Here’s Pie In Your Eye

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

It seems that some liberals have taken up the rather time honored tradition of throwing food at conservative speakers.  Now, I don’t advocate this — it seems pretty silly, and I’m not sure what point it makes.  But the victims of these silly collegiate pranks act so fatally wounded, like a cream pie is the ballistic equivalent of an actual bullet.

Take, for example, Ann Coulter’s recent whine.  No.  Take World O’Crap’s take on Ann Coulter’s recent whine:

It seems that Ann is still traumatized by that close brush with food she experienced last Fall, since she’s still writing about it.  Here’s part of this week’s column, "It’s only funny until someone loses a pie":

Last October, two liberals responded to my speech at the University of Arizona – during question and answer, no less – by charging the stage and throwing two pies at me from a few yards away.

Unfortunately for them, Republican men don’t react favorably to two "Deliverance" boys trying to sucker-punch a 110-pound female in a skirt and heels. The geniuses ended up with bloody noses and broken bones.

Then on March 19, all charges were dismissed against the "Deliverance" boys – including a felony charge for $3,000 worth of damage to school property. Inexplicably, this outcome did not instantly lead to widespread rioting and looting in South Central Los Angeles.

Democrat Barbara LaWall is the Pima County attorney who allowed the liberal debate champions to walk. LaWall brags on her website about "holding criminals accountable." She didn’t say anything about liberals, however. Be forewarned, conservatives: Do not expect the law to protect you in Pima County.

Yes, pity the poor conservatives whose lives aren’t worth a plugged nickel in Arizona, what with the gangs of liberal ruffians who toss pies at little 110 pound women (and miss them, said women being thin and hard to hit), and then get their noses and shoulders broken by chivalrous Republican men.  Sure, the pie throwers will get arrested, booked, and jailed (and, as Ann said to the NY Observer a few months ago, hopefully raped while in prison) — but if the charges against them are ultimately dismissed, it means that there is no justice for conservatives.  (Isn’t that always the way is always is for our country’s most persecuted minority: thin, blonde, psuedo-Christian wingnut pundits?)

However, along with the need to seek healing from post-pie traumatic stress by whining about it in print, Ann is undoubtedly also revisiting the incident so she can jump on the "liberals are all vicious thugs who throw food at kindly, old and/or delicate, petite female conservatives, and this whole thing won’t end until Jonah Goldberg is blown up by some Molotov cocktail-flinging Bolshevik" bandwagon.   

Here’s what Ann told NewsMax a few days ago:

Thank God for vigilante justice because that’s the only justice there is in Arizona. All the attacks of the last week [pies thrown at Buchanan and Kristol, salad dressing flung at Buchanan] came soon after the Pima country prosecutor dropped all charges against my … assailants, even though the whole attack was on videotape, all over TV, and I offered to fly out for the trial if necessary. I got a notice at the end of March that charges were dropped on March 18 or 19 (Friday). Right-wingers should refuse to speak in Arizona on the grounds that law enforcement refuses to prosecute cowardly thugs who stage sneak attacks on right-wingers.

Yes, it was Pima County dropping the charges against the young men who attacked Ann that embolded the cowardly liberals to begin their new reign of terror.  And yes, right-wingers should refuse to speak in Arizona, or in any other state where a conservative has been threatened by food — or in any state touching those states, or in any state which contains any of the same letters as those states.  It’s the only way that conservatives can feel safe.

We can thank the Moonie Times for inspiring both Ann and NewsMax (and countless other wingnuts) to bemoan the fact that while conservatives are unfailingly decent, civil, and pleasant, they live in constant fear from liberal thugs who are but one step away from tossing hand grenades at those with whom they disagree.

But the Times starts out with a lie, which should tell you something about the sincerity of their argument:

When two assailants attacked conservative columnist Ann Coulter with pies while she was giving a speech at the University of Arizona in October, most people, including the speaker, dismissed it as a prank.

Of course, Ann DIDN’T dismiss it as a "prank" — she claimed to have been assaulted, and pretty much called for the death penalty for the perps.  Here’s part of what she said on the subject during her NY Observer interview

I was physically attacked this year. I hear MoveOn.org has a bounty for anyone who throws a pie in my face. Neither of those guys hit me. I think one is still in prison. It is a funny thing, that they ended up in prison—enjoying the benefits of gay marriage. One guy with a broken shoulder and one with a broken nose. And that was when I was traveling totally unprotected. Let ’em try it again, they’ll end up dead."

Okay, I don’t think that throwing food at people like Ann is a legitimate response to her vile speech.  (The right way to respond is by making fun of her in blogs and such.)  In fact, I denounce such acts, for I find them juvenile, impolite,  best reserved for Mack Sennett and Three Stooges comedies, and a waste of perfectly good cream pies.  However, face it, Ann, having a custard pie tossed at you is not being "sucker punched."  You were not "physically attacked."  And it’s not an example of the kind of violence against women that demands that red-blooded men beat your attackers to a pulp, or kill them.

Ann, take a lesson from Anita Bryant, courtesy of the Homo Vaccine page of www.bible.ca

After being hit in the face with a fruit pie, she started to pray seconds later:

"Father, I want to ask that you forgive him and that we love him and that we’re praying for him to be delivered from his deviant lifestyle." (Des Moines, Iowa, October 14, 1977)

So, on the one hand we have Ann rejoicing that her attempted pie-ers were "enjoying the benefits of gay marriage" (as she so humerously referred to prison rape), and hoping that they tried it again and got killed by manly Young Republicans.  And on the other hand we have Anita Bryant, expressing love for her assailant (and publicly asking God to cure him from being a deviant pervert).  Yes, it’s telling that in a face-off with Ann Coulter, wacko Anita comes off as the classier act..  I hope that she can spare a thought for Ann, and will maybe ask God to deliver Ann from being such a whiner.

Blind Eye

Ken AshfordRepublicansLeave a Comment

Instapundit notes this list of members of Congress who have family members on the payroll and concludes "Seems like a bipartisan sport."

Yes, Glenn, you dolt.  A few people of BOTH parties do it, and (as many have pointed out) there’s nothing illegal about it, especially if they do actual work (bookkeeping, etc.).  That’s not the point.  The point is that only one person on that list is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to his wife for merely campaigning, which is what DeLay has done.

Daffy Dobson

Ken AshfordGodstuff, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Apparently the Christian Right Wrong doesn’t think it is batshit enough as it is, so along comes James Dobson to rectify the situation.  If you listen to his recent show here (advance the time stamp to 22:52), you will hear Dobson compare the "black-robed men" (meaning the Supreme Court) to the "men in white robes, the Ku Klux Klan".

Gee, I wonder how Clarence Thomas feels about that.

Billmon is probably right:

And so the Christian right’s attacks on the bench grow ever more hysterical. Judge Greer as Caiaphas? Joseph Stalin as a legal role model? Clarence Thomas as Klan leader?? It all seems completely deranged until you think about what the ayatollahs are trying to accomplish. This is red-meat politics at its absolute reddest — blood red. And the Supreme Court may find itself compared to even fouler things than the KKK before the battle is over.

UPDATE:  The link to Herr Dobson’s website no longer contains the April 11 diatribe.  You have to pay nine bucks for it now.

UPDATE #2:  Oliver Willis has the incriminating soundbite (mp3) here.

Climbing Up High In The Stupid Tree

Ken AshfordPersonalLeave a Comment

Light blogging today and probably tomorrow, for this reason:

I don’t like Mondays, for the same reason as everybody else.  Today was to be an unusually busy one.  I had reams of documents to review at work, and rehearsal for "Noises Off" in the evening.  I also needed to find time to review my lines for rehearsal.  And last night, while scoping out the burned out house of a client, I noticed that my brakes on my Ford Explorer were going a bit soft, and I wanted to call the car guys and schedule an appointment.

But none of this was on my mind as I left for work (earlier than usual) this morning.  I was thinking about Emily’s email.  She had sent a group email to friends of hers (against her better judgment, I am apparently one of them) outlining her wishes should she ever find herself in a persistent vegetative state, and I had just happened to read it as I was leaving for work.  My mind was trying to come up with a smart-alecky wise-ass remark I could make to her the next time I saw her because . . . well, because that’s what I do.  But nothing was coming to mind, probably because the idea of Emily in a persistent vegetative state was rather disconcerting.

But not as disconcerting as what happened next.

As I backed up out of my garage, I put on the brakes, so I could turn and drive on out of my driveway.  But the brakes failed.  You know that awful feeling when Nobrakes you hit a patch of ice and momentarily lose all control of your car?  It was that feeling.  Fortunately, I was only going about 5 miles per hour in my driveway.  Unfortunately, that was enough to propel me into a fence, which (fortunately) caused the car to stop before I (and my Ford Explorer) took a plunge into the pool.

With the motor still running, I stepped out to inspect the damage to the fence (bad, but easily fixable — another thing on my ever-growing "to-do" list).  Then, in my infinite wisdom, I thought I should do the "smart thing": instead of going to work, I should drive directly to the car dealership and have them check out my brakes.  I figured that my brakes would work okay enough, and with the emergency brake, and driving slowly, and taking back roads, I would be able to get there in one piece.

Except I forgot about the hill.

Fifteen minutes and twenty pounds of nervous sweat later, I abandoned my dumb idea, as well as my car, in a vacant parking lot about a mile from the house.  I called a towing service to take my car the rest of the way to the dealership (thank you, Cyndy). 

I don’t think I put anyone’s life in danger, except of course my own.  Still, it was dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.  It was morning commute, and there could have been kids going to school — even on the back roads.

05fordescapehybridf34500The end of the story is that I am getting a brand new Ford Escape Hybrid tomorrow.  Red metallic.  And a hybrid.  Pretty cool.  I’m looking forward to doubling my gas mileage (or, alternatively, paying half as much for gas), and — oh, yeah — doing my bit for Mother Earth as well.

Still, it was dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

It probably wasn’t until late this evening when driving home from rehearsal when the adrenanline rush stopped.  It’s amazing what the song "Midnight on the Oasis" can do to me sometimes.  Thanks, Maria.

My born-again friend Melinda said that I was "blessed".  That conjured up an image of Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount (or Sermon on the Plain, depending on whether you believe the Book of Matthew or the Book of Paul), saying "Blessed are the stupid drivers who think they can operate a vehicle with no brakes, for they shall purchase an environmentally sound SUV."  But then again, they say that God holds a special place for those who are mentally incompetent.  That may very well be true — He certainly seemed to today.

The Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration

Ken AshfordCourts/Law, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

The title of this two-day conference — Confronting the Judicial War on Faith — is very revealing about those on the right and the overreaching hyperbole they use to "rally the troops". There is no WAR, kids. And out of several thousands verdicts and decisions handed down in courtrooms across the country each day, only a few of them could be characterized as going "against faith". Just as many, if not more, could be characterized as going "in favor of faith". Why don’t you want to talk about those? (Could it be because then your fake "war" won’t seem so much like a "war"?)

And of course, what is the meta-point here? Is it your position that judges should follow a pro-faith agenda? Do you really think that is in their job description? And if the answer is "yes", please tell me whose faith they are supposed to follow: yours? What about theirs?

These are the questions the angry right doesn’t ask. Because in reality, they know (and now, so do you) that the courts are not impose its views on faith; faith (i.e., religion) is trying to impose itself into courts — not only in terms of things like the Ten Commandments, but in actual decisions.

In other words, the attack — the volleys of ammunition in this so-called "war" — comes from the religious right, not the judicial branch of government. The religious right is playing offense, not defense. They are fighting, not (as the website suggests) "fighting back". It is the religious right assaulting the court system, not a court system "assaulting Judeo-Christian morality".

To suggest otherwise is to simply lie.

And indeed, what the right wants is not an end to judicial activism. They want judicial activism. They want pro-faith judicial activism. How many dozens of judges came down against the religious right in the Schiavo matter? Over thirty? That should indicate to the religious right that the law was against them, and the judges were merely applying the law. That is their agenda — applying the law. They have not set out, en masse, as an army, to hurt you. And your (ersatz) paranoia about judges is laughable.

Now, normally the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration would not merit any attention, but this group is made up of heavy hitters, including Falwell and Schlafly. They have $$$$$.

So what was their two-day judge-bashing festival like? Well, according to one report, there was a lot of anger, confusion and sadness at how the Republicans backpeddled on judiciary-related issues (like Schiavo) when it became clear that the vast majority of the public was against them. (This should be a hint to the Judeo-Christian Council that they represent a minority of Americans, not a majority of them, including Judeo-Christians).

Oddly enough, much of the wrath (these Judeo-Christians have a bottomless pit of wrath, it seems) fell upon conservative Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy (a Reagan appointee). According to WaPo, members at the conference decided that he should be — get this — impeached.

You know why? Because (among other things) he sided with the majority on the court for striking down Texas’ anti-sodomy statute. That’s right. Kennedy — and only Kennedy — should be impeached because he took the position that government cannot and should not regulate the manner in which two consenting adults fuck. Apparently, the Judeo-Christian Council on Constitutional Restoration thinks that the original Constitution (you know, before judicial activists started pissing all over it) allowed governments to come into your bedroom and make those kind of decisions on your behalf — because you are too much of a heathen to know "good" from "bad", and "right" from "wrong".

Edwin Vieira, the lawyer who suggested that Kennedy be impeached because he struck down the Texas anti-sodomy law, also quoted from — get this — Joseph Stalin. Specifically, he thought that Stalin’s "bottom line" solution of "no man, no problem" would work well with the Supreme Court.

Yes, Stalin. The genocidal dictator of the Soviet Union.

Of course, Vieira also thinks that paper money is unconstitutional. So… clearly a whacko.

The New Enemy?

Ken AshfordGodstuffLeave a Comment

Crusades Rolling Stone has a truly frightening article on a truly frightening movement:

It’s February, and 900 of America’s staunchest Christian fundamentalists have gathered in Fort Lauderdale to look back on what they accomplished in last year’s election — and to plan what’s next…But despite their unprecedented power, fundamentalists still see themselves as a persecuted minority, waging a holy war against the godless forces of secularism. To rouse themselves, they kick off the festivities with "Soldiers of the Cross, Arise," the bloodthirstiest tune in all of Christendom: "Seize your armor, gird it on/Now the battle will be won/Soon, your enemies all slain/Crowns of glory you shall gain."

Meet the Dominionists — biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government. As the far-right wing of the evangelical movement, Dominionists are pressing an agenda that makes Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America look like the Communist Manifesto. They want to rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American history, pack the nation’s courts with judges who follow Old Testament law, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have abortions. In Florida, when the courts ordered Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube removed, it was the Dominionists who organized round-the-clock protests and issued a fiery call for Gov. Jeb Bush to defy the law and take Schiavo into state custody. Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a "faith-based" government that will endure far longer than Bush’s presidency — all the way until Jesus comes back.

The godfather of the Dominionists is D. James Kennedy, the most influential evangelical you’ve never heard of. A former Arthur Murray dance instructor, he launched his Florida ministry in 1959, when most evangelicals still followed Billy Graham’s gospel of nonpartisan soul-saving. Kennedy built Coral Ridge Ministries into a $37-million-a-year empire, with a TV-and-radio audience of 3 million, by preaching that it was time to save America — not soul by soul but election by election. After helping found the Moral Majority in 1979, Kennedy became a five-star general in the Christian army. Bush sought his blessing before running for president — and continues to consult top Dominionists on matters of federal policy.

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost," Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."

It helps that Dominionists have a direct line to the White House: The Rev. Richard Land, top lobbyist for the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, enjoys a weekly conference call with top Bush advisers including Karl Rove. "We’ve got the Holy Spirit’s wind at our backs!" Land declares in an arm-waving, red-faced speech. He takes particular aim at the threat posed by John Lennon, denouncing "Imagine" as a "secular anthem" that envisions a future of "clone plantations, child sacrifice, legalized polygamy and hard-core porn."

The Dominionists are also stepping up efforts to turn public schools into forums for evangelism. In a landmark case, the Alliance Defense Fund is suing a California school district that threatened to dismiss a born-again teacher who was evangelizing fifth-graders. In the conference’s opening ceremony, the Dominionists recite an oath they dream of hearing in every classroom: "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe."

Not to worry, says Paul Weldman at The Gadflyer:

Please, my secular friends, don’t think that most Christians believe this stuff. The dominant trend in Christianity today is the Purpose-Driven, super-casual megachurch, where you can grab a latte on your way in, it’s OK if you wear shorts to Sunday service, and the sermon is more Oprah Winfrey than Oral Roberts. Take in a few minutes of a sermon by Joel Osteen, the hottest young pastor on the scene (just flick around at night at the top end of your cable channels – you’ll run into him), and you begin to think that accepting Jesus isn’t so much about eternal life and ultimate truth, but more about getting along with your spouse, being effective and happy in your job, and being smart with your money.

Paul, I agree that most Christians are not as fanatical and dangerous as the Dominionists.  That is because most Christians understand about humility and free will, and how government imposition of faith not only goes against the Constitution, but it goes against the tenets of Christianity as well.

The problem is that the fundamentalist Christian movement is well-financed and very vocal.  Look how much free press they got in the Schiavo matter, even though most of the country — including most Christians — disagreed with them.  And what happens is that you almost never hear about the religious left — you know, people who think Jesus was about helping the poor (instead of giving tax cuts to the rich) and not killing people (instead of going to war).

So, Pat — the Dominionists, traitors not only to the Gospel but to the founding principles of this country, must be stopped.  Not because I have a problem with the views they hold; but because they have a problem with the views everybody else holds.  Hell, they admit it.  If it were up to them, nobody would be a free thinker.  And when you remove the ability to think freely, you remove the esseence of what it is to be free.

The Journalism & Blogging Panel

Ken AshfordBloggingLeave a Comment

For those who missed it on C-Span yesterday, I will answer the questions you want to know:

1.  Yes, Jeff Gannon is really amazingly stupid.

2.  No, Wonkette did not talk about ass-fucking.  I think she was aware she was on C-Span.  In fact, she did quite well, as did Matt.

Digby has some nice comments.

Conservatives Scare Me Sometimes

Ken AshfordRepublicansLeave a Comment

Read this, from Kevin Drum:

FRINGE WATCH….Dana Milbank reports today on the escalating rhetoric at a recent conservative conference about out-of-control judges. First came Phyllis Schlafly, suggesting that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy ought to be impeached. Up next was Michael Farris, who said that not only should Kennedy be impeached, but so should anyone who voted against impeaching him. Then there was the climax of the day:

Not to be outdone, lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."

Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: ‘no man, no problem,’ " Vieira said.

The full Stalin quote, for those who don’t recognize it, is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem."

Lovely. But here’s the scariest part: as Milbank says, "This was no collection of fringe characters."

He’s right. Increasingly, this is the mainstream of the Republican party. It’s time for some housecleaning, folks.

The Debate Link has more.