Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson: A Few Words To The Contrary

Once again, I'm confronted with a dichotomy between private tragedy and public grief. As I wrote last week, I have a close friend in the hospital with a brain tumor. This is someone I've known for almost twenty years; we've been co-workers, friends, and like brothers for nearly all that time. We've all been very worried and praying hard for his recovery, and yesterday his condition was upgraded to stable; he seems to be on his way back to making a recovery.

On the flip side, we have the worldwide outpouring of grief for Michael Jackson. I don't think there's a sentient being in the inner Solar System who is unaware that the self-styled "King of Pop" died Thursday at the age of 50--and the tears, the sobbing, the rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth heard around the planet is deafening. Crowds of people massing in cities around the world moonwalking in the streets and celebrating his life, statements of condolence from notables ranging from President Obama and Nelson Mandela to Elizabeth Taylor and Donald Trump, from Diddy and Usher to Paul McCartney; anonymous people wailing, screaming, and generally losing their fucking minds on YouTube over Jackson's death, prisoners in a Filipino prison staging a mass performance of "Thriller" today in Jackson's honor, and even the internet itself slowing to a crawl as news of his passing swept the planet.

The circumstances surrounding his death are, typically for Jackson, suspicious and mysterious. Why did he have a live-in cardiologist? To what extent--because there is no doubt about it--were prescription narcotics a factor in his demise? But the real issue to me is the impact his life had on others, and the disproportionate amount of grief exhibited at his passing. You'd think that MJ was the Messiah, the Mahdi, and the Second Coming of Jesus all rolled into one, to listen to the crap on both the MSM and the internet! Somebody please tell me, what the hell did he do to really help people? Besides the usual crap of "his music made me feel good!" "His songs were my life!", and other such tripe. Did he ever go to Iraq to entertain the troops? Did he ever give a free concert for AIDS or breast cancer research? How about a donation to the United Negro College Fund, or to UNICEF? Yes, he did many acts to help children, but we know (or can guess) what that was really about. And how much more mileage can he get out of "We Are The World," anyway? That was twenty years and several noses ago! More importantly, did Jackson ever publicly admit his pedophilia and seek help?

Of course, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding "HELLL NO!" Michael Jackson was, in truth, an enormously rich, childishly irresponsible, self-indulgent, drug-addicted, self-hating, and sexually perverted individual, who pissed away literally hundreds of millions of dollars in the pursuit of self-satisfaction, and legal defense of his perversions. Could anyone else have his penis described in detail by a child, settle out of court, and not go to jail? Could your average person--hell, your average multimillionaire--have so many plastic surgeries that they no longer looked human, yet be accepted and adored by millions around the world? Could anyone else walk into a high-end jeweler or automobile dealer, and walk out with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cars or jewelry without paying for it, never pay for the goods at all, be sued for them, and then be able to repeat this performance over and over again?

Yes yes yes, I know: the privileges of fame. And Jackson was not alone in this behavior (*cough* MC Hammer), although he was one of the most celebrated examples of it. And before you call me a Jackson hater, let me say that I too grew up on his music, and enjoyed his songs and performances. But being an entertainer, in my mind, does not nearly compare to the contributions that a teacher, a doctor, a scientist, or an educator make to humanity. Michael Jackson may have spent nearly as much money on cars, clothes, real estate, jewelry, and "toys" (such as his own private amusement park, complete with elephants) as the dictator of a small banana republic, but what did he really give to the world, besides transient entertainment and lifetime employment for an army of lawyers?

The manner in which popular culture idolizes, acclaims, and obsessively tracks the lifestyles of the rich and famous is an old target, and criticizing the disproportionate attention given to media stars can make the speaker seem like a cranky, jealous curmudgeon. However, the old saw about "a coarsening of culture" has some truth to it. Celebrating and excusing the egregious, even criminal behavior of some music and movie stars, disproportionately glorifying them out of all bounds and continuing to support their behavior through the purchase of their products, their music and movies, does nothing for the common good, and makes despicable behavior seem common. People, please--he was just a singer and dancer! An enormously talented one, true, and a ground-breaking performer, but does anyone remember exactly what he did with his fame? Besides his victims?

Bill Wyman wrote yesterday in Salon:
In the obituaries, writers will savor Jackson's talents, which were unquestioned; his ambition, which was otherworldly and a thing of awe; and his heyday, which lasted really just a few years, and encompassed perhaps two and a half albums. Others will reflect on the tragedies visited upon him and those he visited on others.

I think it's fair to classify Kurt Cobain's death as one brought on by medical problems, specifically the roiling interaction of depression and addiction. Jackson's death is in this sense more purely a suicide, just as Elvis Presley's was some three decades ago. Like Presley, Jackson at some point stepped through a door, closed it, and turned the key. What went on behind the door we'll never know.
A suicide, yes, but an assisted one, I believe. When I compare the pleasure his music gave to me and others to the damage he caused in his life, I can come to no other conclusion than this: MJ was an enormous talent, and a gigantic asshole. And as for our society, which idolizes and excuses individuals like him, that makes us all assholes, too.

A reader corrects my assertion that Jackson made few donations to charity; apparently, at one time he actually set a record for the most charities supported by a pop star, donating to 39 separate organizations and foundations. However, I believe in noblesse oblige, the idea that "with wealth, power and prestige come responsibilities." The fact that Michael Jackson donated some of his enormous wealth to charity is an expectation for me, not a reason for praise.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hiking Where?

I've been preoccupied with my friend's health issues - which by the way, have taken a turn for the worse - for the last several days, so I've been away for all the recent fun. The situation in Iran, the fight for real health care, and the Obama Administration's betrayal of the LGBT community all deserve lengthier, more thoughtful pieces than I have time for right now, so it comes down to Mark Sanford - oh joy! And no one expressed it better than an anonymous poster at DailyKos:
It was a slight miscommunication between Sanford and his staff. He told them he'd be "spiking some Argentina tail," and they thought he'd said, "hiking the Appalachian trail." It was an honest mistake. I think they handled it values and all.
Please keep my buddy in your prayers, folks, please.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Health Insurance Tale

I have a close friend with some serious health problems right now. He's been healthy as a horse all his life, but now he's nearly blind from a (thankfully) benign brain tumor. He's also without health insurance; as a financial services professional, he's recently been turned out on the street with thousands of others who also were recently employed in that industry. An operation to remove the tumor and hopefully restore his sight is scheduled for later this week; we're all praying for a successful outcome.

What I want to know is, why is this man, who's been a productive citizen all his life, who has never had any serious health issues prior to this incidence, is without health insurance at the very moment that he needs it most? Why can't we get a public health insurance system like France or Canada? Why is this lie about "the government getting between you and your doctor" being spread by Republicans? And why are those self-same Republicans, who enjoy gold-plated, government-sponsored health insurance, so resistant to him and others like him getting similar coverage?

"They're not blind, they're evil. They see just fine."
--A displaced New Orleans resident after Hurricane Katrina, cited in The Shock Doctrine

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It Must Be Something In The Water

What an asshole:
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A state Republican activist has admitted to and apologized for calling a gorilla that escaped from the Riverbanks Zoo Friday an "ancestor" of First Lady Michelle Obama.

A screen capture of the comment, made on the Internet site Facebook, was obtained by FITSNews, the website of South Carolina politico Will Folks.

The image shows a post by an aide to state Attorney General Henry McMaster describing Friday morning's gorilla escape at Columbia's Riverbanks Zoo.

Longtime SCGOP activist and former state Senate candidate Rusty DePass responded with the comment, "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless."
DePass told WIS News 10 he was talking about First Lady Michelle Obama.
Then has this to say, by way of an "apology":
We spoke with DePass over the phone Friday night. He said, "I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest."
You know, that entire state is just a refuge for the ignorant, incompetent, racist, and sexist.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Best Snark of the Week

Margaret Carlson: "Charles and Diana of the Klondike," referring to Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston at the RNC Convention last year in St. Paul.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Insanity Is Spreading

You'll remember that Department of Homeland Security report back in April, that predicted a rise in rightwing extremism. Remember how the wingnuts went berserk, crying how the report slandered good, honest folks like themselves? They forced DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to apologize not once, but twice! Well, it looks like they were right, and damn all the wingnut howling that happened at the time.

Yesterday's shooting at the Holocaust Museum seems to be a textbook example of exactly what the report warned against. The shooter, James Von Brunn, has a well-documented affiliation with far-right groups; his own website is testament to his sick, irrational mind. Sounds just like what DHS was talking about, right? Wrong!--according to FatAss Limbaugh, Randall Terry, and similar ilk. "He's a leftist!" they're all proclaiming today.

I have to say: "what the fuck?" How in hell do they figure that a nutcase whose sig line is "Heil Hitler!" is a leftist, or influenced by liberal ideology? Easy: shame and denial. Rabblerousing assholes like Limbaugh ,O'Reilly, Hannity and Coulter have been cozying up to the American Taliban for years, and now they're ashamed of what their pandering has wrought, and earnestly want the blame to be put elsewhere. What else can they say, that they really like guys like Roeder and Von Brunn, that they themselves believe the same as the nutters believe, that Obama is a secret Muslim-Jewish conspirator/tool, that the federal government is secretly in league with the Illuminati and the Jews to control the world? Not in public--or ever!--will they say that. Not where a camera can capture their true feelings, or where they can be arrested. So they put the blame on someone else. It's easier than taking some of the responsibility for tragedies like yesterday's.

We've seen over and over again how the true feelings of racist, sexist white men are revealed under feelings of disenfranchisement and stress. From the whining and lies told about Judge Sotomayor to the insane rantings of Glen Beck, from wingnut "birthers" doubting the veracity of President Obama's birth certificate to Ann Coulter wanting to convert all Muslims to Christianity at the point of a sword, to the extreme hatred of assassins like Scott Roeder and James Von Brunn--it's everywhere lately, and it all stems from the same line of reasoning, best described as:"The coloreds and bitches are taking what's mine, and I'm keeping my sense of privilege come hell or high water!" Even if they don't have anything, if they lack material or spiritual success in the world. Especially if they don't have anything. But God forbid that anyone other than a white male should aspire to anything that doesn't involve a shovel or a cooking pot. Those positions belong to them by right of birth!

With the election of Barack Obama and the solidification of the Democratic party's hold on political power, they're feeling threatened. They see a multicultural/multigendered tide threatening to overwhelm the fantasy America they hold dear in their fevered minds. They feel that the country is "slipping away" from them, a point made several times nightly on Fox, on Limbaugh's radio show, on a whole host of far-right, christian Taliban media outlets. They blame "those others" for the disappointments in their lives, ignoring the fact that they were born white, male and Christian in America; so if anything's wrong in their lives, as my father used to say, then it's their own damn fault. Instead they blame "the others," and mourn for a country that never existed, where free white men did as they pleased and made America great (excepting, of course, all the African-American, Chinese, Native American, Irish, Italian, Latino, and Jewish men and women just standing around in the background like scenery). It's a delusion, a sickness, and they almost should be pitied--but I have none for them.

Make no mistake, the wingnut pundits and their followers with their fevered longings for a past that never was, and the crazed shooters killing innocents, are fellow travellers on the same path to hell. Stoking the sense of lost privilege, encouraging feelings of betrayal and false entitlement, the extreme-right talking heads like Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, and others daily deny objective reality and reassure and embolden the lunatic fringe in their audience. The madmen like Roeder and Von Brunn listen, and it spurs them into taking action for their lunatic "cause." Does that make these yammering wingnuts any different from the gunmen, and any less culpable for their deeds? I say no. The sentiments are the same, it's just that a lone wolf assassin like Roeder or Von Brunn is more advanced in his sickness than others like Limbaugh and O'Reilly, and has less to lose. Limbaugh has a $400 million contract, Von Brunn was reportedly having severe financial difficulties. Still, you don't shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater, and you don't encourage nuts to take a shot at someone because their lives didn't work out as they'd planned.

Spreading divisiveness and fear for the sake of ratings and financial success is contemptible. Encouraging and tacitly supporting the racism, sexism, and hatred of your most rabid followers is despicable. Doing so, and then denying that you have any responsibility for the actions of your crazed listeners is simply cowardly. And celebrating evil is just that--evil itself.

Stormfront, Operation Rescue, and other rightwing fringe organizations have been having paroxysms of joy the last week or so on their websites, after the recent events in Wichita and D.C.. The Rude Pundit is right when he says "Somewhere in southern Idaho, they're already building a statue to that motherfucker." For the rest of us, might I suggest lighting a candle, and shining some more light into the darkness.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jon Voight's Lost His Damn Mind

"Soft-spoken Julius Caesar"? "This false prophet Obama"? What the hell? The man's lost it. Nothing but envy, hatred, and fear-mongering. Look for him as a co-host with Glen Beck in the near future.

Is it psycho talk? Damn right! Watch Ed Schultz rake Voight over the coals for his bullshit:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Evil Wins Again: Tiller Clinic To Close

The Tiller family announced today that the women's health clinic that the assassinated doctor ran will close. Meanwhile, over at Crooks & Liars Ian Welsh shows how "the bottom line on right wing terrorism against abortion rights is that it's succeeding and has been for some time." Also today, alleged assassin Scott Roeder says he's "feeling good" and is receiving thank-you notes from the anti-choice crowd and christian Taliban.

So now every rightwing nut in the country sees how they can become famous and promote the anti-choice agenda: simply stalk and kill a doctor providing women's health services!

I would like to take this opportunity to say to the Tiller family: Damnit, don't give up!

Monday, June 8, 2009

When Will They Break Out The Jumper Cables?

Dr. Tiller's murderer says that there are more attacks in the works. So, since we have your basic wingnut "ticking time bomb" scenario here, the next logical step, according to the Rethug view of the world, is....

John Cole:
Since there is no doubt that we have a history of anti-abortion domestic terrorism, and since we know that evangelicals already support torture for everyone, when do we get to start waterboarding this guy? Does he have any children whose testicles can be crushed? Will we keep him up for weeks on end in stress positions in extremely cold rooms to get him to break? Beat him? All the right made a very good show of how shocked and appalled they were when this man killed Dr. Tiller, so surely they will not object. So when do we get to start torturing this guy?
Of course, this won't happen.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Crazed Get Crazier

No, this isn't about Michele Bachmann--this time. Apparently, the newest non-lethal offensive from the anti-choice crowd is the "Protest the Pill Day," starting this weekend for the second year. Not satisfied with assassinating doctors and bombing women's health clinics, these authoritarian wingnuts are now trying to convince Americans that birth control pills kill:
The right-wing American Life League and a handful of regional organizations will stand around outside U.S. pharmacies and Planned Parenthood chapters this weekend for the second annual "Protest the Pill Day."

[...]The American Life League blames birth control -- all birth control, conflating the pill with less time-tested contraceptives -- for abortions and a wide variety of deadly health problems. The group's Web site also helpfully provides a nationwide map to facilities and protests. More ominously in the wake of George Tiller's murder, it includes some ambiguous language about who should use it.

"As the national group focused on grassroots efforts to defeat Planned Parenthood, American Life League hopes the information presented will be helpful to all in this battle," the Web site reads.

Behind the scenes, ALL and other right-wing groups are pushing state and local governments to deny women access to birth control and emergency contraception, as well as "fetal personhood" laws begging for a Supreme Court challenge, said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. In the meantime, Gandy said, the grassroots are a critical battleground, and education is key.

"It's sad to say, they are targeting young women who, after eight years of 'abstinence only' sex mis-education, are particularly vulnerable to their propaganda," Gandy wrote in a letter. "We know that the greatest danger to women's lives comes from a lack of access to good reproductive health care, including birth control and abortion -- and scientifically accurate information."

So not only are they celebrating Dr. Tiller's murder, they're also offering helpful directions to the nearest assassination attempts and bombing sites. How thought of them! Obviously, these benighted fools want to see a return of the days when women were barefoot & pregnant. To my mind, that makes them the strongest possible argument for birth control.

I've got just one question, though: If the pill "kills babies," then what does masturbation do?? Hell, I guess according to these nutjobs, I was a mass murderer before I reached the age of fifteen!

My First & Last Words On David Carradine

First: Autoerotic asphyxiation?! At his age? Damn, dog!

Second, Atlasien at Racialious:
For many Asian-Americans, tributes to Carradine’s careeer feel like a cold and bitter insult. Bruce Lee was originally considered for the lead in Kung Fu, but the producers decided America was not ready for an Asian man as a heroic lead. David Carradine was chosen instead. His character, Kwai Chang Caine, was supposed to be half-Chinese and half-white. All the rest of the characters reacted to him as if he were Asian, when he was quite obviously 100% white. This confused the hell out of me when I first saw the show. Once I realized he was supposed to be Asian, it made me angry.

Why did I watch it in the first place? Well, Kung Fu was a pretty good show. It was plotted and shot and edited skillfully. It touched on important philosophical and cultural themes. It was ground-breaking, unique, and had some of the only respectful depictions of Asian culture available on American television in the 1970s...It would be hard for Asian-Americans not to want to watch Kung Fu. But every time we watched it, we were reminded that it was possible for white people to take the best of what they wanted from Asian culture. Asian culture was mysterious and cool, but real Asian people were unwanted and superfluous. They could easily be replaced by the right kind of white man. And nobody remarked about it, nobody complained… at least it seemed that way.

I was very young when I saw reruns of Kung Fu, but I caught on quickly, and began to dread the sight of David Carradine’s face. I still have some fond memories of sequences that didn’t involve Carradine, such as the training sequences set in China. Then I stopped watching the reruns because the experience became too painful. Sitting there and watching was like… offering your body up to be erased. It’s hard to explain.

[...]I don’t blame David Carradine for all the anti-Asian racism in America. But he had an important and highly visible role in a vicious feedback loop. Audiences identified with his performance of a calm, detached, self-important masculinity seemingly grounded in an exotic Asian tradition. He satisfied certain urges of the audience in that regard, and as he performed, he innovated, and created new and more refined stereotypes with extra layers of self-awareness and sophistication. His performances also worked to naturalize the desire of white people to appropriate the aspects of Asian culture they happened to find most appealing.

Somewhere, Bruce Lee is laughing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pawlenty Declines Third Term,
Victim of Palin-Coleman Disease know, the bug that makes you think that you have a shot at winning the election?

Governor T-Paw announced yesterday that he wouldn't seek a third term; it was so widely reported that I didn't bother to talk about it. I think he's a scurrilous, pennypinching, uncaring, bought-and-paid-for asshole; that's all I need to know. Goodbye, good riddance, hope the dog bit you where the doorknob shoulda hit you.

But apparently, the rumors are true: Pawlenty thinks he has a shot at the presidency! The future GOP candidate for the presidency appeared today on Faux News mouthpiece Neil Cavuto's wingnut propaganda forum show, Your World With Neil Cavuto, and started in with the now-standard Rethug theme about how Obama is ruining the country. Talk about getting your talking points straight from Boss Limbaugh! Take a look:

"This is not the United States of America that we know and love and remember. This looks more like some sort of, you know, republic from South America circa 1970s." Bitch, please!--you and your party ran this country (and state) into the ground, T-Paw, and now you object when extraordinary measures are required to fix the mess you left? Are you kidding me?

Pawlenty is a lightweight, with no new ideas and nothing more than a fresh and unfamiliar (to most of America) face to hopefully sell the rest of the country the same old line of bullshit that got us in this mess in the first place. It didn't work in 2008, and it's not going to work in 2012. T-Paw won't get the nod, and if the rest of the country takes a good look at what Pawlenty has done to Minnesota, they'll chase him to South America.

"This is gonna be a very different country 12 or 24 months from now," Pawlenty said. Yes, Timmy--it might become the United States of America, again.

"But He Speaks So Well"

Bush needed Condi Rice to explain to him what the big deal was about Joe Biden's "articulate and bright and clean" comment about Barack Obama, during the Democratic primaries last year.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Guess I'm Really A Liberal...Sorta!

I came across this "Moral Foundations Questionnaire" on another blog:

Looks like I'm a fiercely independent, disrespectful of authority, don't-give-a-damn-what-you-think, liberal/libertarian defender of the weak and dispossessed. Whatta surprise! You can take the test here.

Call Them For What They Are

Bob Herbert in the NY Times:

It’s hard to fathom the heights of hypocrisy currently being scaled by the foaming-in-the-mouth crazies who are leading the charge against the nomination. Newt Gingrich, who never needed a factual basis for his ravings, rants on Twitter that Judge Sotomayor is a “Latina woman racist,” apparently unaware of his incoherence in the “Latina-woman” redundancy in this defamatory characterization.

Karl Rove sneered that Ms. Sotomayor was “not necessarily” smart, thus managing to get the toxic issue of intelligence into play in the case of a woman who graduated summa cum laude from Princeton, went on to get a law degree from Yale and has more experience as a judge than any of the current justices had at the time of their nominations to the court.

It turns the stomach. There is no level of achievement sufficient to escape the stultifying bonds of bigotry. It is impossible to be smart enough or accomplished enough.

The amount of disrespect that has spattered the nomination of Judge Sotomayor is disgusting. She is spoken of, in some circles, as if she were the lowest of the low. Rush Limbaugh — now there’s a genius! — has compared her nomination to a hypothetical nomination of David Duke, a former head of the Ku Klux Klan. “How can a president nominate such a candidate?” Limbaugh asked.

[...]Here’s the thing. Suddenly these hideously pompous and self-righteous white males of the right are all concerned about racism. They’re so concerned that they’re fully capable of finding it in places where it doesn’t for a moment exist. Not just finding it, but being outraged by it to the point of apoplexy. Oh, they tell us, this racism is a bad thing!

Are we supposed to not notice that these are the tribunes of a party that rose to power on the filthy waves of racial demagoguery. I don’t remember hearing their voices or the voices of their intellectual heroes when the Republican Party, as part of its Southern strategy, aggressively courted the bigots who fled the Democratic Party because the Democrats had become insufficiently hostile to blacks.

Where were the howls of outrage at this strategy that was articulated by Lee Atwater as follows: “By 1968, you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff.”

Never a peep did you hear.

Read the whole column, it's worth the time.

Meanwhile, Pat Leahy has had enough:

Leahy, who plans to meet Wednesday with Sessions on a schedule for the hearings, said he's eager to give Sotomayor the chance to respond to "unbelievable attacks" by Republican critics like radio host Rush Limbaugh and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who have branded her a racist because of remarks she made in 2001 that her experiences as a "wise Latina" would allow her to make better decisions than a white male.

[...]Leahy called the criticism against Sotomayor "among the most vicious attacks that have been received by anybody," and lamented that as a nominee she's unable to directly answer them.

"I know how difficult it is for somebody who is nominated," he said. "They can't answer charges. They can't speak out. But they're a nominee. It's different than those that run for elected office and we're in a debate a day."

Why are idiots like Rove and Tancredo even given airtime? Why is Limbaugh still on the air? (Personally, I think that in his second term, Obama will pull both Limbaugh and Faux "News'" licenses, but we've gotta wait four more years for that? Arrgh!) The amount of vileness spewing forth from this scum is truly unbelievable, but it's obvious why it's happening: they see the end of the domination of politics and society by white males, and they're scared. Live with it, bitches!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Right-Wing Wackos Continue To Support Dr. Tiller's Murderer

Randall Terry, the biggest asshole of them all in the anti-choice movement, came out today with a predictably weasel excuse for the murder of Dr. Tiller, in a press release prior to a new conference he'll hold later today:
"We must not fear, we must not flinch, we must not retreat a single inch. George Tiller was a mass murderer, and we must continue to say so in his death just as we did in his life.

"The pro-life movement must not be browbeaten by Obama or the child-killers into surrendering our best rhetoric, actions, and images. We hold absolutely NO responsibility for his death.

"We must continue to call abortionists 'murderers' according to the teachings of the Church; we must continue to peacefully expose and protest them; and we must continue to show the bloody remains of children that died at the hands of Tiller and his kind."
Meanwhile, Bill O'Reilly plans to discuss Dr. Tiller on his show tonight, for the 30th time. O'Reilly's waged a one-man war against Dr. Tiller for many years. Check out this video from DailyKosTV:

More on O'Reilly's rabblerousing against Dr. Tiller can be found in Gabriel Winant's article in Salon:
[...]there's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly thanks to the collusion of would-be sophisticated cultural elites, a bought-and-paid-for governor and scofflaw secular journalists. Tiller's name first appeared on "The Factor" on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O'Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as "Tiller the Baby Killer."

Tiller, O'Reilly likes to say, "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000." He's guilty of "Nazi stuff," said O'Reilly on June 8, 2005; a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida, he suggested on March 15, 2006. "This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union," said O'Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.

O'Reilly has also frequently linked Tiller to his longtime obsession, child molestation and rape. Because a young teenager who received an abortion from Tiller could, by definition, have been a victim of statutory rape, O'Reilly frequently suggested that the clinic was covering up for child rapists (rather than teenage boyfriends) by refusing to release records on the abortions performed.

[...]This characterization of Tiller fits exactly into ancient conservative, paranoid stories: a decadent, permissive and callous elite tolerates moral monstrosities that every common-sense citizen just knows to be awful. Conspiring against our folk wisdom, O'Reilly says, the sophisticates have shielded Tiller from the appropriate, legal consequences for his deeds. It's left to "judgment day" to give him what's coming.

O'Reilly didn't tell anyone to do anything violent, but he did put Tiller in the public eye, and help make him the focus of a movement with a history of violence against exactly these kinds of targets (including Tiller himself, who had already been shot). In those circumstances, flinging around words like "blood on their hands," "pardon," "country club" and "judgment day" was sensationally irresponsible.
The wingnut murder machine is truly back in business, and has claimed its first victim. When will Terry, O'Reilly, and their ilk be held accountable for their words and deeds?

Oral Arguments Concluded in Franken-Coleman Trial

The Minnesota Supreme Court concluded oral arguments in the Franken-Coleman appeal just a few minutes ago. It doesn't look good for Normie:

It's always a tricky business to read clues into the questions that judges ask the lawyers during these proceedings -- despite some basic assumptions about how this works, judges can surprise you. But if we just go by the basic assumptions, it didn't look good for Coleman, with the judges asking pointed questions of Friedberg that at certain points amounted to ridicule of him for putting on a shoddy case.

At one point, Justice Christopher Dietzen went over Team Coleman's written offers of proof -- filings of proposed evidence that an attorney makes when a trial court won't admit it as official evidence, but he wants to preserve it for future appeals. "I've never seen an offer of proof like this," said Dietzen, complaining that the offers didn't actually identify specific potential witnesses or what their presumed evidence would have been been -- only continued arguments that "a substantial number" of ballots exist. Dietzen added that "the rules of evidence, the rules of civil procedure apply. Now why is this offer of proof not inadequate, in that we don't have admissible evidence that can show whether you've met your burden?"

Norm's guy seems to be catching hell from the justices. Also this morning, WCCO's Esme Murphy couldn't find one legal expert who thought that Norm had a snowball's chance in hell:

Furthermore, I have been unable to find any independent expert who believes Coleman will win in the Minnesota Supreme Court. In fact, I have asked the Coleman camp if they know of any expert and they not given me any names.

The thing about experts is that they can, of course, be wrong. But when they all say the same thing you have to wonder.

Gee, can Al win for the third time in a row? Damn straight he can! I can't wait to see Bill O'Reilly's head explode.

The Passing Of An Era

General Motors and Citigroup have been kicked off the Dow Jones Industrial Average.