Huckabee: Politics is Like Taking a Dump

Talking Points Memo brings us a bizarre excerpt from a speech Mike Huckabee gave Tuesday night in Iowa.

You see, I have a concern that one of the reasons we lose battles we should win is because we wait to see whether or not the crowd is going to be with us. … Because the fact is we don’t like to do things by ourselves. We really don’t. Guys like to go fishing with other men. They like to go hunting with other men. Women like to go to the restroom with other women. I don’t get that. I can tell you this much: if I ever say, ‘I have to go to the restroom’ and some guy says, ‘I’ll go with you,’ he ain’t goin’ with me. That much I know.

So real men should be willing to take political stands on their own, just like they go to the bathroom on their own? The two are similar? That explains a good number of recent Republican political stands.

Facebook Getting Greedier

Will Oremus at Slate defends Facebook’s apparently immanent decision to charge brands to have their posts seen by fans of their Facebook pages.

People don’t really like seeing a bunch of ads in their news feed. They like seeing updates from friends and family, funny YouTube videos, and maybe some news stories about topics they’re interested in. So Facebook has decided to show them fewer self-promotional posts from businesses and more of all the other stuff. Doesn’t sound quite so nefarious when you think of it that way, does it?

No. But is that the right way to think about it? Here’s Oremus describing the upcoming change. I’ve bolded a few words for him.

Facebook is in the process of slashing brands’ “organic page reach” to just 1 or 2 percent. That means only a tiny fraction of the people who have liked a business on Facebook will see each of its posts in their news feed, unless that company pays Facebook for wider promotion.

These people have liked the pages. If they’re annoyed at the advertising they see, they can unlike the pages. Facebook’s claim of serving users is transparently dishonest; they’re taking the control out of the users’ hands. They’ve convinced businesses to invest time, money, and energy into promoting their Facebook pages and now, after the fact, they’re changing the rules.

Republicans Think We’re Stupid: “What Are We Voting For, Again?” Edition

More evidence that Republicans think voters are stupid: Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus claims that Mitt Romney actually beat President Obama on the issues, and that

he won on the question of, “Who do you actually think would make a better president?”

How, then, could Romney have lost the election?

where he lost was on the question of, “Who cares about you?”

If Priebus really believes this, he apparently thinks Romney would have won if only voters had understood that rather than voting for Most Popular, they were supposed to be electing a president.

Fear: A Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card?

The Oscar Pistorius trial, about to get under way, confuses and alarms me. I had the same reaction to the Micheal Dunn case, in which Dunn’s defense for killing one teen and injuring others was that he thought he was being threatened by a non-existent gun.

Pistorius killed his girlfriend by shooting her through a bathroom door. She was unarmed and in no possible way a threat to his safety. He says he thought she was a burglar. If he’s telling the truth, the killing (I suppose) was not premeditated murder (though why the “burglar” had to be killed is a real question). But if it wasn’t murder, does that mean it wasn’t a crime? The fact that he’s not currently in custody suggests the possibility that he is, by law, completely innocent.

Is it legally acceptable to do anything at all–including killing someone who is in no way threatening us–as long as we’re frightened when we do it?

Cheap Hunting License?

[F]ormer Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli… and three partners have launched Virginia Self Defense Law, a firm focused on defending Second Amendment rights. … “A legal retainer with Virginia Self Defense Law costs as little as $8.33 a month — less than half the cost of a hunting license,” the firm’s Web site says. … For that price, the firm promises to defend clients facing firearms charges stemming from an act of self defense

Washington Post

I wonder whether Cuccinelli and company have thought this through. The firm argues that it will do well financially because gun owners tend to be law-abiding. That may be, but won’t the self-selecting subset of gun owners who retain this service be among the most trigger happy? And won’t it be hard to convince a jury that your client acted in self-defense if he hired you defend him before the confrontation occurred?

More importantly, will a jury be right to consider that this firm was hired in advance because the defendant was eager to use his weapon? Will this service make clients feel more free than ever to fire away?

Christie: Vindictive or Just Incompetent?

Coverage of David Wildstein’s claim that evidence shows Chris Christie knew about the closure of lanes of the George Washington Bridge while it was in effect has focused on the fact that, if true, it would show Christie lied. Lying to the people you were elected to serve is bad, but there’s something even more basic going on. If Christie knew about the closure, why didn’t he get those lanes open?

Somebody, for no good reason, closes lanes on your state’s most used bridge, hugely inconveniencing, according to some reports, millions of your constituents and, by impeding emergency services, endangering lives. Isn’t this exactly the sort of thing we elect governors to fix, if not prevent?

Not knowing about something as important as this shows Christie and his staff to be out of touch with what’s going on in their state, but the only other possibilities are that Christie approved of the closure, or that he didn’t think it was important enough to do anything about.

Remembering MLK’s Actual Words

Back when I posted here more regularly, one of my proudest posts was simply collecting Martin Luther King quotes on income inequality. Consider it your antidote to idiots such as Sarah Palin, who use Martin Luther King’s birthday as an excuse to berate people for mentioning how racial discrimination in the U.S. often leads to inequality. Palin’s prescription for overcoming discrimination is to ignore it, which is why it helps to remember King’s own words, particularly when it comes to the poorest among us.

Christie’s Bipartisan Credentials at Risk

The Christie bridge scandal could weaken Christie’s presidential campaign in a way I haven’t yet seen mentioned. Christie’s main strength is his appeal to independents and Democrats. This is seen as a liability in the Republican primaries but a crucial benefit in the general election, making him the Mitt Romney of 2016.

We keep hearing that Christie or his staff snarled Fort Lee traffic because its mayor was one of the few Democrats in New Jersey who didn’t endorse Christie’s reelection as governor. Did all those other Democrats endorse him because they thought he’d been a great governor, or because they understood there might be consequences if they refused? Will non-Republicans continue to see Christie as someone who has cooperated with Democrats to get things done in his state, or will they now wonder whether Christie has simply bullied Democrats into doing what he wanted them to do?

Friday Night Zodiac Cat – Saggittarius

Buzzfeed has the full repertoire of Zodiac cats.

November 22 – December 21: Sagittarius Cats are always optimistic and excited about the future and never dwell in the past. If you are a Sagittarius Cat, you are the kind of cat who thinks feeding time is always just around the corner, even if you just had breakfast.

Sagittarius Cat

Wednesday Night Zodiac Cat – Scorpio

Buzzfeed has the full repertoire of Zodiac cats.

October 23 – November 21: Scorpio Cats are very deep and intense. They seem cool and detached, but deep down they are incredibly passionate about deep important cat questions like “If a sunbeam moves but you are too lazy to get up and go back to sleep in it, does it still really exist?”

Scorpio Cat

Great Songs, Lousy Lyrics: the Bee Gees

It took me a long time to appreciate the Bee Gees. Their huge popularity was reason enough for the junior high schooler I was to look down my nose at them–but their lyrics gave me plenty of other reasons.

Now, I listen to them as much as any pop group, but there’s still enough of that snooty kid in me that their lyrics grate. Many pop lyrics share the same problems, but whether because I listen to these songs more, or because the slickness of the music makes me expect more craft in the words, the problems bother me more in the Bee Gees’ songs.
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The Debt Ceiling is NOT a Progressive Issue

This morning I got a message from Credo Action, whose actions I usually support, encouraging me to

Tell Congress: Abolish the debt limit

I strongly hope this doesn’t become a progressive rallying cry.

Harry Reid recognized how foolish it would have been to allow raising the ceiling to be accepted as a concession from Republicans. It would be even more foolish to make abolishing it a progressive issue.

The limit is bad policy, impeding the government’s functioning, but a properly functioning government benefits conservatives as much as liberals. Advocating for abolishing the limit will take energy from true progressive causes (mitigating climate change, anyone?) AND make it easy for conservatives to paint progressives as eager for unlimited spending.

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