Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
Dr. C: In Praise of Writing Binges
Maiello: Gatsby Doesn't Grate
In early August, I began working on a book to document a growing sense of paranoia among right-wing conservatives. At the time, the media was fairly quiet on the subject. With the exception of liberal blogs (ahem), no one paid much attention to the wild rhetoric of the tea parties and occasional paranoid outbursts from commentators like Rush Limbaugh and politicians like Michelle Bachman. Then Sarah Palin loosed her "death panels" broadside, and the floodgates opened. [Read more]
Just because Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell refuses to let interracial couples marry doesn't mean that he's a racist. He just doesn't believe in "mixing the races that way," which raises the question, in what way does he believe in mixing the races? Native American-Tibetan? They both have a brownish hue and wear colorful traditional costumes, so maybe that's OK. Or perhaps he means that the races can mix in other ways. They can be bridge partners, for instance. [Read more]
Abraham the wandering Jew moved south again to the Negev, where he frequently visited the city of Gerar in the land of the Philistines.
Commentary: The Great Rabbi Ezekiel Bezekiel has written, "The Torah does not say why Abraham visited Gerar, but doubtless it was for a holy purpose known to God." Holy purpose my hairy Hebrew hiney. Read on, friends, read on.
In Gerar, Abraham told everyone that his wife Sarah was sister. Abimelekh, the king of the Philistines, took a fancy to Sarah, even though she was well past 100 years old, and took her to his palace. [Read more]
While President Obama's recent Nobel Peace Prize has been attracting media attention, he has been quietly reaping a number of other prizes, including the New York Marathon, the Heisman Trophy, Best Cooking Blog, Sikh Man of the Year, and West Duluth High School's Most Likely to Succeed.
Critics have decried the flood of awards on the grounds that Obama has been selected for political reasons over more deserving candidates. The New York Marathon has been the subject of the widest scorn because the event has yet to take place. Ron Faerly, Chairman of Concerned Citizens for Marathon Transparency, protested: [Read more]
So screams today's Drudge Report headline in a thunderous "xx-large" Arial font. The linked AFP article discusses the possibility that the dollar might lose its place as the preferred global currency, but based on the headline, the reader might be excused for thinking that the nation is about to return to the barter system or else adopt Chinese renminbi. [Read more]
Sometimes I become so enmeshed in the daily dramas of life that I forget to recognize the important milestones of those I hold dear. In such cases of neglect, the sin is not selfishness--I care, I really do--but rather self-absorption. My life is like a gripping suspense film. I...just...can't...turn...away. Not because my life is particularly interesting. It just happens to be mine. In addition, I have an attention absorption problem. I can't even turn away from an episode of Elmo's World. (My nephew and I like to spend quality time with our furry red monster friend.) [Read more]
Two angels disguised as men came to the town of Sodom one evening. Abraham's nephew Lot met them at the city gate and invited them to stay with him. That night, all the men of Sodom, young and old alike, gathered at Lot's door and demanded that he release the strangers to them so that they could butt-rape* them.
Commentary: Sodom was not a popular tourist destination.
Lot, being a good host, refused this request and offered the mob his two virgin daughters instead. [Read more]
Three strangers on their way to Sodom stopped at Abraham’s house, and he offered them food and shelter. One of the strangers promised Abraham that Sarah would give birth in one year’s time. Sarah, who was eavesdropping on the conversation, heard the stranger and laughed, for at 90, she was post-menopausal.
God, who was eavesdropping on Sarah, asked Abraham why Sarah had laughed, for was he not all-powerful and could he not enable a 90-year-old woman to conceive if he chose? So Abraham confronted Sarah. She denied the laughing, and they had a boring argument about whether or not she had laughed. [Read more]
One of the recurrent themes that contribute to right-wing paranoia is the fantasy that white people suffer from discrimination in Obama's America. This conceit erupted on the talk shows during the Sotomayor hearings and after Henry Louis Gates' arrest, when Rush Limbaugh said, "President Obama is black, and I think he's got a chip on his shoulder," and Glenn Beck exclaimed that Obama "has a deep seated hatred for white people." [Read more]
You may have heard about Glenn Beck's recent paranoid accusations, but if you are a drive-by voyeur of right-wing hysterics, you might not appreciate the method behind the madness. Relying on out-of-context quotes, tenuous associations, and giant leaps of speculation, Beck has meticulously pieced together the most elaborate, nefarious government conspiracy in the history of cable news. His argument consists of four primary elements:
Part 1: The Czars [Read more]
A few years ago, I met a young millionaire who had made a fortune buying life insurance policies from the elderly and reselling them to investors. He would offer policy owners cash upfront, and when they died, the companies to which he had sold the policies would receive the benefits. Of course, he earned a percentage. It struck me as a clever but shady operation.
Today, the NYT reported that this practice of buying what are euphemistically called "life settlements" may be the next big thing on Wall Street. Experts predict that the market could reach $500 billion. "We're hoping to get a herd stampeding after the first offering," said one investment banker. [Read more]
Last week, I wrote about Glenn Beck's paranoid theory that Obama's health care plan would covertly deliver slavery reparations by redistributing health care to African Americans. It turns out that black people aren't the only undeserving minorities after grandma's health care. Filling in for Rush Limbaugh, Mark Steyn of the National Review earned his airtime by inventing a whole new health care persecution fantasy: [Read more]
Yesterday, I blogged about Sarah Palin's fear of "death panels" (which sounds like some kind of Indiana Jones booby trap, you know the kind that always impale his intemperate Indian/Arab assistants). In the post, I quoted from the Christian Anti-Defamation Committee website which in turn quoted from an Investors Business Daily editorial. Did you know that the IBD is a hotbed of right wing paranoia? [Read more]
Credit where credit's due: Sarah Palin knows how to capture headlines. She also knows how to speak the language of America's most persecuted demographic: white Christian conservatives. Many in her audience believe in a secret plot by liberals to enact a radical secular agenda, and they view all progressive policies through the lens of this alleged conspiracy.
Congratulations to Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Hers was the first nomination of a progressive judge since Bill Clinton appointed Stephen Breyer fifteen years ago. In the national debate over her nomination, we saw a preview of what's to come in future nomination battles. Given the ages of the judges, we will likely see from one to four appointments before Obama leaves office. [Read more]
Call me a loyal customer. Yahoo has been my home page for a decade, which is about two thirds of the life of the web itself. Whenever I bought a new computer or installed a new browser, I dutifully found my way through the preferences to set my default page to good old Yahoo. In the old days, back when people still prepended "World Wide" to "Web," I preferred Yahoo because the home page loaded quickly and offered a great directory that neatly sliced the contents of the entire web into a handy taxonomy. "Drilling down" to the right category was usually easier than sifting through pages of crap delivered by the antediluvian search engines of the day. [Read more]
Last week, the House of Representatives voted 410-8 to spend nearly $100,000 to engrave "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance at the Capitol Visitor Center. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc. immediately sued to stop the engraving. [Read more]