Tag Archives: Republican Party

Brute Strength

We all know conservatives have Daddy Issues, but fer crying out loud, they’ve actually started worshipping dictators and authoritarians? First Hugh Hewitt praises Vladimir Putin for being a “strong leader” compared to our “weak” POTUS, and then this from Republican pollster and political spinmeister Frank Luntz:



He knows that people who don’t profess support for North Korea’s dear leader find themselves before a firing squad, right? Was this supposed to be a joke?

Is this some kind of projection resulting from their own cultural impotence?


Filed under conservatives, Republican Party

Problems With Symbols

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that a party which has turned dog-whistle politics into an art form has run into trouble with its use of a controversial symbol. But c’mon, guys. Just ‘fess up, apologize, say you screwed up, and get on with your lives.

I mean, really: a “Sheriff’s star”? That’s as hilarious as when Sarah Palin claimed those crosshairs on her ad targeting Democrats were “surveyor’s marks” after Gabby Giffords was shot.

Or that time the Republican Party claimed the Confederate Flag wasn’t racist, just “misunderstood.”

I think it’s pretty funny when the Republican Party uses these images and symbols and then tries to tell everyone that you didn’t really see what you know damn well they wanted you to see.


Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Republican Party

Rep. Martin Daniel: Worst Person In The World


Martin Daniel tried to delete his racist Twitter rant. Sorry, buddy. The internet never forgets. Ha ha ha ha:




Tennessee Republican State Rep. Martin Daniel of Knoxville took to Twitter last night to spout a string of racist Tweets about Muhammad Ali, whom he insisted on referring to by his given name, Cassius Clay. Some examples:

Daniel 2

Martin Daniel 1

Interestingly, Daniel is a big supporter of Donald Trump, who received a whopping five deferments, and then lied about it until he got busted by ABC News. Daniel also does not appear to have served. But hey, nothing says “support the troops” like using them as shields for your racism.

The response on Twitter was swift and severe, prompting Daniel to dig even deeper:

daniel 3

Yes, some anonymous person saying something mean on Twitter is totally the same as a member of the state legislature being racist and offensive about an American icon.

If this social media shit storm plays out in the usual manner, I predict Rep. Daniel will claim he received death threats, because of course he’s the real victim, right? Republicans always are.

By the way, Rep. Daniel was recently in the news for expressing his outrage over a Civil Rights reading exercise his fourth-grader brought home.


Filed under racism, Republican Party, Tennessee

TSA Lines: Is Feature Not Bug

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Republicans in Congress cut an agency’s budget, then point to the resulting chaos they’ve created and cry, “See! Government doesn’t work! We must privatize!”

Lather, rinse, repeat. Amiright?

The T.S.A.’s work force and budgets have in fact been shrinking. The agency’s rolls have declined to about 44,900 screeners today from 47,000 in 2013, even as passenger travel has increased by 15 percent. But it is also true that it has been plagued by mismanagement and other problems of its own making. An unloved stepchild of the Department of Homeland Security, the T.S.A. has suffered through continual turnover in leadership, repeated misconduct by senior managers, low staff morale and high rates of attrition among screeners.


Not all the T.S.A.’s troubles can be blamed on missteps by the agency. The dysfunction has been compounded by an earlier 2013 bipartisan budget deal negotiated between Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, and Representative Paul D. Ryan, the current House speaker, to avert a government shutdown.

The deal set the security fee assessed on each segment of a plane trip to $5.60, but called for 60 cents of that fee to be diverted from the T.S.A. to pay down the national debt. This year, $1.25 billion in fees is going into the Treasury instead of paying for screeners and new equipment.

Seriously, we’re diverting funds from TSA to pay down the national debt? That just screams Republican fiscal idiocy, doesn’t it? Republicans keep telling us that “debt is like slavery,” after all. Quit whining America and enjoy your three-hour TSA line. It’s just more freedom!

And gee, I can’t imagine why morale is low, what with folks like TN Rep. Marsha Blackburn constantly attacking TSA employees on everything from their uniforms and badges to alleging “pedophiles and child pornographers” are doing pat-downs.

I try to be nice to the TSA when I travel. They have a thankless job. And honestly, the last few times we’ve traveled, TSA has not been the problem. Our last three trips were to Seattle, New York City and San Francisco — all major international airports — and we changed in O’Hare, D.C., and Dallas. Again: TSA was not the problem. The problem was our airline. The last two times we traveled, there was a “mechanical malfunction” preventing our plane from even getting to the airport. The result was hours and hours and hours of waiting, eventual rebooking of flights, lots of angst and frustration, and a big chunk of our vacation time gone like a fart in the breeze.

TSA was not to blame. American Airlines was to blame. We were kept uninformed about the nature of the delays, instead given new departure updates every hour — only to see that departure time whoosh by just as it approached. Again. And again. Finally we were told our plane is still in Raleigh or wherever because of a mechanical failure (something they’d known from the get-go but hadn’t told us). And even though you’re at a fucking airport filled with planes, they can’t just pull a new one over to the gate. No, that would be too easy. They have to bring one in from somewhere else and that will happen in about three and a half hours and, oh, you’ve already been here for three hours? Sorry and thanks for flying American Airlines.

Seriously, fuck you people. The last time that happened (last month, actually, so yes, the anger is still very fresh) we were at LaGuardia airport, which is like a third world airport. There are literally no services in the American Airlines terminal once you get past TSA. You can’t score a beer or glass of wine, you can’t grab a sandwich. There’s an Au Bon Pain kiosk with cellophane-wrapped sandwiches and soft drinks and people that is it. You know, if you’re going to trap people in a gray linoleum hell for an entire day, at least give us some dang alcohol to soften the blow.

We were actually stuck there for five hours, when we could have been enjoying all that New York City has to offer, if only American Airlines had informed us that our flight was basically cancelled. But noooo. I eventually lost my cool, rebooked us on another flight that went through Washington D.C., whereupon we were ushered onto buses that took us to a different terminal. And helloooo paradise! This terminal was new, had bars, restaurants, air conditioning, there was even blue carpeting, people! I felt like a lost soul who had wandered into an oasis. I had no idea this wonderful place existed at LaGuardia airport. All my life, LaGuardia has been sterile gray linoleum, bags of Doritos, and not enough chairs.

Incidentally, a woman on our flight told us that the exact same “mechanical failure” thing had happened on her last four flights. Either the American Airlines fleet is in serious disrepair, or they’re just trotting out that excuse because they know passengers will accept a delay over a mechanical failure more easily than some other excuse.

Anyway, I’m done with air travel for now. The airlines need to get their shit together. We pay waaaay too much money for airline tickets to be dicked around because you can’t get the actual plane to the airport. I mean, I did my part: I showed up on time. I left enough time for security. I held up my end of the bargain. American Airlines, not so much.

Our next vacation is in August. We’re driving.


Filed under air travel, American Airlines, travel, TSA

I Don’t Always Fail, But When I Do….

…. I do so spectacularly.

I’m on record about a dozen times saying Donald Trump would never, ever win the Republican Party’s presidential primary. I just had more faith in Republican voters than that.

Looks like I misjudged how crazy Republicans truly are.

Sorry, folks.


Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Republican Party, Republicans

Would Someone Help Republicans Find Their Way Out Of The Bathroom, Please


From comments, Candy nails something that Mr. Beale and I have discussed at length:

And those companies who decide not to bring jobs to NC because of the bill…. well, that’s just good riddance to liberal businesses they didn’t want there to begin with.

This is exactly right. It’s a type of hippie-punching we see in the South, where our legislatures are dominated by rural right-wingers but our states’ economic drivers are in the liberal urban areas. I don’t think Rep. Susan Lynn or Sen. Mike Bell, both from the hinterlands, give one fat whoop over whether Google Fiber leaves Nashville or if conventions flee our Music City Center. They’d think we’re just getting what we deserve! They would be perfectly happy if every liberal left Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville. They don’t care if our cities lose jobs, hell they applaud it.

These are not ordinary Republicans. They are radical ideologues, drunk on self-righteous indignation at liberal values. They are only too happy when Bruce Springsteen cancels his Greensboro concert and PayPal decides not to expand in Charlotte. This is what they want, after all.

They don’t feel the pain. For that, some Amazon.com fulfillment center in Murfreesboro (home to Sen. Bill Ketron) would have to close. VW would have to leave Chattanooga, and take all of their parts suppliers with them. The Gap distribution center in Gallatin would have to leave. The blowback would have to hit some of these job-strapped rural communities, the very places who elect the Fundiegelical Neanderthals to our legislature in the first place. Don’t punish Nashville, we’re not the ones who elected Susan Lynn to the state House!

But even then, would they change? Hell, no. They’d still blame liberals for “ramming our values down their throats,” even though it’s their own backwards over-reaction causing the pain. Why? Because there is no political solution to a psychological problem. Conservative ressentiment is a real thing. From that old chestnut by Julian Sanchez, gone from the internet but still surviving in the odd excerpt one can occasionally find on the blogosphere:

Even if conservatives retook power, they wouldn’t be able to provide a political solution to a psychological problem, assuming they’re not willing to go the Pol Pot route. At the same time, it signals a resignation to impotence on the cultural front where the real conflict lies. It effectively says: We cede to the bogeyman cultural elites the power of stereotypical definition, so becoming the stereotype more fully and grotesquely is our only means of empowerment.

Just let that thought sink in for a moment. Powerfully true, and unfolding before our very eyes.


The last time Tennessee Republicans were worried about the state’s bathrooms, they had mistaken a mop sink for a Muslim-Sharia prayer thingie.

Now they’re back in the toilet with two ridiculous bathroom bills making their way through the state House and Senate:

Bathroom restriction bill: House Bill 2414/Senate Bill 2387

Sponsors: Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet

Purpose: This bill would restrict bathroom use in public schools and colleges based on the sex listed on one’s birth certificate. The state faces a $1 billion federal penalty for Title IX gender discrimination violation.

Status: This had been set aside to summer study but was revised by a House committee. It will next be considered by the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.

I haven’t read either the House of Senate version of these bills, and I probably should. The legislation was written to attack transgendered people, but it seems to me that it affects everyone. What about caregivers of the elderly and disabled, parents of small children, etc.? If you’re going to a game or sporting event at a public college and your wheelchair-bound parent, spouse, child, whatever needs to use the restroom, what do you do if you’re not the same gender? I think about this stuff because my mom was in a wheelchair for a few years before she died. She still went out and participated in community activities, and that meant using public restrooms in public places. Yes, I’ve changed adult diapers. What if it had been my dad? Which bathroom would we use? Or would we have had to shove the wheelchair in the bathroom and say, “you’re on your own, pops!”

Parents of young children deal with this issue all the time. Dads take their toddler girls into the men’s room, moms take their young boy children into the women’s restroom. Nobody has freaked out, near as I can tell. I see little boys in public restrooms with mom, I’ve managed to survive. What’s mom supposed to do with her 2-year-old now? Break the law?

What I don’t want is to be using the public bathroom and have someone with a full beard walk in, and not know if this is a man with a creepy bathroom fetish or some poor transgendered person forced to use the women’s restroom. What am I supposed to do, ask this person to drop trou so I can check under the hood? No thanks, Republicans. That’s waaay above my pay grade. This was a ridiculous “answer” to a non-existent “problem.”

So I don’t get how this is supposed to work. But I feel pretty confident that our governor is going to veto it, based on what’s happened to other states which have passed similar legislation. North Carolina’s governor didn’t veto that state’s bathroom bill, and now the NBA is moving the 2017 All Star Game out of the state.

And that’s not all:

Since Governor Pat McCrory signed HB2 into law last month, well over 1,000 jobs have been moved out of state, and over 100 companies, including Facebook, Apple and Stop Pack, have expressed concern or anger, warning they may move or cancel plans to expand, costing the state millions of dollars. In addition to that, by not hosting the 2017 NBA All-Star game, the state stands to lose even more. It is uncertain the exact figure, but in 2014, the All-Star game in New Orleans generated $106.1 Million and in 2015, New York generated approximately $195 million in economic activity.

On Sunday, Bruce Springsteen cancelled his concert in Greensboro because of North Carolina’s controversial new LGBT bill stating, “With deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”

In case you wondered, it seems bathroom bills targeting transgendered people are all the rage among Red State Republicans these days. Not just in Tennessee and North Carolina, but also in Florida, South Carolina, South Dakota, Michigan, Indiana, etc. If you’re wondering why the sudden interest in which bathroom people use, well, this is what happens when you outsource your legislating to interest groups like the Family Research Council.

And while I concede some of this may be a result of state actions clarifying guidelines on transgender issues, I think most of it stems from an increasingly panicked conservative movement, which has watched helplessly as religion continues to die as America’s dominant cultural force. I don’t for a second think anyone really cares which bathroom people use. I do think conservatives are reaching the bottom of the barrel, however. Their key issues used to be abortion and gay rights and prayer in public schools. These were the issues that kept the donations flowing and the mailing lists refreshed. But those issues have pretty much been decided already. Those battles are, for the most part, over. The number of issues which will keep Aunt Edna sending in her $10 check to the FRC, or keep Uncle Elmer voting Republican, or make for a tasty election-year soundbite are running thin. We’ve gone from the big stuff to the increasingly ridiculous. 10 Commandments statues at the courthouse? Umm, okay, maybe that’s important to someone. Or an increasingly small group of someones (personally, I could give a shit. If that floats your boat, no skin off my nose, but it doesn’t mean jack shit).

But now we’re talking who uses what bathroom? How is this not an example of desperation? Of a movement which has completely run out of ideas?


Filed under Tennessee, Tennessee politics, TNGOP

How An AR-15 Ended Up At The TN State Legislature This Morning

Shockingly easily, I’m afraid. Last night Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, was able to purchase this knock-off AR-15-type semiautomatic weapon — and clips of ammo — for $750 cash, no background check, no ID, no questions asked. From Armslist.com search to actual sale, the entire transaction took less than an hour and a half.

Today Rep. Stewart brought his new purchase into the legislature where the Civil Justice Subcommittee was going to take up his bill that would require a background check for all gun sales.


The funniest part of the whole affair, which I watched on-line, was when Subcommittee Vice Chair Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, nearly wet his pants as Rep. Stewart showed his new purchase to those in the room. He then tried to get all, “you silly Democrats don’t no nuthin’ ’bout no weaponry” on Stewart, who happens to have served in the military:

Carter: Mr. Chairman, excuse me I don’t want to interrupt, but this gun could be loaded …

Stewart: No, it could not because —

Carter: Yes sir! You obviously don’t own one, you do not have it properly safe. Do not point that gun at me! If you can’t assure me that gun cannot shoot.

Stewart: Let me give you that assurance and I did it at the beginning of the debate so that you would not have that concern. Actually, as I said, I had a state trooper inspect this weapon to make sure it was not loaded before it came in here and then, I had him secure it.

As Rep. Stewart told the subcommittee, an hour and a half after visiting Armslist.com, he was equipped as well as he had been when he was a U.S. soldier patroling the DMZ in Korea. So yes, I think he probably knows how to load and unload these things. Funny.

By the way, this is the kind of gun that was used in the July 2015 Chattanooga shootings. Support the troops, y’all.

Committee Chair Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, said he was “disappointed in the show,” despite him having a career in Public Relations, so you’d think he’d have an appreciation for such things. Stewart explained that the point of his “show” was to dispel the oft-repeated NRA zombie lie that every gun sale in America is preceded by a background check. As I wrote back in January, this simply isn’t true. All you need is an internet connection and enough cash and you’re good to go. Or, show up at one of our infamous gun shows and hang out in the parking lot for five minutes. Don’t even need the internet for that, and it’s all perfectly legal.

So that’s the loophole Stewart was attempting to close, and you’d think with everyone on high alert over terrorist attacks, a simple background check to buy military grade weaponry would be a no-brainer. Aaaand you would be wrong. Fresh off yesterday’s cowardly display of fealty to the gun lobby, Tennessee House Republicans today killed this simple, common-sense measure in committee, too. Someone had a sad over grandpa being forced to undergo a background check to buy a hunting rifle for his 14-year-old to go squirrel hunting with. Awwww he’s so oppressed!

Also, too, respect the culture.

And also, there are no consequences for kowtowing to the NRA in this state. At least, not yet. I applaud Tennessee’s Democrats for keeping up the fight. Supermajorities don’t last forever and the more Republicans ignore public safety in the interest of their NRA ratings, the sooner their supermajority will end. The day will come when they will no longer be able to claim that all we need to do to protect ourselves from terror attacks and gun violence is to arm every civilian. That patently stupid and lame excuse to disregard public safety is not going to fly much longer.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Republican Party, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

No To Sex Week, Yes To ISIS


Not surprisingly, the bill has been pulled.


What the hell is going on with the Tennessee Republican Party these days? Have they gone completely insane? Yesterday, Tennessee House Rep. Martin Daniel, Republican from Knoxville, had this to say:

While presenting a bill dubbed the “Tennessee Student Free Speech Protection Act,” Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, fielded a question from Rep. John DeBerry Jr., D-Memphis, about whether he believed ISIS should be able to stand in the middle of university campuses and “recruit for ISIS.”

“Yes,” Daniel replied. “So long as it doesn’t disrupt the proceedings on that campus. Yes sir. They can recruit people for any other organization or any other cause. I think it’s just part of being exposed to differing viewpoints.

The remarks came after a debate about the bill, which Daniel said “would direct schools to observe freedom of speech on campus.”

ISIS is “a differing viewpoint”? That’s novel. Meanwhile, also this week:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A bill that would strip the University of Tennessee’s controversial Office of Diversity and Inclusion of some – but not all – of its state funding has passed a House subcommittee. An amendment tacked on to the bill on Tuesday would also ban state funds from being used to promote the university’s Sex Week, the use of gender-neutral pronouns on campus and the promotion or demotion of any religion.

The University of Tennessee, as many know, is located in Knoxville. So let’s just get this straight: Republicans are so concerned about free speech on campus that they think it’s okay for ISIS to recruit on campus but not for students to hold “Sex Week.”

Hey, Tennessee Republicans: you guys realize how crazy this is, right?

This is your state under a Republican supermajority. I want what I want cuz I want it and it doesn’t have to make any sense.


Filed under Republican Party, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

About That Terrorist Watch List

Guess what, everybody! The parents of the San Bernardino gunman have just been placed on the Federal terrorist watch list. Which means they can’t leave the country but they CAN buy guns!

So we have a (potential) terrorist trapped inside the U.S. and able to buy an AR-15. This makes sense, how?

I’m not agreeing with the Trump crowd, who want to ship the Muslims home (that’s what someone at his S.C. rally said, at least) and keep anyone else from coming here. I’m just pointing out an inconsistency in the argument.

Also, their argument always seems to go back to the idea that the terror watch list is flawed and that there’s no due process. I’m not challenging that notion at all, but I haven’t heard any Republicans (or Democrats, save far left Progressives) call for fixing it. Can we not add a due process element to the watch list? So citizens who find their names on the list in error can mount a challenge? Can we not improve the list or the way it’s compiled?

It all seems very phony to me. Republicans don’t want to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of people who may erroneously find their names on the list, but they sure as hell don’t mind barring those same people from travel. Isn’t that interesting?


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, terrorism

“Republican” As A Synonym For Coward


Just as I predicted:

Christian groups break with GOP over Syrian refugees

Faith-based groups, who play a key role in resettling refugees to the United States, say they are dismayed by the wave of anti-refugee fervor set off by the Paris terrorist attacks and are urging supporters to contact elected officials on behalf of victims of the Syrian civil war.

Many of you may not know this but Southern Beale works with refugees. It’s been my job for the past two years. So when I hear Tennessee Republicans like Glen Casada say such repulsive things as,

“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can. I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks. … We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.'”

… it really makes me want to punch that guy in the face. Really, the amount of ignorance and hate on display in such comments just boggles the mind. It’s like they’re in a race to see who can be the most despicable human being.

My students have told me stories here and there, so I’ve gained a little perspective  about what it’s like to be a refugee. One thing that’s clear is how hard it is to come to the United States; you don’t just get handed a ticket and land in Nashville. There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Some of my students have spent years in refugee camps. When they finally do make it through the arduous process, many of them don’t even know where they’re going. One of my students was first sent to Los Angeles, was immediately redirected to Idaho (Idaho!), was there for just two days (two days!), before then being sent on to Nashville. So  I think stories like this one are not unusual, current events notwithstanding.

Republicans are playing to their fearful, nativist, xenophobic base. I don’t for a second think that they believe the crap that they’re spewing. They’re just trying to gin up a response, and fear is their go-to emotion. Keeping people scared is what they do. Last year it was Ebola, this year it’s refugees. Republicans are the “OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIIIIIIE!” party.

What they don’t seem to know is that a large majority of the groups helping refugees navigate these uncertain waters are Christian. Organizations like World Relief, Catholic Charities, and Church World Service are all involved in refugee resettlement. That’s because once upon a time, Christians were interested in more than just abortion and gay marriage. They knew that Leviticus didn’t just have something to say about gay sex, but also about not mistreating foreigners, “for you were foreigners in Egypt.” So as Republicans race to the bottom vilifying people fleeing war in Syria, they’re also pissing off another large contingent of their base.

We’ve seen this all before. It’s an election year, they want to appeal to the lowest common denominator of their base, so they tweak that amygdala,  instead of trying to appeal to the better elements in their party. And come the next post-mortem, Republicans will continue to wonder why they’re perceived as the party that doesn’t care about people. Same as it ever was.

“Republican” is a synonym for coward. Not just because they’re scared shitless of everything — Muslim refugees, Ebola nurses, married gay people, you name it. But because they’re too scared to be anything else.


Filed under conservatives, Current Events, fear, Housekeeping, immigration, rants, Tennessee, Tennessee politics