Tag Archives: Current Events

Kim Davis Again? Ugh


But wait, there’s more:

Vatican says private ‘audience’ in D.C. was with gay ex-student, not Kim Davis

week after Pope Francis met Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for her refusal to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, the Vatican on Friday suggested that she exploited the meeting to promote her views, denied that the pope fully supports her and cast doubt on her account of the encounter.

The Vatican later noted that Francis did have a private “audience” in Washington with a former student of the pope, Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentine who along with his longtime partner and some friends met with Francis.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement that Grassi, “who had already met other times in the past with the pope, asked to present several friends to the pope during the pope’s stay in Washington, D.C.”

A video posted online shows Grassi embracing the pope and introducing him to his partner, as well as an Argentine woman and some Asian friends.

The statements together seemed intended to distance the pope from Davis.

I think that should put a stop to this Kim Davis bullshit. Back into obscurity with you, idiots.


I told ya so:

In a formal statement, the Vatican said Friday that Pope Francis’s meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis “should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

The statement, issued by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, said it was not a “real audience,” suggesting that she was among a group that gathered to greet him and send him off.

I said it was a PR ploy by Liberty Counsel, a pathetic attempt to find some influential cultural figure to endorse their position. And even that was a fail. And the entire U.S. media got pwned. Again.

Well, at least it wasn’t WMDs this time.


Since we have to keep talking about Kim Davis because she will not go away, people! let me explain to my liberal friends why I’m not concerned at all that she met with Pope Francis last week.

When I first heard this story I immediately thought it was a hoax. Then I thought it was just sad. To see Davis and Liberty Counsel shamelessly milk this event for all it’s worth reminded me of when the National Review released its lists of the top 25 conservative movies and songs. The poor dears! So desperate for some kind of cultural relevance! Pope Francis is a transformative cultural figure, and his U.S. visit was historic. It inspired people of all faiths from coast to coast. Of course this group would try to latch on to that, just like a flea tries to jump on a big dog. Gotta grab a little of this reflected admiration (and media attention), after all!

It’s a pathetic thing to watch. Liberty Counsel’s adolescent “see, I told you so!” moment falls apart when you remember that Pope Francis said nothing about gay marriage while visiting the U.S. But he did talk a lot about climate change, Christians’ responsibility to care for the earth, ending the death penalty, welcoming immigrants, and empowering the poor. So yeah, I’ll believe Liberty Counsel and U.S. fundiegelicals give a crap about Pope Francis when they take up those issues.


I mean, seriously. Remember when conservatives were all like “shut up, Pope Francis!” And now they’re all like, “we love Pope Francis!” Puh-leeze.This whole bit of political theater has evolved in a completely predictable manner. And it will be forgotten tomorrow as we move on to the next shiny-sparkly thing.

Meanwhile, the culture marches on toward inclusiveness while conservatives find themselves ever more marginalized.


Filed under GLBT, religion, religious right

Grab The Popcorn


Boehner’s Communications Director, yesterday:

“He’s not going anywhere,” said Boehner’s communications director Kevin Smith. “If there’s a small crew of members who think that he’s just going to pick up and resign in the middle of his term, they are going to be sadly mistaken.”

Nobody really saw this coming. Wow.


Bye, bye Boehner and boy it’s gonna be fun to see who the Teanuts rally behind. Personally, I hope they pick the craziest Wackaloon in the Tea Party caucus. Louie Gohmert? Marsha Blackburn? Steve King? Scott DesJarlais?

As we march into an election year, with the House of Representatives in the hands of the craziest of the crazy, whose only reason to exist is to grandstand and pout and tamp their widdew feet over Obamacare and abortion, I think a Speaker Gohmert or Blackburn would effectively kill off the Republican brand for good.

Good riddance.


Filed under Congress, politics, Republican Party

What It Takes To Be A Fox News Expert

[UPDATE]: Welcome, Crooks & Liars!

By now you’ve no doubt heard of the Fox News terrorism “expert” who made ludicrous claims about the Muslim population of Britain, in particular that

[…] in London “Muslim religious police” beat “anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire”.

and that Birmingham is

a “Muslim-only city” where non-Muslims “don’t go” […]

This of course prompted the hilarious #FoxNewsFacts hashtag on Twitter, which has mocked Fox News and Steve Emerson for days. This is all very cute but Emerson is a far more nefarious figure than merely the buffoon who trusted a bad source. And media coverage of a Twitter hashtag has completely overlooked the bigger story here, which is that Fox News has been promoting a professional hatemonger and, it appears, scam artist.

Four years ago during the Murfreesboro mosque controversy our local fishwrap profiled Emerson, who profits from spreading fear and hate of Muslims (warning, link has one of those obnoxious auto-start video ads which I despise, so you may want to turn the sound off):

Steven Emerson has 3,390,000 reasons to fear Muslims.

That’s how many dollars Emerson’s for-profit company — Washington-based SAE Productions — collected in 2008 for researching alleged ties between American Muslims and overseas terrorism. The payment came from the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation, a nonprofit charity Emerson also founded, which solicits money by telling donors they’re in imminent danger from Muslims.

Holy grift, Batman! Emerson founded a tax-exempt organization to solicit donations from the gullible, which are then funneled to his for-profit corporation? How is this not fraud?

Emerson is a leading member of a multimillion-dollar industry of self-proclaimed experts who spread hate toward Muslims in books and movies, on websites and through speaking appearances.

Leaders of the so-called “anti-jihad” movement portray themselves as patriots, defending America against radical Islam. And they’ve found an eager audience in ultra-conservative Christians and mosque opponents in Middle Tennessee. One national consultant testified in an ongoing lawsuit aimed at stopping a new Murfreesboro mosque.

But beyond the rhetoric, Emerson’s organization’s tax-exempt status is facing questions at the same time he’s accusing Muslim groups of tax improprieties.

“Basically, you have a nonprofit acting as a front organization, and all that money going to a for-profit,” said Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog group. “It’s wrong. This is off the charts.”

So, profiting from spreading fear and lies… sounds about right! And the wingnut welfare gravy train rolls on.

You can read a few of Emerson’s other greatest hits here. My favorite?

In 1998, Emerson helped push a story that claimed that a “senior Pakistani weapons scientist who has defected” was saying that “Pakistan was planning nuclear first strike on India” (Observer, 6/28/98). The supposed scientist turned out to be “a former low-level accountant at a company that makes bathroom fixtures” (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/3/98) and a fraud (USA Today, 7/7/98)–but not before Emerson’s behind-the-scenes promotion of the bogus tale helped push rivals Pakistan and India closer to nuclear war (Extra!, 1-2/99).

This is what passes for an “expert” on Fox News. Why other journalists aren’t seriously offended that this kind of hackery is going on in their midst is beyond me. They’re letting Fox News discredit an entire profession.


Filed under FOX NEWS, media, right-wing hate

The Question Must Be Asked

Gotta wonder if we’d all be Charlie if Islam weren’t in the equation. Hard to tell, of course. But we do have recent history to inform us as we ask the question.

Were we all Unitarians when a gay-hating, right-wing crazy shot up a Unitarian Universalist church in East Tennessee? No, we were not.

Were we all Planned Parenthood when an anti-abortion extremist murdered Dr. George Tiller as he handed out programs at his church? No, we were not. (Indeed, Bill O’Reilly, who ginned up much of the hatred of Dr. Tiller with a string of violent hyperoble, claimed any attempt to blame him for the murder was typical liberal propaganda).

So clearly it’s not the violent act which has spawned this outpouring of support.

And don’t tell me it’s all about free speech, either. No one on the right seemed to notice when Gov. Bill Haslam passed this law back in 2011.

I really think there’s a lot of hypocrisy going on in this discussion of the tragic events in Paris. Maybe we’ll get around to talking about that some day, too.


Filed under Housekeeping

I’m Not Charlie, or, Why Does Everyone Have To Be So Mean?

I don’t believe in censorship. Nor am I calling for censorship. But I don’t understand why we, collectively, don’t ask people to show a little self-censorship when it comes to being offensive, intolerant and bigoted.

Lord knows we expect it of blowhards like Rush Limbaugh when they go on one their racist or sexist tirades.

Lord knows we expect it of all the homophobic preachers and NOM activists who have unleashed a torrent of anti-gay bigotry as marriage equality has spread from state to state.

Lord knows we expect it of ubiquitous purveyors of hate speech like Ann Coulter.

Lord knows we expected it of Bill Hobbs when he published that “Mohammed Blows” cartoon on his blog back in 2006.

But for some reason now that idle threats have turned into a despicable, vile, violent act of murder, suddenly it’s okay? Suddenly we have an obligation to spread the same offensive, anti-Muslim images because, freedom? Seriously?

You want to defend free speech? Then take up the cause of the Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt.

You want to fight terrorism? Then condemn the bombing of the Colorado Springs office of the NAACP two days ago (something which the mainstream media has given little attention to, in light of their “if it bleeds, it leads” SOP.) Get to work fighting the poverty, inequality and injustice (yes, even in France) that breeds these diseases. Republishing cartoons that show Mohammed being sodomized is the lazy way out. Reprinting offensive materials to show you won’t be bullied doesn’t prove you’re free, it shows you haven’t evolved beyond the maturity of a kindergartener.

I don’t get it. I don’t get why we don’t expect better of ourselves and others. If lowering yourself to a level where offending people is your best show of support for victims of violence, if that’s the best way you can stand up for freedom, you’re doing it wrong.

The world needs to grow up and fast, because we’re not going to get many more chances to get it right.


Filed under Current Events, free speech, media, Media, terrorism

What We Do Here In Nashville

Nashville’s chief of police Steve Anderson wrote an incredibly thoughtful response to a critic of the department’s handling of #BlackLivesMatter protests here.

Here in Nashville, protestors were allowed to (briefly) shut down major roadways, including I-24 running through downtown. Here’s how the first night of protests, back in November, went:

Instead of responding with arrests or tear gas, Anderson shut down I-24 to allow the demonstrators to stage their protest safely. As he told reporters during a press conference, it was his duty: “We have to safeguard life, even if people put themselves in some peril.” Anderson further noted that arresting protesters one by one would have taken hours; instead, after about 25 minutes, police reopened the highway, and protesters continued on their way.


In essence, Nashville’s police department made a decision to treat the protests like a parade, an event at which the law enforcement role is to provide security, not confront danger. Officers even greeted protesters with hot chocolate when they showed up at the police department. When the protesters went off script, taking to the highway unexpectedly, the police response didn’t vary. According to Anderson, a group of ministers showed up the following day, “bright and early, just to tell us how proud they were of what went on last night”—a response that he attributed to the close relationships between the department and community groups.

“In Nashville, if you want to come to a public forum and express your thoughts, even if they’re against the government, you’re going to get your First Amendment protection, and you’re going to be treated fairly by the police officers involved,” Anderson said. “That’s what we do here in Nashville.”

A few folks of a more punitive inclination weren’t happy about that, and Chief Anderson shared an email he received about it, which our local paper has reprinted. The critic wrote that he (or she) raised their children to respect the police, wondered if the MNPD was getting pressure from Mayor Dean to not make arrests, and criticized the response as “putting the department at disharmony from the majority of the citizens.”

After assuring the writer that the department’s response was made without any interference from Mayor Dean, Chief Anderson wrote:

As imperfect humans, we have a tendency to limit our association with other persons to those persons who are most like us. Unfortunately, there is even more of a human tendency to stay within our comfort zone by further narrowing those associations to those persons who share our thoughts and opinions. By doing this we can avoid giving consideration to thoughts and ideas different than our own. This would make us uncomfortable. By considering only the thoughts and ideas we are in agreement with, we stay in our comfort zone. Our own biases get reinforced and reflected back at us leaving no room for any opinion but our own. By doing this, we often convince ourselves that the majority of the world shares opinion and that anyone with another opinion is, obviously, wrong.

In other words, your is not the majority opinion. And then this little nugget:

It is somewhat perplexing when children are injected into the conversation as an attempt to bolster a position or as an attempt to thwart the position of another. While this is not the type of conversation I ordinarily engage in, here are some thoughts you may find useful as you talk with your son.

First, it is laudable that you are teaching your son respect for the police and other authority figures. However, a better lesson might be that it is the government the police serve that should be respected. The police are merely a representative of a government formed by the people for the people—for all people. Being respectful of the government would mean being respectful of all persons, no matter what their views.

Exactly. Because government isn’t a building somewhere, it’s people. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

Thank you, Chief Anderson, for reminding us all of that. Kudos.


Filed under Current Events, Nashville, racism

Rich Lowry: Asshole Of The Day

The editor of the conservative National Review, on Twitter tonight:


This, of course, is in reference to the killing of two New York City police officers today by a crazy person who had earlier in the day shot his girlfriend and ended up shooting and killing himself.

Trying to tarnish an entire national movement by highlighting the horribles words or actions of a few individuals is, of course, a favorite political pastime. It’s not something that legitimate pundits and journalists usually indulge in. But then, National Review has always been known more for demagoguery than reasoned intellectual discourse.


Memory hole, June 2014:

Jerad Miller, 31, then covered the officers with a Gadsden flag — a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words “Don’t Tread on Me” — and placed a note with a swastika symbol on one officer’s body, according to police officials speaking at the news conference.

Someone remind me: was the Tea Party asked to answer for Jerad and Amanda Miller, who struck down two police officers as they ate pizza on their lunch break?


Filed under conservatives, gun violence, National Review