works at Stanford.

Steels is a liar. As the New York Times noted in a graph on Saturday’s Op-Ed page, in 96 cases pertaining to race, Judge Sotomayor rejected the claims of discrimination 78 times, agreed with it only ten times (eight cases involved other types of claims). Furthermore, of the ten decisions that found discrimination, nine of them were unanimous according to the Daily Dish. In other words, Sotomayor’s record does not indicate that she decides cases based on identity politics or upon her own racial experience. In the Ricci case, which is the one that the republicans are hanging their hat on (it is before the Supreme Court right now, and will probably be overturned), she was part of a unanimous summary judgment. She didn’t even write an opinion. The full court upheld her. Where is the radical racial politics she is supposed to be foisting upon us? I will tell you: nowhere. This whole op-ed is a pile of lies designed to slander a well qualified jurist.

In Shelby Steele’s world a person who has 17 years on the bench (more than any of the current justices had when they were appointed) who is rarely overturned on appeal, who has no record of trying to impose racial politics on her decisions, and who often votes in agreement with republican appointees, is radical, racist, and unqualified.

Maybe the opposition from Steele exists because he knows that she is right—that every judge decides cases based on their own experiences to some extent, and that she represents a threat to the white hegemonic power structure. Maybe its because, unlike her record on race, she’s got a very strong pro-environment record. Often the objections on social issues are used to mask an economic argument.

Whatever the case why don’t we call this what it is: an attempt by a black conservative intellectual to torpedo the nomination of a supremely qualified Latina jurist, by any means necessary.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Barack on Facebook

Here's one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile:


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Newt Gingrich, Medievalist

Over on Politics Daily (a site I am just now bookmarking as something I have to read, well, daily), there is a great article on how Obama is reviving progressive Catholicism. It is fascinating for a Unitarian who is a medievalist and a wannabe catholic (which I'm sure means I'll end up an Episcopalian eventually).

A couple of points it brings up are worth noting. I already knew that Sonia Sotomayor will be the sixth catholic sitting on the Supreme Court. That is primarily a result of the abortion issue, as conservative catholic justices who can supposedly be counted on to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. But Sotomayor is a Catholic in the old (though not too old) school, a progressive catholic.

Another point I found fascinating is the number of conservatives, Gingrich among them, who have converted to Catholicism as as the conservative wing of the church has come to dominate church hierarchy, and that seems to have increased witht he election of the Grand Inquisitor as pope.

But the main point of the article is how Obama, an African American protestant, is stirring up a debate among Catholics and giving voice to the Church's progressive wing.

To me it is odd. My primary attraction to Catholicism (as is Gingrich's) comes from the fact that I am a medievalist. Studying the middle ages I have to immerse myself in Catholicism, and so it's rituals have become a part of me, even as I cling to my secular faith as a Unitarian (nice thing about Unitarianism: you can believe just about anything you want to believe). But the medieval church is not the Catholic church I came to respect when I was young. That is the church that has been largely silenced since the election of John Paul II, the church of the Kennedy's, of Romero, of Moynihan and McCarthy. The church that was radicalized in the 30s and continued their progressive agenda through the 70s, and who still have a few standard bearers like Pelosi and Cuomo and Keary, and all those working-class Irish and Hispanic Catholics who believe in sticking up for those who haven't got a voice.

What I see happening right now, as the Conservative Bishops begin to lose their grip on the Church, is the same thing that is happening to the Republicans. Conservatism has been so fully discredited that conservatives are becoming marginalized themselves, both in politics and in the church. And that is an interesting development.

Please Just Shut Up!

Here’s a list of people who should just shut up.

1.) Republicans who are “upset” about President Obama taking his wife on a date to New York, complaining that it was on the tax-payer’s dime, and condemning him for going to see a godless play on godless Broadway. SHUT UP!!! Where were you when G.W. Bush was flying to Crawford Texas? Where were you when he was spending weeks at a time on his ranch instead of in Washington tending to running the country? And when Vice President Cheney was off shooting people in the face, or fishing with his old buddy Justice Scalia, where were you then? All those vacations also cost taxpayer dollars. This all proves that you GOPers care nothing about reality, and nothing about governing, all you care about is power, trying (lamely in this case) to make the Preisdent look bad in the hopes that you can win back the Whithouse and congress (and have you seen his numbers? You are failing miserably) Are you seriously suggesting that the president should not take his wife to dinner and a show? Are you seriously suggesting that he should be a prisoner in the Whitehouse for the next eight years? (and at the rate you guys are going eight years is pretty much a given) Good God! You people are such assholes!!

2.) Anybody who mentions or even thinks about the “Octomom.” SHUT UP!

3.) Everyone at Fox News who is complicit in the murder of Dr. George Tiller, but especially Bill O’Reily. These people, who spent years calling Dr. Tiller a mass murder, Nazi, “Tiller the Killer” etc., now insist that their rhetoric had nothing to do with Dr. Tiller’s death. Bull. O’Reily has blood on his hands and is complicit in terrorism. Can we do anything legally to stop him? No. Will he stop? No: he has no conscience, he’s proven that. All I can say is he just needs to shut the f* up!

4.) Whiny racists in the GOP who are flinging the charge of racism at Sonia Sotomayor. These people are hypocrites. They championed Samuel Alito when he said that this Italian American immigrant heritage helped him to make wise judgments, but call Judge Sotomayor a racist when she says her Hispanic heritage and gender experience help *her* to make wise judgments! Hypocrites!

5.) Equivocators in the ACLU, an organization I normally support, who are afraid at leveling the charge of “terrorism” against Dr. Tiller’s murderer because of the way the term was abused by the Bush administration and used to justify the erosion of civil rights. Just because Bush abused the term doesn’t mean we can’t call a terrorist a terrorist. In fact it makes it all the more necessary, since that is how people will know what terrorism really is. Scott Roeder is a terrorist and is part of a terrorist movement in this country, one which seeks to end the practice of abortion by terrorizing providers into quitting. And they are succeeding, as many doctors and nurses, justifiably fearful for their lives, are ceasing to offer abortion services. That is terrorism. The F.B.I. knows it, the terrorists themselves know it. The ACLU should just admit it too.

6.) Religious Zealots preaching jihad (or crusade) against any person or group for any reason, be they Islamic zealots promoting anti-Western terrorism, or Christian zealots promoting anti-abortion terrorism, or protestant zealots promoting anti-Catholic terrorism, or vice versa. You, all of you, and I’m pointing the finger at you Ulster Defense Association, Sinn Fein, Al Queda, PETA and Operation Rescue. All of you SHUT UP!!

7.) Dick Cheney.

I could come up with more, but I’m too pissed off and too tired to care any more.