One might expect National Review Online (NRO), the conservative commentary outlet, to be particularly sensitive to any racist language given two recent dust ups — one writer was recently fired for penning a screed against black people, and another was let go after NRO discovered he was part of a white nationalist group.
But now, Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor at National Review, is standing by a racial slur he used in a column yesterday, claiming that it was meant to imitate the tone of someone else and was not his actual preferred language:
He was raising taxes, spending like crazy, welcoming wetbacks, pursuing arms control. One common cry from the right was, ?None of this would be happening if Ronald Reagan were alive.?
Look: I am not a politician. I?m a writer. And if you don?t like what I write ? for heaven?s sake, there are 8 billion others you can click on. I would further say to the complainers, using a phrase I?ve never liked, frankly: Get a life. Get a frickin? life.
One more word: If people wet their pants on seeing the word ?wetback,? this country is as far gone as the most pessimistic and alarmist people say it is.
Nordlinger is certainly aware that other words might have been equally appropriate in conveying a certain mentality without their racist connotation. But given his publication, he likely felt no pressure to use less offensive terms. NRO may have, under pressure, gotten rid of two racist writers, but they still have another white nationalist, David Yerushalmi, contributing to the site.
Yesterday afternoon, Yahoo named Marissa Mayer as their new chief executive officer. And shortly after the news broke, Mayer announced she was expecting a baby boy in October. This makes Mayer the first-ever pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That’s on top of being one of only 19 female CEOs in the Fortune 500.
Board members at Yahoo were aware that Mayer was expecting during the hiring process, and treated her pregnancy with a respect and deference very few women get to enjoy in the workplace. According to Mashable, an anonymous source said, “It was not part of the consideration. …Like every other professional woman, she has to weigh all the factors in doing her job and having a family”:
Mayer also expressed that she was pleased the Yahoo board was not concerned, telling Fortune their actions ?showed their evolved thinking.?
And as far as maternity leave goes, don?t expect Mayer to be out of the office for long. The new CEO plans to return to the office after a few short weeks and will be working throughout her time off. Yahoo?s scheduled September board meeting will be in Sunnyvale, Calif., rather than New York, to accommodate for the expecting mother-to-be.
For most women, being pregnant can be a major ordeal, and many workplaces are not so accommodating. Though her maternity leave may be just “a few short weeks” after giving birth, the U.S. is one of the only nations that does not require any paid maternity leave.
In fact, just this week, RH Reality Check reported that the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act was dead on arrival in Congress. That bill that would have protected pregnant women from discrimination at work and required employers to make accommodations for mothers-to-be, including allowing them to have a bottle of water or a stool to sit on at work.
Her role as Yahoo’s CEO makes Mayer one of the most prominent women in business and tech. That should give her and her company a platform to lead by example on pregnant workers’ rights.
I was sorry to read yesterday the news that Donald J. Sobol, the creator of the iconic children’s book character Encyclopedia Brown, had died at 87. Created in 1963, Encyclopedia and his best friend and detective agency business partner Sally Kimball were terrific models models of genre-busting characters? Encyclopedia is smart rather than a fighter, while Sally is effectively a ten-year-old action hero?and wonderful illustrations of the pleasures of exercising intellect and strength.
One of the things that the Encyclopedia Brown books do that’s somewhat rare in children’s stories is give us a hero who understands how the world reacts to his extraordinariness. The stories are always careful to point out that while Encyclopedia helps his father, the chief of police, solve mysteries, his assistance is a closely held family secret, on the grounds that Encyclopedia’s assistance might seem implausible or open him to resentment for ridicule. It’s not that Encyclopedia is pretending to be dumb, but he is aware that his intellect can be a way of alienating people rather than bring him closer. In one story, in which little old ladies ask him for help on their crossword puzzles, we learn that “He always waited a moment. He wanted to be helpful. But he was afraid that people might not like him if he answered their questions too quickly and sounded too smart.” And certainly bully Bugs Meany’s enmity for Encyclopedia is rooted in a dislike of his intelligence, the fact that Encyclopedia’s living a life governed not by the rules of kid-land, but by his ability to function in the adult world.
But even though the stories are cautionary, they’re full of feedback loops that emphasize the pleasure of using your brain. Every story ends with a teaser that encourages the reader to spot what Encyclopedia did, too, a mechanism that lets you feel the satisfaction of noticing what others don’t. Even if the book can’t fully immerse you in Encyclopedia’s victories, that setup gives the reader direct access to at least some of his emotions. In the text itself, Encyclopedia’s wins give him access to all sorts of status, whether it’s the ability to do good in his community, the respect of his family, and a relationship with the most attractive girl in town precisely at the time when such friendships between boys and girls are becoming fraught and complicated.
And oh to be Sally Kimball, whose looks are always mentioned in the context of her physical prowess, as in “Sally was the prettiest girl in the fifth grade and the best athlete.” She’s a constant combatant of Bugs Meany, who “would have liked to get even with Encyclopedia by punching him in the eye four or five times. But he didn’t dare?for two reasons. The first reason was the quick left fist of pretty, ten-year-old Sally Kimball. The second reason was Sally’s right. It was evenq uicker than her left. One day Sally had seen Bugs bullying a Cub Scout. ‘Stop it!’ she had creid, hopping off her bike. ‘Go powder your nose,’ Bugs had jeered. Zam went Sally’s right.” Watching Sally stand up not just to Bugs, who is a jerk, but to the idea that she should pack away her strength at a certain age and go be pretty instead, is a delight. And as much as Sally champions Encyclopedia, he gives back to her, too, as in stories where he realizes that a boy has been staging fake fights to impress Sally. Maybe their friendship will last into high school. Maybe it will falter, or turn into something else entirely. But I love the idea of a boy and girl who have each other’s backs against both immediate threats to their town and to more insidious threats to the idea that they should value their own best qualities.
Erick Erickson brought Fox News' false small-business attack on President Obama to CNN, citing deceptively edited comments to accuse Obama of embracing "grade school Marxism."
On Friday, during an appearance in Virginia, Obama made the point that success in business comes not just from individual drive, but also from benefits provided by others, including the government:
OBAMA: If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
Then on Monday, Fox & Friends deceptively edited Obama's remarks, tearing two sentences of his argument out of context and distorting them to make it appear that he was saying small business owners don't deserve any credit for their own success. Mitt Romney, during a campaign stop today, repeated Fox's distortion of Obama's remarks, and his campaign posted a video on YouTube repeating the out-of-context remarks over and over.
Now, Erickson has brought this distortion to CNN. During an appearance on The Situation Room Tuesday, Erickson said:
ERICKSON: For [Obama] to say somehow that if you've built something, you didn't really build it, other people do -- no one denies that other people contributed to your success in life, but, I mean -- this is just grade school Marxism that he's uttering.
Erickson went on to label the distorted comments from Obama as Marxist twice more during the segment. But Erickson is leaving out the key context of Obama's comments. Obama's "[y]ou didn't build that" comment was directed at American infrastructure and services such as roads and bridges - not an individual's business.
Outlining the growing controversy about the timeline of Mitt Romney's Bain Capital career, CNN's Jim Acosta recently asked the candidate if he believed he was "being swift-boated in this campaign." Later that same evening, reporting on Anderson Cooper 360, CNN's Tom Forman forged a tighter connection, suggesting "Republican analysts fear Mitt Romney could become the second politician from Massachusetts swift boated out of the presidency."
Here's how Forman describe the Swift Boat affair [emphasis added]:
FOREMAN: He's talking about the Swift Boat campaign, in which President Bush's challenger John Kerry was demonized over what his campaign considered an attribute. His decorated service as a soldier in Vietnam. The Swift Boat ads, backed by a group of pro-Bush veterans, questioned the Democratic challenger's conduct in the war, his anti-war activities later and his patriotism.
Kerry was slow to respond and never very effective in refuting their claims even though his critics offered little in the way of proof. He lost the election of course. And for many Democrats, swift-boating became a catch-all term for any unfair, untrue, personal assault on a candidate.
Trying to tie contemporary questions about Romney's Bain past with an infamous GOP smear campaign is an exercise in false equivalency. "The Swift Boat campaign was completely a lie," Esquires' Charles Pierce recently reminded readers. "Nothing the Swifties said about John Kerry was true." And yet, despite the cavernous gap between the Swift Boat affair and the ongoing Bain story, the comparison continues to gain currency.
The conservative Washington Examiner editorial page on Monday lamented the "Swift-Baining of Mitt Romney." What had the Obama campaign done that was so unfair to the Republican candidate? It had "seized on reports by liberal websites Mother Jones and Talking Points Memo -- and later by the Boston Globe -- citing Securities and Exchange Commission filings that listed Romney as the CEO of Bain after he was said to have left for the Olympics."
Quoting news outlets that cite government documents regarding Romney's employment record now constitutes a smear campaign?
Let's stipulate this fact going forward: A candidate having his résumé or biography examined during the course of a presidential campaign does not constitute being "swift boated." Enthusiastic "vetting" of candidates' backgrounds is a routine aspect of general elections.
The distinguishing feature of a Swift Boat smear campaign, of course, was that virtually every single war-era allegation made against Kerry's military service proved to be false, leaving the assumption that the entire point of the coordinated, deep-pocketed attack was to purposefully spread as manly lies as possible. And not just small fibs, but truly unconscionable lies about a serviceman's record during the unpopular Vietnam War.
Mark Zuckerberg, the kid who made himself a billionaire by combining the internet with the well known human traits of loneliness, voyeurism and exhibitionism has now wisely used his fabulous wealth to cut down on his mortgage payments. He’s[...]
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Late last week, President Obama offered a slightly different version of one of his standard stump speech talking points that has since been taken badly out of context by, among others, Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney, in what has to...[...]
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Do you think Mitt wore his common-man pants to his country club fundraiser? (Sarah Conard/Reuters)What better time than a high-dollar country club fundraiser to defend against charges of plutocracy and express sympathy for the little people? At just such a fundraiser in Mississippi, Mitt Romney tried to rebut the conclusion frequently drawn from the fact that Republican policy is dedicated to making the rich richer and cutting services for everyone who's not rich:
"We?re accused, by the way ? in our party ? of being the party of the rich," Romney said. "And it?s an awful moniker, because that?s just not true. We?re the party of people who want to get rich. And we?re also the party of people who want to care to help people from getting poor. We want to help the poor.Really? What in Romney's record or policies suggests that? The giant tax cuts for people who are already rich on the backs of middle-class and poor people? The trail of companies that Bain bought, sucked millions in profits out of, and left bankrupt? But no, to be fair, it's true that there aren't enough rich people to win elections for the Republican Party, and Republicans do depend on people who are willing to be suckered into believing they will be rich someday and should therefore vote for rich-people policies.
Romney also showed his common touch:
"I know that people in this room are probably doing relatively well, relative to folks across this country. But not everyone in America is doing so well right now, it?s tough being middle class in America right now," Romney said. "The waiters and waitresses that come in and out of this room and offer us refreshments, they?re not having a good year.Waiters and waitresses do have it tough, especially if they're tipped workers making the federal tipped worker minimum wage of $2.13 or are victims of the wage theft that's common in the restaurant industry. But it's a safe bet Romney hasn't received the most contributions from the food and beverage industry of any candidate this cycle because he wants to make the lot of waiters and waitresses better.
"The people of the middle class of America are really struggling. And they?re struggling, I think, in a way because they?re surprised, because when they voted for Barack Obama, he promised them that things were going to get a heck a lot of better," Romney said. "He promised hope and change and they?re still waiting."So basically: "Oh, look here at these little people, you see. (Smacks lips.) They feel pain. (Dabs away drool with another smack of lips.) And we're going to win this election because of their pain!"
SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON was obviously paying attention and having none of Mitt Romney’s amateur editing job using her “shame on you, Barack Obama” in ads, hoping to get mileage out of it. Clinton waited, then picked the perfect instant to weigh in, from Jerusalem, and minced no words while filleting Romney at a moment when the incoming from Chicago has been withering.
“I am out of politics, and I haven’t seen any of the ads that you’re talking about,” Clinton said. “But I have to say it’s a waste of money. Everybody knows I ran against President Obama in 2008, that’s hardly news. Everybody knows we ran a hard fought campaign and he won. And I have been honored to serve as his secretary of state.” – Hillary Clinton: Romney ads featuring her a ‘waste of money’
It’s no coincidence that Secy. Clinton chose Israel to make her statement, where Mitt Romney is due to make a visit in a couple of weeks.
It’s another humiliating moment of political malpractice from Team Romney, who have now officially become the Not Ready for Presidential Primetime Players.
The way Mitt Romney’s going there’s going to be a fierce battle on the Republican side for who exactly is the “waste of money” king, because Team Obama is leveling the Romney candidacy to rubble. What we’re witnessing is one of the fiercest take downs of a candidate I’ve ever seen, certainly one of the most expert politically skinning’s in modern time, with an assist by Mitt Romney, himself.
Now we watch to see if Mitt Romney can recover or maybe the better way to put it is we wait to see if any outside event helps him, because there’s no evidence Chicago is going to stop and they shouldn’t.
You have to know Team Romney is scurrying around trying to find a way to announce their vice presidential pick, because they need to do anything to change the subject. However, the way things are going right now it’s more likely to be another boring white man than someone who excites. The climate for Mitt Romney is just brutal. God help him if he picks Sen. Jim Thune. Then it really will be what Jon Stewart hinted at last night, the Magic Mitt show, only with clothes.
Imagine that. The President of the United States notices that the welfare regulations are preventing a lot of impoverished people from getting help during this prolonged recession and, using the discretion at his command, approves some administrative changes that would allow a lot more people to be eligible. This is upsetting a lot of asshats, like Orin Hatch and Mickey Kaus.
Now, there's a reason you don't read about Mickey Kaus on this blog: No one in the progressive world takes him seriously, not even a little bit. In fact, you can tell that a policy change is the right one in inverse proportion to Mickey Kaus's hissy fit. And the fact that he thinks it's political suicide to help desperate people survive is classic Third Way thinking. I would not wish on Mr. Kaus the same fate he so fervently desires for so many others. From Alex Pareene in Salon:
So, lifetime caps and strict work requirements and desperately cash-starved states and a prolonged unemployment crisis have basically all added up to TANF not actually providing any benefits to millions of people who need them. (This, again, is sort of by design!)
And apparently the Obama administration?s Department of Health and Human Services has responded to this by expressing a willingness to grant states waivers for some work requirements, under certain conditions. Which led, of course, to the Heritage Foundation accusing Obama of ?gutting welfare reform.? According to their reading of the HHS memo: ?The new Obama dictate asserts that because the work requirements, established in section 407, are mentioned as an item that state governments must report about in section 402, all the work requirements can be waived.? But the work requirements were one of the most important parts of the reform law, and they are, supposedly, not supposed to be subject to waivers. Tyranny!
In the past, state bureaucrats have attempted to define activities such as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest as ?work.? These dodges were blocked by the federal work standards. Now that the Obama Administration has abolished those standards, we can expect ?work? in the TANF program to mean anything but work.The new welfare dictate issued by the Obama Administration clearly guts the law. The Administration tramples on the actual legislation passed by Congress and seeks to impose its own policy choices ? a pattern that has become all too common in this Administration.The result is the end of welfare reform.
(There are obviously no links or citations substantiating any of the claims in the first quoted paragraph.)
So I dunno, I guess the Obama administration is circumventing the law to ? make it slightly easier for poor people to receive assistance, which on the whole I think I approve of.
Someone who doesn?t approve of this is Mickey Kaus, the famous Democratic warblogger currently at Tucker Carlson?s ?The Daily Caller.? Kaus is one of those Democrats who, from the first paragraph, is on a never-ending crusade for border fences and the elimination of labor unions and so on. He loves welfare reform because it made dumb, lazy, poor people get off their lazy asses and go to work instead of collecting government checks to buy Cadillacs. Obama?s gutting of welfare reform makes him so mad!
He is worried that weakening, or being seen as weakening, the work requirements sends the ?wrong signal,? and that the hordes of leeches and parasites that make up the American underclass will hear this signal and flock back on the gravy train. But most important, he can?t figure out why Obama would do this. Welfare reform works super well ? the proof is that much fewer people receive welfare now! Why change a program that has worked so perfectly?Especially when there are much better options for helping people, like ? doing some different thing.
[...] Finally, in point thirteen, Kaus says, ?If this is a political move, I don?t understand it, because as we all know welfare is horribly unpopular, and promising to destroy welfare got both Reagan and Clinton elected.? But maybe ? and I?m really just spitballing, here ? it?s not a ?political move? and it is actually a move designed to address the fact that welfare reform left the program uniquely unsuited to help people in the event of a massive, prolonged unemployment crisis. Or, hell, maybe HHS is correct when it says it?s just trying to let states come up with more effective job prep and placement programs! (Tyranny again!!) Or maybe Obama just did this to piss off the Heritage Foundation and steal the money of hard-working Real Americans to give to shiftless Welfare Queens. Anything is possible! Anything besides poverty-alleviating government programs operating without being vindictively stingy and punitive in the United States, anyway.