Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Worst Americans

One of your blogstress's favorite Americans, Michael Tomasky, offers up his year-end list of 2008's worst Americans. Tomasky is the writer/editor at the helm of Guardian America, the online U.S. incarnation of the British newspaper.


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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Favorite Man

Today, that would be Spencer Ackerman (a.k.a., Attackerman) who, in his vigilence, is defending the honor of the female sex against the designs of right-wing commentator Dennis Prager, who has been writing how married women are obligated to put out for hubby whenever the latter expresses his "needs".

Kyle of Right-Wing Watch suggests that Prager subscribes the "Phyllis Schlafly School of Marriage Counseling", the doyenne of the right having uttered this last year at an appearance at Bates College:

"By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape," she said.

Hat-tip to the fabulous Frankie G. of The Beltway Sewer.

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Rick Warren faces a transcendent moment

Your blogstress is still wrestling with the decision of Barack Obama (whom her feminist self supported all the way back in the primaries) to anoint the right-wing, anti-gay, anti-woman Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inaugural ceremonies. Mon Dieu, mes amis! How to make sense of it?

One hopes that Mr. Obama has a trick or two up his sleeve in bestowing this honor on one who has compared pro-choice people to Holocaust deniers, equated gay marriage with polygamy and marriage between an adult and a child (and later denied having done so), and preaches that wives should submit to their husbands.

To many liberals, Warren's words are hard not to take personally, especially if you're a woman and/or a member of the LGBT community. This is no mere game of "dozens"; reports come in daily of LGBT people assaulted or killed for no other reason than being queer; meanwhile the terrorism of anti-choice forces has reduced abortion, in many areas, to a right that exists only on paper. (Abortion is available in only 14 percent of U.S. counties.)

Seeking to find a beacon of light in this disheartening pick, your blogstress has penned a piece for The Huffington Post, "Transcendental Invocation". Here's a taste:

[T]he predictable back-and-forth between left and right around this issue leads me in moments when my worser angels -- you know, the less-than-angelic angels -- of my nature have my ear to wonder whether or not we just got Souljahed out. Would Obama step on our tails to make us squeal in order to look "normal" to the pro-America parts of the country?

Let's consider another alternative -- please. Like any council of chiefs, the leadership of the religious right is often riven with jealousy and competition, as well as ideological differences between purists and pragmatists. Mainstream media have latched onto Warren's AIDS-fighting work in Africa and his preaching on environmental responsibility as evidence of his ostensibly kinder, gentler biblical Christianity though, by his own admission, the difference between Warren and authoritarian right-wing media mogul James Dobson is merely one of "tone". Yet Warren isn't really of the clique of religious-right leaders as we've come to know them: the Dobson mob, the Robertson cabal, the Falwell gang. (These form the syndicate that holds the rights to the GOP's electoral ground game; it is through their churches and associations that grass roots activists and voters are turned out.)

With his 25 million books sold and four megachurches with congregations in the tens of thousands, there's likely a bit of resentment against Warren among the council of elder pooh-bahs. (In his e-mail to followers, Tony Perkins snipes, "Let's hope that Rick Warren will use his channel of communication to the new President to press him for more pro-family policies-rather than simply being used by Mr. Obama to make political inroads with evangelicals.")

If the campaign revealed anything about the president-elect, it is his use of existing dynamics to his own advantage, knowing when to get out of the way of -- or lend a hand to -- Nature as she takes her course. The leaders of the religious right are far less dangerous to the rest of us when sniping among themselves. Could it be that, in elevating Warren so high above the rest, Obama has tossed an apple of discord over the right fence, a clever bait of distraction?

Perhaps I think too wishfully as I look to find a reason to believe.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pastor Rick on gay marriage

The pushback by the LGBT movement against the anointment of Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama has been such that Warren felt compelled to go before his own congregants to clarify his views on gay marriage, taking great pains to say that he never equated gay relationships with incest or polygamy. (He just said he disagreed with allowing gays to marry, just as he disagreed with allowing adults to marry children, brothers to marry sisters, and men to have more than one wife. Not that he was equating them or anything.) Here's Pastor Rick:


Meanwhile, on "Hardball" last night, Mike Rogers of blogActive and PageOneQ masterfully reframed the conflict over Obama's invocational choice as one that sees the LGBT movement at its most powerful, ever. Check out Digby's recounting at Hullabaloo:
...Rogers took a very unusual tack and said that [the well-known Reverend Eugene] Rivers coming on the show to defend Warren shows how powerful the gay community is and that he was very happy to see Warren changing his web site just today (to hide his more outrageously homophobic content.) He characterized this as a big victory for gay rights. ("I compliment Rick Warren on seeing the error of his ways and changing his Web site.") Rivers was agitated by this and seemed to be frustrated that the dialog wasn't taking the predicted path, rather sarcastically saying things like "well we're all happy now, I guess."

Here's Mike on "Hardball"

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Illinois edges Jersey for top honors

While your blogstress's heart is in Jersey City, she does have familial ties to Chicago's South Side, so the pronouncement of one G-man on the comparative status of the Land of Lincoln was less painful, perhaps, than it was for her fellow dwellers of the Meadowlands:

Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago office, said even the most cynical FBI agents were "disgusted and revolted" by what they heard on the recordings [of Gov. Rod Blogojevich trying to sell a Senate seat].

"If it isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States," Grant said of Illinois, "it’s certainly one hell of a competitor."
C'mon Jersey! You're slippin'!

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