Saturday, January 08, 2011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) Shot in Tuscon

US Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was reportedly shot in the head at close range while hosting an event in Tuscon, Arizona. Several other members of her staff were also reportedly hurt by the gunman, who is now in custody.

There is no word on Rep. Giffords' condition as of yet. Though the shooting occurred at a constituent event, there is no report on the gunman's motives, or whether Giffords was targeted.

I'll update this post as more information comes out. Please keep Rep. Giffords and all those injured in your thoughts.

UPDATE: Earlier reports had said Rep. Giffords had died, but the latest news is that she is currently in surgery but still alive.

UPDATE #2: MSNBC reports that Federal District Judge John M. Roll is among the dead.

The Yellow Star Bill

A new group of state legislators opposed birthright citizenship has made a first-step proposal to help differentiate citizens born to illegal immigrants from the rest of us: separate birth certificates.

I'm not the world's biggest John Marshall Harlan cheerleader. But if ever there was a time to refer back to his Plessy dissent, now was it. Our constitution "neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens." It's that simple. And marking certain disfavored citizen's birth certificate with an indicator that says "you are lesser, you are not truly one of us" -- it is difficult to find an idea more offensive to the spirit of our constitutional tradition.

The King is Dethroned

I wonder if praising his leadership's "mendacity" had something to do with this:
The new Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith of Texas, has passed over an outspoken immigration hard-liner and member of the Tea Party caucus for chairman of the immigration subcommittee

In an announcement Friday, Mr. Smith unexpectedly gave the job of chairman of the subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement to Representative Elton Gallegly, a conservative Republican from California.

Representative Steve King of Iowa, who was the senior Republican on the subcommittee in the last Congress and was expected to take over as chairman, was named vice chairman instead. Mr. King is known for his high-profile support for measures to crack down on illegal immigration.

In an interview late Friday, Mr. King made no secret of his surprise and disappointment. “I don’t know I can explain it,” he said.

Rep. Gallegly isn't substantively all that different from Rep. King -- he even supports repealing part of the Fourteenth Amendment in order to eliminate birthright citizenship. Nonetheless, rhetorically he's nowhere near King's league (King once advocated adding a non-lethal electrical current to our border fence as a deterrent, saying "We do that with livestock all the time."). Presumably, King's extremism has reached the point where it is seen as an embarrassment to the House Republican leadership, and they're looking to clamp down.

And while sometimes a quieter voice for the same radical policies can be more effective and thus more dangerous, I don't actually think any of the most excessive Republicana anti-immigrant provisions are going anywhere, so it's only a good thing that the level of overheated hyperbole directed against undocumented immigrants (and their children) will be reduced at least a little bit.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Oh, the Mendacity of it All

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is one of my "favorite" congressional Republicans. If Michelle Bachmann is the queen of the GOP crazies, Rep. King is a front-runner for the title of emir of Republican idiots. Here he is defending the "mendacity" of the House Republican leadership.
"As I deliberate and I listen to the gentleman from Tennessee, I have to make the point that when you challenge the mendacity of the leader or another member, there is an opportunity to rise to a point of order, there is an opportunity to make a motion to take the gentleman's words down, however many of the members are off on other endeavors and I would make the point that the leader and the speaker have established their integrity and their mendacity for years in this Congress and I don't believe it can be effectively challenged and those who do so actually cast aspersions on themselves by making wild accusations," King said.

Some of Rep. King's other greatest hits include describing Barack Obama as our "urban" President, describing the Watergate scandal as "a little break-in by a couple of guys," voting against Katrina aid, claiming President Obama would lead us into a "totalitarian dictatorship", and decrying Obama using his middle name in his swearing in.

On the other hand, he did inspire one of my favorite photo-shops ever, so I guess he has that going for him.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Ted Williams Reunites with his Mother

I've been following the Ted Williams story (the homeless man with the golden radio voice), and it's definitely been having an effect on me. But this video, where he finally reunites with his mother after so many years, really is causing me to tear up.

Good luck, Mr. Williams. We're all rooting for you.

Blog Cite Alert

My 2008 blog post, Second Thing We Do, Objectify All The Men, has been cited in Ann R. Fischer, Sonya K. Bettendorf, and Yu-Wei Wang Contextualizing Sexual Objectification, 39 Counseling Psych. 127, 131 (2011) (subscription only).

Eventually my actual scholarly work will catch up with this blog, but today is not that day.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


If I remember my history correctly, one of the things which stymied the advance of the John Birch Society was its inability to keep its wild conspiracy-mongering contained merely to leftward targets. When Dwight D. Eisenhower became the subject of the JBS' ravings, it proved the last straw for respectable conservatives, and the power of the organization was broken once and for all.

Over the past few weeks, there's been a bit of a crack-up regarding the participation of gay Republican groups in CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference). CPAC's refusal to ban gay organization has led to a boycott movement by several members of the social right, such as the Family Research Council.

But that apparently isn't enough. Now, CPAC opponents are saying that -- you guessed it -- the hosting organization is a front for efforts to bring Sha'riah law to America. No, really.

The wild-eyed conspiracies that the Muslims are taking over American law and life have became staples of Republican discourse (Sharron Angle famously alleged that Shariah had taken hold in Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas). But it's the sort of allegation that can very easily stop promoting esprit de corps and start being fratricidal, and that's where I think we're heading. Which is a good thing. Watching this vile nonsense rip apart its progenitors would be a rare example of political karma.

Bachmann for Prez!

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), the doyen of the "crazy" caucus of the GOP, is considering a run for the Presidency. For those of you unfamiliar with the Minnesota Congresswoman, she's like if you took Sarah Palin, and injected a metric ton of LSD into her eyeballs.

Unfortunately, this quality makes it hard for me to know what she would bring to a primary that Sarah Palin wouldn't. And unlike Palin, who has a professional class of worshippers who have managed to persuade themselves that she's not utterly toxic, even Republicans seem to realize that Bachmann is a nutjob.

But I shouldn't be greedy. Successful primary campaign or no, I'm sure Rep. Bachmann will continue humiliating Republicans on the front pages of newspapers nationwide.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Another skirmish with my laptop's wireless capabilities today, but one which I eventually pulled out a decisive victory (by changing my IP address).

Monday, January 03, 2011


Jon Chait:
The constituency for entitlement cuts -- which is the sine qua non of any serious reduction in the size of government -- is 7% of the population. Which is to say, actual small government conservatism -- as opposed to opposition to unspecified waste or a misunderstanding of the size of the foreign aid budget -- is essentially nonexistent at the popular level.

By contrast, raising taxes on the wealthy as a step towards deficit reduction carries with it the support of 61% of all Americans.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Who Could It Be?

I saw the headline: "GOPer calls Obama administration 'corrupt'", and immediately guessed "Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)!"

And, no surprise, I was right!

Apparently, Issa realized he might of stepped too far when he said Obama himself was "corrupt", but still -- let the witch-hunts begin!

Bringing in 2011

I figured I needed to get a post up before this new year gets ancient. So -- Jill and I are sick, suffering from a bad case of the 24 minute flu. It was kinda bizarre, actually -- we both have had a pretty stuffy head cold, and then (about two hours apart last night -- she had it first) we both suddenly felt really sick (nausea, chills, that sort of thing). That lasted about a half-hour, and then it went away and we were back to the head cold.

Weird. Anyway, it seems like literally everyone I talk to is sick with something or other. So feel better, everyone, and have a happy new year!