Archive for October, 2012

Richard Mourdock and the rape baby thing

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Hang onto your lacy unmentionables, Kathy, cause I’m fixing to defend Richard Mourdock. As most people have probably heard by now, the Indiana Tea Party Senate candidate explained during a debate Tuesday that the only time he believes abortion is appropriate is to save the life of the mother, and to underscore this position, he tearfully added that “even in the terrible situation of rape [life] is something God intended to happen.” (I picture Debbie Wassermann Schultz hearing this news and sobbing incoherently with joy, like Emma Thompson at the end of Sense and Sensibility.) After the debate, Mr. Mourdock tried to say that he didn’t mean God wants women to be raped, but a whole lot of folks are refusing to believe him.

Except me. The current rector of All Saints Episcopal is a very thoughtful man named Jim Flowers, and if I understand his sermons correctly, God does not, like a petulant Pat Robertson, send tornadoes or tsunamis to punish us when we are naughty. But (here’s the important part) when these things do happen, and we come together as a community and help one another, now THAT is where God is present. This is an appealing idea and has the double benefit of both reassuring us that God did not deliberately slaughter 250 people in Alabama with His awesome tornado power while also encouraging us to give to the tornado relief fund.

And it seems to me that is is all poor misunderstood Mourdock was trying to say with the rape baby thing. In the middle of this heinous, violent crime, sometimes we find a precious innocent baby. And that is where God is present.

Because Mr. Mourdock is one of those who believes that life begins at conception.  And thus his rape baby vision leaves out the nine long anguished months of growing the baby, the risk to the woman’s bodily health let alone mental health, and the far more intricate complication that nine months from now, this is not going to be just some generic Baby to be handed off to one of those omnipresent loving childless couples, but a combination of her genetic material and the rapist’s.  Do you want really to give up your son or daughter? She’s yours! Look, I think she has your hands! But then she is also his.  Can you ever forget that?

Has Mr. Mourdock given a moment’s thought to all this? He claims to have struggled, so I guess he has. When you have convinced yourself that life begins at conception, and that ending any pregnancy is murder, you cannot make exceptions for the circumstances of the conception. It’s a shame the woman was raped, but now she has to suck it up and deal. I appreciate his consistency, but I do not see the presence of God here.

 

As Romney passed St. James’ Infirmary…

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

He saw lots of people’s sweethearts there, cause everybody in America can have their life-threatening conditions treated for freesies.

Wait, turns out they can’t either. Here, I’ll just let this guy talk about it. He does it better.

What’s the Matter with Arkansas?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Seriously, what is going on in the Natural State? Yeah, I had to look that up – last I knew, the Arkansas slogan was Land of Opportunity. Did they mean Opportunity for nuts to get elected to the state legislature?

First we have Rep. Jon Hubbard (R-Jonesboro), who self-published a book claiming that slavery was a “blessing in disguise” for black people, who were rewarded for their enslavement with citizenship in the US.

“The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise,” Hubbard argues in Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative. “The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of this Earth.”

Um, yeah. Hard to believe he couldn’t find a reputable publisher for that classic.

Then there’s Rep. Loy Mauch (R-Bismarck), who says Jesus was A-OK with slavery, since He didn’t speak out against it.

If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?

I’ve been pointing out for years that Jesus said nothing about loving relationships between same-sex partners, but I doubt Rep. Mauch would see that one my way. In the annals of actual evil things that actually hurt other people – like, say, owning them - there are lots of things of which Jesus did not speak in specifics. However, that whole “Love your neighbor as yourself” command pretty much covers the contingencies, although He may have overestimated our ability to extrapolate.

Rep. Mauch is reportedly a member of the secessionist League of the South who believes the Confederate flag is “a symbol of Jesus Christ above all else.” Those stellar credentials earned him a spot last year on TruTV’s list of the 50 Worst Politicians in America.

Finally, we come to Republican House candidate Charlie Fuqua of Batesville. Mr. Fuqua, in his no doubt brilliant tome God’s Law: The Only Political Solution, opined thusly: “I see no solution to the Muslim problem short of expelling all followers of the religion from the United States.” He followed up with a blog post that reads in part:

There is a strange alliance between the liberal left and the Muslim religion. It may be that since both are the enemies of Christianity, that they both believe that, my enemy’s enemy is my friend. However there are several similarities between the two. Both are antichrist in that they both deny that Jesus is God in the flesh of man, and the savior of mankind. They both also hold that their cause should take over the entire world through violent, bloody, revolution.

Yes, we all remember the hordes of liberal lefties who showed up to political rallies back in 2010 packing heat and talking about Second Amendment remedies. Not to mention, last time I checked, US citizenship didn’t come with a religious test. Perhaps the nice people at Wal-Mart headquarters would donate some tinfoil for this poor, deluded man.

Sadly, his particular brand of crazy doesn’t stop with the typical lefty-Muslim hate. He also thinks rebellious children should face the death penalty. It’s Biblical, don’t you know? His website says he supports the sanctity of life, but I guess it’s only of the pre-born variety, before kids can mouth off or miss curfew or refuse to potty train on command.

The Arkansas Republican Party has, to its credit, denounced all three candidates and cut off their funding, at least for now. Time will tell whether the imperative to win seats overcomes decency and common sense.

That’s a Nice Little Job You Got There…

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

…it’d be a shame if something happened to it.

Yesterday, billionaire Westgate Resorts CEO David Seigel sent his employees a letter threatening their jobs if President Obama wins reelection.

As most of you know our company, Westgate Resorts, has continued to succeed in spite of a very dismal economy. There is no question that the economy has changed for the worse and we have not seen any improvement over the past four years. In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best…

He whines for a while about how hard he worked and scrimped and saved while his friends – and by implication his employees – chose to have a life instead.

…Now, the economy is falling apart and people like me who made all the right decisions and invested in themselves are being forced to bail out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed 42 years of my life for.

Yes, isn’t it terrible that people think they should have food and shelter?

Mr. and Mrs. Siegel suffered a setback to their perfectly normal, everyday lifestyle when the market crashed in October 2008. That would be before Mr. Obama was elected. The market hit bottom a couple of months after the inauguration but has since bounced back almost entirely. As Mr. Siegel notes in his letter, Westgate Resorts is doing just Buy Cialis fine, but he can’t help but moan about how he has suffered:

Even to this day, every dime I earn goes back into this company. Over the past four years I have had to stop building my dream house, cut back on all of my expenses, and take my kids out of private schools simply to keep this company strong and to keep you employed.

About that dream home – it was intended to be a 90,000 square foot house. Not NINE thousand – NINETY thousand. The whole thing was so ridiculously tacky and over the top that someone actually made a documentary about it. Among other things, the trailer tells us that, despite being 30 years older than his wife, Mr. Siegel doesn’t need Viagra.

Pardon me while I go bleach my brain.

Mr. Siegel, not one for subtlety, makes himself quite clear toward the end of his missive:

So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.

That’s right. If the eeeeeevil government takes one more dime of his money, he’s going to make sure his employees pay with their livelihoods. “We’re the most profitable we’ve ever been,” says he, but it takes a lot of Benjamins to finish that dream house. He’s planning to put it on the market for the modest price of $100 million.

****

After some intrepid readers noticed that Mr. Siegel’s letter resembled a discredited internet tome your crazy uncle sends out via mass email, he admitted that he used said letter as a “guideline”. You just can’t make this stuff up.

Will the Real Artur Davis Please Stand Up?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Former Democratic Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Artur Davis will return to Alabama next week as the “star attraction” for a Republican fundraiser.

A lot has changed since Artur Davis was the center of attention at a political gathering in his native Alabama.

How much have things changed?

Well, when Davis made his last noteworthy appearance in Alabama he was a congressman, a Democrat, a candidate for governor.

And he was still welcomed at the White House.

Davis, who seconded the presidential nomination of Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, didn’t just slide over from Blue Dog Democrat to moderate Republican – he’s gone full-blown Tea Party. He spoke at this year’s Republican National Convention, one of a series of people of color on stage in front of an almost all white audience. He’s the new “See? We’re Not Racists!” face of True the Vote, an organization whose primary purpose appears to be unsubstantiated voter challenges that (just coincidentally, of course) disproportionately target people of color.

As I listened to Davis speak [to True the Vote] in Houston, I remembered a similar summit I attended in 2006, which was organized by “Patriot” and “Minutemen” groups. These tea party predecessors were transparent about not only their anti-immigrant stances, but their hostility towards Latinos in general. They used a lot of the same language as today’s tea party groups, like “taking back America” and “restoring America’s heritage.” And like True the Vote, they had a couple of black speakers at their summit who absolved the otherwise all-white movement of racism charges.

Most of those Patriot and Minutemen groups dissolved, just before the rise of Obama. But in 2010, tea party groups that look and sound just like them emerged, better organized and better funded. Many are just as far to the right as their predecessors, but on race specifically they use softer language. They proclaim that they just want to help improve government, and are offended by charges that they threaten black and Latino people. Their politics are not racist, they say, and if you don’t believe them, just ask Artur Davis.

What happened to the man who Buy Cialis, just two short years ago, ran for governor as a progressive Democrat, championing a new constitutional convention truly representative of the people of Alabama? This was a man who fought to win his Congressional seat against the entrenched  power structure in the Alabama Democratic Party, but he didn’t shy away from being a Democrat. (He did choose to vote against the Affordable Care Act, but  - while I disagree with his vote – I continue to believe that it was a strategic move, sanctioned by the White House, to help him in the general election.)

Then he lost. Not just lost – he was pummeled in the primary, never getting the chance to make his case to the state as a whole. He left Alabama behind to move to Virginia. He said he was done with politics. Alabama ended up with accidental Gov. Dr. Dr. Robert Bentley.

Now Davis pens op-eds claiming widespread voter fraud in Alabama’s Black Belt and elsewhere but refuses to back up his allegations:

“If you are asking if I will name individuals whose organizations regularly practice such tactics, why would I elevate unknowns to my level by identifying them and giving them a national forum? I understand that you are doing your job as a journalist but I don’t owe your readers any clarification.”

And right there in that quote is, in my opinion, the key to Artur’s party switch: he’s pissed that Alabama Democrats didn’t show him the adulation to which he believes he’s entitled. National Republicans, ever on the quest to prove their diversity, are piling on the praise that he didn’t get at home. He’s on TV! He’s invited to speak! He’s a respected pundit! He’s fawned over like a new religious convert.

I believed Artur Davis when he said he supported a new constitution that would help Alabama move forward into a better future. I believed him when he said he supported Barack Obama for president. I was disappointed when he left Alabama, letting his hurt feelings trump his principles.

Of course, that was back when I believed he had some principles. Looks like I was wrong.