In a rambling speech today before a group of onlookers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum pulled out of the race for President…and the heavens wept.
In his typically brain-addled style, Santorum recalled some of the highlights of his campaign:
Even fun things like the sweater vest—amazing thing, that sweater vest. From then on the sweater vest became the official wardrobe of the Santorum campaign . . . We sourced that sweater vest to a company that was making them here in the United States.”
Expect the sweater vest-wearing, right-wing, religious zealot to re-emerge like the walking dead in 2016.
“My role is that of a reporter.” – Mike Wallace on the debut of The Mike Wallace Interview
With the death yesterday of TV journalist Mike Wallace at age 93, we’ve already seen many remembrances of him as the man who—along with producer Don Hewett—created the American institution we know as 60 Minutes in the tumultuous American year of 1968. It’s impossible to short-change Wallace’s 38-year legacy as both gate-keeper of that show and pioneer of the “gotchya question” interview technique that defines much of our current news media landscape.
But it behooves us to also have a good look at the man’s stint as the host of The Mike Wallace Interview, the spartan and penetrating late-night program that broadcast nationally from 1957 through 1960. Wallace was 18 years into a broadcast career (mostly as a radio announcer and game show host) as he launched the show based on Night Beat, a similar and more groovily-named program he’d hosted locally in New York a couple of years earlier. During the show’s tenure, he brought a fascinating array of folks to the American public eye, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Pearl Buck, Eric Fromm, Lily St. Cyr, Aldous Huxley and many others.
Besides its solid bookings and now-surreal-seeming live-ads for its benevolent sponsor Philip Morris, TMWI distinguishes itself with a bare-bones visual setting to focus viewer attention on the substance of the personalities interviewed. Dare I say the only two journalists I can think of who’ve truly adapted the show’s black-background format with similar grace and talent are Charlie Rose and Dangerous Minds’ own Richard Metzger.
A shocking piece of investigative journalism from The Rachel Maddow Show has been percolating up the charts at reddit and elsewhere. Trust me, it’s absolutely worthy of your undivided attention for the next 16 minutes.
Here’s the gist of it: The Michigan constitution deliberately calls for an exceptionally slow process before bills can be signed into law. Of the 566 bills that have been signed into law in the past year—since all three branches of government came under the control of the Republicans—546 of them were passed under “immediate effect,” implying an emergency or timely necessity of some sort.
Chris Savage at Eclectablog explains why this is so disturbing:
“Immediate effect” can only occur if 2/3 of the members of the House vote for it. But Republicans do not HAVE 2/3 of the House. The entire reason that they have been avoiding using roll call votes is because they did not have the votes to make the laws immediate effect. In other words, over 96% of the laws passed by the Republicans since January 2011 have been illegal in their implementation.
Simply stated: Michigan Republicans are putting their radical laws into “immediate effect” in a blatant power grab, even though they don’t have enough votes to do so. Democracy? They don’t need your stinking democracy!
National treasure Rachel Maddow on why you should care:
The 2010 elections ushered in a lot of radicalized Republican legislatures and governors across the country and have done a lot of radical things. Scott Walker is famous for a reason.
But what`s happened in Michigan is the most radical thing Republicans have done anywhere in the country. They have eliminated democracy. They have eliminated voting rights at the local level in their state. They have tried to eliminate Democrats` voting rights in the state legislature.
Whether you`re on the left or you`re on the right or you`re in the center or if you don`t particularly care about politics, if all you care about is that we have a form of government in this country called democracy, we vote. If you care about the idea that we still use voting here, we still use democracy, if you care about the Constitution—frankly, Michigan ought to have a flashing red light siren on it right now.
And indeed since the original Maddow segment aired last week, both the media and the public have taken notice. What was little-known even in the state of Michigan is now becoming a major national story. If the furor grows loud enough, even Fox News will be obliged to tackle it—as opposed to simply ignoring it the way they normally would ignore something like this. But HOW will they report APPROVINGLY on THE SUBVERSION OF DEMOCRACY BY THE REPUBLICANS??? It will be interesting, amusing and probably alarming to hear how the Republican establishment will try to spin this in the coming week.
And what about the Tea party-types who got these “conservatives” into office? How do they feel about their candidates now? Cognitive dissonance R US!
At approx 12 and a half minutes in you get to see these wascally Republican clowns in action. By the end of this piece, my jaw had dropped to the floor. This story is nothing short of mind-blowing.
It occurred to me, though, where were the fucking Democrats when all this happened? Were they sleeping? Not there? I can see this happening a few times, sure, but at what point would you cry foul? After 2 or 3 dozen times? After maybe 300 bills passed by “immediate effect”? How many was too many? That’s a bit ridiculous, too. Michigan needs to toss these GOP brownshirts out pronto, sure, but after that, the state needs to look into getting some new Democrats.
I mean, Christ, this is like sending Hobbits to do battle with Orcs.
Maddow promises a follow-up segment on Monday’s program.
Hactivists at Anonymous Operations UK have launched a successful cyber-attack on the British Prime Minister and his government’s Home Office websites by flooding them with unwanted internet traffic. Anonymous’ actions are in support of hacker Gary McKinnon and TV Shack’s Richard O’Dwyer who face extradition from Britain to the United States, and in support of retired business man Christopher Tappin, who has already been extradited.
@AnonOpUk used a Distributed Denial of Service action to block the government’s websites, an offense punishable by prison. During the attack, which started at 9pm UK time, AnonOpUK tweeted:
Word of an attack on the Home Office websites had been known since yesterday when Hacker News reported:
Anonymous Plans 7 April Attack on British governmentUK hackers linked to the Anonymous group are encouraging supporters to attack the Home Office website this Saturday (7 April) in protest at the extradition of three UK citizens to the US. Called #OpTrialAtHome, the hacktivist group @AnonOpUK posted a warning on its Twitter page that an attack on the Home Office was planned for Saturday, 7 April.
An associated photo/poster shows images of Gary McKinnon, Richard O’Dwyer and Christopher Tappin. McKinnon and O’Dwyer are awaiting extradition from the UK to the US. Tappin’s extradition was effected on 24 February when he was flown to El Paso, Texas.
Supporters have been encouraged to launch denial-of-service attacks on the Home Office’s IP address, which Anonymous has revealed. Those not savvy enough to launch automated attacks on the site could contribute to the effect by simply visiting the site in large numbers.
Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested in the UK under an EAW issued by Sweden, and is currently fighting extradition to Sweden.
McKinnon, a Scottish systems administrator, was arrested in 2002 for allegedly hacking into US military and Nasa computers in 2001 and 2002 and deleting files and copying data.
Tappin, a retired British businessman, is accused by the US government of illegally exporting materials to Iran for building surface-to-air missiles.
O’Dwyer, the owner of TVShack.net, is charged with hosting copyrighted materials on his site and the US Justice Department has been seeking his extradition since May 2011.
Anonymous’ #OpTrialAtHome is timed to commence at 9:00pm on Saturday, April 7, with a DDoS attack on the Home Office website.
AnonOpUK’s actions have been erroneously reported, by both the BBC and Sky News, that the DDoS attack was over the British government’s latest “draconian surveillance proposals”, to which @AnonOpUk responded:
Both @BBCNews & @SkyNews reporting that #Anonymous is protesting surveillance laws. Main focus is anti-extradition, but fuck those laws too.
AnonOpUk has since tweeted:
#OpTrialAtHome Our online protest was successful, I am going quiet. BUT if you have itchy trigger fingers still. #OpLithChild #IsAGoodCause
via @Anon_Central Do you know why we launched #OpTrialAtHome? This is the reason: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-17355203 | #UK #Anonymous
Currently the Home Office and Prime Minister appear disrupted.
A subversive and satirical re-imagining of Disney’s Song Of The South with an urban spin, Ralph Bakshi’s incendiary masterpiece Coonskin exploits and eviscerates grotesque American racial stereotypes with a politically incorrect, profane and vicious sense of humor.
A flamethrower of confrontational cartooning Ralph Bakshi intensifies the minstrelsy where Disney coats it with honey, his “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” is a “Fuck you” hurled right at audiences. “Ah’m a N****r Man” (“I’ve been red, white, and blue’d on”) is the overture, sung magnificently by Scatman Crothers in profile over the credits, the choleric preacher (Charles Gordone) sets the stage with a sermon in a church empty but for a pair of kids. Gordone crams into a car with Barry White and off they go to bust their bud (Philip Michael Thomas) out of prison; the wait is long so fellow con Crothers spins a tale, and jive-talking furries, slags, junkies, and other unholy toons are drawn on William A. Fraker’s cinematography. Brother Rabbit, Brother Bear, and Preacher Fox ditch the South for Harlem, where racial stereotypes can be amplified until humor boils away and submerged hate splatters the screen. Rabbit follows the Black Caesar trajectory, Bear steps into the boxing ring to evoke Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali, Fox meets his snake-oil match in Black Jesus, the rotund charlatan who breathes fire out of his neon-lit cross while bilking the congregation (“Segregate! Integrate! Masturbate!”). A crooked cop is dipped in blackface and left to shoot it out with the NYPD, the “Godfather” is a swollen subway pig with a brood of sodomites; Miss America has the stars and stripes painted on her buxom body, the noose falls on a serenading black suitor when she sweetly cries “rape.” Pungent ideas and grenade-images are penciled in throughout, often Bakshi lets one become a self-enclosed film of its own—a melancholy sister recounts the tale of the straying cockroach she grew to love, a rat floats into the monologue and is blasted after flashing the evil Mickey grin. Bold racial vaudeville and jolting session of cultural exorcism, Bakshi’s picture is its own tar-baby, making itself open to ignorant punches only to entangle them with the implicating, toxic stickiness of the ugly assumptions that have been swept under our collective rug.”—- Fernando F. Croce
Released in 1975 to a firestorm of controversy, it took Coonskin several years before the film found an audience that could appreciate it as an edgy aesthetic experiment and a powerful social statement. Wu Tang Clan had plans to re-make it and Spike Lee’s Bamboozeled , released 25 years after Coonskin, echoes Bakshi’s brutal take on the pervasive, ages-old, racism in American popular culture.
Sometimes art needs to go over-the-top in order to roil up the dark side of our collective consciousness…to shove into the light the shit we’re too afraid to talk about and too ashamed to acknowledge. Sometimes the only way to make that reality check bearable is to find the ridiculous, the absurd and the insanity within the demons trapped in the briar patch of our shared mythologies.
1 A.M. (aka One American Movie) was shot in 1968, abandoned by Godard in 1969, and then later resurrected and re-edited by his collaborator on the film D.A. Pennebaker. Intercut with film footage of Godard at work on the film and re-named 1 P.M. (One Parallel Movie), it was finally released in 1972.
An abstract and maddening mash-up of cinéma vérité, documentary footage and goofy political theater, 1 P.M. is another attempt by a European director to wrap his head around America’s turbulent Sixties’ political scene and pretty much failing. Even with input from ace documentarian Pennebaker, the movie seems remote from its material. But despite many yawn-inducing moments of pretentiousness and arthouse vagueness, there are still plenty of interesting bits and pieces in the film to sustain one’s interest. Specifically, an interview with Eldridge Cleaver, a rambling but fascinating sequence involving Tom Hayden. Rip Torn’s absurd Native American routine and a Manhattan-rooftop performance by Jefferson Airplane of “House at Pooneil Corners,” which ends with the cops busting the band and film crew.
God help me, but not only do I once again find myself agreeing with something that David Frum has written, I’m actually finding myself drawn to his byline these days.
One of us has changed. It ain’t me!
Frum’s short piece on The Daily Beast yesterday rather eloquently summarizes what will happen after the Supreme Court makes its ruling and was pretty much on the money, I thought. After making the case that Justices who have made their careers decrying judicial activism probably shouldn’t go there themselves—everyone is looking at you, Antonin Scalia—Frum predicts in favor of ACA standing. I wish I could say I was as optimistic as he is, but his analysis of the fallout is still sound:
What then is that healthcare comes roaring back as a campaign issue, to which Republicans have failed to provide themselves an answer. Because of the prolonged economic downturn, more Americans than ever have lost—or are at risk of losing—their health coverage. Many of them will be voting in November. What do Republicans have to say to them?
Make no mistake: If Republicans lose in the Supreme Court, they’ll need an answer. “Repeal” may excite a Republican primary electorate that doesn’t need to worry about health insurance because it’s overwhelmingly over 65 and happily enjoying its government-mandated and taxpayer-subsidized single-payer Medicare system. But the general-election electorate doesn’t have the benefit of government medicine. It relies on the collapsing system of employer-directed care. It’s frightened, and it wants answers.
“Unconstitutional” was an answer of a kind. But if the ACA is not rejected as “unconstitutional,” the question will resurface: if you guys don’t want this, want do you want instead?
In that case, Republicans will need a Plan B. Unfortunately, they wasted the past three years that might have developed one. If the Supreme Court doesn’t rescue them from themselves, they’ll be heading into this election season arguing, in effect, Our plan is to take away the government-mandated insurance of millions of people under age 65, and replace it with nothing. And we’re doing this so as to better protect the government-mandated insurance of people over 65—until we begin to phase out that insurance, too, for everybody now under 55.
Mitt Romney, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night said the following and it’s blandly revealing of where the GOP stands on the matter:
JAY LENO: Well, suppose if they were never insured before?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, if they’re 45 years old and they show up they say ‘I want insurance because I’ve got a heart disease,’ it’s like hey guys, we can’t play the game like that. You’ve got to get insurance when you are well, and then if you get ill then you’re going to be covered.
Let me translate that for you: “Hey guys, if you’re 45 and don’t have health insurance because you’ve been out of work for the last two years due to the mess me and my Wall Street buddies in the oligarch class have put you in, YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO DIE.”
Or you know, Google “WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?” (Google should do the public a service and link the first result to a Willy Wonka meme that says “Don’t have health insurance? You’re fucked”)
Leno pressed him, but Romney kept the line:
JAY LENO: I know guys at work in the auto industry, and they’re just not covered…they’ve just never been able to get insurance. And then they get to e 30, 35, and were never able to get insurance before. Now they have it. That seems like a good thing.
MITT ROMNEY: We’ll look at a circumstance where someone was ill, and hasn’t been insured so far. But people who have had the chance to be insured — if you’re working in an auto business for instance, the companies carry insurance, they insure all their employees — you look at the circumstances that exist. But people who have done their best to get insured, are going to be able to be covered. But you don’t want everyone saying, `I’m going to sit back until I get sick and then go buy insurance.’ That doesn’t make sense. But you have to find rules that get people in that are playing by the rules.
What an asshole! But this is what the GOP is running on! Does this make any sense? It seems suicidal to me!
“Nothing” is what 31 million uninsured Americans—many of them with pre-existing conditions and children—will get if the Republicans get their way. 31 million people—many of them voters—is a lot of people to fuck over and make angry. If the SCOTUS decides that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the GOP is going to regret what they wished for.
Because if that happens, all Hell is going to break loose.
No one’s going to be talking about “Obamacare” anymore. They’ll be talking about HEALTH CARE and why so many people DON’T HAVE IT in this fucking madhouse of a country. The issue is going to CRUSH the GOP. The BEST outcome for them would be the Supremes letting ACA stand as is because it’s the only thing that would (or could) save the Republicans from themselves.
The thing that’s not getting brought up in all of this, and I think it’s a valid thing to ponder: What happens to 31 million pissed-off people who’ve been counting down the days until they can get health coverage? Do they just shrug it off? Tell their sick kids that it’s what’s best for the country???
Imagine needing a hernia stitched up for years and now that’s off for you, buddy. Just like Denzel Washington in John Q or the main character in Bobcat Goldthwait’s new dark comedy film God Bless America—a guy who is diagnosed with a terminal disease and decides to kill off a bunch of rightwing assholes before his own demise—should they yank away all hope for that many Americans, just imagine the repercussions to the individuals—people with names, social security numbers and street addresses—who will be seen as responsible for destroying the lives of people for whom there was once a light at the end of the tunnel?
My prediction: If the Supremes deep-six Obamacare, things will get fucking nuts.