A typical Obama administration policy wonk defends his health care handiwork from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., where he is in therapy:
This call is concerning all the people who keep calling in complaining about Obamacare. I hope they never have a catastrophic illness where they need help…. The same conservatives that say we have all these great lower taxes than other countries, but these other countries do provide health care. But yet they don’t want it here in America…. The caller who says your kids aren’t kids when they’re 26, a lot of kids go to college, and they still need health care…. A lot of people have to have master’s degrees and become doctors and other things, and they need health care.
(April 18, 2012)
San Francisco Chronicle
Fashion note gleaned from a famous old underground publication from the City by the Bay:
As co-managers of the Berkeley Surplus store on San Pablo Avenue, Mitchell Langon and Michael Ludlow have sold a lot of gas masks, dark bandannas and black hoodie sweatshirts to protesters since Occupy began in the fall.
“I’ve had a bunch of rich white kids come in here looking for the black stuff—you know the type, the Marin County trust-fund types,” said Langon, whose store sports a sign reading, “For all your riot needs.” “It’s like they want to be part of something.”
Ludlow added, “It’s like doing this stuff gives them a chance to break something…. But it’s not all [representative of] Occupy—there are plenty of protesters who don’t want that.”
(May 8, 2012)
New York Times
Another racist rant in the typical New York Times’ pianissimo fashion, this time by Frank Bruni, formerly of the Times’ oenologist department, in which he was more dependable and less neurotic:
Although race represents a less central dynamic for Obama now than it did in 2008, it’s a factor in his political fortunes nonetheless. It poisons some of his opponents, pumping them full of a toxic zeal beyond the partisan norm. How else to explain their obsession with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or the lunatic persistence of the “birthers,” including the Arizona secretary of state, who didn’t drop his threat to keep Obama off the state ballot until Wednesday? Even as he quieted down, Donald Trump piped up, raising questions yet again about where Obama was born, though Trump’s motivations are surely less racist than narcissistic, even entrepreneurial. For him attention is attention and ratings are ratings, no matter how repulsively drummed up.
(May 27, 2012)
The Great Books Series
Some perfectly sensible Americanos file their eminently polite remonstrances with the excitable Dan Rather for his fabrications, and here is how he replies, aided and abetted by his crazy wife:
Shortly after the broadcast, someone called to tell me we were catching a Lot of flack [sic] on the Internet. With a piece like that, I thought it was to be expected, but what was different in this case was the intensity of the vilification.…
The attacks didn’t stop with the Internet, however. We were inundated with irate phone calls and deluged with vitriolic faxes. It was a tsunami of outrage. The fax machine right outside Mary’s office was running constantly, spewing out hate mail, page after page after page. Fake! Fake! Fake! They screamed. And that was the best of it. Many were obscene. Some were threatening.…
By rehashing the right wing’s unsubstantiated allegations, the article in the Post stoked the fire of the controversy and validated the accusations made by the bloggers. This struck me as anything but objective journalism. It seemed to me to be downright incendiary. The piece in the Post detonated a series of virulent anti-CBS, anti-Rather, and anti-Mapes explosions coming not just from right-wing websites, but from legitimate media outlets as well.…
[I]t was my wife who provided the perspective I needed to hear. “You got into a fight with the president of the United States,” she told me. “During the heat of his reelection campaign.
What did you think was going to happen?” What happened was that we spoke truth to power. And power had bellowed back through every bullhorn it could command. At the time, it was loud enough to drown out the truth.
[From Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News by Dan Rather with Digby Diehl. Grand Central Publishing, 309 pages, $27.99]
The celebrated San Francisco crank Doc Gurley posts a notice of a hot new tourist attraction, destined most likely to be added to Disneyland in the Goofball State:
There’s a little piece of San Francisco history—special to this wonderful city—that isn’t really all that well known except in a few communities. Transgender Tuesdays. 18 years ago a team of HIV providers at Tom Waddell Health Center and trans activists from every ethnicity broke the mold by providing something crucially needed. In 1993 Transgender Tuesdays clinic opened in the Tenderloin— the first public health clinic in the country specifically targeted toward transgendered people and their care.
(May 5, 2012)
The deconstruction of Mitt Romney’s laugh by the famously agelastic Garry Wills writing for the New York Review of Books’ blog in the age of Twitter:
Everyone has noticed by now the nonlaugh laugh of Mitt Romney, a kind of half-stifled barking. But what does it mean? It is blurted out as abruptly as it is broken off. Is it a kind of punctuation, part comma, part full stop, part interrogatory mark? What, if anything, is it trying to convey? Why does it seem more like coughing or burping than laughter?
Does it mean: “I know you are saying something critical about me, and I don’t know how to answer it, so I’ll just pretend that you did not mean it seriously”?
(May 22, 2012)
Over at the Nation, the comrades doff their derbies, as yet another of their revered revolutions fizzles:
Celebrated every April 22 for the past forty-two years, Earth Day is showing its (middle) age. Instead of rallying public pressure for far-reaching reforms, Earth Day is becoming, at least in the United States, a bland, tired ritual that polluters and politicians have learned to ignore or coopt. This year, for example, Monsanto has plastered ads at bus and subway stops in Washington, including at the entrance to the Agriculture Department, boasting about how the giant manufacturer of pesticides and genetically modified seeds has helped America’s farmers become better environmental stewards—despite Monsanto’s record of suing organic farmers for patent infringement after winds blew its seeds onto the farmers’ fields.
Frustrated by such cynicism, some environmentalists have called for abolishing Earth Day. But that would be throwing the baby out with….
(May 7, 2012)
Wall Street Journal
A culinary disappointment is reported in our favorite journal of record:
Einar Bjorn Arnason’s restaurant in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, no longer has kangaroo on the menu. A pageone article Saturday about Iceland’s economy incorrectly implied it was still listed.
(May 21, 2012)
From the archives timeless tosh from Current Wisdoms Past
San Francisco Bay Guardian
More on Sen. Al Gore’s cleavage between mind and body, as fishing turns into a cruel and unusual national pastime:
On March 9, a San Francisco woman in her 30s was hung from 28 wire-suspended fishhooks, all pierced through the flesh of her back, legs, and buttocks. This was a women-only event. More than 80 spectators and friends were in attendance at the black-walled South of Market space, drumming, chanting, and coaxing her on.
Raelyn Gallina, an East Bay piercer who has a lot of female clients, organized the event and did much of the piercing. “It was women doing it for women,” she says. “It was a very powerful experience. There were women who needed to be there. This was a major, history-making thing. There were three videographers and two still photographers. Women would cheer every time a hook went in.” …
Gallina has her own thoughts on the popularity of body play. “Basically,” she says, “the world is meaningless. There’s just your body and you. That’s all you’ve got.”
(May 27, 1992)