Mary Landrieu's "No Shit, Sherlock" Moment: Obama Unpopular in the South Because of Racism (Updated)

In an interview with Chuck "Chucky T" Todd, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, in a tight and possibly impossible race for reelection, threw down some truth when asked why President Barack Obama wasn't popular in the South. After talking about the shutdown of Gulf of Mexico oil drilling after the BP accident, Landrieu added, "I'll be very very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader. It's not always been a good place for women to present ourselves. It's more of a conservative place. So we've had to work a little bit harder on that."

If we lived in a wiser country during wiser times with wiser politicians, Republicans may have said, "Well, yeah, she's right. There is still a great deal of sexism and racism everywhere, but the South does have a history to deal with. Now vote for the Republican who will make everyone rich enough to not care." And that's that.

But wisdom is scarce in this filthy century we're damned to live in. Instead, Republicans are acting appalled, as if Landrieu is a whistleblower on racist whites. "That Mary Landrieu would ascribe ugly racial motivations to voters’ displeasure with the policies advanced by President Obama and her shows both how out of touch and how desperate she is. Senator Landrieu’s comments are insulting to me and to every other Louisianian," said Roger Villere, chair of the Louisiana Republican Party. It's as if he were really saying, "Oh, shit, Mary, don't tell everyone."

The Rude Pundit can guarantee you that there are very few people in Louisiana who would hear or read Landrieu's comment and not think, "Yeah, sounds about right." Unless you get your prejudices soothed by the dulling rhetoric of talk radio and Fox "news," you know the score. And if it's not you, you know at least a few people who don't like Barack Obama just because he's that uppity Negro. The Rude Pundit has mentioned someone he knows in Louisiana who won't vote Landrieu because "she's a bitch." This ain't brain surgery. Hell, it's barely even Lincoln logs in complexity.

Then again, you have tragically unpopular Gov. Bobby Jindal commenting, "Senator Landrieu's comments are remarkably divisive. She appears to be living in a different century." Are they divisive? Or are they actually shocking because Landrieu said what everyone knows but is afraid to say out loud? Why can't we do that? When it comes to race, it is unutterable unless some right-wing dickhead wants to tar Obama by saying that he's "using" race (no one ever says how white people "use" their race). Hell, the right is already pulling Obama into this. But talk about race as a factor in why so many people are passionately hateful towards Obama? Beyond the pale, man, beyond it.

The fear for Republicans is that Landrieu's remark will jolt the black population in Louisiana to get more engaged in the election. Because if that constituency shows up at the polls, it will fuck with the whole plan to take over the Senate. So you will see denigration of Landrieu and false outrage. Her pretty mild words, which simply recognize that racism and sexism exist and that they affect people's perspectives, will be blown up until it seems as if she said that Louisianians want to lynch Obama and force Landrieu back into the kitchen (although some people surely think that already).

Creepy ass Republican opponent Bill Cassidy responded to Landrieu with "We're not racist, we just have common sense." Others have called on her to apologize. Remember that Landrieu is not a wild and woolly liberal who wants to join hands with Al Sharpton and march through the French Quarter. She is firmly moderate-right, but she also takes no shit when it comes to sexism in politics and in her career. She knows of what she speaks.

Yet, by the time you read this, Landrieu may have apologized. She may have crawfished her remarks, blamed it on campaign exhaustion, or something. But let's hope not. She should end up provoking a conversation about how racism has affected the Obama presidency. In the deranged endgame of this pathetic campaign, don't count on it.

Update: When asked if she would apologize, Landrieu more or less told Republicans, "Go fuck yourselves, you racist, sexist piglets."


The Death of Democracy in Two Ads, Arkansas/NRA Edition

One day, some politician in the South or the West, someone who has an honest shot at winning, is going to say, "I am so tired of sucking the NRA's dick. And if it tries to shove its dick in my face again, I'm gonna bite it off." And then that very fictional politician from Arizona or Mississippi will get off his knees, brush off his pants, stand up straight, and ask, "Can someone get me some mouthwash so I can get the taste of NRA jizz out of my mouth?" Yes, that will be quite a day. But we're nowhere close right now.

In Arkansas, the House race in the 2nd Congressional District may come down to who the NRA wants to face fuck. For the Democrats, you have Patrick Henry Hays, the former 6-term mayor of Little Rock who has a solid damn record to run on in a district that includes his city. Currently, he's up by a couple of points.

Hays says that he's a "proud lifetime member of the National Rifle Association." He repeats that in his latest ad where, no shit, he features his church, his guns, and his family, in that order. On his website, Hays says, "In Congress, Hays will oppose any law, including an assault weapons ban, that would take guns away from law-abiding citizens. But as a Mayor, Hays understands that we need background checks on commercial gun sales – to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill." At one point, over 90% of the public supported background checks, so it's not exactly controversial.

But because of that, the NRA gives Hays an "F." One might think that you earn an F only if you want to ban all guns and pry them out of people's cold, dead hands. What the fuck's a C+? If you think children shouldn't be allowed to open carry loaded assault rifles in schools? The NRA endorsed Republican French Hill and put out an anti-Hays ad. And it's hilarious.

We open on the doorway to a bedroom where a man is snoring. The ominous voice says ominously, "In an elegant New York mansion, billionaire Michael Bloomberg sleeps safely while a team of armed guards protects him." We track over to photos hanging over a mantle: Bloomberg and Hays, which would be really creepy, if true. Then the voice says something like, "Patrick Henry Hays will assign a murderer to every neighborhood and cackle, 'Excellent' as his stormtroopers take your guns." Actually, that's not far off. The NRA says Hays supports Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns, who want "extreme gun control," which does not involve snowboarding, but does mean to "allow states to decide on concealed carry laws." You know, extreme extremeness.

Yeah, Hays is butt buddies with the Yankee billionaire Jew. Ain't that enough?

And, for some reason, Hays's campaign felt compelled to respond in the absolutely stupidest way possible, of course, when it put out a pro-gun pamphlet that "cited a letter he received from the NRA earlier this year saying he had been nominated for the National Patriot's Medal and praising his work on behalf of gun rights." Except the problem is that that's just one of the thousands of skeevy ways that the craven whores at the NRA try to squeeze money out of people in order to make ads that would be called "class warfare" if anyone slightly liberal had made it. Yeah, about 5 million people were "nominated" to be National Patriots and receive a medal. So it was less a Congressional Medal of Honor and more like the Golden Globes. (Boo-yah!)

There's other issues, of course, like jobs and Obamacare, but, in the waning days of what is looking to be a brutal race for Democrats (partially because of a self-fulfilling prophecy by the mainstream media - more on that Monday), it's tragicomic that this race may come down to the NRA saying, "We like the way that French guy doesn't neglect our balls. He gets an A double plus good."

Why is this an indication of the death of democracy? While Democrat Hays devotes a section of the Issues page on his website to "Upholding the Second Amendment." Hill doesn't even mention guns on his. It's just assumed that Hill is bugfuck crazy about guns because no Republican from Arkansas would stand a chance otherwise.

So even though Arkansas has benefited from the policies that Hays supports, like the Affordable Care Act, the citizens of the state may just shoot themselves in the foot.


The Death of Democracy in One Debate, New York City Edition

Oh, how merry the Rude Pundit was, having been given a VIP ticket, no less, to sit in the first four rows at a theater at the College of Staten Island to witness the apotheosis of our American democracy in action: the candidates' debate. This would be between Republican incumbent Congressman Michael Grimm, he of the indictment on perjury and other charges and of the threat to throw a NY1 reporter off "this fuckin' balcony," and Domenic Recchia, a Democrat who was on the New York City Council for over a decade and is best known at this point as "that guy The Daily Show destroyed for being a meathead who can't beat a corrupt asshole." (Grimm has also been a Daily Show joke, so...balance.) The race is for a district that includes all of Staten Island and a distinctly non-hipster section of Brooklyn (although Bay Ridge is well on its way).  It's like South Carolina with a harsher accent.

It was a full house, a raucous crowd that had to be quieted multiple times by NY1 host Errol Louis, who totally deserves a network gig. One loud bastard directly behind the Rude Pundit yelled, "Yes!" every time Grimm spoke and kept making a popping sound with his mouth when he was bored by Recchia.

How to summarize the evening? Imagine that the Devil has given you two choices: you can get ass-raped by starving Kodiak bears or you can beat your head against a wall in a room alone, both for all eternity. You might try to logic it out. You might think, "Well, chances are the ass raping, clawing, and biting will hurt a great deal more than the head beating, but, if we're talking long-term, the bears would at least be company." Of course, no matter what your choice is, you still end up bleeding in Hell.

So it was last night as the gut-wrenching reality of the election took hold. Grimm was slick as Ebola diarrhea, looking like a GOP version of The Wire's Tommy Carcetti. He referred repeatedly to having been a Marine ("Semper Fi," yelled the numbnuts behind the Rude Pundit) and to having been an FBI agent for nearly a dozen years. He used well-worn Republican talking points, calling Recchia a "tax and spend" politician, which is a fucking laugh when said by any Republican who supported George W. Bush, who threw away money like he had terminal cancer and chose to die in a whorehouse. Grimm spoke against the Affordable Care Act, attacked Recchia for his lack of foreign policy experience (which one assumes most incoming members of the House lack), promised to cut taxes, and, really weirdly, said he's always there to help his constituents, but "I pray to God you never need my help." Currently, Grimm has no House committee assignments because he might be in jail sometime next year.

The rumor before the debate was that Recchia was going to try to push Grimm to explode. So he was constantly harping on Grimm's indictment over a failed restaurant, Healthalicious (a name for which Grimm should be pantsed in public), and Recchia berated Grimm for not being able to run a business, an argument that worked so well for Mitt Romney in 2012. The sad part is that Recchia supports a higher minimum wage, marriage equality, and pay equity for women and said he would vote for Hillary Clinton for president, but he is such a terrible messenger, such a bumbler at expressing these opinions that he couldn't rationally explain why he had initially accidentally said he was against a minimum wage hike (which made members of the rollicking crowd yell, "No!" in order to get him to correct himself).

It'd be great to have a regular-guy liberal in Congress, but the sadder part is how firmly Recchia has his nose planted in Michael Bloomberg's anus. He couldn't go two minutes without mentioning how he worked with Bloomberg, constantly referring to the independent-since-2007 Bloomberg as a Republican. It was a demonstration of how he could work with Republicans, he claimed, which might have worked if Bloomberg were still Republican and that Republicans in Congress were more like Bloomberg.

This could go on. There were absurd moments, like when neither candidate could name the last book they read or the last politician they donated money to. There were compassionate references to Staten Island's Liberian population in the time of Ebola. There were constant cheers and boos from the audience. There were references to 9/11 and to Superstorm Sandy. There were slams on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. It was entertaining as hell, to be sure. Who won? Who the fuck cares? If it were the Rude Pundit's district, he'd vote for Recchia because who the fuck else is there to vote for who even vaguely has a shot?

What's so frustrating here is that this should have been a slam dunk for the Democrats. There's simply no reason that the DNCC shouldn't have found a strong candidate to wreck Grimm. Instead, they got Recchia, and that has kept Grimm not only in the fight, but will likely keep him in office. This race, like so many around the country, demonstrate that there is no national strategy by the Democrats. They are merely hoping to eke out victories wherever possible instead of creating a movement based on a cogent message. Candidates all over abandoned the president because the Democrats have always been afraid of defending him.

And you know what's even more depressing? This whole election is a goddamn cosmic joke by some wizened trickster god of politics because, unless the turnover in Congress is massive one way or another, nothing will fucking get done for the next two years, at least. Republicans have abdicated their duties, and this debate, with its bullshit useless arguments, never addressed that enormous fucking gorilla in the room. This is how democracy dies, one worthless election at a time, a slow accretion of poisoned bodies forming an insurmountable mountain for Progress to climb.

At the end of the debate, a Democratic operative who was on the Rude Pundit's left leaned over and whiskey breathed, "You know the old saying. People get the elected officials they deserve." The alcoholic is right. We deserve this. We let it happen. And we don't have leaders who would make it better.


Republicans Count on Americans Being a Bunch of Pussies

The other day, the Rude Pundit got into a discussion with the Rude Brother about RB's politics. RB wanted to know how he should vote in the Louisiana Senate race. He thought he might want to actually go for Mary Landrieu after leaning towards the Republican because, for instance, he doesn't give a shit if people of the same sex want to get married while Bill Cassidy does. But something was bugging RB about the Democrats.

"I've seen Cassidy's ads against Landrieu and I'm totally against amnesty," RB said, which is when the Rude Pundit cut him off.

"That's a lie. Obama isn't pushing for any amnesty," the Rude Pundit said. Then he explained how it was Great God Reagan who actually did give amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants and that Obama has been tougher than Bush in his use of deportation. Then he said that what Obama has done when it comes to enforcement of immigration laws is a kind of triage: "Obama just said that he'd rather devote resources to going after the bad guys and leave the kids who were brought here by their parents alone. It's like when the police decide to spend more time and money on investigating murders than arresting dope smokers. Republicans are just trying to scare you. Fuck them." (He might not have been that articulate, but the spirit is there.)

At the end of the day, that's what Republicans have to offer, once again, as in so many other elections: be very afraid of the world that Democrats, especially Barack Obama, have created. The Republican National Committee is up with an ad that throws every scary thing in the world at you. "ISIS gaining ground. Terrorists committing mass murder. Ebola inside the U.S. Americans alarmed about national security," says the ominous voice ominously. "What’s President Obama doing? Making plans to bring terrorists from Guantanamo to our country. Ignoring the Constitution, the Congress, and the American people. November 4th, Obama’s policies are on the ballot. Vote to keep terrorists off U.S. soil. Vote Republican."

Just for a moment, let us explore the logic of the ad. Leave aside that ISIS wouldn't exist if we hadn't invaded Iraq, which Obama distinctly did not do. And leave aside that blaming Obama for Ebola in the U.S. is about as absurd as allegations get. Instead, look at a couple of phrases: "Ignoring the Constitution," for instance. Would that be the same constitution that guarantees people habeas corpus rights, which the Gitmo detainees have been denied? And if Obama is "ignoring...the Congress," how the fuck is electing a Republican going to make the President listen to Congress? As for "ignoring...the American people," how'd that go when 90% of Americans wanted expanded gun background checks? Fuck these fuckers with a pineapple dildo.

But the Gitmo argument, that's kind of insane, no? We bring terrorists to the United States all the goddamn time. Last fucking week, a terrorist who has been held at Bagram Air Base (aka "Afghan Gitmo") since 2009 was flown to New York City to face trial. A couple of days before that, a henchman of a terrorist who was convicted earlier this year in a U.S. court was extradited to face trial here. The few dozen men, at best, from Guantanamo, who have been waterboarded and solitary-confined into insanity? Are we really supposed to be afraid of them?

That's what Republicans are counting on, that Americans will once again show what giant pussies we are when it comes to security, willing to be fucked again and again by exploitative microdicks who have nothing else to campaign on. Check out Kansas Senator Pat Roberts' ad with Election Day a week away. The message is that Roberts will never, ever allow detainees at Gitmo to be transferred to the military prison at Leavenworth. In the most ironic move, Roberts is portrayed as the tough guy for standing up to Obama while his opponent, Greg Orman, is Obama's bitch who wouldn't stop Obama from letting terrorists blow up wheat fields.

You got that? If you think, like Obama, that the United States is strong enough to put terrorists on trial, you're weak. That's all kinds of reverse logic bullshit. As Washington Monthly called Roberts and those who refuse to close Gitmo, they're the "Bedwetter Caucus." (Just to be clear: Orman actually agrees that Gitmo should not be closed. Independents can be bedwetters, too.)

Goddamnit, American motherfuckers, every single one of us: Aren't you tired of being afraid all the time? Isn't it exhausting? Aren't you tired of being told that you're just a fuckin' wimp who would be murdered the second a terrorist touched our precious soil? Aren't you sick of these assholes making you think that Ebola is going to jump out of the Dark Continent and turn you black or whatever the fuck we're supposed to fear it does?

The new Democratic ad, the closing argument, if you will, should be: "Don't let Republicans tell you that Americans are pussies. You're not a pussy. Vote for the Democrats."


The Threats Against Women on the Internet Are Witch Hunts Without the Physical Commitment

This morning, the Rude Pundit was reading about the firing of CBC radio personality and host of Q, Jian Ghomeshi, because of fucked-up rough sex stuff alleged by several women. In his reading of the investigation in the Toronto Star, he came across this: "None of the women filed police complaints and none agreed to go on the record. The reasons given for not coming forward publicly include the fear that they would be sued or would be the object of Internet retaliation." The women have every reason to fear the wrath of the trolls: "A woman who wrote an account of an encounter with a Canadian radio host believed to be Ghomeshi was subjected to vicious Internet attacks by online readers who said they were supporters of the host."

Whatever you may think about the Ghomeshi situation or the allegations (if you think about it at all), consider for a moment: Women who say they were beaten and choked, with no safe word, were afraid to go to the police because they thought that assholes on computers would berate, degrade, dox, and threaten them. And, while public shaming has always been a hindrance to women reporting sexual violence, rape, and harassment, this seems different. The plague of online threats is propagating faster and faster, going from public figures to women who write or speak their minds to women who accuse men of crimes. Whether it's the anonymity or the ease with which one can say that they will ass-fuck someone in front of her kids before killing them (see? That was simple), it's a bullshit word game that most are playing - who can most creatively put the following words into the most original order: "bitch," "cunt," "skullfuck," "my cock," "suck," "rape," and "dead." The goal is to shut these bitch-cunts up with their cocks. Or at least make them scared enough to disappear from public (and maybe even their homes). If you can get your sub-Reddit fans to upvote your threat, all the better.

The Rude Pundit spoke to some gamer friends this weekend about GamerGate; their replies ranged from "What the fuck is that?" to "Why the fuck do I care?" to "I don't read that shit." This totally unscientific poll shows that most actual gamers could give a shit less about anything but the quality of the next GTA. GamerGate has become notorious because it has ensnared so many people in its talons because, depending on who you ask, chicks suck at making or writing about games or "ethics in gaming journalism." As for the latter, seriously, if you're spending your energy trying to hound into silence unethical journalists, maybe you could head over to the Fox "news" website for a while and use your superpowers of anonymous tweeting to take down someone who actually harms the nation.

If, by the way, you really think GamerGate is about anything other than degrading feminist writers, you should probably look at the statistics and find a new movement to be a part of.

Essentially, what's going on here are witch hunts, not in the McCarthyism sense, but in the Salem and Early Modern Europe sense. Argue if you want over what caused the witch hunting madness, but the ultimate goal of the torture and execution of primarily women (yes, there were some men) was to keep women in their place. Independent women were targeted, especially women who had some financial means to live on their own. They were accused by men and women. If a woman was particularly sexual, either in appearance or action, she was targeted.

What we have now is a variation on that. Women who piss off a certain group of (generally) men are subject to virtual burnings (yeah, yeah, the witch trials ended in hangings, mostly). It's all the fun of witch hunts without the effort of having to get out of your chair and physically carry a torch. Both the virtual and actual witch hunts come from the same cowardly place: the fear that the world is changing and you need to try to stop it. Oh, and if you can impress your friends on 8Chan with your way-cool insult of some cunt, all the better.

Whether it's that women get to create, play, and critique games or women would dare to say that their sex was nonconsensual, old gender orders will be disrupted. And there will always be men there trying to maintain their power. Perhaps the time has come to ask who is really a cunt: the woman trying to give a speech or the man who threatens to shoot the place up if she speaks. Take your time.

The witch hunts stopped eventually in Europe. Of course, it took about three centuries.


The Rude Pundit's Chicken Soup for the Ebola'd Soul

The Rude Pundit's gotta admit it: when he walked outside his place in the New York City area this morning, he was kind of pissed that it wasn't a raging hellscape of bleeding-eyed zombies and streets full of corpses. He felt like he was promised at least that. Not even an overturned car or garbage can fire, and that ain't atypical around this neighborhood. Nothing. Just parting clouds, man, and the sun coming through for the first time in a few days.

The subways are crowded. The streets are crowded. The restaurants are crowded. There's not even extra surgical mask-wearing going on.

Life is always a battle, you know, between the existential dread that, someday, something is gonna do you in and the affirming effort of not allowing that to define what you do every day.

All around the country, we're being watched up here, even more closely than usual. There's a good number of craven conservatives who desperately want us to freak out. They want us to panic. They hope we panic. They're begging us to. They want to puncture what they see as our pretension, that "we're better than you" image that we have when, in reality, every place has it. But because, unlike Texas, we're pretty liberal, the conservative ghouls want us to suffer, as if to prove us wrong about caring about people different than us.

So, sure, a doctor who treated patients in Guinea came home to the city. And, yes, he has Ebola. And, yes, he rode the trains and went bowling, probably had sex with his girlfriend, even. If you are someone who wants a travel ban on people from West Africa, are you saying that we should have just left him in Guinea, that we should leave Americans there?

Within 12 hours of this news, we got word that Nina Pham, the nurse who got Ebola treating the first Ebola patient in Dallas, is leaving the hospital, just fine. And by April, we could start having mass vaccinations of populations who are at risk for Ebola. Medicine and science. Who would have thought.

The Rude Pundit had a conversation today with a friend who lives in the South. She badly wants to leave, wants to move up here, to the Northeast. "You know what it is?" she said. "I just can't stand the Jesus crap anymore."

"I know," the Rude Pundit responded. "And it's like it's gotten worse in the last few years."

You could have heard her nodding through the phone. "It definitely has. You can't go anywhere without someone pushing Jesus at you. And they expect everyone to think the way they do."

He spoke to another friend sub-Mason-Dixon and that one told the Rude Pundit, "I got so pissed off at my dentist's office. In the waiting room, they were playing Christian music. I shouldn't have to hear that shit. I told the dentist, 'You know I can't come here anymore.' He knew and understood, but the women working the front, they were just confused that I didn't like it."

They're not homogenous down there. There's a lot of people in the South just like the Rude Pundit's friends. And we're not homogenous up here. We are filthy with religion, too.

But here's the difference, the reason that we're not freaking out. Our lawmakers, for the most part, know that science, not Jesus, shows us we shouldn't freak out. The people, for the most part, think that, too (and, besides, it's a helluva lot easier to go about your daily routine than change it up). So the pressure will be on us to panic. People who profit from such things will attempt to assure that it does. And maybe you will be able to wipe the smirk off our smug faces as we board our windows after another half dozen cases.

Until then, the Rude Pundit's got plans that involve being in crowded spaces. He'll be fine. It's the weekend and the sun is out at last.


The Human Ebola Bomb Fantasies of Marc Thiessen

This is what Washington Post columnist and torture advocate Marc Thiessen has to have pictured: A swarthy Middle-Eastern man, with full-on, untreated Ebola, which means he's shitting and vomiting all over the place, bleeding from several orifices, staggering unnoticed into a crowded area, maybe a mall, and detonating a suicide vest, spraying bits of his body and fluids all over everyone who didn't die from the actual explosion, a kind of biological bomb, thus giving Ebola to perhaps dozens of people.

Every once in a while, you can read the most fucked-up shit in what is ostensibly mainstream media, shit that envisions the darkest scenarios or describes the most horrific crimes, like there's an editor whose sole job is to troll the internet for nightmare fuel and send it to the writers. "Hey, Thiessen," he'd say, "which do want: human Ebola bomb or Muslim sex dungeon for donkeys or Vladimir Putin's baby-eating?"

For in his latest "column" (if by "column," you mean, "playground of dementia built by a particularly savage masturbator"), Thiessen is all about making us wonder "What if?" as in, "What if the terrorists weaponized Ebola?" As he explains, "[T]he Ebola infection is raging right now in parts of Africa where Islamist extremists could have easy access."

And it ain't just suicide-infecting that Thiessen is talking about: "Terrorists could collect samples of infected body fluids, and then place them on doorknobs, handrails or airplane tray tables, allowing Ebola to spread quietly before officials even realize that a biological attack has taken place." That's right: some enterprising young terrorist could find Ebola patients, tap some of their blood or diarrhea or snot or something, maybe jack off a few lucky, unsuspecting Ebola dudes, perhaps "fill up a few Zip-Loc bags" with Ebola spooge, as Salon's Simon Maloy says in his Thiessen takedown, and then swab it on subway seats or vegetables or something. Then...profit?

Let's put aside that even if you popped an Ebola patient like a pimple, you'd have to get the fluids into an open cut or a mouth or eyes to even have a shot at sickening someone. Let's put aside the chances of someone getting Ebola from touching an infected doorknob are incredibly low. Let's put aside that the Ebola in the Zip-Loc would have to be used within a couple of hours of defrosting for it to survive on the surface of a restaurant's fork.

Instead, let's focus on how quickly Thiessen's column went from ludicrously over-the-top to completely useless bullshit. For, perhaps, when he was writing it this weekend, Thiessen felt free to say, "[I]f our health-care system was unable to handle a single Ebola patient, imagine what would happen if 50, 100 or more Ebola patients started showing up at U.S. hospitals." Now we know that our health care system handled it. Quite well, in fact. And with screening underway at all airports that West Africans can fly into, unless that Ebola-filled terrorist is gonna risk an ocean voyage, it's gonna be pretty tough to get into the United States without a hospital visit if you're sick.

But, hey, as the start of Thiessen's new fantasy dystopian novel, an Ebola man-bomb is pretty good. In reality? Let's be real.


Sorry, Poor Americans, But You're on Your Own

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a man who looks like a deflating yoga ball, really, really doesn't want to talk about the minimum wage. He didn't want to do a thing about it last year when he vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage, which the voters of New Jersey ended up hiking anyway by a landslide vote of 61% to 39%. He doesn't want to now.

This is not just an assumption. Here's what Christie said yesterday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage. I really am. I don’t think there’s a mother or a father sitting around the kitchen table tonight in America saying, ‘You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all of our dreams would be realized.’ Is that what parents aspire to for our children? They aspire to a greater, growing America where their children have the ability to make much more money and have much greater success than they have and that’s not about a higher minimum wage."

Now, let's put aside how utterly and completely wrong Christie is about who is making the minimum wage. 50% of its earners are adults 25 or older, so chances are Dad, or, more likely, Mom is sitting at the table, explaining to the kids why rich people listen to other rich people talk about how tired they are of hearing about the minimum wage,

This is our nation, the great, wealthy country where everyone can be anything as long as they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Of course, it'd help if people had boots.

'Cause see, as splendiferous and magnificent as the United States is, we can't even assure that poor people will have water. As the poorest people in Detroit learned (and, by the way, that "poorest" is 38% of the population), you can live in the 21st-century and your water can be shut off if you don't pay, like it was for 27,000 people in the last year, and the United Nations can come in, like it's just another Third World hellhole, and report about how truly fucked up that is. That report, by the way, kicks the nation right in its withering balls: "We were deeply disturbed to observe the indignity people have faced and continue to live with in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and in a city that was a symbol of America’s prosperity."

While the city said it has now turned the water back on, we still have to wrestle with the fact that it happened. "[T]he sad situation in Detroit also raises serious questions about what a citizen of a developed country—a country that not only believes itself to be the ideal model for liberal democracies around the world, but also regularly exports its way of life via commerce, capital, and sometimes military might—can expect of its government," as David Graham puts it in The Atlantic.

"Who the fuck are we?" is a question we ought to constantly be asking. What is our responsibility to each other? At what point do we simply cease to be a nation and become just an archipelago of individuals floating in a miasma of our selfishness and greed?

Which brings us back to Chris Christie, still slowly deflating, and his disdain for any talk about the minimum wage. In January, the rate will go up 13 cents in New Jersey, to $8.38 an hour. That's because voters passed a constitutional amendment that said the minimum wage must be tied to the cost of living. Every year it will go up because that's just fucking humane (even if the wage is still too low).

In other words, the minimum wage should be hung around Christie's neck, a millstone that drags his presidential aspirations down to the ground. Christie pretty much said, "Yeah, fuck the poor." But, really, is it that different than what the nation as a whole is saying when you hear about the takers and free stuff and anything else that exists just to keep people alive?


David Brooks: "Ebola Crisis" Fear Is Totally Understandable Because David Brooks Understands It

In today's episode of David Brooks Explains Everything For You in the Most Elitist, Pandering, Smug Way Possible While Pretending to Be One of the Proles is all about the "Ebola crisis." If you're talking about west Africa, well, yeah, it is a crisis. If you're talking about the United States, it ain't a crisis. It's a minor annoyance combined with hysterical screaming, like a particularly hairy spider that wanders into the tween girl slumber party. Mom can come into the room, tell everyone to calm the fuck down, and get rid of the goddamn spider. Now who wants hot chocolate? ("Get out of my room, Mom. We're watching Shailene Woodley in something or other.")

But, hell, if a New York Times columnist says it's a crisis, motherfuckers, let's just go with it.

Why does Brooks think we've gone bugfuck insane about Ebola? Because we're so isolated. No, really. Let's kick out the dime store anthropology: "In the first place, we’re living in a segmented society. Over the past few decades we’ve seen a pervasive increase in the gaps between different social classes. People are much less likely to marry across social class, or to join a club and befriend people across social class.That means there are many more people who feel completely alienated from the leadership class of this country, whether it’s the political, cultural or scientific leadership. They don’t know people in authority. They perceive a vast status gap between themselves and people in authority." The Rude Pundit knows what you're going to say, but, like an ejaculation you want to be especially explosive, deny yourself the immediate pleasure.

There's other stuff that's making us lose our collective minds when it comes to the big, bad nipple bleeder: "[Y]ou get the rise of the anti-vaccine parents, who simply distrust the cloud of experts telling them that vaccines are safe for their children. You get the rise of the anti-science folks, who distrust the realm of far-off studies and prefer anecdotes from friends to data about populations." No, not yet. Put a clothespin on it.

"Second, you’ve got a large group of people who are bone-deep suspicious of globalization, what it does to their jobs and their communities," Brooks tells us. "Third, you’ve got the culture of instant news. It’s a weird phenomenon of the media age that, except in extreme circumstances, it is a lot scarier to follow an event on TV than it is to actually be there covering it. When you’re watching on TV, you only see the death and mayhem." Okay, now you can let it spray.

Who the fuck made the nation this way? Who the fuck spent the better part of the last few decades in a concerted effort to divide us so we could be conquered? Who the fuck spread mistrust of science like it was a badge of honor to be stupid? Who the fuck exploited globalization to the extent that our factories moved across the border and overseas? Who the fuck invented the media that exists only to scare people into isolation and suspicion? Yeah, fuckin' David Brooks and all the fuckin' people who are supposedly on his side of the political street. (We'll leave out the anti-vaccine nuts. They're from Park Slope or Mars or somewhere.)

It's like Brooks has a wooden paddle with Reagan's face carved into it, and he just loves lining people up to spank their bare asses, leaving Reagan-shaped welts on their skin.

We are isolated. We are misinformed. We are ill-educated. And that's thanks to conservative policies and Fox "news." Conservatives believe in getting people to disengage from the civic square; they want the populace to huddle in their houses, with their guns, and watch madmen and madwomen blather on about the things they should fear. Jesus, all the evidence you need is found in the passage of voter i.d. laws. They exist just to ensure that very few people take part in our "democracy." Or we could throw in the utter refusal of Republicans to get money out of politics, thus causing those with more money to have more speech.

Brooks starts to conclude, "The Ebola crisis has aroused its own flavor of fear. It’s not the heart-pounding fear you might feel if you were running away from a bear or some distinct threat. It’s a sour, existential fear. It’s a fear you feel when the whole environment seems hostile, when the things that are supposed to keep you safe, like national borders and national authorities, seem porous and ineffective, when some menace is hard to understand." And then he offers, "In these circumstances, skepticism about authority turns into corrosive cynicism." So mission accomplished, right?

Fuck Ebola. We should fear rich dandies who attempt to theorize their way out of their own complicity in making us afraid.


GOP: We're Not Scientists Except When We Are

Republicans are glad to tell you that either the evidence is inconclusive or that they are too dumb to understand the science when it comes to climate change, so they think it's wrong to act like it's a crisis and refuse to do anything to slow or halt it. However, they will go bugnuts crazy and try to cause panic when it comes to the science around the spread of Ebola, even when they have it wrong.

Playing to the craven cowardice and blunt ignorance of the general public, Republicans are happy to act like scientists and are using Ebola as a wedge issue for this year's elections with no regard to the facts (also known as "acting like Republicans").

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on why we shouldn't do anything about climate change: "I'm not a scientist. I'm interested in protecting Kentucky's economy."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on why we should take strict measures to prevent the spread of Ebola: ""I'm not an expert on this, but it strikes me that it would be a good idea to discontinue flights into the United States from that part of the world." (A day before he had said, "I think we ought to listen to what the CDC thinks they need either in terms of financing or certainly they'll decide the procedures for travel and all the rest. I think we need to follow the advice of the experts who know how to fight scourges like this.")

Speaker of the House John Boehner on why he is against President Obama on policies to slow climate change: "Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change."

Speaker of the House John Boehner on action to halt Ebola: "A temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something that the president should absolutely consider along with any other appropriate actions as doubts about the security of our air travel systems grow."

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on why he doesn't want to say how much human activity contributes to climate change: "I’d leave it to the scientists to decide how much, what it means, and what the consequences are...Let the scientists debate and figure that out."

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on why we should act preemptively to stop Ebola's spread: "It's pretty clear they refused to take common sense steps and call for the ban of these flights...That's been something I've been calling on for quite some time now. This is just common sense. Why in the world wouldn't we do this?"

Representative Paul Ryan on whether humans cause climate change: "I don't know the answer to that question. I don't think science does, either."

Representative Paul Ryan on how we should react to Ebola: "We’re learning a lot about how it’s spread but the question is ‘How can a person just jump on a plane and get here without a quarantine period of 21 days, which I believe is recommended."

This list could continue with Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, with Governors Rick Perry and Rick Scott, with more members of the GOP House caucus than you could care to count.

More people in the United States are scared about Ebola than climate change when climate change affects everyone and Ebola affects, at most, a handful of Americans. Republicans pretend not to know science, but they are unafraid of spreading lies and pretending to know it when it suits their purposes, even if it ultimately causes more harm than good.

They call for no action on climate change because they plead ignorance; meanwhile, they call for specific action on Ebola, as if they have expertise. When it comes to fear mongering for votes, they are more than willing to put on their costume lab coats despite, for the most part, their distinct lack of medical degrees.

And the majority of Americans buy into it and lose their shit when Ebola will never cause them to do so.


Your State Sucks: Tennessee Sucks Because Its Anti-Choicers Are Liars and Assholes

The Rude Pundit has great love for Tennessee. No, really. He goes there just about every year for the Bonnaroo Music Festival. It's truly beautiful, especially this time of year. He lived in Knoxville for a few years and had no problem heading out into the dirt poor towns to do some work. On a personal level, he liked just about every low-forehead, banjo-strumming, hard-drinking or meth-tweaking, uneducated bumpkin he met, from amazing alcoholic bluegrass musicians to strung-out, toothless strippers, from twitchy snake-handling tongue-speakers to racist pukes.

Of course, that's only one part of the population. The rest are not exotic stereotypes, just regular people living regular lives. Frankly, they freaked out the Rude Pundit more than the Inbred Jeds and Janes because the stereotypes wear their crazy like Olympic medals. It's the ones who appear to be nice sane, primarily middle-class and white, who will seek to fuck you over in the most subversive, filthy way possible.

And that's what Amendment 1 is: it's a way to shatter the balance of powers between the legislative and judicial branches when it comes to abortion rights in Tennessee. It's a way to control women by using the shit-colored patina of voting power to do it. See, what Amendment 1 does is simple: it says that only the legislature can make or change abortion laws. No fucking state judge can overturn what the legislature passes. It's probably not constitutional (as in the big Constitution, not the junior ones that every state changes on a fucking whim when, for instance, the queers are makin' people feel uncomfortable). But it'll fuck with women's lives for a good bit until the Supreme Court hopefully says, "Um, no." And while the aforementioned inbreds might be for it, it's the regular people who are driving this as some great and mighty quest to right what they see as a wrong.

See, in 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court struck down abortion restrictions, so the state became an oasis of sanity about the right to choose, so much so that women in the pathetic situations in Mississippi, Alabama, and other states come to Tennessee to get abortions. Now, you may say, "Well, that's better than getting illegal, harmful abortions." And you would be a fucking heathen who doesn't love the babies. Don't you love the babies, asshole? Tennessee is now an "abortion destination" on the abortion tour of Uhmerka. Tennessee wants to be known for whiskey, music, football, and cousin-fucking. Why spoil it?

Now, you might also say, "Well, shit, why doesn't Tennessee just do what every other stupid-ass state does and pass more regulations. Throw that shit against the wall and see what sticks?" Well, the judges in Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist said that Tennessee's constitution has a greater right to privacy than even the U.S. Constitution. And back in 2000, the dissenting judge said, in essence, "If you wanna fuck with the rights of women, you gotta amend the constitution or else these bastards around me are just gonna overturn shit again."

So here we are. The Yes on 1 people tell everyone that they are just after sensible regulations and, even though the amendment says the legislatures can make laws regarding abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life-in-danger, no way no how will they do it. Trust 'em with your reproductive rights, ladies, 'cause they're godly people. Over 80 churches so far have given over $50,000 to the "Yes" forces. (Yes, dear conservative, Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups are giving shit-tons of money to oppose Amendment 1.)

The position of the No on 1 side comes down to "Do you think we're fucking idiots? Of course, you deranged sons and daughter of bitches are going to pass every extreme regulation you can short of an outright ban, including all the shit that the court got rid of plus all the other bullshit rules." Right now, Tennessee provides funding for women in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. You can bet that'll be gone the day after Amendment 1 is ratified because "I ain't payin' fer no 'bortion."

Of course, the Yessers say they don't want "unelected state judges" making decisions. Where does that end, though? Why not pass something that says only the legislature can make decisions about business regulations or environmental laws or civil rights? How is the wisdom of Cletus Pigfucker who got elected to the legislature from the town of Analrape somehow more valid than the rulings of people who went to law school? (Note: to make your brain explode, check out Amendment 2, also on the ballot.)

This is a goddamned game with women's bodies and lives as the prize. We argue over who is going to win when we shouldn't even be playing in the first place.


Your State Sucks: Tennessee Sucks Because It Hopes to Own Women's Bodies

The word "retarded" is generally banned from polite discourse. It is a loaded term, one that upsets a number of people. It carries with it cultural weight, and, used for certain populations, it degrades those who need protecting. However, the Rude Pundit has gone through his mighty vocabulary to come up with another word for Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that's up for vote in November in Tennessee. And, well, the only thing that seems to work, because everyone knows what you mean when you say it, whether you want to admit that or not, is "retarded."

Read it for yourself: "Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."

This is retarded. It is fucking retarded. It was written by fucking retards to appeal to fucking retards because the first retards want to make sure the second retards stay retarded and vote for them, retardedly.

Amendment 1 says the state owns women bodies, purely and simply, and it destroys the balance of power in the state to do it. But don't take the Rude Pundit's word for it. Listen to every major newspaper in the state:

The Nashville Tennesseean: "[I]f you were to vote yes, you would, indeed, be doing much: First, by setting the legislative branch of government above the judiciary, and second by enshrining (through the second sentence of the amendment) the ability of state lawmakers to exceed the limits on Roe v. Wade thus far allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court...the second sentence of the amendment clearly signals they intend to ban abortion even in cases involving rape, incest and when pregnancy or childbirth endangers the life of the mother."

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal: "In the bigger picture, Amendment 1 is not only about abortion. We agree with opponents of the proposal that at a fundamental level it also is about who makes a woman’s health decisions — the woman herself, or state lawmakers who too often are guided by partisan and ideological motives. Those motives sometimes have no respect for a person’s privacy. Women should have the right to make private, personal decisions about their health."

The Knoxville News-Sentinel: "The first sentence would remove a woman’s right to make decisions about her pregnancy. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, the courts have consistently ruled that a woman has the overriding interest in the course of her pregnancy until the fetus is viable. If Amendment 1 passes, the state Legislature could pass laws that dictate any or all decisions a woman might make, from the moment of conception onward."

The ChattanoogaTimes Free-Press:"Decisions about contraception and abortion — like decisions about Viagra and fertility treatments — should be made by a man or woman in consultation with their faith, their family and their doctors."

These are not from the crazy-ass liberal media. The Tennessean endorsed Mitt Romney for president in 2012. The Times Free-Press endorsed Gary Johnson in 2012 and John McCain in 2008.

But cruel fucks will be cruel fucks. And they will manipulate people who are so deranged by religion and poverty that they only have GodJesus to comfort them, so they don't wanna piss him off. The lives of women in Tennessee, in all those cities, are in the hands of the, well, see the first paragraph.

More on this tomorrow.


Of Feminism, Online Threats, and Guns in Utah (Revised with Correction)

The Rude Pundit is not going to comment on Gamergate specifically. Short version: A truly fucked-up situation where female video game journalists and designers have been savagely threatened by men online for, apparently, existing. He's not going to comment because, really, there's not enough room. So read that Washington Post article that's linked to up there. It's a great primer.

Instead, let's focus in a bit on one incident that just happened because it says so much about who we are as a nation.

Blogger and media critic Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Sarkeesian is a feminist, and she often talks about video gaming from that perspective. Her vlog, Feminist Frequency, is damned insightful about sexism in a big part of our culture. (Calm down there, gamers. Sexism infects movies, TV, music, comics, etc. No one is singling you out.) So, of course, she had to be stopped.

Some fuckwit wrote to USU and demanded that Sarkeesian's speech be cancelled: "I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs. This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it...Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America." Charming, like that creepy kid in the dorm who writes Saw fan fiction. (Bonus points: He mentioned a Montreal mass shooting in 1989, where the asshole shot up a bunch of women because feminism made him sad.)

Now chances are that this is some worthless little shit who has no guns and no bombs and, like almost every terrorist around, just needs to get laid. And Sarkeesian, who knows from worthless little shits when it comes to the online world, had said she would go ahead with her speech, but she wanted to make sure that she would be, you know, safe. And that's where society broke down.

'Cause, see, Sarkeesian didn't want people to be allowed to bring guns to her speech, which would no doubt now be packed. The USU officials said, "Well, fuck, yeah, people can bring guns" because that's how stupid a country this is. In a statement, USU explained, "During the discussion, Sarkeesian asked if weapons will be permitted at the speaking venue. Sarkeesian was informed that, in accordance with the State of Utah law regarding the carrying of firearms, if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue." So she cancelled the speech because while a good guy with a gun may stop a bad guy with a gun, all that bad guy has to do is get off one decent shot.

Hey, you might say, shit sucks in concealed carry states, but it's the law. And the Rude Pundit would tell you to shut the fuck up and listen for two seconds.

According to the NRA (yes, the NRA), Utah state law says, "A person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not carry a concealed firearm in any secure area. A secure area may be established at an airport, higher education institution, or courthouse." And, unless its name is meaningless, Utah State University would be a "higher education institution."

(Correction: What the NRA fails to mention is that "secure area" on a college campus means "hearing room." In other words, where some official procedure is occurring where things might get heated. An earlier version said that any area on campus could be "secure." This is not the case. The Rude Pundit was wrong and, because he's not an asshole, he's correcting the error. The lesson here is never trust the NRA for facts.)

Oh, and over in Salt Lake City, at the stupidly named EnergySolutions Arena, where the Utah Jazz play pro basketball, there's a weapons policy: "For the safety of all our guests, firearms, knives and weapons of any kind are prohibited inside EnergySolutions Arena. Any guest presenting a game or event ticket consents to a reasonable search for weapons of any kind before entering. Failure to comply with the above conditions will result in no admittance or ejection." You even have to pass through a metal detector because it just makes fucking sense.

So, in fact, Utah is regularly preventing people from carrying their firearms into various places. But mostly the law is insane, especially as regards college campuses. It's startling that no one would look at this situation and think, "Huh. Maybe letting people secretly carry guns all over the fuckin' place is a bad idea." And you can hardly fault Sarkeesian for saying, "Yeah, fuck this."

Why not make this a raging post about Gamergate? Why not call the attackers nasty names and demand they stop? Because they won't. Because the anonymity of online world and the way that is used to threaten sexual violence against women, many, many women, not just those who would dare enter the geekdome, makes it too easy for the attackers.

And that demands that we see this in the widest sense possible, not just as part of the gamer world. Because ultimately what needs to be defended is the freedom for women to speak. And it's not just someone threatening to gut a woman or stab her in the tits or rape her in front of her children. It's gotten to where addresses are published online and lives are sent into chaos, just because a woman dares to say that women should be treated fairly. Christ, talk for two seconds to any woman who posts anything online on just about any subject in an open forum, like Twitter. Too many men view it as a chance to throw a bomb at a vagina they can't control.  They must be silenced before they get too much power.

Here's some advice, guys, one man to another: If you're so worried about what feminists are saying, if you are so threatened by their words that you would write rape and murder fantasies about them, then your problem isn't feminism.

Late Post Today, But Have a Treat:

Back later with more exquisite rudeness.

For now, enjoy the Rude Pundit on today's Stephanie Miller Show, where we talk about Ebola, Mika Brzezinski's breasts, and lube:


Democrats Once Again Put on Their Coward Pants (With Exceptions)

Look, you can cavil all you want about Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes's refusal to answer whether or not she voted for Barack Obama. You can sit there all self-satisfied and pat yourself on the fuckin' back that you support the sanctity of the secret ballot and that, really, it's not all that important that she answer. You can pretend all you want that Grimes is correct to stand on principle or that, if she said that she voted for Obama, it would be used in attack ads endlessly by that unrepentant, smug cuntface, Mitch McConnell. You know that it's far, far more important that McConnell refuses to say if he thinks climate change is human-caused or that Kynect, Kentucky's Obamacare exchange, would be harmed if you got rid of Obamacare, something the governor of Kentucky ripped McConnell for. That's shit that affects the daily lives of Kentuckians, not what Grimes did in a voting booth.

But you know in your heart of hearts that what you're really thinking is "Oh, fuck, Grimes, just fucking answer the motherfucking question." Because, see, you know what else makes a good ad? Grimes hemming and hawing about her vote, looking like she just got caught drinking milk out of the gallon jug. And you know that that's what's gonna get the headline after a debate because the media isn't allowed to say that climate change is real and that you're a goddamn moron or a lying sack of shit if you say otherwise.

Nearly every election, we've gotta go through this. We gotta watch as Democrats desperately try to portray themselves as salt-of-the-earth right-wingers (cue the ads of Democrats shooting shit). This time around, like in 2010 and 2014, we get to see them do the distancing dance, saying that they're not nigger-lovers, oh, no. They're "Clinton Democrats," as Grimes and others have called themselves, which is one of the most bullshit, racist phrases the Rude Pundit's seen since "urban youth." Once more, we're watching Democrats try to appeal to the yahoos when they should just rip the heads off their opponents and use the head to suck them off or eat them out like a fuck puppet.

And then, if someone does put out an ass-kicker of an ad, Democratic pussies run away, acting like their delicate sensibilities were just offended. Take, for instance, Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis's ad against her wheelchair-bound opponent, the odious scum-eater, Greg Abbott. In "Justice," we see an empty wheelchair as a serious narrator tells us that Abbott sued the fuck out of someone whose tree fell on him and won millions of dollars and then, as a lawyer, fought against others receiving compensation for their injuries. Yeah, Abbott's that special kind of hypocritical bastard, one who loves the taste of the sweat and tears of others: he speaks out against lawyers who try to get money for their injured clients.

So while Abbott gets to roll away from the substance of the ad, Davis gets excoriated. The Houston Chronicle called it "hamfisted" and "glib," while acknowledging that it brings up issues worth discussing. But discuss them? Fuck no. Wendy Davis did something mean. On MSNBC, Mika Brzezinski pointed her tits of outrage at Davis and fired. Andrea Mitchell went after Davis on her show That Thing with Andrea Mitchell, You Know, It's on MSNBC Around Lunch.

Davis is losing, so you could call it a "hail Mary," but it's a gut punch. Why are we not getting ads from Grimes saying that McConnell will take away people's health insurance? Is it because it will force Grimes to mention the-Negro-who-shall-not-be-named?

The other ad that's been causing a stir lately is from the Agenda Project (tip o' the hat to rude reader Jim on this one). It's a bad-ass motherfucker of one-minute thing that says Republican budget cuts to the CDC and NIH have fucked over the United States's ability to respond to a potential Ebola crisis. GOP Chair Reince Prepubescent is stompin' mad about it. It's being spun that the ad "blames Republicans" for Ebola. No, that's not what it does. It says that if shit goes south, guess who held the purse strings tight?

The failure of Democrats to show that Republicans would take away health care from millions of people and are responsible for our crumbling infrastructure and slow jobs recovery is a failure of imagination, messaging, and leadership. It's cowardice, purely and simply, and it's once again allowed Republicans to set the rules of engagement. Texas could have used a leader for the 21st century, not the mid-20th.

Well, the only comfort otherwise is that it's not like the Senate will get any less done if it does go Republican.


Columbus Day for the Conquered: Real Indians Tell Dan Snyder to Shove His Money Up His Whiteskin Ass

Yesterday, 150 people, many of them actual Indians, showed up in Glendale, Arizona, to protest at the Washington Redskins/Arizona Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Being a motherfucker of great renown, Redskins owner Dan Snyder spread some joy in Indian Country, inviting the governor of the Zuni tribe to the game and giving out 250 tickets to local high school kids whose school mascot is the Redskin. And he had a picnic for 'em.

He also had the outgoing president of the Navajo Nation seated next to him in his box. It's important to note that although Ben Shelly looked all Indian and noble and shit, the actual Navajo Nation, which voted him out of office, has moved to act against the Redskins. In April, the tribe's council passed the "Opposing the Use of Disparaging References to Native People in Professional Sports Franchises" bill by a 9-2 vote.

At the game, some of the protesters were confronted by angry fake Indians: "They experienced hateful comments by Redskins fans—even from a young 7-year old boy. When [one protester] told [the boy's] parents that they were teaching their son to support racism, they were at first defensive, but later apologized." The fine, fine Redskins fans who honor the legacy of Native Americans may have even been dressed to celebrate the indigenous people of this land:

Just a question for Redskins fans: How do you dress like this or associate with people who dress like this and not feel like a total twat? Those douche canoes are sad because the Cardinals kicked Washington in its redskin taint.

Earlier this year, the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation (aka "filthy hush money"), which has been sponsoring projects and handing out wads of cash like they're small pox-infested blankets, visited the Quechan tribe in Winterhaven, California. The tribe has been trying to build a large skate park for the kids in the town. The OAF offered to pay for the entire project and give every child in the tribe an iPad. While the OAF officials said that the tribe didn't even have to mention who donated the money, no doubt OAF would use the tribe's cooperation to polish the hardening turd of their funders' team's name.

The Quechan told OAF to go fuck itself with a tomahawk. Said one tribe leader, "There are no questions about this. We will not align ourselves with an organization to simply become a statistic in their fight for name acceptance in Native communities. We’re stronger than that and we know bribe money when we see it."

The skatepark is dedicated to the prevention of suicide among Native Americans, where there is a depressingly high rate. The Quechan Memorial Skate Park website says, "According to Indian Health Service research, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Indian youth residing in IHS service areas. Furthermore, the IHS report found this suicide rate to be 3.5 times higher than the national average."

So, you know, pride and identity might come into play here. And perhaps seeing fucknuts like those guys up there has at least a small effect.

You can donate money to build the skatepark here: http://www.quechanskate.com/. Say you're doing it because fuck that guy, Dan Snyder, and that other guy, Columbus.


Kailash Satyarthi: The Nobel Radical

Today's announcement of the co-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize was probably met with two reactions around the United States: "Oh, cool, Malala" and "Who the fuck's the old guy?" You can read all about how Kailash Satyarsthi is basically a kick-ass superhero who, through organizations and through direct action, rescues kids from horrific child labor, especially in India. But let's not overlook that in order to have the vision he has of a world where children go to school instead of making shit for the West (or for bourgeois people everywhere), he necessarily sees that there's things fucked up that need to change and that radical action is required.

So let's go back a bit, to October 2001, to a conference in Paris for the High Level Group on Education for All group of UNESCO, where Satayarthi, already having led the Global March Against Child Labor in 1998, gave a speech. Let's listen in:

"I thought today the whole world, the international media and leaders everywhere are engaged on the issue of terrorism. I asked myself how much money are we compelled to spend on bombs and food packets and what not in combating the evil of terrorism today. Had we spent a small sum supporting the people of Afghanistan through meaningful education, the Taliban and the terrorist camps would never have been created.

"Today we are also talking of reducing social spending due to the ongoing situation, but let me tell you again a word of caution. If we leave any country or any community deprived of education, we are responsible for their denial of access to the mainstream of the global economy and global knowledge, and that is going to become the greatest danger to world peace.

"Yesterday's truth was that you cannot sleep in peace if your neighbour is hungry, but today's truth is you cannot even live or work in peace if your neighbour is kept uneducated. We are living in an era of knowledge capitalism. Globalization has brought many prospects to the world, but it has created a power troika where the power of state, market and knowledge are married together. The only weapon the poorest of the world can effectively use is the power of knowledge, the power of education.

"Education could be seen as a program, a project, a social welfare measure, a charity,or a public service, as this is a centuries-old popular perception, which is interpreted and reflected in various forms.

"But the children I work with and live with, the children who have been victims of slavery and prostitution, bought and sold like animals, many of them even born in slavery as their parents were slaves, education is the key for their liberation.

"Sometimes education is life itself..."

Yeah, you're right - it's not that out there. The shame of it is that we live in a time when supporting education over bombs, treating other nations as our neighbors, and educating the poor so that they may rise out of poverty and slavery are viewed as radical. If you care about the issues of Malala and of Satayarthi, you have to come back to economic justice, you have to think in an expansive way about capitalism (or, really, about a post-capitalism world). Economic justice and education go hand in hand. If you ignore that, you're just assuring that the things they fight for won't change.


The Quiet Competence of Barack Obama

If you listen to the media mostly on the right, but some on the left, by this point in the administration of President Barack Obama, we should be in a Road Warrior-like hellscape of crushing debt, death panels sending us off to concentration camp ovens and calling it "medicine," riots in the streets over the confiscation of guns, surveillance nano-drones entering our rectums in order to hear what our brains are thinking, undocumented Mexicans with Ebola or terrorist ties or huge calf muscles torturing cops all along the border before suicide bombing our malls and infecting our babies, and Christians being whipped in their homes by ululating Muslims who force them to kiss the Koran or face being beheaded, all while our Negro dictator and his transgender wife laugh with their Negro cabal and Wall Street cronies about the misery of everyone who fraudulently voted for them. And that's without getting deep into Crazyville with conspiracy theories of a rogue regime engaged in constant false flag operations in order to impose greater control over the population (how ya doin', Naomi Wolf?) or whatever the hell Alex Jones or Dinesh D'Souza are spewing about today.

Any of those things could be happening. Except they're not. There are bad things going on in the United States - poverty, violence against African Americans (not exclusively, but especially pronounced right now), stagnant wages, limits on abortion rights, an environment in imminent collapse - really awful stuff, stuff that needs to be addressed. And the Rude Pundit has been critical of the Obama administration's failures and excesses, like not prosecuting Wall Street criminals and torture enablers or expanding the reach of government spying and the unchecked use of drone murder missiles. Those problems and criticisms still stand.

There's this sense out there that everything is falling to pieces, between the overhyped rise of ISIS (al-Qaeda with a better marketing department), the constant calls for the Affordable Care Act to be repealed, the unending stream of people telling us that the president is out of touch or has given up or is aloof or doesn't love them like they always wanted a father to love them, on and on and on and on.

But so much of this is media world, or, perhaps internet world, not real world. 'Cause, see, in the real world there are real numbers. And, as Paul Krugman and others point out, when it comes to those, well, sorry, but things seem to be progressing in a positive way. Whether we like it or not, Barack Obama has competently led the nation, and we're so ready for battle that we fail to recognize it.

Where do you wanna go? Millions of people have health insurance who didn't have it before (and, by the way, if you really gave a rat's ass about the spread of diseases like Ebola, you'd have national health care in a second so people in every state would want to go to their doctors and not wait until they're bad enough to go to emergency rooms). The unemployment rate is below 6%, down from 10% in 2009. The deficit has shrunk to just 3% of GDP, down from 9.8% in 2009. If you're a rich puke, you've become way, way richer (and it's gut-churningly hilarious when conservatives complain about this). Corporate profits are up. Oil imports are down. Alternative energy sources are finally growing exponentially. The crime rate is at a 20-year low, so low that Obama wants to try to roll back some of the ludicrous sentencing laws from the Clinton era. And how many states are we up to on same-sex marriage? And how many terrorist attacks in the United States since Obama's inauguration?

Now, certainly, lots of people reading this are thinking about caveat statistics and reminders of some of the things mentioned further up here. You're right (well, unless you're wrong). But numbers are numbers, good people. And good numbers are good numbers. And those good numbers stem, in large measure, from things done by the president.

What everyone seems to forget is where we started. For that, ya gotta go back to 2001, when George W. Bush came into office. For the first time in decades, the United States was in a position financially to do great things for its citizens, to rebuild infrastructure, invest in schools, promote scientific achievement, help other nations out of the poverty that leads them to embrace radical religious belief. Instead, it was squandered on tax cuts for everyone (remember your $300?) and two utterly useless wars. It was like we won a small lottery and, rather than pay the bills and fix up the house, we just went to Disney World. In 2009, then, we really were on the precipice of that dystopian nightmare.

The Rude Pundit is still reserving judgment on Barack Obama. There's a hundred ways that he's been bitterly disappointed by the president. But let's at least pause to say that things are a hell of a lot better than they could have been. And if it doesn't bear saying that all this was done in the wake of the disastrous Bush presidency, it is worth noting that it was done in the face of unprecedented opposition from Republicans in Congress, who demand that the country must be run by GOP dictatorship or not at all.

It's hard to believe, yes, but we may have to accept that, in the face of noise about whatever it is this week - Colombian prostitutes from Benghazi or something, the Obama administration has operated with subdued competence. And it continues to do so despite the braying asses of the right, especially, saying it's all falling apart. That nation doesn't exist except in the fevered mind of people trying to attract hits or ratings. The one in the real world that chugs along is filled with citizens hoping one day to drive home on good roads from a full-time job to their decently-educated kids in their safe neighborhoods.

(Yes, this has left out a lot of discussion about foreign policy because, frankly, the things that really matter, like trade policy, get lost in the noise over who we're bombing today.)


Our Neverending Abortion War: Everything Is Bigger in Texas, Even the Misogyny

Here's something from LifeNews, your clearinghouse for every fucked-up, twisted, bizarre, misogynistic, anti-science, Jesus-fellating thought from the anti-choice movement: "Operation Rescue called each of the 23 remaining Texas abortion clinics on the morning of October 6, 2014, and confirmed the closures."

That's a reaction to the ruling of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that Texas can enforce its new worthless restrictions whose only goal is to close as many clinics that perform abortions (or stop them from being performed) as possible. Thirteen facilities closed, with one in El Paso ceasing surgical abortions, but sending women to a clinic 20 miles away in somewhat saner New Mexico for the procedure. But now 900,000 women in Texas do not live within 150 miles of a clinic. (If you want to know what the current burden is on women in Texas, check out Andrea Grimes's reporting.)

Creepy-ass creeps from Operation Rescue called every clinic, making sure the ones who didn't have, for instance, doctors with admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (in Texas, where you might have to drive 50 miles to take a shit in a place that isn't a scorpion and snake-filled dirt patch) were closed. As for the ones that are still open, well, they checked up on them, too, pretending to be patients who needed appointments for abortions in order to see if the wait times had gotten any longer. "Only Whole Women’s Health in San Antonio had a longer than expected appointment wait time, with the earliest offered appointment being two weeks away," says Operation Rescue's Cheryl Sullenger. They also got reports from the ground, from "pro-life witnesses who offer help to women outside" clinics.

They're nothing but helpful, these good Christians who offer succor and solace to women they see as terrified, confused, weak, and misinformed, not even considering that the women going to the remaining clinics might be strong, assured, and know exactly what they are doing and what to expect. In case you are the stereotype of the pathetic pregnant female, OR President Troy Newman says, "There are literally dozens of pregnancy help centers in Texas that offer free resources to women in crisis pregnancies standing at the ready to assist women with life-affirming help. With that kind of support, there is no reason for women to not get the help they need during their pregnancies."

And that's totally true. According to the Houston Press, "There are only two abortion clinics left open in Houston alone but there are more than six crisis pregnancy centers in the area." There's only 6.3 million people in metro Houston, not counting the undocumenteds, and there's a good chance a bunch of them are women. So why not go to the crisis centers, where you get such awesome counseling on how God will punch you in the cunt if you end the pregnancy?

Well, despite the fact that abortion-performing clinics have to meet stringent rules, crisis pregnancy centers are less regulated than nail salons. Oh, and "The Department of State Health Services doesn't inspect any of these clinics, not even the ones that offer diagnostic ultrasounds. The Texas Medical Board doesn't require the doctors to report if they serve as medical directors for any of these clinics." Some of them even offer pap smears and STD and pregnancy testing. All in the comfort of an unregulated, uninspected space where someone may very well proselytize about how sinful you are. Sweet. This is not to mention, as the Rude Pundit has written, the state of Texas diverted funding from actual family planning clinics to CPCs, so there are your tax dollars at work, Texas.

At this point, with gay marriage moving into the mainstream, with pornography easily accessible from anywhere, with violent and sexual content all over the airwaves, with marijuana slowly being legalized, abortion is the culture war's Alamo. It's the only place they have left for a last stand against the forces of secular sanity, the only place where they can whittle away at a right with rules and regulations, the only place where they can claim their hate is love without being laughed at.

The clinics have appealed the ruling in Texas to the Supreme Court, but that goes to Scalia, the most bloodsoaked culture warrior.


Regarding the Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Semi-Decisive Non-Decision

Look, one way to see the Supreme Court's refusal to hear any appeals to the federal court cases that gave a big thumbs up to same-sex marriage in 5-11 states is to celebrate. Holy hot cock-on-cock action, we're up to 60% of the nation where Ls and Gs and Bs and Ts can marry whomever they choose and whomever chooses them and get all the benefits and pain that comes after. Groovy.

And it's sure fun to watch conservatives lose their tiny brains over it. Sen. Ted Cruz's head pretty much exploded as he claimed that "This is judicial activism at its worst." So if one does nothing, one is engaged in judicial activism. If the Supreme Court had overruled the three other courts, would that have been judicial activism? Answer the question, you fuckin' charlatan. He goes on, "Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures." Except the justices didn't impose anything. One supposes it's easier to get pissed off at the nine Supreme Court justices than to attempt to explain the way that appeals courts work to the dumbasses who might actually support the constitutional amendment proposed by Ted Cruz, who looks like a crow who wants to sell you life insurance.

We could do all kinds of tea-leaf reading about the court's inaction. Was it saying that none of the cases was decent enough to take on, despite the Attorneys General of 30 states asking the court to make up its goddamned mind? Was it saying that a patchwork of state decisions, up to the whims of whatever court rules on it, is better than a uniform national right? Was it saying that it's just sick of the culture wars and that it's too busy making sure that corporations are protected to worry about your queer asses? Was the court too concerned about moving too fast, despite the fact that the nation is more than ready to hold the hands of same sex partners and jump over the broom, stomp the glass, ride an elephant, rub Buddha's belly, sacrifice a goat to pagan demons, whatever the fuck other religions do? Or were the justices, the conservative justices, in particular, just being total quivering pussies about it?

The nutzoid evangelicals at the Family Research Council (motto: "Yeah, Jesus hung out all the time with a bunch of dudes. So? What about it?") have chimed in with what they think is up: "As disappointing as the Supreme Court's silence is, the good news is that the debate over same-sex 'marriage' will continue. With 92 cases on marriage flooding the courts, conservatives have a chance to push back and demand that Congress step in where SCOTUS has not." Those quotation marks around "marriage" should make you wanna bunch someone right in their "God Hates Fags" stupid face.

The Rude Pundit is with people on the left and the right who think that the Supreme Court totally punked out on this. As the New York Times wrote, "Every day that the justices do not declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, a child in San Antonio feels confusion and shame that her fathers cannot get married; a woman in Atlanta is prohibited from making emergency medical decisions for her life partner; a man in Biloxi, Miss., is denied veteran’s survivor benefits after his husband dies." What the court did yesterday was imply that a gay couple in Indiana deserves more rights than a gay couple in Texas.

Yeah, yeah, it's sweet that we can sit back and say, smugly, "Hey, look at all these generally beautiful people getting married. Isn't that a great thing?" We can posit that the court's "wisdom" is to make same-sex marriage so regular, as if once the lube spills out of the bottle, it's impossible to put it back in.

But by not deciding, the court left in the air the security of thousands and thousands of Americans. Because however much you may believe everything is fine and safe, there's still that nagging feeling that one day, perhaps not too far in the future, Anthony Kennedy and the four really, really conservative justices can take it away.