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Name: Mister Rea
Gender: Male
Hometown: Houston
Home country: Moon
Current location: afk
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 48,808

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mostly harmless

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Goddammit, Bobby.

I wasn't even 5 when he was murdered. Even if you weren't alive yet when he died, when we lost him, you feel his absense. You may not know it or have words for it, but you feel the Bobby-shaped hole in our public square. Martin was a robbery; they took from us the voice that explained so gorgeously and etherally how we, as The People, can matter in a democracy. But Bobby's death wasn't a robbery; it was a cold, violent detour away from what could have been.

That's the phrase that will always haunt. What could have been. Even if, like all martyrs, he is changed in our hearts by the missing of him from what he was in flesh and in hustings. There is that weight in us, in what we needed him to be, perhaps what we need to be in ourselves, and the gravitation of that shadow of knowing: it won't ever be perfect.

But we miss him, in places we can't give name to sometimes, we who need to miss him, we who need to believe in someone who drew the line and let no hesitation for what is convenient or hard stop him from standing for what is right. We miss him in places that hurt for those among us who have always been forgotten and thought of as less. Bobby, for his life of pain and grit, never thought of anyone as less. We miss him for the imperfections in ourselves that need that crowd stirring "vigah" and that heart-felt, soul-deep toothy grin that beamed out bring on the fight; I know where right stands. We miss him for his arrogant challenges, like David with a slingshot, against the mighty and the corrupt.

Goddammit, Bobby. Why? Why is it you still?

I know what you'd say. Why not? Why wait for the dead? Why not do it yourselves? Roll up your sleeves. Sweep the mess where you're at.

Goddammit, Bobby. I miss you anyway.

When Reagan won...

When Reagan won in 1980, my dad had a dream that night that there'd be a new war real soon and that I was getting drafted to go fight it. I was 17. I had passed out flyers and bumper stickers for John Anderson (don't ask) and on election night I was all like, "Well, shit that sucks. I can't imagine how bad this'll be."

I expected the country would endure, because I have faith in America. By 1984 it seemed pretty clear that there wasn't going to be a new Vietnam (El Salvador or Nicaragua were the leading candidates, if you remember those days). And the country endured.

In 1988, when Poppy Bush won, I remember telling my college professor, "Well, shit, can't the Democrats do anything right?" But again, I never doubted the country would survive. I was too familiar with how economics work and how, even if the unions were getting screwed, the economy would always be changing and our people will always find a way to get through and even prosper a little.

In 1992, I got drunk on Election Night, danced in front of lesbian oompah band while wearing a fish tie, crashed in a hotel room with a woman I never even touched, and then had to climb over the Astrodome chain-link fence in order to get to my car and make it to work on time.

In 2000 I couldn't believe those fuckers stole it. I agreed with my mom when she said, "I'm sure the Republic will survive four years of George W. Bush." I was amazed at how many ways the BushCo crew found to fuck things up--from ignoring terrorist warnings to eating pretzels wrong--but the ship of state came out battered and still seaworthy after even eight years of Dick Cheney and that little obscene monkey he answered to. I never doubted that we would. Even when the banks looted the country first and the government second, I had faith in America. We have the incredible ability to adapt and overcome in the Land of the Free. Even bad governance, even monstrous fiscal malfeasance can't change that.

This past week, the Republicans lost an election. It was close, to their credit. Like Kerry's 48%, this year's Republican ticket made a respectable showing in the polls (if still disreputable in their ads and talking points). Without an honest fact to stand of, Romney still managed to hold a sitting president down below 51%.

But lots of Republicans, Twitterers all, many of them following cues from their leadership, don't seem to have faith in America. They're calling this the end of America, imagining apocalyptic scenarios of FEMA camps, mobs of looting welfare recipients, spinning wild tales of "takers and makers." This, sadly, speaks to a lack of character. I don't know when they put their faith in--it seems to be hatred of other people with different ideas than them--but it's not in the resilience of the United States and our long long history of triumphing over adversity, helping each other out, fixing problems, and allowing for personal liberty.

Without losing much personal liberty themselves in their own individual lives, they seem to imagine that liberty is somehow on the verge of being lost. They won't be able to name any valid examples, except maybe airport gropings. They decry government overregulation in general without citing specific incidents where it's prevented job creation. They pull out their hair screaming about socialism, but can't really name anything outside of the healthcare industry where the government has taken over any industry--even the now surging auto and banking industries saw only government investment and hardly any government oversight of how factories would be retooled and reformed.

How can you scream at phantoms and never bother to gather evidence that they exist? The same way, I suppose, I keep enduring a sequence of Republican victories that boggle my mind. I have faith. The only difference is that they have faith in hatred of the tribe of liberals and the world-ending nightmares our victories bring about. As a liberal Democrat, I just have faith in the good old US of A. Even when we lose elections--and don't you worry, it'll happen again--the country just keeps on chugging along. I wish I could share my faith with them. But in the Land of the Free, I guess they're entitled to have any kind of faith they want.

TPM: Christie's camp denies Romney ever even asked him to come to a rally.

TPM Editor’s Blog:
[font size="4"]Oh, It’s Getting Good[/font]

Romney camp claims they asked Christie to come to Pennsylvania campaign rally on Saturday night but Christie said no. Christie advisor now denying they ever even asked.

Get this though. I just focused in again on this quote from Jon Ward’s Huffpo piece.

“You can’t tell me he couldn’t have gone over there for a night rally,” a Romney campaign source told HuffPost.Maybe I’m getting naive. But doesn’t this strike people as the comment of someone who’s really lost it? I really mean that. Even in the context of everyone sort of losing it in the days just before a national election. There’s one rule of natural disasters for politicians. Be on the job and make sure you look like you really care? Obviously, ideally, actually care. But definitely look like it. And by all means don’t go to another state to appear at a political rally.

The fact that this story was put out as a hit on Christie is even more bizarre.

Why on earth would any Republican nominee want to get into a pissing contest with the single most popular Republican governor in country the day before the election? For the same reasons Christina Aguilera tries to get into a feud with Lady Gaga.

Yes, that's right. Bucky just called Chris Christie the Lady Gaga of the Republican Party. I mean, you try convincing me that's not a meat dress under there.

David Sedaris on Undecided Voters

Not sure how old this quote is, but it's an instant classic:

"To put them {undecided voters} in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes​ down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. 'Can I interest you in the chicken?​' she asks. 'Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?' To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."

GOP Oppo-Defiance Disorder: I don't think that's quite how it works, sociologically.

The Republicans believe in domination more than cooperation. It's a tribal mentality. Thus on a subconscious level, there is an atavistic lure toward subliminal expressions of domination, leading to considerations of rape dynamics when formulating policy. I doubt Republican men are more likely to be rapists than Democratic men. Obviously your real rapists are going to Randians, libertarians, or (more likely) apolitical sociopaths. As more law-and-order types, Republicans will tend, overall to be anti-rape, except in the case of marriage (where opinions may be more closely divided)

But on a more surface level, the tribal instincts of the anti-rational Republican party will be anti-Democrat. Thus, when Democrats introduce rape into the dialogue about the emotionally charged abortion debate, it's the natural instinct of these "tribal" Republicans to offer knee-jerk counter arguments that invalidate the claims of their opponents. It's not rational, and it's sure as hell not scientific, but it's not malicious, either. Rather it's the simplistic formula expected from a tantrum throwing child trapped in oppositional-defiance mode. To wit:

Mom to screaming toddler: "Quit crying or we're leaving McDonald's"
Screaming toddler: "WAAAAAAAAGH! I want another Happy Meal! WAAAAAAAAGH!"

Democrat to Republican: "If you outlaw abortion, then some rapists will have the right to visit their victims for 18 years."
Republican: "WAAAAAAAAGH! Woman are scientifically proven to have bodies that can shut down conception during rapes!"

Democrat to Republican: "If we keep on polluting, we'll start to warm up the planet and melt the polar ice caps."
Republican: "WAAAAAAAAGH! There is no Global Warming! And it's caused by dinosaur farts! And dinosaurs were in Genesis!"

Republican to Democrat: "You're weak, and anti-gun, and soft on terrorism, and probably Muslim."
Democrat to Republican: "Actually I just sent the SEALS in to kill Bin Laden, even though you said he was unimportant."
Republican: "WAAAAAAAAGH! I'm voting against raising the debt ceiling!"
Democrat: "But you used to vote in favor of it all the time."
Republican: "WAAAAAAAAGH! You're a socialist!"

It sucks, sometimes, being the party of principles.

But then again, who wants to have the kind of principles that never inconvenience you?

I was happy & amused about Christie for a while. But he's starting to creep me out now.

It's like having a friend who happens to know the age-of-consent laws for all 50 states. At some point, some point soon, the quirky amusement of it all starts to wear off...

No, really. Peggy Noonan accuses Obama & Cuomo of egocentrism

Peggy Noonan needs to become a movie theater. Her psychological projection skills are stunning. Note how in Italics (Peggy's, not mine) she's able to crawl inside Gov Cuomo's head and figure out exactly what a hectoring know-it-all nag she, I mean he, supposedly is in moments of crisis.

[font size="4"]How Far Obama Has Fallen[/font]
[font face="times new roman"]by Peggy Noonan[/font]


New York's mayor, Mike Bloomberg, was sterling—a solid, unruffled giver of information whose news conferences were blessedly free of theatrics save for his gifted sign-language interpreter, who wowed a city and left the young evacuees in my apartment furiously signing "Where's the coffee?" and "I think the baby needs to be changed." Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was his usual compelling self, similarly informative. This is a man who knows a levy from a berm. He is one tough red-state player on a blue-state field. If Mitt Romney loses, will Mr. Christie garner Republican criticism for his hearty embrace of president Obama just days before the election? Yes, he will. Will it hurt him in Jersey? Not a bit. Will it help Jersey? Yes. They are cold and wet and running out of food in the house. Keep your friends close and your president closer.

The "I" of the storm was New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. He was equally competent and effortful but took the mildly hectoring tone of a kind of leftism that is now old. It involves phrases like "As I've long said." I think this is the worst and I was appalled and when I was at HUD I handled storms and I learned a great deal and I saw we were prepared and I am relieved and I will work hard and I need you to know global warming is what I told you it was.

Really? That's what she got from Cuomo's "be-careful" speeches?

But the gems are yet to shine in the awesome tangle of Peggy Noonan's prose. Like any good Republican, her best literary moments come when she starts to rewrite history. Turning her lackadaisical crosshairs on Obama, she writes:

Look at where he started, placing his hand on the Bible Abe Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. It was Jan. 20, 2009. The new president was 47 and in the kind of position politicians can only dream of
He won by 9.5 million votes. Two days after his inauguration, Gallup had him at 68% approval, only 12% disapproval. He had a Democratic Senate, and for a time a cloture-proof 60 members. He had a Democratic House (256-178) with a colorful, energetic speaker. The mainstream media were excited about him, supportive of him. His political foes were demoralized, their party fractured.

He faced big problems—an economic crash,two wars—but those crises gave him broad latitude. All of his stars were perfectly aligned. He could do anything.

That's right. Lieberman's ongoing threats to switch parties and "break the 60" had nothing to do with the "demoralized" Republican Senate caucus walking in lock-step discipline threatening to filibuster and stall every major bill nearly every sub-cabinet appointment. The country was going to hell in a handbasket and, in Peggy's view, that only made the president's job that much easier. Peggy Noonan, I salute you. No one makes bullshit smell sweeter than you [strike]doo[/strike] do.

Then health care, a mistake beginning to end. The president's 14-month-long preoccupation with ObamaCare signaled that he did not share the urgency of people's most immediate concerns—jobs, the economy, all the coming fiscal cliffs. The famous 2,000-page bill added to their misery by adding to their fear.

Voters would have had to trust the president a lot to believe his program wouldn't raise their premiums, wouldn't limit their autonomy, wouldn't make a shaky system worse. But they didn't trust him that much, because they'd just met him. They didn't really know him.

See what she did there? First the president has the unprecedented confidence of the American people, but then they can't trust him and his healthcare law because they don't know him. That's writing, folks. We bitch about Romney counting on the public not being able to remember what he was saying just six months ago. Peggy Noonan manages to make us forget what the entire premise of her essay was just six paragraphs ago. That's not just writing, that's re-writing at its best.

Let's read on and watch her do it again:

But they didn't trust him that much, because they'd just met him. They didn't really know him.

You have to build the kind of trust it takes to do something so all-encompassing.

*Blink, blink*

Damn, did I miss it again? First she tells us that president at the moment of his inauguration had the unthinking robot-like compliance of 68% of all America, so why didn't he do something magical? Then she concludes by telling us Obama's biggest mistake was... wait for it... not taking more time to "build the kind of trust it takes" to do that very something.

She not only rewrites history, she's even able to rewrite the fundamentals of her own argument against Obama within the space of a single essay. Now let's watch her back this baby into the garage:

Why did the president make such mistakes?


Because he had so much confidence, he thought whatever he did would work. He thought he had "a gift," as he is said to have told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He thought he had a special ability to sway the American people, or so he suggested to House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

{Such impeccable sources!}

But whenever he went over the the heads of the media and Congress and went to the people, in prime-time addresses, it didn't really work. He did not have a magical ability to sway. And—oddly—he didn't seem to notice.

It is one thing to think you're Lebron. Its another thing to keep missing the basket and losing games and still think you're Lebron.

What horrible ego that president has! I see it all now, Peggers! The president seems to think he's the wrong negro! My gracious, what discerning eyes you have, Grandma. All the better to admire myself with, my dear.

Ya know, I used to admire Republicans for their relentless cherry picking skills. But I realize now I was comparing them to the wrong vehicle. Peggy Noonan, at least, is more like a luxury Italian sports car: You just admire her more for her relentless horse[strike]shit[/strike]power and stunningly tight turning radius. What a virtuoso of wit and perspective our Peggy is. First she's here, then when you look for her trail, she's over there behind you! Meep, meep! She's like the Roadrunner of the Republican world view.

Of course, back here in the real world, coyotes eat those pesky little flightless birds for dinner all the time.
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