Friday, March 30, 2012

Strange Fruit

I drove over to the laundromat in the little town of Liberty last night, rolling through the beautiful spring gloming, ending up at twilight all by myself in a nice clean laundromat sitting across the old highway into town from a big brick mill. My guess is the mill's deceased, but I don't know that for sure. The windows, as far as I could tell, were still in place. Maybe something's still alive there. I hope so. On the ride I listened for a minute or two to some third string yammerer on "Rush Radio," our state-wide network of hate FM, explaining to "the black people" that they had best shape up and quit wearing their pants down to their knees, and having 72% of their children out of wedlock. Treyvon Martin was mentioned every other sentence. Earlier in the day, driving home from work, Hannity was interviewing some Fox reporter from Orlando, who was reporting that Mr. Zimmerman was afraid for his life and couldn't go home or to work. I think she had interviewed Zimmerman's father, who told her and the world that Zimmerman was beaten up by Treyvon, and in great fear of his life, which his son told him, and he was sure his son wouldn't lie about such a thing. Later on, folding clothes at home, I saw Zimmerman's brother developing the story further--Zimmerman's head was being banged on the sidewalk and he thought he had better move his head before he became a vegetable. Such interior detail. Such human interest. Today I expect to hear that as Treyvon banged Zimmie's head, Treyvon's bling clinked in his ear so loudly that he was afraid he would suffer permanent hearing loss.

The third-stringer on Rush Radio opined that black people had better stop blaming things that happened "a century ago" for their behavior today. He said the killing of Treyvon was "not Emmett Till," and don't you forget it. He also said black people had better stop listening to people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and start listening to people like Herman Cain (really!) and Thomas Sowell--people who'd really done things.

Zimmerman's father said, in his interview, that he would never have believed the hate he perceived coming from the President. Later, on the Maddow show, Walter Dellinger said he thought the Supreme Court was approaching the thinking of the 1920s Court--that the precedent of Social Security being upheld as Constitutional in 1937 was implicitly being questioned in the issues being considered concerning the Health Care Reform Act. Over on Hannity's TV show a very pretty law expert (seems like that's all they can find over on Fox) said the Court was "mocking" the Administration's lawyers, and that's why Mr. Obama gave a speech yesterday suggesting that Congress drop oil subsidies.

I wonder if Mr. Nixon, when he invited the vast culture of white supremacy into the Republican Party back when he was trying to make an end run around George Wallace, realized that they came with their own agenda. Maybe he thought they were just rubes, these angry, fearful small-towners. Of course if you listen to the White House tapes there's the "N" word aplenty. So maybe to most Republicans, white supremacy is just an aspect of the privilege they live and breathe all the time. As Mr. Romney puts it, some of my best friends are NASCAR Team Owners.

The factual situation in the Treyvon Martin case hasn't changed much. A man with a gun stalked Martin even after being told by police to stop. Then he killed Martin. The legal situation in Florida is such that if you can prove (in some sense as yet undetermined) that you were in fear of your life, you needn't be charged with any crime if you kill someone. Mr. Zimmerman is now producing reams of "testimony" aimed at proving (in some sense as yet undetermined) that he was in fear for his life. His daddy says so. His brother says so. A black news guy named Joe Oliver who sorta knows him says so. A whole national news network and a whole phalanx of right wing radio yammerers say so. Indeed, the idea might be that if you are in the presence of a young black man, you probably ought to, per se, be afraid for your life, particularly if he wears his pants low down in the fashion of the times.

And this is pretty much the situation as it was in the 1920s, when a black man could be murdered with impunity for casting his eyes off the ground. And in that cultural sea, if you want to see what happens to black people, go watch Stepin Fetchit's act some time. You act like that amongst the Republicans, you won't get strung up and lit afire. Most likely. Just look at Herman Cain. Or if you want to look some place else, hunt up that photo in Life of the three deputies who killed the three civil rights workers in 1963 and buried them in the earthen dam near Philadelphia, MS. Which, by the way, was where Reagan kicked off his campaign for President.

[photo from ]


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Steam Rolls NC

Yesterday the pollen was so bad I had to go to bed when I got home after driving eight miles with the window down--because the truck was too hot from sitting in the sun all day. Thus is the frog frozen in his perplexity, feet sizzling, blue flame licking the sides of his skillet.

This morning over at Digby I read the following, a remark so fundamentally obvious that to find it in a political blog mostly concerned with current events is something akin to time-travel--backwards:

Since members of virtually all species will have sex in any case, birth control allows women to plan their lives beyond their fecundity. It doesn't make sense to be educated, to travel to try out new jobs or start a business if your plans can be derailed at any moment by the very likely result of pregnancy and the raising of infants and small children. Women simply cannot have equal access to everything the world has to offer if they cannot control their reproduction.

Birth control doesn't just allow women to make more money, although it does. It allows them to make choices about their lives and fulfill their dreams. It allows them to be fully human. And that's really the problem isn't it?

The GOP has pushed the goal posts plumb out of the stadium. The problem with that is, goal posts in the street is kinda like that moment in "Blow Up" when the photog holds the broken bit of guitar out on the sidewalk after barely surviving his accidental accomplishment of winning it in the club after the Yard Birds have smashed it as the climax of their arrangement. Duchamps' bicycle leaning against a wall in Toulouse is merely a potential theft.

I theorized with a friend this weekend that the Chinese language jokes now appearing in various television commercials are an early harbinger of the coming decision by persons of responsibility in the world at large that the United States is no longer capable of controlling the insanely powerful arsenal of WMD it possesses. Such persons everywhere must be quaking at the current crop of GOP Presidential candidates. Democracy is in the end a means--it is the machinery by which we attempt to govern ourselves. It requires for its successful application the lubrication of competent education, and the encouragement of wisdom. Living in a hall of mirrors not only confuses, but teaches the mind to live in confusion.

Here close to home, NC leaders are pondering inviting fracking into our state.

Oh, yeah. I'm aware that the idea that some mysterious international persons of responsibility will come to save us is akin to Michael Rennie's turn as the Space Man. We're all in the same boat here, and down towards the stern a bunch of Randian fanatics have decided to build a fire to warm themselves up. The oars are pretty good for kindling, and the hull itself is made of wood. What could go wrong. There's water just on the other side to keep the burning wood from burning.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Among many things one could say, this one seems to have been significantly underplayed, probably because the flaming, brutal injustice of the murder obscures more subtle truths.

See the thing is, a whole political party presumes that white (and male) privilege is simply the atmosphere we breathe here in the exceptional land of exceptionality. This presumption is so deep and so accepted that it is unquestioned, and indeed, to question it is to do something akin to "running down the country." And you know what Merle said about that: "If you're running down the country hoss you're walkin' on the fightin' side of me."

Trayvon's murder should be, for white America, a moment of consciousness-raising, a moment when the blindness is peeled away and a reality obvious to people of color becomes obvious to those of us who started out in the lap of privilege and never realized there was a lap there at all. Because no one should actually want to keep these blinders on, now should they? No one should want to actually encourage this sort of racism. Surely not. Surely neither major American political party would stoop to utilize the endless generational cultural racism that goes along with white privilege and slowly rots the country from within. Surely all of us would want to see Mr. Zimmerman for what he is--a sick fantasist with a dangerous weapon who needs to be at the minimum charged for murdering a kid in more or less cold blood. At the very bare minimum, surely we'd all agree that Mr. Zimmerman deserves to be tried for this act--with a serious prosecutor and a serious jury of his peers--peers meaning pretty much a cross section of all Americans.

Surely. Where's Mr. Romney on this?

Update. It's so much worse. A quick perusal of the discussion via my DSL internets tubes connection this Sunday morning reveals that a number of Republicans are now arguing that Treyvon's photo was "lightened," thus making him less scarey-looking than he "really" was. I'm not kidding. Really, I'm not kidding. And on the teevee, one famous and ostensibly liberal commentator (the guy who opened Al Capone's vault on live teevee) has cautioned parents about letting their kids wear hoodies, because that was probably the decisive factor in Treyvon's murder.

Here's the thing that really worries me. The Republican Party must be what it has become because it reflects a huge number of American voters' views. Granted, the GOP has also spent thirty years and zillions of dollars "educating" those voters into a deeper and deeper commitment to those views. But still. There's a sense in which democracy is what it is. There are still a few glimpses of light here and there--that's about it. A sitting Republican congressman from New York--guy named Hanna--actually suggested that women had better start supporting the folks that support women's rights. Said that in a speech this past week.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Today I have the undeserved opportunity to go to a studio and play music, which will at some point possibly result in the creation of a CD by the band once known as the "O'Blurs," and now as the "Craver, Hicks, Watson, Newberry Unit." It ought to be a fun day. I've made a whole thermos of coffee. I have managed to put all the fire wood that needs stacking out of my mind entirely. I will also put other important realities on hold. Meanwhile, you might read this:

The questions posed are profound. I try to pose more or less the same ones here. For me, the question was framed this week most spectacularly by Mr. Romney's remarkable acceptance speech after winning Illinois. He paints a picture of an America that is so entirely never was and never can be that he disqualifies himself by his own words. Yet his words were the icing on an actual presidential primary victory. It's really a boggling situation we're all in. We've been in it at least since 2001, if not in many ways since America elected an actor president in 1980 over a guy who was telling us several truths--such as that we needed to move away from a dangerous dependence on oil for our energy needs. Thanks Mr. Carter. DUH!

Reagan's first act was to remove the solar panels from the White House roof. That is possibly as significant a fact as any you will discover today. Meanwhile, I'll be sitting in an airconditioned, darkened room, head phones on, playing violin. Send me dead flowers in the morning, send me dead flowers by the US Mail. Oh right, they're discontinuing that service next week.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Early Spring

The leaves on the beeches
started blowing off yesterday afternoon, some of them brushing past a deer who was visible only when she moved, looking for bits of brush to munch and probably flicking deer ticks into the wood pile I'm working on getting stacked before it's too hot to move. (That Fiskars axe Libby had found out about last fall saved me 2K on a wood splitter, by the way.) We were practicing some music with Bryan and Barbara--got a nice gig with them later this summer over in Durham. I was sitting facing the slider, and watched this tableau unfold. They got back on the road to Glocester about 5:30 and we turned on the Heels, some concerned after their barely winning performance on Friday against a play in 16, some gutsy midgets from Vermont who could hit 3s. Creighton was another such team, but a lot better, with a big center who could shoulder and muscle. First thing that happened was a wack on Henson's sprained wrist, which most definitely annoyed the lad to the extent of getting a T no less, and which fired up the Heels for the afternoon. They looked like they did against Duke, second time around, to put it in a nutshell. They looked like serious contenders for the Kentucky freight train coming down the other bracket--and after all, they only lost to the Wildcats by a bucket early in the season, back before Christmas, back when the oak leaves had still been clinging to the upper branches and trying to stay green, which wasn't all that hard considering the days of 70 we were having off and on.

We watched the game. Unlike a lot of games, the Heels didn't let their opponents get a run going in the early second half. It reminded me of the Championship game against Illinois, although this one had bigger margins. It was called control. Nobody was bored. Every piece of the arsenal, offense and defense, was working. Need a 3? Barnes had one, or Bullock. Zeller had his inside game. Henson, who looked like a guy who'd found a glass of water in the middle of death valley, had both his typical great defense, and his shot. And Marshall was not only passing, but hitting shots--drives, 3s, whatever was there. There wasn't anyone Creighton could ignore. And that makes a hard situation. The announcers were saying he'd made his season high, 18 points, and 9 assists. He went out and White came in to spell him. The game was no longer in doubt. We were cooking and sorting out the room where we'd been practicing. I was getting my head around work a'comin. The light faded into a soft twilight. The Heels won. I switched over to see what was happening on Ax Men. Stanga was diving into some muddy bog and dredging up a sopping log he claimed was worth a K. Damn if I know. The son and pop fightin' duo down on the Swanee were arguing and had enlisted a shrink--I flipped it over to a bit of the Leigh game, hoping they'd win at least one more, deserving all they could get after taking Duke apart.

Libby came into the room and said Marshall had broken his wrist.


I wondered when the women's college softball season would arrive on ESPN. I wondered if the gas from last fall was still good, and if the mower would crank. I didn't take the battery out, like no one ever does. I had put stabilizer in the gas, and it's so expensive I hate to buy more if it is ok. It looks like the grass grew about six inches since Friday afternoon.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

All You Have To Do Is Look

So where did Limbaugh get the idea he could rant on for three days about Ms Fluke's personal "morals," producing a sustained rant which was in all details entirely a fantasy, and figure that he'd basically get away with it. Which apparently is what is happening. I turned on the radio yesterday on the way to the recycle center and there was a Rush rerun (our local "Rush Radio Network of stations also carries Tar Heel basketball, unfortunately). He was back, gloating, preening, and suggesting that Bill Maher was for some reason in more hot water than he was. (And hell, Maher has actually defended Rush on this Fluke story, in a context of free speech issues.)

Well, Limbaugh got the idea because of stories like this one:

This is a Democratic attorney general.

How many Democrats are still pretty unhappy that Hillary Clinton made that comment about cookies, back in '92?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Empathy: Liberal Poison

I used to argue with the guy at the Texaco about how all these draconian legal-document laws coming down the pike from legislators apparently entirely immune to the real effects of the laws they were promulgating actually had terrible effects on real people, including even thousands of American children. He had his DeKalb hat after all, so I figured he was maybe a farmer of some kind, and might actually need some help now and then to get his maters up, or his melons, or his tobacco. And if he needed help, maybe he'd actually realize that "help" is real people. As opposed, I mean, to some fantasy demon Mexican drug biker with tongue jewelry, frightening tattoos, and dirty fingernails. I was mildly shocked to find the guy countering me with "that's just empathy--you need to stamp that out of your system."

This would be, you see, one formulation of the dissonance law I've been asserting lately on these pages. As the dissonance increases, shout louder. Examples seem to fly off the teevee every day, and I sometimes feel like Newton must have felt when he realized the thing about falling apples. Suddenly there was a snowstorm of apples. Suddenly things fell into place. No pun intended.

It turns out that farmers are now hurting from a lack of farm labor. Unfortunately, farmers are a tiny minority in the US, and they aren't going to even raise the attention of legislators until it's pretty late in the game. Meanwhile, the legislators can buy their food at any price from the best markets in town, and move along to new agendas--new places to make pain and sorrow for millions of real people who, just like the farm laborers, have preciously little to do with the stereotypes on which their laws are based.

These days of course it's the women's health agenda that's on the card. I give you the following column, which comes via Digby:

Here's a bit from the piece. Read it all:

The doctor and nurse were professional and kind, and it was clear that they understood our sorrow. They too apologized for what they had to do next. For the third time that day, I exposed my stomach to an ultrasound machine, and we saw images of our sick child forming in blurred outlines on the screen.

“I’m so sorry that I have to do this,” the doctor told us, “but if I don’t, I can lose my license.” Before he could even start to describe our baby, I began to sob until I could barely breathe. Somewhere, a nurse cranked up the volume on a radio, allowing the inane pronouncements of a DJ to dull the doctor’s voice. Still, despite the noise, I heard him. His unwelcome words echoed off sterile walls while I, trapped on a bed, my feet in stirrups, twisted away from his voice.

“Here I see a well-developed diaphragm and here I see four healthy chambers of the heart...”

I closed my eyes and waited for it to end, as one waits for the car to stop rolling at the end of a terrible accident.

If that makes you feel kinda bad, you still have a little empathy. If you still have a little empathy, you'd better vote for some Democrats, and p.d.q. Democrats are by no means perfect, and in some areas they have a lot of big issues. It'd actually be wonderful if people who still had some empathy had time to start working on making the Democratic Party a better place. What's happened over the last thirty years is that a lot of folks who would in a better world be centrist Republicans have simply moved to the Democratic side because there's no place for them at all left on the Right. As I used to say back in the early '90s, Bill Clinton was mostly a Rockefeller Republican. I still believe that's true.

Back in 1990 or so, another moderate Republican, Barack Obama, was talking about making the US less "mean spirited." As Ms Maddow rightly pointed out this week, Mr. Obama's words are little more than a rephrasing of George Bush's "kinder, gentler America." On the current thing we call the "Right," Obama's new ancient comment is being offered as "evidence" that he is somehow, just as they all thought, "un-American." Woohoo.

Meanwhile, in the real world, where we actually all must live and suffer and die eventually, a nice doctor gives his third ultrasound to a woman carrying a fetus which must, for sound medical reasons, be terminated. And no doubt over on the right, people are shaking their heads at that story from the Texas Observer. "It's just more empathy fodder," they'll say. "Anectdotal testimony, of limited scientific value." It is a known scientific fact that "pro-life" women who use abortion facilities will frequently return to the picket-line within days of their procedure.

As the dissonance increases, so does the volume and intensity of the response.

[photo from ]

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Great Push Back

Digby posted this terrific photo this morning. It's about time people--men and women--started coming out and making the Republicans who have come into government with a stealth agenda aimed at rolling back progress on every front realize that there is such a thing as overreaching. I for one am concerned that this has been going on for far far too long--that the right has entrenched itself at every level and dimension of our government and polity, and will be extremely difficult even to prune, much less uproot.

The Tea Party events were an open threat, in many ways. People were brandishing weapons. In 2010 we had senatorial candidates talking about "2nd Amendment Solutions." Such "solutions" have been applied since the 1980s to various medical persons exercising their constitutional right to practice women's medicine. How is it a surprise that there is a full-on legislative attack on women's health care in a number of states and in Congress, or that the extremely mild-mannered testimony of Ms Fluke, before a forum of representatives with not even the status of a Hearing, can elicit the gigantic response it did from not only Limbaugh, but the entire right wing media and body of discourse.

There is an on-going war on women--a war that's been going on since the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment back in the late '70s. Perhaps we should be thankful that the GOP has become so bold that their long term objectives are more obvious.

But it's going to take a whole lot of effort to turn this tide, make no mistake. It's going to take people coming out, again and again. And it's going to take getting a lot of people elected, in an era when quite a few moderately progressive women's voices are actually going silent. In my own state, our fine governor--the first female governor in our history, has recently chosen not to seek reelection--a decision that came as a shock to many who worked closely with her.

Over on the Republican side, every candidate for President is "pro-life," versus "pro-choice." It seems we have forgotten what the two terms even mean, and which one suggests tolerance and democratic values. Perhaps this fact can be ascribed to a successful decades long campaign by the Right to demonize the very rights of women to have ultimate control over their own bodies. Perhaps far too many women have internalized this horrible bit of self-victimization.

At any rate--cudos to the fine citizen depicted in the photo. It's time and past to fight back against these dark forces aiming to destroy what America has promised since it started.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pity the Fool

There's a reiterated refrain on right wing radio that asserts, over and over and over, that women are asking the government, e.g., you the taxpayer, to pay for "their" birth control medication. This is a Big Lie, period. It is part of the Big Lie Mr. Limbaugh spun out last week re Ms Fluke, who dared to offer rational, clear, believable testimony to what's really at stake in the contraceptive issue which the GOP has chosen to make one of their emotional rallying cries this season. Here's the simple truth:

Here's a bit of the poster's piece, but it's all very very good. And unlike Limbaugh, Hannity, and the other right wing mouths who have gigantic megaphones and will shout your house down every day if you let them, this paragraph is actually true:

When I fill my prescription, I assure you that you aren’t the one paying for it. I am. When I go to the classroom and teach, when I grade papers, when I sit in office hours and coach your children on how to write, I am earning my own birth control. So are you. Whether you pay your own premiums or not, you are exchanging hours of your life for insurance. And if you don’t have insurance – how is that something to be proud of? It means you work for an employer who can’t be bothered to invest in its employees. It means you work for a corporation that finds you disposable, that tells you that you’d be a fool to expect your health to matter. Is that “freedom”? Really? Just because the all-seeing entity that wants to decide your fate doesn’t bear the stamp of the United States government? How utterly naive.

Hat tip to Digby, who posted the link. Big cudoes to the author of the piece--another sensible, rational American who happens to be a woman. There's a question over on the left of her page: where are the American men who are in favor of birth control? Good question. Digby suggests that voters should try to get whatever candidates they can find clearly on the record on this "issue" of birth control and access to birth control. The Right Wing is creating an enormous lie out of whole cloth at the moment. It would be nice to think that it's so obvious, and so wrong, that a lot of voters will actually see what's happening if only they look in the right direction--and away from the screed of salacious sanctimony that spews out of the right wing side of the media every day.

Meanwhile, this is how the conversation goes over in the land of the blind:

As well as the absurd and laughable argument that Ms Fluke has attacked Mr. Limbaugh, which is the center of the piece, check out the amazing comment thread, were all the false presuppositions (such as the false idea that Ms Fluke and her cohort must be having lots and lots of sex because otherwise their birth control pills wouldn't cost so much) build themselves into a veritable mountain of lies.

This is how the Big Lie works. This is how, for example, a million or so Tutsi people were massacred in a few days by their fellow Hutu citizens in Rwanda. It's how Germany invented a scapegoat--the Jewish people (and the gypsies, and other minority groups). And again I have to wonder just why the United States has allowed Lord Haw Haw to have a baker's dozen radio shows running in every nook and cranny of the nation, 24/7. It boggles the mind. It's a 5th Stage Mind Rot, judging by those comments at pjmedia just cited.

And here at home, my own UNC Tar Heels are carried, on the radio, by a network of stations called "Rush Radio." We've come a long way. Jesse Helms used to call UNC the "Red Nest." Now these people just co-opt. It's a more effective strategy unfortunately.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Terrorism Enabler Trashes a Young Law Student

[from ]

Although I was aware of the basic facts about "the pill," I was only somewhat aware of the glaring mistake Mr. Limbaugh (and Hannity and O'Reilly and several others who have publicly clambered on to the #4 Trolley to Haight and Devine, not to mention all those silent passengers, including the entire Republican presidential field and every elected Republican in the land) have made, not once but in each daily diatribe. Ms. Maddow made the mistake crystal clear last night. You can google all the details of Limbaugh's mountain of puke that you care to (no links provide here though), but essentially what he's done in his ongoing effort to smear Ms Fluke is entirely mis-state the basic facts of the birth control pill--which are that one takes one pill each day of the month, whether one is having sex or NOT. (The methodology was to simply ignore this basic truth of what "the pill" is and then rush on to mountains of statements suggesting that a pill was required for each "event", which then grounded calls for smelling salts and worse--until Ms Maddow's analysis I confess that I wasn't following the whole diatribe closely enough to tease out this shell game Limbaugh was playing.)

Starting with an entirely false premise--that a woman takes a pill each time she has sex--Limbaugh then concludes that Ms Fluke must be a "slut" because she needs thousands of dollars worth of pills. For a person who's been married 4 times and also takes the odd trip to the Dominican Republic, you'd think he'd know the basics about female birth control. Or maybe you'd just think that he would rather build a Rube Goldberg of lies, and knows full well what he's doing--which is getting to a conclusion which makes a nice young law student pay for having the courage to get up in front of some congresspersons and make a statement in opposition to the Republican lies about how Mr. Obama is stepping on Georgetown Law School's alleged moral scruples by finding a way to have students who choose to be "on the pill" have it covered in their health insurance without making Georgetown Law School actually pay for it. It's actually much like what happens when a nice young girl accuses a rich connected guy of raping her. She can expect to be called a whore and a slut. It's the first line of defense.

What's pretty strange is this is all coming from a person who's stayed on the radio after being convicted of purchasing thousands of dollars of prescription pain killers illegally, and even served some "time" for his crime (in an obviously crappy medical facility which didn't manage to broaden Limbaugh's views on anything at all), particularly when illegal drug monies are known in many cases to have made their way into the coffers of terrorist organizations.

The cap-it-off moment in all this (unless it turns out that Limbaugh is actually driven off the air, like Don Imus) is that Mr. Limbaugh actually used the mysoginistic aspirin "joke" in his diatribe on Ms. Fluke. Aspirin, after all, is an over-the-counter pain medication. If Limbaugh has just kept an aspirin between his knees (so to speak), his illegal drug addiction might not have happened.

As many different commentors have pointed out about this latest Limbaugh extravagance, the silence or even doubling down coming from the Republicans is simply breathtaking, and perhaps the most important fact about it, at least if anyone is looking for information about who to vote for this fall. Digby remarks that Romney had a complete no-brainer here, and flubbed even this. Indeed. Yet many women will probably join in the chorus of "slut, slut"--Hannity fielded such a call yesterday on his radio show, sitting back and letting some "Amy from Baton Rouge" say all the same stuff Limbaugh was saying. When the dissonance becomes painful, the volume increases--same as it ever was.

Just keep in mind that the quarter from which all this garbage spews is this one:

Wrap your mind around that view of the Girl Scouts. Suddenly the whole Right Wing view on women comes into focus. Limbaugh even attacked Ms Fluke's parents yesterday, in his third outing on the "issue". So which is less acceptably "parental," producing a young woman who can speak articulately on the issue of birth control insurance coverage before Congress, or producing a young woman who can choose to be the fourth wife of an absurdly rich old fat guy who makes his millions trashing people for political ends, and who may have, in fact, given some of his money to al Qaeda. Well, Limbaugh's fourth wife is probably set for life, particularly if she signed a good pre-nup. In a world of patriarchy, a girl's gotta look out for herself, and a good parent probably should impart that lesson to her daughters. It's for sure true that if a young woman dares to stand up to the rich white men running things, she'd better be ready for the shit to start to fly. Or as Hazel once sang, "Don't put her down, you helped put her there." There will always be parents who teach "realism," and those who teach "idealism." I'd sure be happier with a kid who stood up to Congress, and I don't think I could stomach having Limbaugh in the family even if my kid was set for life. That's just me.

(I looked for a version of Hazel singing this--she sang it so well at the Augusta Festival that it probably should now be hung up on the wall, like Uncle Ned's fiddle and bow. I did come across my old mentor's version, which is pretty swell.)

UPDATE. Yesterday Mr. Limbaugh allegedly "apologized." This is being reported as simple "news." The hope no doubt--in many quarters--is that Limbaugh's "apology" is now the end of the story. It's worked before. (See, e.g., Scalia's "get over it" answer to questions about the Bush V. Gore 2000 decision.) In fact, Mr. Limbaugh did not apologize. After repeating his slanders for three days, there was enough push back via his advertisers that they apparently gave him a talking to. In other words, Mr. Limbaugh is now in a financial business decision mode. Even in such straits, which are coercing an "apology," the best he can muster is some mumbling about a "poor choice of words," after which he again entirely falsifies the gist of Ms Fluke's testimony to Congress.

Limbaugh has traded, for his entire career, on the elision of two different things--entertainment and political argument. In many previous instances (including quite a few involving blatant racism and or blatant chauvinism), he has when pressed reverted to his "I'm just an entertainer" stance. Even this Friday, in his third day of attack, he was shifting somewhat, remarking at one point that "the Left doesn't seem to have a sense of humor" (e.g., I'm just a comedian, sorry you don't get my jokes).

I for one hope no one lets up on Mr. Limbaugh's advertisers until he is left with nothing at all but the gold sellers and the lawyers in search of class action cases (both of whom seem to have no scruples at all about who they use as pitchmen.) It's not an apology if you're only brought to it by economic leverage. Mr. Limbaugh clearly doesn't believe he did anything wrong. Otherwise, he would have apologized in the segment right after his first diatribe on Ms Fluke's character. Mr. Limbaugh has been a poison in the cultural and political discourse since he arrived on the scene, back when George H.W. Bush was President. He has gone "too" far so many times the goal posts have disappeared from the stadium, and in fact, that is one of his long-term purposes. People of decency and common sense have mostly just turned him off, but his base of followers becomes more politically influential with every passing day. Indeed, Limbaugh more than any other one person can be said to be responsible for the destruction of the Republican Party--an event we observe in this primary season in disgusting detail. Apology is not in Limbaugh's vocabulary. It never has been. The only response to him is economic--don't patronize any of his advertisers. And the best we can hope for is that Limbaugh will eventually find himself running a Serius channel. That will at least keep him off car radios as old as mine.

Meanwhile, in other news: