Posted by Brad @ 12:49 pm on February 25th 2013

I Don’t Care About…Sequestration

And if I have to listen to one more doom-saying about all those draconian “cuts” that will take effect and Wreck Everything…

Let’s make this real, real clear:

What we are talking about is giving everything in government more money next year than we did this last year…but about 2% LESS more money than we would have otherwise. Most of those cuts will NOT be from the money we hand out to taxpayers in the form of Medicare, Social Security, and the like. Most of it will be operational, and will include defense.

And ho no, when I say “defense” don’t get it in your head that we’re taking the equivalent of cops off the street or plucking soldiers from that line they have set up out in the Middle East that prevents terrorists from coming over. Remember, defense spending will not be REDUCED, just increased less – so take heart, even with full sequestration, defense spending will continue to rise steadily thankyouverymuch. The difference works out to roughly a 16% increase instead of 23 – oh and theoretically we’ll have some wars winding down over that period of time (not that they won’t keep spending that off-the-books money). In any case, their will be a few consultants in Northern Virginia that may have to wait an extra year to pay off their second SUV*. We are probably not in any danger of getting Red Dawned.

So, yeah. I don’t even really care that it’s reduced increases in spending done in a less-than-thoughtful way. I am pretty confident that you could put the names of every governmental program and department on a dart board, in a dark room, and still wind up hitting one that can perfectly stand getting 94% of their funding increases for the next decade instead of 100%. The only thing that potentially scares me about sequestration is that markets and consumer confidence may take a hit because everybody seems to LOSE THEIR MINDS when it comes to not increasing the amount of money shoveled at government as robustly as politicians think we should be.

*present company excluded

Posted by Brad @ 8:38 pm on January 24th 2013

I Don’t Care About…Benghazi

I have been meaning to post this for ages, but the Republican “attacks” on Benghazi – specifically the question of whether the administration called them terrorism fast enough or what talking points Susan Rice was given for the Sunday talk shows – strikes me as one of the most idiotic attempts at creating a “scandal” mostly out of frustration for the lack of that kind of material that I’ve seen in a long time.

There is a totally legit if insider-basebally debate to be had about embassy security, although, as with most things precipitated on a horrible incident, also a tremendous potential for stupid and possibly counter-productive response measures – I am not certain that the way to go forward with international diplomacy is putting our liaisons in massively fortified Green Zone cement compounds with snipers on the roof and para-military guards waving assault rifles at any “natives” who come too close, but maybe that’s just me.

But either way, what the first-48-hour PR spin was about it – and namely was it belligerent enough or leaned far enough in the direction of “OMFG” strikes me as just pathetically and desperately idiotic.

I have to concur entirely with Andrew Sullivan on this one (and this also accounts for why I haven’t posted a word on it):

Just to remind readers who asked why we didn’t cover the hearings yesterday, even though they had some great TV moments: we don’t cover non-stories. We have covered the legitimate issue that there was not enough security in Benghazi, that there should have been, and that the State Department failed in its foresight and planning. But we are not going to cover a spectacle created entirely by a fake cable news network as a way to save a losing election campaign.

Posted by Brad @ 1:25 am on September 26th 2012

Don’t Care

Not that anybody cares, but I’ve added a new category (the thing on the right sidebar or the bottom of posts that lets you pull up the posts we have decided in entirely arbitrarily ways are related and are organized around concepts only we, usually on whims, care about).

This one is simply titled “Don’t Care”, and it includes two pretty ad hoc features I’ve used over the years.

“I Don’t Care About…”: Posts about “issues” that capture column space or cause heated debates that, to me, seem dumb, uninformative, spoken about way out of proportion to their real-world impacts, or are almost always just about wheel-spinning or dog whistling. Things as specific as Jeremiah Wright or 911 Truthers or as general as illegal immigrants, affirmative actions, or steroids – but they can also be sort-of intentionally risable, like gay bullying or Ron Paul’s racist newsletters. I tend to go pretty in depth about why I don’t think the issue is actually important (at least in the sense most people thing it is).

“Dumbest F’ing Political Controversy of the Month”: Similar, except much more specific – things like outrage that Common was invited to the White House, or Meghan McCain wears a Keffiyeh. These can read very dated, because usually a month later nobody remembers them (for very good reason), but they’re those stupid little things that blow up for a week, and are almost always somebody trying to project their own tribalism onto some idiotically insignificant thing. Haven’t done one of those in awhile – feel free to offer up suggestions often.

Really, taken together, these features are about debunking, of a sorts. The kinds of things we often argue about incessantly – either ones with a shelf life of a week or ones with a shelf life of a generation – can be stupid or irrelevant. Nobody’s life was ever actually made worse by ACORN and, really, the people that give a sh*t if Obama does a courtesy bow to the Prime Minister of Japan are assholes (can’t believe I never included those two in the above features). And if you devote genuine headspace to fretting over Aqua Buddha in Kentucky or Sharia Law in Oklahoma, you’re a moron—or, more likely, you’re just a partisan pretending to actually give a sh*t so you can get in knocks or try to fool people who aren’t paying attention or have no perspective.

Anyway, other bloggers, feel free to use those two features and categorize appropriately. And, readers, if you ever want to come to a political blog to taste annoyed ambivalence…why have we got a category for you.

Posted by Brad @ 9:42 pm on September 11th 2012

I Don’t Care About…the Bush Administration’s Prior Warnings About 911

There are many sense, of course, where I do care about it. Clearly, they were not an administration preternaturally focused on Al Queda or Islamic terrorism prior to 911, despite their reputation immediately after and forevermore – the chief foreign policy architects were a Cold War specialist, a Real Politik guy that had no problem using terrorists, and a leader that figured the Middle East began and ended in Iraq. I think it’s hard to argue against the notion that the Clinton administration was far more on point on the matter than the Bush one. Second, as odious as the attempts to rectify this problem were, there was clearly a lot about our intelligence superstructure that wasn’t working well – chiefly their inability to get on the same page and communicate effectively (solution: more agencies and more secrecy). All that’s valid, and there area number of others as well.

But, these kinds of stories just don’t move me at all. Not that, not “Bin Laden determined to strike in US,” none of the kind of thing that either makes Truthers Truthers or that liberals have forever used to argue that…well, I’m not even sure what. That Bush sucks!

We have a disproportionate number of bloggers and commentators that work on the periphery of intelligence and foreign policy (Rojas, however, “is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction”). So maybe I’m off base. But to my mind, the notion that a sitting President of the United States or his Secretary of State got briefings indicating “Information that talked about moving toward decisive acts,” or “Chechen Islamic terrorist leader Ibn Kattab had promised some “very big news” to his troops” or “there had been significant departures of extremist families from Yemen” or “Big American-hating terrorist with history of attacking America wants to attack America”, even explicit suggestions that terrorists may hijack planes (which, if you’ll remember, was kind of their thing for thirty years), all of which may indicate “new threats against U.S. interests in Lebanon, Morocco, and Mauritania” that could be “spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities and interests” or that “Al-Qaida is waiting us out and looking for vulnerability” and even though “intelligence pointed to overseas attacks” they “they couldn’t discount an attack on the US homeland”…well, what do you do with that information, exactly? And how many times a week do you think you hear similar, on all fronts, suggesting every manner of threat or impending attack?

I believe, hindsight being 20/20, that there probably was a “disturbance in the force” in terms of chatter and white noise. But that’s a far, far different thing than assuming it was something a reasonable human being – or even institutions with thousands of them – would have been able to recognize, classify, and find thoughtful action for.

It’s the same reason I never got the idea from neocons that always assumed torture would have guys in detention centers everywhere coughing up immediately truthful and actionable intelligence, or just recording everything that hits the air waves will lead to awesome Alias-type powers of spy agency rather than 99.9% of unlistened-to shit and a 1,000,000 to 1 ration of false positives to genuinely useful and actionable intelligence of the .1% shit you do get to.

In any event, there is no shortage of things to criticize George W. Bush on – quite possibly the worst President in American history – certainly in modern times.

But that he should have prevented 911 isn’t, to my mind, one of them.

Posted by Brad @ 4:20 pm on July 30th 2012

I Don’t Care About…

The political philosophy of Batman. Seriously, why is this something anybody would post about?

Posted by Brad @ 5:18 pm on June 18th 2012

I Don’t Care About…Steroids

I’ve stated this explicitly a few times before, so may as well make it an official entry into my I Don’t Care About list. I’ll dust off an old comment to do so.

Roger Clemens was just found not guilty in his perjury trial. Barry Bonds hits the Hall of Fame ballot this year. Mark McGuire is the hitting coach for the Cardinals and mentoring young hitters. Ryan Braun, the reigning NL MVL tested positive (waaaay positive) immediately following his MVP award, which was later overturned on a technicality which, while perfectly fair, didn’t really speak to the question of guilt. Hell, even getting out of baseball, Lance Armstrong continues to be overtaken by allegations, and the year’s most celebrated horse, I’ll Have Another, was trained in a shop notorious for doping and which may well have contributed to him not having a shot at the Triple Crown.

All this lead to ESPN magazine rightly asking the question “do we even give a sh*t anymore?” (paraphrased).

My answer: No. I really don’t.

My basic stance here is that there is no practical solution, and that the lines we try to draw are little more than polite fictions.

Using baseball as the example, would I prefer that all players be natural athletes? Sure. But there’s no way to accomplish that in any meaningful way, and it comes down to an arbitrary philosophical question rather than a moral one.

I think it’s important for people to understand that “performance enhancing drugs” isn’t a light switch – which is to say it isn’t really on or off, a binary yes-no kind of thing.

Rather, it’s a spectrum – a color wheel sort of thing, with an arbitrary, often-moving line where, on one side, we call it “dark” and on the other side “light”.

What non-athletes I think don’t get is that pretty much EVERY professional athlete is taking a TON of performance-enhancing substances, for everything from injury recovery/prevention injections to just routine conditioning supplements. Go into any GNC store in the world and start reading ingredients and you’ll see what I mean. Ask any professional or even semi-professional athlete what they ingest besides food and booze on a daily basis, and you’ll often get a list a mile long – checking ingredients would be like reading a shampoo bottle.

Most of that stuff we call legal, and some of it we call illegal, and some of the stuff legal today is illegal tomorrow, and some of the stuff that’s legal tomorrow will essentially do the same thing as the illegal stuff of today. There’s about a million ways, for instance, to bump your testosterone levels (as per Braun). Some are legal, some aren’t, and some guys have levels that baseline at a level that would be illegal for other guys. But the line is entirely arbitrary, and the basic idea – that there are some guys that succeed based on natural ability and talent, and then the f’ing cheaters – is entirely false.

And, frankly, the other thing I think people understand is that illegal PEDs aren’t some kind of magic bullet that causes a .230/13/42 guy to go to a .313/54/138 guy in six months. You could dope me up with all the PEDs that I could tolerate without dying and it’s not like I’d become a major league all-star (or even minor league journeyman). It really only makes a difference in shades. All the major leaguers are taking stuff, and they’re all, for the most part, all taking the same stuff. And some of them are taking more of it, or certain varieties that cross the line by being slightly more illegal than the stuff that’s legal. But almost without exception, the difference is in degree, not kind. A tomato can is a tomato can, and a guy that can blast is a guy that can blast.

The premise – that we can (or do) separate the natural from the enhanced is entirely nonsense in every real-world way. It becomes instead “purity theater” with no meaningful impact on the game save causing a lot of headaches and distractions. I’d rather instead a system in which players are given regularly health checkups (physicals and blood work with a higher bar) to make sure all they stuff they’re taking isn’t killing them, and then sending them on their merry way.

Again, I get integrity of the game arguments, and entirely sympathize. But in the history of sporting contests, there have been things that athletes do to themselves that a “natural” person doesn’t that gives them an edge, be it mechanical, chemical, whatever. That is, in fact, in large measure what makes them athletes. As long as there is a material advantage to being better at something physical than your peers, people will find ways to tweak their physicality to give them an edge. And the ultimate irony is, the more you try to regulate it, the more you basically ensure an imbalance. When nobody or everybody is taking steroids, it comes down to skill, heart, intelligence, and training. When SOME people are taking steroids, it comes down to who is the best at not getting caught. And when you stop sweating it, you let medical science continue to tweak athlete’s bodies while, on par, the kinds of qualities that we admire in athletes still wind up coming out on top (there is a reason, for instance, why in MMA the really ripped body builder types tend to get pummeled by the wiry guys or dudes with beer guts, or why Triple H couldn’t play first base).

I’m pretty okay with the status quo in baseball, truth be told – it’s a level of purity theater I can basically live with – but you’re not ever going to see me get worked up about it (and, when prosecutors or government officials (hello McCain) start getting involved, I get downright annoyed).

Posted by Brad @ 7:00 pm on May 11th 2012

I Don’t Care About…Youthful Indiscretions

Be they Aqua Buddha or George W. Bush snorting coke cutting off a swishy dude’s hair, although I’ll readily admit that the latter has some merit to it as a question of character. Just much less than, you know, everything else. I find it hard to believe that Mitt Romney is a closet violent anti-gay psychopath and has been for 50 years and only once elected to the office of the President will he unleash that on America (straw man alert!). I do certainly believe that his “prank” was a white-bread Alpha Male in the early 60s unleashing a display of prep school dominance on a kid because he was a sissy, and I’ll even allow, to a very very limited degree, that there is a question of empathy, in terms of “have a hard time walking a mile in another person’s shoes”, sort of in play with it. But on balance, I just have a real hard time believing that a probably-true-on-the-basics-but-still-second-hand-account of an antisocial episode in a teenager’s life tells us much about a 65-year-old man’s character, and I have an even harder time believing that that’s somehow a divining rod for potential policy or real-world impact. Mostly, I think it’s just a matter of confirmation bias—a way for people to sound convinced on a data point for a conclusion they already whole-heartedly believe, and did before well before the data point.

In Romney’s case, I believe the story, and I think it was a reprehensible act. And as I said I even allow that maybe it provides an insight into the kind of young man Romney was and the milieu he comes from. But, I’m also sure anybody reading this can dig deep and come up with an awful thing they did as a child or teenager (hell, or adult) that runs counter to most of the moral principles they have since organized their life around (and I’m also sure, as with coke use or Aqua Buddha, that we can come up with many many more things we don’t regret at all but would make us look pretty bad if it came up on the front page of the New York Times). (I even bet that, if we felt compelled to admit to some youthful indiscretion (say, to buy cred), we’d have another far worse one in our back pocket that we’ll take to the grave). The difference is, we aren’t famous enough to have people out there in the world tuned in enough to our every present-day activity to trot those things out whenever we’re up for a promotion. Be hard to find glass-house-stone-throwers if we all were though, I bet.

Posted by Brad @ 1:49 pm on December 21st 2011

I Don’t Care About…Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters

We’ve been here before. Every time Ron Paul threatens to break into some kind of national relevance, the subject of his early-90s newsletters pops back up. It’s one of those things, too, for which the significance is just kind of assumed. But for me, the significance is far from self-evident, and as much as I’m biased towards Ron Paul, I legitimately try to put myself in the shoes of the critics on this one, and as much as I try, I can never quite articulate why, exactly, the issue matters that much or why, exactly, it’s relevant either from a 1. policy, 2. politics, or 3. personal perspective. Meaning, why I might feel that the fact of these undeniably racist newsletters being put out in the early 90s under his name signals 1. the possibility of Ron Paul creating racist policies or his candidacy having success resulting in moving American policy towards a more expressly racist direction, 2. the idea that a Paul presidency or a successful Paul candidacy will lead to less stigmatization for racism, or that his relative success will have any but the most marginal impact on the relative racism of American politics or politicians, or 3. that Ron Paul himself is racist, cow-tows to racists (and will thus lead to them having more relative power), or is indicative of a general intolerance that will express itself in some impactful way down the line.

Usually where I end up is the old fall-back of “it reflects poor judgement, in terms of the people he surrounds himself with”. Which, I think, is true…it does. I think that’s a fair knock on Ron Paul, both then, certainly, and now as well. Part of that is just his general indiscrimination (he does not seem to be of the mind, as we sometimes demand of politicians, of denouncing people who hold objectionable views in other contexts, for instance), although I generally find those sorts of critiques of candidates to be really weak relative to everything else that’s wrong with politicians. I wrote an “I don’t care about…Jeremiah Wright” post in the 2008 campaign, could have easily written an “I don’t care about…Jane Fonda” post in 2004, and wrote posts in 2007 about how it didn’t particularly concern me that Paul would appear on Alex Jones’ radio program or that, in combing through a list of all donors to the Paul campaign, some enterprising journalist had discovered a white supremacist, and the Paul campaign didn’t particularly care and couldn’t be goaded into returning the contribution. I am interested primarily in what views, ideologies, and policies a candidate himself is advocating, or whether those things get materially advanced in supporting a candidate, and I was no more worried that Ron Paul’s election would lead to an explosion of 911 Trutherism (whatever that means) or white supremacy than I was that Barack Obama’s election would lead to a resurgance of militant black nationalism or black “separation theology” (spoiler alert: it didn’t).

But part of it too is just that he does, and has, I think, surrounded himself with people whose judgement I don’t trust or respect. Even today, he has a few campaign advisers who I think move him in a direction I don’t like (such as banging on about illegal immigration), and certainly, almost by definition, the rag tag bunch of people who have been in the Paul foxhole for the long haul are not nearly as ironed out as they would have been had they attached themselves to, say, John McCain. Living in the political wilderness does tend to both attract, and turn people into, relative political ferals.

But, in any event, I don’t begrudge people who knock Paul on those grounds. I think it’s a legit critique. I just then weigh that against the people that the other candidates surround themselves with (that Peter Schiff or Dennis Kucinich or Jesse Ventura might be more objectionable than a Kristoff or Poderherst amazes me), and mostly weight that against the policies and philosophies. And, when I do that, the “he has shown flashes of poor judgement in the people he lets into his inner circle” minus, put up against, say, the “he won’t start a war” plus…well, let’s just say it’s not a comparison that I find terribly compelling.

(more…)

Posted by Brad @ 2:13 pm on November 3rd 2011

Quote of the Day

I almost wrote an addition to my “I Don’t Care About…” series that would have been “I Don’t Care About…Gay Bullying.” Ultimately, I didn’t have the balls, and I didn’t want to be mistaken for insensitive (and it wasn’t specifically in relation to “It Gets Better”, which I think is phenomenal and one of the best (and most appropriate) approaches to such a problem that I’ve ever seen). It was more the thought that…well hell, getting bullied is a reality for MOST kids, at one point or another, and I always distrust people who demand we treat behavior as being of a separate kind when it happens to different classes of people (even when, as is the case for gay kids, rates of suicide are much higher).

That, combined with my general feeling that we spend far too much effort, as a society, trying to throw warm blankets over people to protect them from all insensitivity and to imbue them with the idea that they are beautiful unique snowflakes who have the absolute right to not have people be assholes to them. Finally, there’s the general efficacy issue, both on the party of the bullies and the bullied. On the bullies – I am pretty sure the scolding of Lady Gaga is not going to cross their minds when they corner Billy on the playground and, if anything, parents and teachers really taking the whip to bullies who target a gay kid sends the message that gay kids are a people apart, which I’m not sure is a message you want to send if normalization is your goal. But more than anything, for the bullied. To me, those defenses are best built up internally, and every human is not a sum total of what happens to them, but rather a sum total of how they choose to respond (internally or externally) to those happenings. In the same way a brain given addictive chemicals will stop producing dopamine for itself, movements that take the focus off training up that internal process, and put it on trying to protect them from those external happenings, are usually useless at best and counterproductive at worst.

ANYWAY, I didn’t write that post, but Scott Thompson has a great quote at Pride Source that made me think about that post-not-written.

You’ve addressed bullying before, specifically how the It Gets Better campaign is basically a lie – it might not get better, you say. What would you tell bullied kids then?

Grow a pair. Here’s the thing: The world is not kind to us; it never really will be. The gay male is always going to be at the bottom. I believe the things that happened to me as a child scarred me terribly, and I wish somebody would have helped me with some of the things that happened. But you have to fight back. So much of these bullying campaigns are part of the trend that we were just talking about – the recasting of gay men as eternal victims and it’s like, fight back! Fathers should start teaching the boys how to punch. He does that to you, here’s what you do: You fucking punch him in the face.

Whole interview’s worth reading, actually.

Posted by Brad @ 8:36 am on October 19th 2011

I Don’t Care About…Illegal Alien Domestic Workers of Candidates!

Seriously, is this still being trotted out as a line of attack on candidates? Really?

I don’t know that a single vote has ever turned on the “he had a Mexican illegal immigrant mow his law in 1994” issue. It’s even more weak sauce than the old “while a Senator, he missed XXX votes” line. How lazy of a campaign strategist do you have to even bother putting that opp research in front of your guy?

Posted by Brad @ 1:05 pm on May 11th 2011

Music Video of the Dumbest F*$%ing Political Controversy of the Month

Common featuring Lily Allen – Drivin’ Me Wild

The best reaction to this controversy comes from Dr. Coates, expanding on the rabble rousing that’s gone on in Obama’s first term:

You can understand why, say, Mike Tyson, Chuck D, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, OJ Simpson, NWA, or Snoop Dogg might be polarizing. A lot of these folks were polarizing even within the black community. You didn’t really expect these people to be received as your ambassadors.

But Common is the dude in the Gap ad. His mother is a teacher. Shirley Sherrod is a victim of white supremacist terrorism, who lectures black people on seeing their own prejudice. Eric Holder went to Stuyvesant. Michelle Obama’s mother was a homemaker. Her parents forfeited a full athletic scholarship to send Michelle Obama’s brother to Princeton. They used to watch the Brady Bunch together.

If Common is disturbing, Shirley Sherrod wants to discriminate against white people, MIchelle Obama is obsessed with Whitey, and Barack Obama has a hatred of white people, then the rest of us are in real trouble

Or, as one of his commentators, David White, puts it:

You know, normally something this stupid wouldn’t bother me, but this story really gets under my skin. If [Republicans] can try to paint Common as a ‘dangerous black man,’ what black man is immune? If they think Common is vile, then I know they have no use for my black ass.

It’s a little unfair to paint this is a political tribal thing. It’s more Fox News needing to gin up something to fill airtime with. Still, hard not to commiserate with the feeling there.

Posted by Brad @ 10:53 am on April 6th 2011

I Don’t Care About…

political activists attacking each other.

Seriously, I never understand why these stories play so much, be it a Rand Paul supporter foot stomping somebody or a guy with an Obama is Hitler sign getting his table overturned. I feel like bloggers and media outlets like to implicitly believe that it says something about the candidates, campaigns, issues, parties, political environment. It doesn’t. Anymore than a Giants fan getting stomped at a Dodgers game makes some larger point about baseball, or some psycho carving a backwards B into her forehead gives an insight into liberalism.

People can be jerks. Thank you drive through.

Posted by Brad @ 1:46 pm on February 8th 2011

For the Social Conservatives

Just an FYI, the teen birth rate is at its lowest point in 70 years. Widespread contraception availability and use, sex ed, a sexualized culture, a post Roe v. Wade world, decrease in religiosity, and it not being the (mythological) 1950s anymore, all seem to be working pretty well, eh?

It is worth adding that the birth rate (pregnancy rate tracks similarly btw) is still significantly higher than in most of those Godless socialist European countries.

Also worth noting that teen pregnancy is officially on my list of Things I Do Not Care About. But thought I’d throw it out there.

Posted by Brad @ 1:40 pm on November 18th 2010

Dumbest F’ing Political Controversy of the Month

Bristol Palin may be irrevocably damaging the integrity of Dancing with the Stars.

Runner up: some 16-year-old chick and some dude were totally arguing, and then the chick was all like, “you’re a faggot,” and everybody else was all like “oh no she di’nt!”

Posted by Brad @ 3:27 pm on October 18th 2010

Dumbest F’ing Political Controversy of the Month

Goes to Jack Conway and Democratic talking heads for deciding, in the waning days of a pivotal campaign, to have the Kentucky Senate race turn on the issue of whether or not Rand Paul pulling a prank on a member of his undergraduate swim team while at Baylor that entailed having her bow down to Aqua Buddha disqualifies him forevermore as a Christian or not.

To which I say:

What’s particularly jarring is not just that Jack Conway would make that strategic choice, but that guys like Josh Marshall are making the issue about whether or not Democrats have the testicular fortitude to go on the attack. To which I reply:

I don’t think anybody is saying that politicians should not go on the offensive. But Jack Conway, at least in significant sections of the debate and that ad, is not attacking or defending based on, say, ideas or issues. He’s doing it based on religious identity politics. He’s telling voters they shouldn’t vote for Rand Paul because his Christianity is suspect. In any another context, I’d suspect you might consider that an obnoxious meme to push. Of course, if a Democrat does it, the Republican deserves it…but you’re still validating the meme. I mean, listen to yourself. You’re taking seriously the idea that voters should (or will) take seriously the idea that Rand Paul’s stated religion is a hoax because of the Aqua Buddha thing and the fact that he likes Ayn Rand.

And really, if you’re spending an inordinate amount of time in the closing weeks of the campaign against RAND PAUL taking the spotlight off ideas and issues, and onto a bizarre prank he may have pulled in college, I don’t think anybody would argue that that’s a a move coming from, or exuding, a position of strength. It comes off as it is being characterized as it is…kind of dumb and pretty desperate. It’s weak at best and, at worst, it’s validating the same campaign milieu that, say, “Obama is a secret muslim” comes from.

And, if anything, giving Rand Paul cover (for his ideas and issues, and any subsequent disengagement from the Conway camp or the press), and the high road.

But, in that response, I actually OVER-estimated Marshall and his audience. Apparently, they really DO think that the Aqua Buddha incident proves Rand Paul isn’t a Christian. At least that’s what this followup post implies.

To which I reply:

Between the reader email and your comment about Paul being a “total fraud [on this issue]”, am I to understand that some of you guys honestly believe that the Aqua Buddha incident is proof that Rand Paul is not, in fact, a Christian?

Really? That seems to me either just bizarre, or maybe some of you guys need to step outside of the circus tent of horserace coverage for a minute and regain a little perspective.

If the bar of proof required to determine whether to take someone at their word as a Christian is so high that it can be immediately broken solely by a prank he pulled on a member of the swim team as an undergraduate at Baylor – that strikes me as blinkered on a level at least on par with saying Obama is not a Christian because he went to a muslim school as a kid.

But as to efficacy (which nobody seems to care about), who in their right mind thinks, as satisfying as they may find it on some juvenile level, that sucking up the debate, the ads, and now 99% of campaign coverage in the Kentucky Senate race with the issue of Aqua Buddha does any kind of strategic service to the Conway campaign? I mean, you can get in a decently interesting, if purely academic debate, on the whole “high ground or sink to their level” issue which comes up every single damn cycle, but it strikes me as a little academic here. Going “on the offense” is not good OR bad—it depends enitirely on whether that offense works to your advantage or not, or whether, in the zero sum gain sense of it, doing so is to your benefit or not. And even those strident emails don’t seem to care or even consider whether the attack works or not – they’re just happy its mean. Well, ladi-da I guess.

I mean seriously, congratulate yourself on “playing hardball” all you want, but if that entails having campaigns turn on witchcraft and Aqua Buddha and the like, I think you’ve at some point listed dangerous close to Distractionville.

Gives me an excuse to dust off an old favorite blog post series, at least.

Posted by Brad @ 10:48 am on July 7th 2010

I Don’t Care About: Muslims

In the long lines of things, particularly hot button newsy things, that don’t move me a whit one way or the other and that I can’t even work up the give-a-shitatude to write about, I’d like to add muslims, or more specifically, attempts to “placate” or “kowtow” to them. Every once in awhile, I can work up a small iota or annoyance, as with, say, moronic private studio execs censoring South Park because they fear jihad on Viacom or whatever. But for the most part, reading anything on the subject from writers like Mark Levin or Andy McCarthy, who have made a cottage industry of being ambiguously “outraged” every time the government engages in any positive olive-branching to the muslim community, or sees opaque “omens” any time a pol, particularly a Democrat, makes any attempt to try to be nice to muslims or show respect for Islam. It reminds me a lot of the late 80s and early 90s when the outrage of the day was anytime anybody, particularly government actors, tried to make an effort to show courtesy to blacks or Hispanics (“‘African Americans’? Why not just ‘American’??!” or “street signs in Spanish!? Go home!!!” or whatever). Now, anytime an attempt is made to reach out to muslims, we get the same kind of veiled race-mongering, but with an added dose of fuzzy conspiracy theorizing (usually, it appears to have something to do with European and American multiculturalists slowly letting the muslim world Sharia-ize us, or some damn thing – they don’t really articulate it very clearly).

What’s particularly annoying is that it usually involves blog posts that, on the face of them, are implying or straight-up reporting something that is, on the face of it, obviously untrue. Today we find an emblematic representative of the genre in a post by Jay Nordlinger for NRO:

So, President Obama has decreed that a top goal of NASA will be to “engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science . . .” So says NASA administrator Charles Bolden. Isn’t that wonderful? Trace the arc of the Democratic party from JFK to BHO: “We will go to the moon”; “We will help Muslims feel good about their historic contribution to science.” (By the way, is it historic?)

I was thinking that, in the interest of evenhandedness in our Middle East policy, we could reach out to the Jews to make them feel good about their contribution to science — just in case they’re feeling low. Really, you can’t expect them to have made any contribution to science: They are so few in number, and they have been storm-tossed for centuries, driven from one country to another, sometimes murdered en masse . . .

I’m reminded of a story — one that I like a lot. It was told to me by Bernard Lewis, dean of Middle East historians. Golda Meier came to Princeton to give a talk. This was after her premiership. Someone said, “Prime Minister, why is the PLO, which is not even a country, allowed to play a part in UNESCO while Israel is not?” Meir, deadpan, said, “Well, let me see: ‘UNESCO’ stands for ‘United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.’ I guess the Palestinians have more to contribute to education, science, and culture than we do.”

Oh, Golda: The more I read about her — and I’ve been doing that lately, in Yehuda Avner’s memoirs — the more I appreciate her.

Two more comments: Will Muslims, anywhere, ever get sick of Obamite condescension? Are they now? Also, say that, back in the 2008 campaign, you had remarked, “If Obama becomes president, he will demand that NASA devote itself to making Muslims feel good about their contributions to science.” You would have been called the worst and wildest kind of right-winger.

This administration is simply beyond parody. Apologizing to Communist China for Arizona’s immigration laws; directing NASA to address itself to Muslim self-esteem . . . Unbelievable.

Unsourced report attributed to some nobody administrator paraphrasing something about muslim outreach? Check.

Said paraphrase being a claim that nobody actually believes, i.e. that muslim self-esteem will be a “top goal” of NASA? Check.

Concurrently, wild leap from some administrator making said unsourced paraphrased quote that was probably a meaningless feel good throwaway sound byte, to a kind of re-steering of the entire ship of state towards a “muslim agenda”? Check.

Discursive Israeli victimization rant thrown in there for good measure? Check.

Even wilder non sequitor to other national/racial whipping boys (Chinese, Mexicans)? Check.

Strange lack of daylight between far-removed nobody government official and President Obama, such that we can assume if NASA administrator Charles Bolden, said it, it clearly reflects the personal wishes and “ethnic sympathies” of our president? Check.

Probability that the story being reported on, even after the above filters, will impact the actual lives of precisely anybody: 0.

Note, there are a lot of things about the bizarro preoccupation with muslims/Islam/the muslim world that I don’t care about, but these kinds of stories presently top my list.

Previous things I don’t care about: , , , ,

Posted by Brad @ 12:22 pm on May 17th 2010

Dumbest F*%king Political Controversy of the Month

Miss USA Crowned! Debbie Schlussel writes the lede:

It’s a sad day in America but a very predictable one, given the politically correct, Islamo-pandering climate in which we’re mired. The Hezbollah-supporting Shi’ite Muslim, Miss Michigan Rima Fakih–whose bid for the pageant was financed by an Islamic terrorist and immigration fraud perpetrator–won the Miss USA contest.

So yeah, that’s exactly how that went.

Michelle Malkin would also like to let you know that Ms. Fakih might be dumb (unlike, say, Dr. Carrie Prejean), and the first runner up was Miss Oklahoma who supports Arizona’s immigration laws, which means she is probably the most beautiful (although, having been educated in Oklahoma, possibly a lesbian). Daniel Pipes manages to even get affirmative action in there somewhere. And although her scores were high in the swimsuit and evening wear portions of the contest, what really put her over the top was her talent: bailing out auto companies.

Just a question: when did beauty pageants become sensible theaters for right-wing women columnists to wage proxy culture wars?

Doug Mataconis, meanwhile, ends his own post on the subject with compelling counter-evidence as to why Ms. Fakih might have won or why, who cares?

Posted by Brad @ 2:12 pm on December 1st 2009

I Don’t Care About the White House Party Crashers

Following in my line of things I’m blogging about that I have no earthly desire to blog about, The House Homeland Security Committee will get sloppy seconds to Matt Lauer and will be submitting the Tareq and Michaelle Salahi to questioning for getting into the White House without being invited (although, now that charges are being considered, the Salahi’s state that they were, in fact, invited all along).

As for me, I could not care less. The Salahi’s were presumably subjected to all the usual weapons/bombs/bio/nuclear/impurethoughts scans that all visitors are subjected to and, like any velvet rope endeavor, is subject to the same fallibility that will always occur when you have guards, staffers, and guests that appear to be far more wealthy and powerful than either ever have any hope of being. Somebody screwed up somewhere, and yeah yeah, the secret service can’t afford to be wrong once, but…well, they can afford to be wrong once.

Posted by Brad @ 1:49 pm on May 30th 2009

I Don’t Care About Affirmative Action

I know that’s a very un-PC thing to say, and me being a young white man, more than a little hypocritical. Yet I know it animates a lot of liberals and conservatives who otherwise roughly fall in with me on various issues, and I just can’t drum up much interest.

It is not that I don’t believe there are very real racial issues in America today—of course there are. People are still discriminated against, and on the flip side structures and cultures are put into place to try to combat that that wind up being obnoxious and collectivist tools of thought enforcement. But, for the most part, I think the much vaunted standard of “equality of opportunity” is here. It is not perfect, by any stretch, but it never will be given the soup of prejudices, real and imagined, that will always exist in the human condition. Racism will never be dispelled, nor sexism, nor any other -ism. That does not mean you ought to stop trying, but it also does not mean you must remain hyper-vigilant. You just do the best you can, and I think we’ve, on the whole, done pretty good, at least as far as the major institutions or macro-policies go. On an individual level, of course, people can still be narrow-minded bigots, but that’s part of the reason why I dislike treating this issue on anything but a case-by-case basis. It’s the preoccupation with it on a societal level that disinterests me.

This, of course, is informing a lot of my reaction to the reaction to Sonia Sotomayor. We discussed last week her comments about how her latina-ness might inform her judicial thinking, and I say “fair enough” and leave it at that. I am sure it does, as I am sure my white male-ness would inform mine, the difference being that we are in no danger of running out of sympathetic minds towards whiteness or maleness in our political or judicial superstructure (well, unless you read a lot of Mark Steyn) so, on balance, I can buy that it’s probably a Good Thing to have more perspectives on courts. Certainly, if you buy the demographic data, hispanics or females are, in one case not really a minority at all, and in the other case may not be for long, and yet they still are, decidedly so, in the seats of power which are given the task on passing judgment on behalf of society. I don’t think a person should be considered solely for the demographic swath they might represent, but I also can understand it not being a neutral consideration either.

So maybe my “not caring” isn’t so much that I don’t have any interest in the issues, but that, for me, they come out to be more or less a wash.

I can agree, to some extent, with the crowd that believes society has become far too interested in thought policing, and now and again that DOES animate me (I was very outraged, for instance, in the treatment of Larry Summers at Harvard, and I get very, very angry at cheap accusations of “racism” or “sexism” or whatever at political or personal enemies). But I can also agree with Megan McArdle in this post, which makes the point that there’s a difference between vigilant about such things, and being thoroughly preoccupied with them (it’s easy to see how the aforementioned Steyn, or a guy like Pat Buchanan or Tom Tancredo, have swung way too far in the latter direction). Another point she makes that I’ve been making here is: really? We have a new Supreme Court nominee, in this day and age, and we’re worried that she might be too sympathetic in racial discrimination cases?

HL Mencken once defined Fundamentalism as “the terrible, pervasive fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun”. I’ve been thinking of this a lot watching some of the attacks on Sotomayor, but I’d frame the critics as suffering from the terrible, pervasive fear that some brown person, somewhere, is getting away with something.

Posit that everything the critics say about Sotomayor is true; that indeed, everything they say about affirmative action is true. Is this the biggest problem facing America? Is this the biggest problem facing America from Sonia Sotomayor?

Given my politics, I am probably not going to like how she rules on many, maybe even most, issues. But almost none of those issues involve racial preferences, which, even if they are a problem, are a small problem for America, affecting fewer people than almost any of the other major policy questions we’re debating today. Making race, or racial politics, the central complaint, makes it seem like your biggest policy priority is making sure that not one minority in the land gets anything they don’t deserve. But hey, we all get things we don’t deserve. I’ll go further: almost all of us get something we don’t deserve as a result of our race, including white people. Perhaps even especially white people. […]

Sonia Sotomayor is not manifestly unqualified to be a Supreme Court justice, so focusing on affirmative action is completely irrelevant. You can argue with her politics or her legal judgement, and hey, I’m all ears. But the affirmative action complaints aren’t advancing our quest to find out whether or not she’d be a good justice. They’re just alienating the people you want to convince.

Or, as Andrew Sullivan put it the other day. “This is so 1995”.

But, I don’t think any issue ought to be off the table, so let’s take it, real quickly. The purported fear of Sotomayor on racial issues, as I understand it, is that she will be too much of an affirmative action crusader (there is also the point, as James makes, that there were probably more qualified candidates out there once you take gender and racial political considerations away, and that is almost certainly true, though that’s the political realities we live in—although I would also add that that point doesn’t much animate me either, given that I’m pretty sure you could pick a few hundred of the top judges on the federal benches and they’d all be roughly equally qualified and the probabilities of them making Great or Terrible Justices would come out roughly the same as well). There is a very quick answer to the question of how Sotomayor will judge racial questions that come before her on the court. Look at how Sotomayor has judged racial questions that have come before her on the court (novel, ain’t it?).

Take it away Scotusblog…

I’ve now completed the study of every one of Judge Sotomayor’s race-related cases that I mention in the post below. I’ll write more in the morning about particular cases, but here is what the data shows in sum:

Other than Ricci, Judge Sotomayor has decided 96 race-related cases while on the court of appeals.

Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1. […]

In sum, in an eleven-year career on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has participated in roughly 100 panel decisions involving questions of race and has disagreed with her colleagues in those cases (a fair measure of whether she is an outlier) a total of 4 times.

Fair enough. That matches, more or less, my first impression of her. She’s a pretty milquetoast jurist, inoffensive but by the same token unlikely to shake up the court in any profound way (for good or ill). Even on questions of race, where, to listen to the dialogue on her, one would expect her to be her MOST radical, she is, if anything, skewed the other way, towards consensus and prone, more often than not, to strike down claims of racial discrimination (at roughly the same rate, even a bit less, than most white male jurists). If anything, there is at least some support that on this issue, abortion, and probably a few others, the meme starting to develop that she might turn out to be a pretty big disappointment to liberals hoping for a full-throated liberal voice on these matters on the court has some merit. She’s sort of an Obama candidate. A cipher for the Grand Liberal Dreams that, in reality, is a pretty pragmatic middle-of-the-roader. If anything, I think conservatives should perhaps be a bit more satisfied at how un-game-changing she is, and liberals a bit more critical.

That settles it for me, then. I don’t care about affirmative action or racial discrimination cases. Or rather, I do, but it ranks really, really low on my list of concerns I might have for the future of this court.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling it sucks up about 80% of the confirmation hearing.

Posted by Brad @ 2:11 pm on May 4th 2009

Things Ed Brayton Doesn’t Care About

Currently, the Notre Dame flap tops his list. I think swine flu currently tops mine. I mean…it’s the flu. A mildly more exotic version of…the flu.

But still: Ed, stop stealing my features!

Great moments in ambivalence past include Jeremiah Wright, Paris Hilton, and immigration.

Posted by Brad @ 7:21 pm on February 18th 2009

Ginned Up Political Controversy of the Day

You know what one of my biggest political pet peeves is? The pretend-outrage. When something happens, the plain meaning of which is pretty clear and inoffensive, but which, for whatever reason, it suits everybody to feign outrage at for one reason or another. Actually, half of the time people can’t even be arsed to feign outrage, they just start asking “is this offensive?”, as if it had been brought to their attention by a great unwashed mass of outraged folks and they’re just innocently asking the question, keeping their pulse on the opinions of regular folk (and not, in fact, that some political operative forwarded it to them and precisely nobody, outside of the “is this offensive?” crowd could give a flying hoot about it).

Today’s example: New York Post cartoonist Sean Delonas’ entry for today:

Now, the plain meaning: the stimulus bill was so dumb, it could have been written by chimps.

Ginned up meaning: Barack Obama, being black, is like a monkey. Also, somebody should shoot him.

“How could the Post let this cartoon pass as satire?” said Barbara Ciara, president of the National Association of Black Journalists. “To compare the nation’s first African-American commander in chief to a dead chimpanzee is nothing short of racist drivel.”

State Sen. Eric Adams called it a “throwback to the days” when black men were lynched.

The Rev. Al Sharpton called the cartoon “troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys.”

Yes. CLEARLY that’s what the artist in question was going for, and also that’s clearly how your Joe Sixpack reader is going to take it.

N.B. Barack Obama did not write the stimulus bill. David Obey did, though why let that get in the way of a good faux-outrage?

P.P.S. David Obey does, in fact, kind of look like a chimp.

Posted by Brad @ 12:46 am on October 23rd 2008

Another Contender

For Dumbest Political Controversy of the Month.

Is it just me, or does $150,000 for a wardrobe, hair, and makeup when you’re the biggest political sensation in the nation, the second female Vice Presidential candidate of all time, forced to make camera-ready appearances several times a day, and, like all highevel candidates, are almost certainly going to be measured and judged on appearance (even more salient for women)…seem pretty reasonable?

Lisa Schiffren has the only near-sane take I think I’ve seen on this all day.

I didn’t give Edwards crap for his 300 dollar haircuts either, and that seemed much less reasonable to me. It’s about the most brain-dead charge one can generically throw around in a campaign. People whose entire political existences are judged on often the shallowest of grounds find it a worthy investment to look good?

Blame yourselves, mates. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Posted by Brad @ 9:04 pm on October 16th 2008

Quote of the Day

And another possible contender for “dumbest political controversy of the month”. El Cid:

To think that the Soviets spent 70 years and trillions of dollar equivalents trying to overthrow the U.S., and all they had to do was hire some black people to go out and register voters, some of whom would seditiously give false identity information on their applications.

Stupid Soviets! Your power is no power! ACORN has real power! YOU FAIL!

Posted by Brad @ 9:14 pm on October 9th 2008

The Dumbest Political Controversy of the Month?

Not even the 10th yet—and in a month already so full of pretty dumb f*#king controversies that I could probably be doing this daily—but we might have an early contender.

From Kathryn Jean Lopez, under the header “Running For President of Europe?”

When Obama says Pock-i-stahn I have an uncontrollable urge to read the New Yorker and find some Chardonnay.

Fortunately I have an old copy of NR and a Coors Light to snap me back to reality.

Seriously though — no one in flyover country says Pock-i-stahn. It’s annoying.

Pock-i-stahn is, of course, the correct way to pronounce it, and nobody outside of fly-over country does it differently. I imagine the Coors Light pronunciation grates on the ears of the people from Pack-e-Stan, but F them, who cares what they think?

Not sure it really qualifies as “controversy”, so I might have to settle on “honorable mention”, but still.

June, July, September (I guess I forgot August).

Posted by Brad @ 1:45 am on September 17th 2008

Most Esoteric Political Controversy of the Day

Not really mean enough to qualify for the dumbest, but…huh?

WASHINGTON – Today the Indoor Tanning Association addressed rumors that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was recently chosen as Presidential Nominee John McCain’s running-mate, had installed a tanning bed in the Governor’s mansion.

According to online reports, a Palin spokesman confirmed in 2007 that the Governor “did have a tanning bed put in the Governor’s Mansion,” Adding that, “It was done shortly after she took office [in early 2007] and moved into the mansion.”

[…]

While partisan bloggers and the sun scare industry will use this as an opportunity to undermine Gov. Palin and demonize the indoor tanning industry, the fact is that Governor Palin’s decision to get UV light from a tanning bed positively impacts her health.

“Moderate amounts of indoor tanning allow Governor Palin to experience the many health benefits that come with exposure to UV light,” said Dan Humiston, President of the Indoor Tanning Association. “Especially in dreary northern locations like Alaska, indoor tanning can help guard against wintertime depression and ward off diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency.”

“Kudos to Governor Palin for standing up to dermatologists and other members of the sun scare industry who are trying to frighten Americans away from UV light.”

Somebody’s arguing about this? And who knew the Indoor Tanning Association A. existed, and B. are kind of dicks.

Although I do have to admit I find myself piqued about “the sun scare industry”. What do they manufacture, houses? Is it some weird evil syndicate of dermatologists, goths, Irishmen, and parasol manufacturers? Do they have a secret mountain lair? Is it nefariously well shaded?

Posted by Brad @ 1:08 pm on September 12th 2008

The Dumbest Political Controversy of the Month

First month’s winner was Michelle Malkin for her declaration of Meghan McCain’s support of terrorism through choice of scarfage. Last month’s winner was Patrick Ruffini for his “how dare the Obama campaign engage the German language whilst in Germany” crusade.

Now, although it’s a little early to say and so far this has been a banner month for dumb f*#@ing political controversies (see below; no, seriously, most any post below), I think we might be cycling back to Malkin.

John McCain and Barack Obama put aside the campaign yesterday and visited Ground Zero together. It was a nice gesture on their parts, and appropriately solemn and respectful. A brief moment that wasn’t a ridiculous “us vs. them, red vs. blue” game of one-upmanship or a ridiculously partisan attempt at ownership of a profound human tragedy.

Cue screeching hyena

It’s a small gesture, but gestures matter at the hallowed grave site of so many murdered innocent Americans.

Barack Obama flings a memorial rose at Ground Zero like he’s a kid tossing pennies into a fountain at the shopping mall — or a spectator tossing flowers at a bullfight.

He doesn’t know what he’s doing.

(Clueless NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg copies him.)

By contrast, John McCain and his wife kneel and gently, somberly, place their roses down at the foot of the 9/11 tribute.

Tons of you e-mailed me about this. Here’s the vid for the rest of you who didn’t see it. It’s a telling cultural and generational distinction between these two men vying to be commander-in-chief of our nation

I dare you to venture into the comments section.

Posted by Brad @ 4:31 pm on July 23rd 2008

The Dumbest Political Controversy of the Month

If you’ll remember, June’s winner belonged to Michelle Malkin (and brigades of other right wing bloggers) for the keffiyeh controversy (a keffiyeh being a scarf which holds anti-American views), and the one-two punch served to such Jew-hating terrorist sympathizers as Rachel Ray and Meghan McCain.

Now, I think we have a winner for July.

At issue: Obama’s campaign is printing campaign materials in German. For their event. Which is in Germany.

Patrick Ruffini:

This is pretty extraordinary. A candidate for the American Presidency is using flyers printed in German to turn people out for his campaign rally in Berlin on Thursday. This flyer can be found on a bilingual page on BarackObama.com advertising the event:

The German flyers bear Obama’s campaign logo and say “Paid for by Obama for America.”

I’m surprised at this lapse in judgment in an otherwise well-oiled and professional Obama campaign. The last time they printed up campaign paraphenalia in a foreign language, it didn’t work out so hot for them.

This, some contend, is just like when the Nazis did it.

I am not making that up.

Ruffini also deems extraordinary that an American politician holding events in foreign countries could be said to have conducted a campaign event on foreign soil. Because that’s never happened before. Never ever.

It’s easy pickings. My favorite (Matt Yglesias):

Patrick Ruffini slams the Obama campaign for using a foreign language in its promotional material for an event in Germany. Apparently it’s now unpatriotic to so much as concede that they speak foreign languages in foreign countries.

And there you have it. The dumbest political controversy of the month. A little schadenfreude is, I think, in order.

Posted by Brad @ 9:13 pm on July 21st 2008

Keffiyeh Controversy

I wrote last week about the world’s dumbest political controversy, the one regarding Rachel Ray’s scarf choice on a Dunkin Donuts commercial and what that apparently says about Islamofacism. Doing some random surfing, I came across another woman catching heat for scarfage—Meghan McCain.

Here she is, supporting terrorism:

Supporting Terror

And here she is, obviously contemplating killing Jews:

Killing Jews?

Please note the murderous bloodlust in their eyes.

The keffiyeh has become the symbol of jihad, and it’s no coincidence that in many beheading videos or other fierce displays of Islamic murder and violence, the warriors hide behind the keffiyeh. This isn’t “just clothing.” Wearing a keffiyeh is really no different than sporting a swastika or a white hood. The media would have a fit if a prospective First daughter wore those.

It’s a disgusting display that Ms. McCain would sport this garb of torture and murder and death and inhumanity.

And it’s Ron Paul supporters who get tarred as nuts.

Posted by Brad @ 1:00 pm on May 28th 2008

The Dumbest Political Controversy of the Month

Michelle Malkin takes it.

See, Rachel Ray recently filmed a Dunkin Donuts commercial in which she was wearing a scarf, and…

Aw hell. I don’t even have the heart or patience to type it beyond that. It’s just too dumb to put to words.

Needless to say, the anti-islamofascist brigades continue to go a long way towards marginalizing themselves by essentially doing nothing but whipping each other into a useless frenzy on a near daily basis.

Posted by Brad @ 10:42 pm on April 28th 2008

I Still Don’t Care About Jeremiah Wright

Maybe I should make this a regular series. Things I don’t care about.

Add Jeremiah Wright to the top of the list currently.

Today, he gave a speech and had an impromptu Q&A at the end of it in which he more or less said over again the things that people took issue with originally. Zionist this, Farakhan that, God doesn’t like this or that about America, he wouldn’t put it past the government to have created AIDS, yadda yadda yadda. It was apparently eye-opening enough that even Sully decided to throw down and declare that Obama must do this or that to reject or denounce or some damn thing so Wright doesn’t, I don’t know, get airtime? Beats me.

Adam has already cogently broached this, but I find myself reading this stuff and my eyes glaze over. I can positively 100% not seem to get excised about any of this. I could not care less what Jeremiah Wright’s views on America happen to be, and I could not care less the degree or extent to which Obama rejects or denounces it.

I feel like I should, in some way. It’s literally the only thing that is being covered anymore in Presidential politics. All the blogs are alight with it. It is, apparently, the campaign issue of this Spring so far. I’m told that, as a swing voter, this really, really ought to concern me.

And yet, I can’t muster an iota of give-a-shitness. Is there something wrong with me?

Sullivan puts it thusly:

I can well understand why Obama has not disowned the man who helped bring him to Christ. God knows I have had some spiritual mentors whose views I cannot accept in their entirety or some allies in the struggle for gay equality who are not my ideological confreres in many other ways. I have been in a movement where many others – most others – hold views very alien to my own. Obama is a decent human being, and cutting off someone who has nurtured and sustained his faith and been a father figure to him is not in his character. If I believed for one second that Obama shared any of this bile, I couldn’t begin to support him.

But….but….

But what? What more is there to say, really, that’s not campaign trail schtick and beltway game-playing?

To me, the whole Wright affair raises two legitimate questions, and only two:

1. Does Obama believe these things, or would his administration be reflective of these things?

2. Is there something more than he should be doing in his relationship with Jeremiah Wright? Any more distancing that is necessary, or personal denouncement that would make any difference?

The answer to both of those questions, it seems to me, is an easy “no”. And I fail to see any further questions. On #1, I suppose it’s the same question for me that was salient in the whole “Racists 4 Ron Paul” thing (and that strikes me as MORE potentially salient, in that it involved people who are still at least peripherally around the candidate in some functional way). The only sensible “next question” is “Okay, does the candidate believe any of this stuff?” And saying Obama is going to institute some kind of black liberation theology platform on America strikes me as equally ridiculous as saying Ron Paul is going to single out this racial group or that to disadvantage. In any event, I don’t think Obama has been in any way unclear, and in most senses has been far MORE forthcoming on his own beliefs as it pertains to faith, as it pertains to race, than most any other candidate I can think of in contemporary American history. So what’s the further question on this point that needs answering?

And as far as #2 goes, as it pertains to Obama, I think it’s fair to ask Obama if he agrees with this or that, and makes clear that he does NOT agree with Wright, what his relationship with Wright was and what it is now, but after that, what’s left for him to do? Tape a pro-wrestler smack-talking segment calling Reverend Wright out? TP his house? What?

Why are we asking questions of him to which we already know full well the answers? How many times do we demand he say something before we chose to either accept or reject that it is, in fact, the truth? 5? 10? One hour-long speech? Two? A town hall? A Fox News interview? What?

Or is it just that Wright went into more detail about the things he believes, and with every new detail, Barack Obama has to make a new, more specific denouncement, such that he should dispatch a staff person to follow Wright around from now on adding “This view is not endorsed by Barack Obama” everytime Wright opens his mouth?

Like I said, I recognize there must be something wrong with me, because it sure seems awfully important to everybody else. And I also admit I’m 29 years old, so as Sully often posits, maybe there’s some greater context here that I’m missing. But I still can’t find myself caring what some preacher in Southside Chicago happens to think about this issue or that, nor do I find myself really wishing Obama would just repeat himself a few dozen more times in different contexts, saying the same things he’s been saying for years now.

I get it. Reverend Wright, who has precisely ZERO effect or even potential effect on my life, has some wacky beliefs. Barack Obama does not agree with them, and has different beliefs, such that he’s outlined in books, speeches, interviews, and conversations over the course of his adult life. The guy that thinks some wacky things has a personal relationship with the guy that thinks less wacky things (I can relate, incidentally; about half of my friends I think are idiots on half of the nutty things they believe that I don’t agree with). So….is wacky contagious? Is that what we’re transfixed about?

What’s the story again?

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