The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

July 8, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links July 8, 2015

Today’s Links July 8, 2015

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

July 5, 2015
by terrance
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Today’s Links July 5, 2015

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

July 2, 2015
by terrance
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Today’s Links July 2, 2015

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

June 30, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Five Things To Know About Chris Christie

Five Things To Know About Chris Christie

Chris Christie - CaricatureIt’s official. Chris Christie is running for president. The only reason for Christie’s run appears to be either his outsized ego or deep delusion about his chances of winning.

Yesterday, the two most common reactions to news that New Jersey governor Chris Christie would announce his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination today were “Really?” and “Why?”

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June 29, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on The Worst Wingnut Reactions to Marriage Equality

The Worst Wingnut Reactions to Marriage Equality

The Worst Wingnut Reactions to Marriage Equality

There was much rejoicing among proponents of equality and fairness on Friday, when the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality in all 50 states. Among fans of discrimination and inequality, there was despair.

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June 28, 2015
by terrance
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Today’s Links June 28, 2015

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

June 24, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on 4 Reasons Bobby Jindal Has No Chance of Being President

4 Reasons Bobby Jindal Has No Chance of Being President

4 Reasons Bobby Jindal Has No Chance of Being President

Two years ago Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal urged the GOP to “stop being the stupid party.” Jindal went on to become the primary leader of “the stupid party.” Now, he’s running to be leader of the free world.

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June 23, 2015
by terrance
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Today’s Links June 23, 2015

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

June 22, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links June 22, 2015

Today’s Links June 22, 2015

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

June 19, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Wingnut Week In Review: Call It Terrorism, Or Be Complicit

Wingnut Week In Review: Call It Terrorism, Or Be Complicit

Wingnut Week In Review: Call It Terrorism, Or Be Complicit

Even as the rest of the country reeled from the horror of the shooting that killed nine at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the right-wing began its shameful spin of what can only be called an act of terror. Those familiar with the long history of violence against black churches in the South felt a deep sense of foreboding at the news that a gunman killed 9 people, during a Bible study at a historic black church in Charleston.

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June 15, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Seven Things You Should Know About Jeb Bush

Seven Things You Should Know About Jeb Bush

In an attempt to revive his already-faltering campaign for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, Jeb Bush has officially announced his candidacy. Here’s what you should know about Dubya’s brother.

Finally declaring his candidacy for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination may be Jeb Bush’s last, best hope of turning around his lackluster campaign. In the weeks before announcing his candidacy, Bush seemed to stumble from misstep to misstep. For a while there, things were so bad that there was talk of the GOP bringing Mitt Romney back. (Conservatives seem to like Romney better than Bush.) Even Ohio governor John Kasich has considered getting into the race. “I thought Jeb was just going to suck all the air out of the room, and it just hasn’t happened,” Kasich said to a group of New Hampshire business people.

Bush may have been relieved when his sharp-tongued mother, Barbara Bush said she will keep quiet during his campaign. (In April 2013, the former First Lady dismissed the idea of Jeb running for president, saying “we’ve had enough of Bushes” running for the White House.) But Bush’s problem is his own mouth, not anyone else’s.

Here’s what you should know about Dubya’s kid brother.

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June 12, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on ##Wingnut Week In Review: Saints and Sinners In Black and White

##Wingnut Week In Review: Saints and Sinners In Black and White

In the world of Fox News, sexual abusers of children get a pass, but African-American youth have to be “saints” to avoid police violence. What gives?

Last week, Fox News broke its silence on the Josh Duggar molestation scandal, with an exclusive interview that made it clear what side Fox News was taking. Megyn Kelly — as promised — didn’t ask any tough questions, but allowed the Duggar family to stay on script. Kelly left unchallenged the family’s talking points that tried to diminish or deny the serious nature of Josh’s self-confessed sexual abuse of four of his sisters and one other girl, as a teenager. Instead Kelly and other Fox personalities became apologists for the Duggars the story they’d worked so hard to cover up. Kelly even suggested that police broke the law when they released records on their investigation. (No law was broken.)

Around the same time, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted on charges of violating banking laws by illegally structuring $1.7 million in transactions to avoid baking regulations, and lying to the FBI about it. Hastert made the withdrawals in order to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed individual, to cover up allegations of past sexual misconduct, when Hastert was a wrestling coach in Yorkville, Illinois. Since then, a second victim has been identified. Yet, Fox News’ Brit Hume was quick to portray Hastert as the victim, the absurdity of which Larry Wilmore pointed out.

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June 11, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links June 11, 2015

Today’s Links June 11, 2015

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

  • Why Free School Meals for All Baltimore Kids Is Huge
    I’m sure I’m not the only teacher who’s had students come to her in the middle of the day asking for a dollar or two, so they can buy something for lunch. Teachers in Baltimore won’t have to face that anymore.
  • A tale of two teens: Megyn Kelly, Josh Duggar and Fox News’ double standard for black youth
    How curious that 14-year-old Duggar gets a pass…but a 14-year-old African-American girl is "no saint"
  • Police Kill Black Women Too—and We Don't Talk About It Enough
    During protests that shook Baltimore in April, Freddie Gray’s name became a rallying cry in calls for criminal justice reform nationwide. But how many of us have heard of Rekia Boyd, the 22-year-old unarmed black woman who was fatally shot by a police detective in Chicago back in 2012? Just five days before demonstrations erupted for Gray in Maryland and then across the country, a judge acquitted the Chicago detective who killed Boyd, despite finding that he had acted in a manner that was "beyond reckless".
  • Libertarianism Is For White Men: The Ugly Truth About the Right’s Favorite Movement
    Okay, so libertarianism attracts nerdy white males, but surely these are not the only ones making up the dedicated crowd? While looking at the larger conservative movement, it becomes a bit more clear that the hostility towards government and collective movements in general tends to attract white males who want to preserve their dominance in a society where they are quickly becoming minorities.
  • How the Poor Make Better Financial Decisions Than the Wealthy
    People often assume that the poor are less competent than the wealthy. Some even suggest that the poor have flawed values or ways of thinking. But my colleagues and I have recently found that the poor outperform the rich at some financial decisions. Under poverty, people develop a unique expertise.
  • Today in piss-poor excuses for Eric Casebolt
    I don’t envy anyone who has to defend Eric Casebolt, the cop who has rocketed to infamy after sitting on a teenage girl while shoving her face in the dirt for the high crime of being a kid at a pool party while black. But man, you have to boggle at what his lawyer has come up with.
  • Jerry Seinfeld is a wimp: What his anti-P.C. tirades are really about
    If the latest debate over political correctness proves anything, it’s that *comedians* need to grow a thicker skin.

June 11, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Police Violence Against Blacks Has An Economic Context

Police Violence Against Blacks Has An Economic Context

Police violence against unarmed African Americans occurs against a too-often-ignored backdrop of economic disparity that both fuels and informs the resentments and racial tensions behind the events.

As Rep. Keith Ellison wrote in an oped for The Guardian, encounters that are often over in minutes, but yield weeks of headlines, debates and unrest, occur in a socioeconomic context that goes back centuries, so far that it and the conditions it creates seem to have no origin.

“During nearly 250 years of slavery and 100 years of Jim Crow segregation,” Ellison writes, “the U.S. government and big corporations cut African Americans out of the economy.” Thirty years of Republican policies led to the economic abandonment of black communities. The remnants and results inform the mistrust and resentment between predominantly white police forces and African-American communities in cities all over the country. Continue Reading →

June 5, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Wingnut Week In Review: Offensive Defense

Wingnut Week In Review: Offensive Defense

Wingnut Week In Review: Offensive Defense

This week, conservatives went out of their way to defend sexual abusers of children, both alleged and admitted, and showed that they don’t know how to treat a lady — especially if she happens to be transgender.
<–more–>
The Hastert Rule

When reports surfaced that former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was indicted on charges of violating banking laws, evading the IRS, and lying to the FBI, the 73-year-old former lawmaker had been out of office since 2007. According to the indictment, the FBI began investigating Hastert’s cash withdrawals, which hinted at “possible structuring of currency transactions to evade reporting requirements.” In other words, Hastert was snared by the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, a law intended to catch money launderers.

Whatever led the FBI to start investigating his transactions, Hastert may have sealed his fate when he lied to agents. Hastert said that he withdrew the money because he didn’t trust the banking system. “Yeah…I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing,” Hastert said of the $1.7 million in transactions that was the focus of the FBI investigation. It was a stupid answer, unworthy of a smart man like Hastert. Unless the agents believed he was keeping it in a mattress, it meant the FBI would look until it found out where the money went.

That’s when the other shoe dropped, and the world learned that Hastert had been making cash withdrawals to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed individual, “to cover up past misconduct,” sexual in nature, that occurred when Hastert was a high school wrestling coach and teacher in Yorkville, Illinois. A second victim has since been identified by family members. Jolene Burdge says her brother Steve Reinboldt, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1995, was molested by Hastert throughout his high school years., and there are reports of several more. The revelation gives those who know Hastert a new understanding of why Hastert was so withdrawn, and spent all of his time chasing money after leaving Congress. It also explains a mysterious C-SPAN caller’s question to Hastert a year ago.

What’s harder to explain is how Hastert, many of his friends in Washington, and conservative media see him as the victim.

The Clinton/Lewinsky scandal fueled Hastert’s rise to power. The Mark Foley scandal ended Hastert’s control of the House. Now, another potential scandal has brought Hastert back into the spotlight. When he left Congress, Hastert’s legacy was the “Hastert Rule,” a “majority of the majority” principle that limits the power of political minorities. Now it seems that scandal is really the only “Hastert Rule.”

Defending The Duggars

If anything proves the existence of the impenetrable Fox News Bubble, it’s Megan Kelly’s exclusive interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar this week. Both the network and the Duggar family had been uncharacteristically quiet in the weeks since InTouch magazine broke the story that eldest son Josh Duggar was the subject of an investigation into allegations that he molested a number of girls as a teenager. When InTouch followed up days later by publishing a redacted copy of the police report detailing the allegations, Duggar issued a public apology, and stepped down from his position leading the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council. The family remained silent, except for a post on their Facebook page.

The silence is understandable. Until the molestation allegations, the Duggar family was a major conservative “brand,” promoted as the embodiment of faith and “family values.” The Duggars weren’t shy about using their celebrity to promote their politics.

  • Jim Bob Duggar served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002, and ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 2002.
  • Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar endorsed Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries. They endorsed former senator Rick Santorum in 2012, before endorsing Huckabee again in the 2016 GOP primaries.
  • In 2012, Josh Duggar toured with Rick Santorum’s campaign, and spoke at rallies in support of Santorum.
  • In 2013, the Duggars backed Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s unsuccessful bid to become governor of Virginia.
  • In 2013, Josh Duggar became the executive director of FRC Action, a position in which he associated with several high profile conservatives, including most of the GOP presidential bench.
  • In 2014, Michelle Duggar recorded a robocall supporting the repeal of an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance in Fayetville, Arkansas, suggesting that the ordinance would cause “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”
  • In an interview with FRC Radio, Josh Duggar claimed that the Fayetteville ordinance jeopardized the safety of children.

The Duggars couldn’t have chosen a friendlier network or host. Megyn Kelly warned viewers ahead of time that she might not ask the Duggars any “tough” questions. Indeed, Kelly complained that the media highlighted the Duggar’s connections to prominent Republicans — connections the Duggars themselves went out of their way to highlight — and for some reason dragged former president Bill Clinton into it.

Kelly didn’t need to ask any tough questions. If the interview was intended as damage control, it failed miserably, as Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar dug themselves even deeper with their efforts to deny, minimize, obscure the events in question.

  • Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar stated publicly that four of the victim’s were Josh’s younger sisters.
  • Jim Bob Duggar minimized the molestation, saying that Josh “just basically touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping,” and that “they didn’t even know he had done it.”
  • Jim Bob later admitted, “There were a couple instances where he touched them under their clothes,” then quickly minimized the incidents, saying, “This was not rape or anything like that.”

Jim Bob and Michelle seemed unable or unwilling to recognized that the incidents went far beyond “inappropriate touching.” Most teenage boys are “curious about girls,” but few would even think of feeling up their own sisters. They also seem to think that since most of the molestation took time when the girls were asleep, it’s not a big deal. The girls weren’t even conscious, so no harm done! (Actually, according to the police report, the five-year-old victim was awake, sitting on Josh’s lap while reading a book, when she was molested.)

“They [the girls] didn’t even know he had done it.”

“None of them were aware of Josh’s wrongdoings.”

“The girls, we talked to them, and they didn’t know anything had happened.”

Across America, every rapist who’s ever drugged a woman in order to take advantage of her, or sexually assaulted an unconscious woman surely nodded their heads in emphatic agreement.

The Duggars displayed a mind-numbing lack of self awareness about the “safeguards” they put in place after the molestation.

  • No boys babysitting.
  • No boys and girls playing hide-and-seek together. (So that, “Two don’t go off and hide,” Michelle said.)
  • No girls alone in the same room with boys.
  • No little ones sitting on big boys’ laps. (Unless it’s their dad.)

Not only do those “safeguards” not get to the heart of the problem, but if your five year old can’t sit on her big brother’s lap without getting molested in the first place, you’ve got a bigger problem than you realize.

Twitter exploded with outrage.

In the end none of it changes the facts we know, based on the police report:

  • Josh Duggar molested at least five girls, four of whom were his sisters, and one of whom was five-years-old at the time.
  • His parents failed to contact law enforcement, or to get counseling from licensed professionals for their son and his victims.
  • Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar covered up their son’s offenses until an anonymous tip launched a police investigation in late 2006.
  • Rumors of the abuse appeared online as early as 2007.
  • The Duggar’s continue to cover up the story, in order to protect their lucrative television series, until InTouch magazine broke the story.

No Way To Treat A Lady

Unless you were visiting another solar system this week, you’re aware that Caitlyn Jenner made her debut on the cover and in the pages of Vanity Fair.

The same right-wingers who defended Dennis Hastert and Josh Duggar — one accused and one admitted child molester — wasted no time attacking Caitlyn Jenner who hasn’t hurt anyone, and whose main crime appears to be … well … nothing.

To get things rolling, Glenn Beck claimed that no conservatives have objected to Jenner’s transition.

“I wish you happiness,” Beck said. “I don’t hate Bruce or Caitlyn and I don’t know anybody who does. What’s so striking here is, if you’re a liberal, you would expect there to be a massive outrage, especially since he came out and said he was conservative … Have you heard any push back from any conservative? You didn’t hear any of that.”

Where to begin?

And then there was Twitter.

Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttia this week:

June 4, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Oops, He Did It Again: Six Things You Should Know About Rick Perry

Oops, He Did It Again: Six Things You Should Know About Rick Perry

If nothing else, former Texas governor Rick Perry’s candidacy will prove once and for all that wearing glasses doesn’t actually make you smart. Nor will a new pair of specs and a extreme makeover be enough to get Perry — the “Oops” candidate of 2012 — into the White House. Continue Reading →

May 29, 2015
by terrance
Comments Off on Today’s Links May 29, 2015

Today’s Links May 29, 2015

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about today.

  • Children used to be scared of the dark – now they fear failure
    I can’t sincerely tell my children there is nothing to be afraid of in life. But I can say that fear is, mostly, useless.
  • Op-Ed Columnist: On Same-Sex Marriage, Catholics Are Leading the Way
    Ireland confirms it: Traditionally Roman Catholic countries are among the friendliest to gays.
  • The countries where gay men are the happiest
    Unsurprisingly, a new survey shows that gay men are happiest in those welcoming locations. Planet Romeo, an Amsterdam-based dating and community site, collaborated with the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany to carry out an online survey of 115,000 gay men around the world. They combined rankings on public opinion, public behavior and life satisfaction – how gay men feel about society’s view on homosexuality, how gay men feel they are treated by other people, and how satisfied gay men are with their own lives, respectively – into one worldwide ranking on gay happiness.
  • Condemning police violence doesn’t mean we don’t care about other violence
    We pay lots of attention when police kill unarmed black people — and we should — but do we care as much when black people kill each other? We do, and it is ok to care about both at the same time.