Another Crusader wants to judge us

Wendy Vitter: I cannot imagine a clearer example of the current GOP/DJT agenda to stack the federal judiciary with right-wing activist judges. I mean she’s already an *actual activist* for the far right!! And this LIFETIME APPOINTMENT would be her very first judgeship — a judicial newbie at 56, yet she’d have the job for the rest of her life, if she wants, regardless of what happens in 2018 or 2020.
Already, she has a long history of lefty-nightmare statements and actions across a range of issues and her gross Christianist theocrat husband has even longer and more loathsome record, with the additional level of creating & enacting real legislation. (Louisianans, I’d love to hear from you on this.)
I am glad some of these Senators were on her case but all she needs is a simple majority to confirm. Her multiple DISGUSTING dodges in her hearing, none more universally repellent (to most of us) than regarding Brown v BOE, are clear proof of her intention to start changing the body of precedent law at her soonest opportunity. No one is excited to hear you say you would be bound by established precedent, you mendacious dissembler, because obviously you would. But it also makes it clear that you’d do whatever you could to incrementally shift it as far as you could with judicial “interpretations” dictated by a perverse theology that counters every message Jesus ever spoke and makes up the rest to suit your rigid conformist, anti-sex, patriarchal, Christian-supremacist white ethnostate.
Friends: When these Crusaders tell you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.
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My thoughts on Paul Ryan’s “retirement” in a nutshell

You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, and know when to run. You never count your money when you’re sitting as House Speaker — there’ll be time enough for counting when you’re sitting in a cushy private sector corner office with a salary calculated while you were still at the peak of your national influence. 

Spends a lifetime taking as much money from the government as he possibly can while simultaneously taking as much government money away from as many people as he possibly can. One of the world’s greatest puppy-eyed, hidden-horned hypocrites.

(Might add more later, but that’s basically it.)

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The Right hypocritically decries “activist judges” while stacking the entire Federal judiciary with them

It’s a terrible contest to determine what DJT’s most destructive and frightening legacy will be — pollution, public lands giveaways, criminalization of poverty, eradication of women’s health and autonomy, race-based civil war, international nuclear war — but for me, stacking the Federal judiciary from top to bottom with socially right-wing fascist sympathizers in lifetime appointments is right up there. The Supreme Court is only the most visible — and even that body is only one appointment away from an intractable majority.

Regardless of how carefully a legislative body writes a law to be fair, the judicial branch can “interpret” it any number of ways, and their decisions also carry the weight of law — and will for decades. We know which way these thinkers go… “activist judges” is a pejorative created and used exclusively by the Right as their reactionary justices alter the character of America’s legal foundations to continually further favor authoritarianism over individual rights.

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“Newspaper Movie” insults copy editors, but that’s OK — we’re used to it

One obligatory quibble: The bit diminishing the copy editor is a disservice to this incredibly important step in the process. It’s only a little bit about getting the grammar right — which is why in these movies, they often include this seemingly throwaway cut to the copy desk. I assure you it’s not just to build tick-tock urgency.
In a typical newsroom, the copy editor is not intimately involved with the reporting and writing of the piece, and therefore serves an ESSENTIAL dual role!!
As the “first reader,” they are audience proxies, making sure that the reader’s experience is good — Does this make sense? Is the information presented logically and in a comprehensible way? Can a reader get what they need from this story? And yes, is the grammar correct enough that they don’t ever stop reading and say “huh?”
Secondly, and ultimately more importantly to the newspaper, they are protectors of the institution: Is there anything here that could be considered libelous? Are we all very clear on who’s a public figure and who isn’t? Did an attribution get dropped? Is a statement possibly mis-attributed? Are the names all spelled properly so that the wrong person isn’t pulled into this? Does the math add up? Are the dates congruent? And yes, is the grammar right — because readers have a harder time trusting big reporting and bold assertions when they see obvious basic errors, and especially when you’re presenting scary information, credibility and reader faith is absolutely everything.
I salute every copy editor who has ever raised a flag to the bosses in an attempt to both serve their readers and protect their institutions.
Case study from my own hometown newspaper, and later, my employer: A news story and then a commentary column misreported and mischaracterized Atlanta Olympic security guard Richard Jewell as being involved in causing a fatal bombing at the 1996 Summer Games — when in fact he probably saved lives by discovering the explosive and moving people away. A copy editor raised the flag that certain statements should not be published, but her concerns were dismissed and it turned into a huge mess that caused personal damage to a lot of people, not least of which was poor blameless Jewell, as well as seriously impairing the AJC’s credibility and causing deep rifts in the newsroom. Anita Harkins, I will always remember you. You are a role model and journalism hero, even though they didn’t listen, and even though you suffered for doing your job so well. I am sorry I never got the chance to work with you. (RIP)
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‘Yeah… feisty with LOVE, Mom!’

Overheard in my house:
Just found out that my 70+ y.o. mother hasn’t been to the gyno in “so many years.” (!) The topic came up because she mentioned a friend who unfortunately has been diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer. I hope we all know that ovarian cancer is not obvious in its early stages, but if detected early, extremely curable. So this is very sad and common but sadly could probably have been caught in time to prolong this woman’s life.
I then asked Mom when was the last time she had her lady parts checked out by a doctor and she airily says “awhile.”
“No, mom, ‘awhile’ is not a unit of time. How many years?”
“A couple…”
“Don’t lie — sounds it’s been more than two!”
“OK, more than two. But I get my mammograms!”
“MOM, YOUR OVARIES ARE NOT IN YOUR BOOBS.”
“I didn’t think about it because I haven’t needed a Pap test…”
“Mom! Just because you don’t still get a period doesn’t mean you don’t have a cervix. Cervical cancer is also detectable and treatable. That’s why they have a test for it! And you still have ovaries and a uterus and they can all get cancer. I’m glad you are concerned about cancer in other places but you need to get your lady parts checked every few years at least! Next time you get your annual, you tell your PCP that you haven’t had any gynecological screening in however many years it has been because you do know even if you’re not telling me. Consider your friend your canary in the cancer coal mine and you have somebody look at all your business even if it’s a little unpleasant to get checked.”
“Well I’m not worried about unpleasant. You know I get the colonoscopy regularly…” [Her father died miserably of colon cancer, which would be surprising if he wasn’t so aggressively gluttonous and slothful his whole life and sad if he wasn’t such a terrible man. And he’s one of several cancer patients in our family, so yeah, it’s a known risk. Hence all my concerned-yelling here.]
“Yes, Mom, I know and that’s great. If you want to have it all done at the same time, you tell the colonoscopy guy you want him to look at everything all up in there from navel to knee, the whole business.” [Yes, yes, I know, that’s not how it works. But I was on a roll.]
 
“OK, thank you, I hear you. I’ll put it on my list. All right? *sighs* Clearly, you are feeling better from your cold. You are really being feisty right now.”
“FEISTY WITH LOVE, Mom! Damn right!”
 
In conclusion:
PSA: Make sure your senior moms don’t neglect to get their parts checked occasionally even after the factory closes. 😉
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Um, actually, you’re not such a ‘nice guy’

An acquaintance of mine was speaking about #metoo and the Aziz Ansari story about the grey area where men pester until a woman gives grudging consent. She proferred that all men have been guilty of putting this pressure on women, and acknowledged that most men get defensive about that premise because most men are basically decent and no one wants to think of themselves as a sexual predator — and therefore most don’t want to really confront their own motives and histories to figure out where they have misstepped or caused discomfort to others. Because that is very hard work, and we are sympathetic to the fact that the patriarchy trains all men in our culture that this aggression is not only OK, but it’s actually a totally normal and proper way to pursue sex. I mean, we’re sympathetic up to a point.

Anyway, then she got this gem of a comment:

I don’t think any of us are disagreeing with you on your point as a whole, but to say that “all men” are guilty of something is outright sexist, and diminishes your argument. To follow that up with inferring men are evil and terrorists, is incredibly reckless. Our reaction is not about “hurt feelings” or “being defensive”, it’s about clarifying your original point. Don’t you see, for the most part we agree with you that there is a conversation that needs to be had, but when you classify every member of a group due to the actions of some, then you are discrediting your objectivity. It’s actually very similar to the ‘every Muslim is a terrorist’ narrative that has gone around.
I understand that these are your beliefs, and you are entitled to those, but speaking as one of the ‘nice guys’,.. you’re wrong, and I’m not going to sit idly by while you cast guilt on me or anyone else based solely on our chromosomes.

(emphasis mine)

Oooof. So many fallacies! So many offenses!
At her request, and for support, I jumped in … and found myself getting more and more fired up as I went along. Here’s where my responses landed:

Personally, I think a “nice guy” wouldn’t disrespect [friend] enough to misspell her name while he intentionally misses her point repeatedly, takes her statements entirely too personally, and then over-explains why he objects to an over-generalized and inaccurate interpretation of her point of view. With allies like that, who needs enemies?

Please don’t hyperbolically say [friend] (or anyone) is blaming your chromosomes and then blithely bypass hundreds of years of cultural training that build the concepts of “manhood” in our society. Your (again, hyperbolic) rhetorical device of equating [her] frustration with patriarchal thinking by comparing it to bigoted statements like “every Muslim is a terrorist” is faulty because the “terrorist” line is demonstrably false: There are billions of Muslims worldwide and maybe a few hundred or few thousand terrorists.
But every man IS A MAN. Every man in our culture was raised in our culture. Every man in our patriarchy was promised certain gifts because he is a male. Every man who wants to undo his brainwashing has to do active, difficult work. He doesn’t have to undo his chromosomes, and no one is asking him to do that — because of course it’s impossible. So by saying “chromosomes” you render the request to do deep, difficult, personal cultural retraining work as silly, and therefore let yourself off the hook.

Here’s another framing:
White people have to actively undo their own lifelong white supremacy training, same way. So therefore, if in an essay or complaint, a person of color says “all white people,” I don’t get to respond with “stop blaming my skintone” and get off scot-free just as long as I don’t actively turn firehoses on protesters or hang up a Confederate flag. As a responsible aspiring ally, I have to understand that I’m complicit every day that I allow injustice to prevail. I’m working on it, but it ain’t over, and therefore if I want to be an ally, *LITERALLY THE LEAST I CAN DO* is listen to oppressed people rail out loud, as long and as angrily as they want, against my actual and metaphorical/collective complicity and the culture that trains us all that ongoing injustice is fine — and let them do so without my criticism or objection.

If you want to actually be a “nice guy” and not just think of yourself that way, maybe do some of these things. Certainly stop patting yourself on the back and announcing what a nice guy you are. At least try not to say “I’m a nice guy” and then have your VERY NEXT words be “you’re wrong and I’m not going to sit idly by”. There’s a little more to being “nice” to women beyond not actually raping anyone, that you know of, in your own opinion. But um, thanks for not doing that, I guess?

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Certified baloney!! (Bye-bye Roy Moore… for now at least)

I think this story is rather important: Roy Moore still refuses to concede the Alabama special Senate race, and in fact tried to call “shenanigans” on the whole election. It’s baloney, of course, and now it’s officially been ruled baloney.
1) Sigh of relief! Congrats again, Doug Jones!
2) Thank you, establishment Republicans who actually value the rule of law. I have to believe you exist and you will do the right and good thing even if you’re disappointed or you disagree. This challenge was batted down by fellow GOP officials, not Dem opponents. That’s very important.
3) This is just one more signal of how hard the fight will be to create a more just America: Those who feel they are owed the reins of power will scratch and claw rather than relinquish them. Paradigm shifts are not pleasant or peaceful, and “love” is not enough of an answer when the enemy is full of hate, fear, desperation, anger and entitlement. (Not all political opponents are enemies… see point 2.)
4) Note that certain types simply will not accept or concede a loss — even a clear loss. This is currently considered a flaw in personal character… if that refusal turns into a trend, it could morph into a group show of strength, and could fundamentally alter a basic American value: peaceful transfer of power. and YES, I am looking at the Federal government and White House fearfully when I say that. (THESE are the folks who see all opponents as enemies. That is very scary for democracy and domestic tranquility.)
5) The exceedingly dramatic and ongoing battle for the Virginia statehouse is a related story, in terms of electoral operations, resolutions, and overall stakes. Don’t forget to keep an eye on that one, too. 
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