As stated earlier, Rep. Bill Denny (R - Jackson) would not let members of the public see his redistricting plan this morning, but he did announce which members of the House would be pitted against one another in the next election when responding to a question. Those members are:
Rep. Bill Denny's House map will be released today at 11 a.m., I have learned. Stay tuned.
Newt Gingrich will officially end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and formally express his support for Mitt Romney next week, two sources close to Gingrich tell CNN.
While details are still being worked out, Gingrich is likely to hold his final campaign event Tuesday in Washington, DC where he will make the announcement surrounded by his family and supporters.
The final flame out of a hypocrite, liar and all ’round despicable man.
Simply put, Elaine Pagels has forgotten more about the events surrounding the founding of Christianity, including the spectacular multiplicity of sects that exploded in the deserts of the Middle East at the same time, than Ross Douthat will ever know, and to lump her work in with the popular fiction of The Da Vinci Code is to attempt to blame Galileo for Lost in Space. – What’s Wrong with the Ross Douthat Creed, by Charles Pierce
The boys love to argue with Ross. He provides a wide target, which is just one reason. Another is he’s impressed with his own fancy pants philosophies, no matter how unwittingly hilarious they are to ponder.
Pierce knows his religious patter, and I’ve read Elaine Pagels, have some of her books in my library, so this was a delicious hike into Why Do Men Like Ross Douthat Have Any Intellectual Clout At All?
That he writes for the New York Times is the short answer. The longer one for this discussion is more complicated and it centers on the fact that women aren’t seen as religious scholars, with men keeping women out of the holy hills and dales of man theology.
Unfortunately for Douthat, his religious hallucinations are showing him up. The final insult in thought comes from The New Republic:
ROSS DOUTHAT?S ANALYSIS of religion in America is more sophisticated than the analysis of, say, Rick Santorum?but not by much.
That’s the review opener.
More from Pierce’s brilliant Douthat evisceration:
[...] The Didache comes up because Douthat is opposed to abortion. Period.
Too much of the book is simply a culture-war text gussied up in a chasuble. Douthat is extremely bothered by people who claim to seek enlightenment from a “God Within,” and outside the framework of preferred ecclesiastical constructs. (In this, he risibly cites Deepak Chopra and Elizabeth Gilbert ? and Oprah Winfrey! ? as somehow being American religious figures.) Can you find spiritual enlightenment outside of a formalized religious structure and, having found it, can you still be a Catholic, or a Jew, or a Presbyterian? An interesting question that Douthat simply ignores. But he also gives a good leaving-alone to the born-again evangelical experience of a “personal Lord and Savior.” (Apparently, a God Within is fine, as long as He’s wearing a Douthat-endorsed logo.) As Winters points out, he’s drunk deeply of Michael Novak’s neoconservative Catholic capitalist malarkey, which is how Sister Gilbert, and Father Chopra, and Pope Oprah I get blamed for the irreligious consumerism of American society. (He also quotes David Brooks to back himself up, which is a dead giveaway.) This passage is a remarkable three-rail shot in which the conservative religious historian manages to blame his idea of “heretical” religious liberalism for all the sins of capitalism without ever mentioning any of the large American business concerns that spend billions turning a buck on those heresies…
The sentence I highlighted above is important, because if women want any spiritual empowerment that’s fueled to our frequencies we sure as hell aren’t going to find it in the halls of organized religion that men built.
The reason it was constructed, beyond concentrating wealth and power, was to keep the girls in our place, which was never next to men as equals, something that has always been organized religion’s dividing line on piety.
Yesterday I quoted an article that stated that the real war on women was in the Middle East. That’s only half true. The war on women blasted off with the last stake laid at Christ’s crucifixion, a barbaric act of torture, which we all know the Douthat set loves. It’s the moment the boys started crafting the tale that led to Douthat’s delirium.
The whole Jesus forgiving a whore chapter was simply meant as a warning, you see, because we all know your average man is no Jesus, so sinning women better watch out.
That means you, too, Oprah.
As for Elaine Pagels, she had the audacity to translate and contemporize the whole thing, the witch.
President Obama signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act earlier this month, which was passed after a 60 Minutes investigation revealed that members of Congress were profiting from information they received in their official capacity. House Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), for instance, made nearly $30,000 trading on information he received during private briefings during the 2008 financial crisis.
The original version of the STOCK Act that passed out of the Senate included a provision that would have required Washington insiders who sell intelligence to corporate America to register as lobbyists. However, that provision was ultimately stripped from the bill by House Republicans. And according to an analysis by The Hill, it was Wall Street lobbying that proved the catalyst:
A review by The Hill of lobbying records from the first quarter of 2012 found that many of the financial sector?s biggest names lobbied on the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. Many bolstered their forces with new lobbyists, while others turned to K Street for the first time as the bill moved toward President Obama?s desk to become law.
A concern for many in financial services was a provision that would have required ?political intelligence? consultants to register as lobbyists and disclose their clients. Financial lobbyists were worried that would lead to thousands of research analysts having to register for even the briefest contact with Capitol Hill.
House Republicans stripped that measure from the final piece of legislation, spurring allegations from Democrats and some Republicans that the party was doing Wall Street?s bidding.
When the watered down bill passed the Senate, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) — who sponsored the provision on political intelligence — blasted Congress, saying, “I won?t ascribe motives to anyone in this body, but I know that today?s actions only serve the desires of obscure and powerful Wall Street interests.” And it turns out that he comment was right on the mark.
Mitt Romney reiterated his critique of Obamacare during a “victory” address celebrating his primary night wins in Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and New York, last night. The speech sounded like a recitation of his usual misrepresentations, but included one particularly surprising nugget:
ROMNEY: With Obamacare fully installed, government will come to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society. This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars. He’s asking us to accept that Washington knows best – and can provide all.
The charge is particularly disingenuous because Romney almost certainly knows that government is already heavily invested in health care and that the Affordable Care Act — much like his own reforms in Massachusetts — doesn’t dramatically expand its reach. Instead, it builds on the existing public/private partnership, in which public health already comprises more than 40 percent of the nation’s health care spending:
As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded, after the law’s initial boost of coverage expansion in the first decade (as the uninsured enter the health care system), “the increases and decreases in the federal budgetary commitment to health care stemming from this legislation would roughly balance out, so that there would be no significant change in that commitment.” By 2014, private sector growth is projected to accelerate ? thanks to health care reform ? but even then, ?private health insurance is anticipated to account for roughly 31 percent of national health spending, or about the same share as was expected without enactment of the Affordable Care Act,? actuaries at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid estimate. ?For 2011?13, government outlays (averaging 5.2 percent growth) are projected to roughly maintain a 45-percent share of total health spending.? The public/private balance, in other words, remains the same.
Remember that Romney sold his 2006 Massachusetts reforms by arguing that the state could take the the tax dollars it’s already spending on uncompensated care and — together with additional federal funding approved by the Bush administration — expand and subsidize private coverage for the uninsured. The Affordable Care Act does something very similar, while also raising additional revenue to pay for the law and reduce the federal deficit. So if using tax-payer dollars to provide care to the uninsured constitutes “government control,” then Romney himself could be considered a fan of the so-called nanny state.
Students in Missouri are speaking out against a proposed “Don’t Say Gay” bill to ban discussions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in public schools and have formed a website — oktosaygay.org — “to tell the extreme politicians why this proposal is so, so, so wrongheaded.” Some of those students spoke with a local affiliate earlier this week and argued that the measure could prohibit teachers from interfering in instances of anti-LGBT bullying and further discrimination. “That’s what we will be teaching them is discrimination,” one student said. Another gay student added, “It makes me feel horrible- less than human– that I’m not as good as my peers,” expresses Grayless. Watch it:
The Army Times reported in February that anti-war GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX) was at that time, “by far,” getting the most in campaign contributions from members of the United States military. According to a review of Federal Election Commission data, Paul received nearly $250,000 in donations from servicemembers, President Obama, $130,000 and GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney just $23,000.
But now that Paul’s campaign is all but over and presumably, Romney will be the Republican nominee, the military’s donation trend is beginning to shift: away from Paul and toward Obama, the Open Secrets blog reports:
[I]n March, it was Obama that scooped up the most support from the armed forces — about twice as much as Paul, in fact. Romney remains an also-ran when it comes to backing from the military.
Overall, Paul retains the lead. Analysis of OpenSecrets.org data shows that so far in this election cycle, members of the military who donated more than $200 have given Paul’s campaign about $333,134, versus $184,505 to Obama and just $45,738 to Romney.
But in March, Obama and Paul switched places. Members of the military sent $36,448 to Obama and just $17,733 to Paul. Even though Romney solidified his position as the presumptive Republican nominee, military donations to his campaign remained anemic — only $8,630.
Open Secrets charts the donations for March:
The 2012 trend in military donations to presidential candidates mirrors 2008. Early on in the race, both Paul and Obama led Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other pro-war candidates in campaign contributions from U.S. servicemembers and by the time the Texas congressman exited the race, Obama maintained his lead in military donations over McCain.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore, Maryland is asking Catholic churches to read a letter asking members to take part in an effort to repeal the state’s marriage-equality law and add their names to a petition to place the referendum on the November ballot. The union of one man and one woman “has been recognized by government and religion alike because of its unique capactiy to engender life, and to establish our society’s most basic family unit of mother, father and child,” the letter says. “When Marylanders are asked to decided this issue in November, we fully expect that they they, too, will vote to uphold this unchanging truth about marriage.”
Following up on yesterday’s conversation about the odd tendency of some hipsters to cling to racism as proof that they are edgy, fearless truthtellers, reader BC sends along Lester Bangs’ “The White Noise Supremacists,” (NB: the link leads to a PDF download) published in the Village Voice in 1979. It’s quite the piece of writing, in which Bangs tries to square up honestly to his own past as someone who used racist language and sentiments to project what he saw as a certain kind of coolness, and to examine the persistence of racism in some of the music scenes that he loves. Bangs isn’t perfect here, or elsewhere, but his assertion of empathy as a radical value that transcends accusations of corniness is important to the debates that we’ve been having over the past few weeks.
It’s also an amazing illustration of how, even if there’s less tolerance for outright assertions of white power in scenes that like to style themselves cutting edge, certain kinds of behavior still get mined for the theoretical currency they convey. Bangs writes, and I hope you’ll forgive me for quoting at length from a very long piece:
You don’t have to try at all to be a racist. It’s a little coiled clot of venom lurking there in all of us, white and black, goy and Jew, ready to strike out when we feel embattled, belittled, brutalized. Which is why it has to be monitored, made taboo and restrained, by society and the individual….
I figured all this was in the Lenny Bruce spirit of let’s-defuse-them-epithets-byslinging-’em-out in Detroit I thought absolutely nothing of going to parties with people like David Ruffin and Bobby Womack where I’d get drunk, maul the women, and improvise blues songs along the lines of “Sho’ wish ah wuz a nigger / Then mah dick’d be bigger,” and of course they all laughed. It took years before I realized what an asshole I’d been, not to mention how lucky I was to get out of there with my white hide intact.
I’m sure a lot of those guys were very happy to see this white kid drunk on his ass making a complete fool if not a human TV set out of himself, but to this day I wonder how many of them hated my guts right then. Because Lenny Bruce was wrong?maybe in a better world than this such parlor games would amount to cleansing jet offtakes, and between friends, where a certain bond of mutual trust has been firmly established, good natured racial tradeoffs can be part of the vocabulary of understood affections. But beyond that trouble begins?when you fail to realize that no matter how harmless your intentions are, there is no reason to think that any shit that comes out of your mouth is going to be understood or happily received. Took me a long time to find it out, but those words are lethal, man, and you shouldn’t just go slinging them around for effect. This seems almost too simple and obvious to say, but maybe it’s good to have some-thing simple and obvious stated once in a while, especially in this citadel of journalistic overthink. If you’re black or Jewish or Latin or gay those little vernacular epithets are bullets that riddle your guts and then fester and burn there, like torture- flak hailing on you wherever you go. Ivan Julian told me that whenever he hears the word “nigger,” no matter who says it, black or white, he wants to kill. Once when I was drunk I told Hell that the only reason hippies ever existed in the first place was because of niggers, and when I mentioned it to Ivan while doing this article I said, “You probably don’t even remember-” “Oh yeah, I remember,” he cut me off…
Things like the Creem articles and partydown exhibitionism represented a reaction against the hippie counterculture and what a lot of us regarded as its pious pussyfooting around questions of racial and sexual identity, questions we were quite prepared to drive over with bulldozers. We believed nothing could be worse, more pretentious and hypocritical, than the hippies and the liberal masochism in whose sidecar they Coked along, so we embraced an indiscriminate, half-joking and half-hostile mind-lessness which seemed to represent, as Mark Jacobson pointed out in his Voice piece on Legs McNeil, a new kind of cool…
I can go just so far with affectations of kneejerk cretinism before I puke. I remember the guy in the American Nazi Party being asked, “What about the six million?” in PBS’s California Reich, and answering “Well, the way I heard it it was only really four-and-a-half million, but I wish it was six,” and I imagine you’d find that pretty hilarious too [the you is Miriam Linna of the Cramps]. I probably would have at one time. If that makes me a wimp now, good, that means you and anybody else who wants to get their random vicarious kicks off White Power can stay the fuck away from me.
Just go read the whole thing and then come back so we can talk about it.