Throwback Tuesdays – Lady Kenmore

Sears used the “Lady Kenmore” brand washers & dryers until the mid ’80s when it was deemed sexist. But only women do laundry, right? They also had Lady Kenmore sewing machines, ’cause sewing-girly, natch. But Sink Disposal machines? (see below). Not sure grinding bones is a lady thing but the ’50s were weird.



Why I Long Ago Said Feh to the Middle East


The Atlantic’s Institute of Internet Diagrams came up with this handy chart to explain the simple and straightforward conflicts and alliances in the Middle East.

News and comedy shows alike were titilated by the fact that the U.S., despite all of the anti-Iran rhetoric in our politics, is fighting alongside Iran against ISIS, but also against Iran in the brand spanking new (still has that freshly broken country smell) civil war in Yemen. How does it still surprise people that foreign policy and the shifting game of realpolitik is hard? I guess its that the media and, in their defense, most Americans apparently, have this need for things to be black and white (except when the issue is race when black and white is too damn complicated). The chart and article are clearly tongue-in-cheek, but the fact is that generally, in the real world, the ability to hold two competing ideas in ones head at the same time is not only not contradictory it’s quite necessary.

But still, the Middle East is for suckers. If all they had was sand, nobody would care.

Asshole of the Week

There are so many. But here’s my choice of worst shite spewers for this calendar week:

No. 1: Parents complain when special needs student wears letter jacket

WICHITA, Kansas (KSNW) – A Wichita woman claims her special needs son was asked to remove his letter jacket at school.

The student, Michael Kelley, has Down Syndrome and autism. Kelley is not a varsity athlete but participates in extra-curricular special needs basketball.

This asshole is that type of asshole that says “not everybody gets a trophy in life” so if you’re not legitimate varsity you don’t get to wear the letter jacket. And fine, if you want to think that. Although, you’re wrong, because kids want to feel validation for their participation. You want to smack adults over the head with all the shit life has to give, fine, but how about we support and validate kids whose psyches are still being formed? Is that so difficult?

Now when you go over to a kid with down syndrome who loves to play basketball and tell him he can’t wear the jacket he’s wearing because you’re the varsity letter police, then you are mean and yes, an ASSHOLE.

No. 2: GOPer says Gays, Like Slave Owners, Are ‘Good People’ Who Made Bad Choices

Aw hell no!! This is so assholian on so many levels it surpasses the numerous other mundanely stupid things said this week by Republicans everywhere.

“Slave owners were very good Christians and good people,” Shepherd told the reporter, before noting that he was not not a fan of slavery. “I totally disagree with that.”

Shepherd allegedly noted that the fight surrounding gay marriage was an example of how “good people” can be led astray by poor moral convictions.

“They (slave owners) weren’t terrible rotten horrible people,” Shepherd reportedly said. Shepherd added that they were simply people who made bad choices, before clarifying that “that’s how I see gay people.”

Republicans are generally tragically bad at both history and analogies, thusly the comparisons between climate change deniers and Galileo which gets the analogy exactly fucking the opposite. Or the infinite comparisons to President Obama and Hitler.

So the amount of stuff that Mr. Shephard does not understand here is vast. He does not get (1) that gay people just want to be free to be themselves and marry whom they love, or (2) that slave owners did not just make a bad choice – they perpetuated a “lifestyle” that enslaved other human beings for economic gain and justified it as both the moral and ethical better choice even for the enslaved.

It’s particularly galling to me after having recently read “The Half Has Never Been Told” a truly great history of slavery in America and the epic failure of our Founding Fathers that took 70 years for Abraham Lincoln to finally fix. Nobody who understands the whipping machine that was the vast and expanding empire of cotton that built the South (and to a large extent also both the North’s and Europe’s manufacturing base, which relied so much on the brutally efficient cultivation of cotton) could make such a grievously stupid statement as slave owners were ‘good people’ who were led astray.

And then to compare them to gays? You, sir are an ASSHOLE!

Listen to my Blogfather – Eric Alterman in the Nation (150 yrs. young)

When I first got on the internets on Netscape back in the 90s, my first go-to blog (pre-Daily Kos, even) was Eric Alterman’s space on when it was actually still 50% MS. Alterman is best known for the seminal debunking of the liberal media myth “What Liberal Media” which he should update. After bouncing around a bit Alterman is blogging where he writes columns at The Nation.

For the 150th anniversary issue he issues “A Wake Up Call for US Liberals” in which he says pretty much what I say all the friggin’ time but better and with more economy.

Our political dysfunction has many sources, but one way to describe our problem is this: we have allowed conservatives to define the terms of debate at a time when conservatives have lost all sense of moral, intellectual and especially practical responsibility.

Right. But the part that made my heart sing is this:

The primary difference between liberalism and conservatism, at least in theory, is that the latter is an ideology and the former isn’t…liberalism, at bottom, is pragmatism. Conservatives desire low taxes and small government because this is how they define freedom. They like to pretend that liberals prefer the opposite in both cases, but the truth is that liberals are OK with whatever works.

I’ve been trying to formulate that paragraph for years. Thanks Eric. Or as my twitter bio says:

The right are ideologues. Libertarians are ridiculous. Only the left is trying to MAKE THINGS WORK.

The Real Victims of Citizens United – the Poor Millionaires (no kidding)

Pity the poor millionaires in a world of billionaires. Here we are in the bureau of unforeseen consequences again. The 5 justices of the Supreme Court who voted to memorialize the idea that money is speech and cannot be limited in campaigns, just couldn’t know the sad downside of their idealism. That when you remove the speed limit on the campaign finance superhighway so that millionaires and billionaires can take their rightful place in the pockets of all elected officials, it doesn’t just cut the 99% out of the process; it also gags the 99.9%.

In 2016 campaign, the lament of the not quite rich enough

At this point in the 2012 presidential race, Terry Neese was in hot demand.

“Gosh, I was hearing from everyone and meeting with everyone,” said Neese, an Oklahoma City entrepreneur and former “Ranger” for President George W. Bush who raised more than $1 million for his reelection.

This year, no potential White House contender has called — not even Bush’s brother, Jeb. The only e-mails came from staffers for two other likely candidates; both went to her spam folder.

“They are only going to people who are multi-multi-millionaires and billionaires and raising big money first,” said Neese, who founded a successful employment agency. “Most of the people I talk to are kind of rolling their eyes and saying, ‘You know, we just don’t count anymore.’ ”

It’s the lament of the rich who are not quite rich enough for 2016.

So fellow 99%ers, here’s our opportunity to make common cause with that .9% at the almost tippy top against the .1% bastards. Maybe when Justice Alito reads this over his morning Ovaltine he’ll realize how wrong he was and call a meeting of the Super Friends to rethink their mistake.


But since the Supreme Court is not a court and the justices are not judges, that’s about as liely as Ted Cruz signing up for Obamacare, uh what?

We’re Still in the Ditch and Can’t Find the Way Out

It just feels like our political reality is that we’re incapable of getting the traction necessary to pull ourselves out of the metaphorical ditch that keeps us from addressing the real issues we need to attack: climate change, inequality, insecurity, student debt, aging infrastructure, institutionalized racism/sexism, etc. The reasons for the ditch are well documented: the Reagan revolution and general policies of deregulation, anti-union activism and voodoo economics started the digging, while the Bush bulldozer of war and tax cuts with a Supreme Court living in the 1800s have kept us from making the changes the majority of the country said we needed in 2006 and 2008.

Bob Kuttner of the American Prospect in Why the 99% Keeps Losing lays out the 7 issues that keep the right and the rich profiting from our politics. I won’t lay out all 7 here, it’s a quick read, but the 7th is a lack of a movement. Which is a duh, of course. The brief Occupy movement was squashed by a media atmosphere that didn’t take it seriously because drum circles disqualify while tri-corner hats with tea bags hanging off them are very, very serious.

The remedies that would restore economic opportunity and security to ordinary Americans are far outside mainstream political conversation, and will not become mainstream until forced onto the agenda by a genuine mass movement. Sometimes that movement gets lucky and finds a rendezvous with a sympathetic national leader.

This has occurred before — in the Roosevelt Revolution of the 1930s and the Civil Rights Revolution of the 1960s. But without a potent movement on the ground, mainstream electoral politics is likely to remain stuck with remedies too weak either to rouse public imagination and participation, or to provide more than token relief for today’s extreme inequality.

The movement is essential because as RJ Eskow lays out More Evidence That “Centrist” Solutions Can’t Save Us Which should be pretty self-evident because that’s all we’re allowed to have in today’s gridlocked politics and both sides do it media.

We have become a profoundly unequal society. That reality is explored in new detail in a recent study from the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). Even more importantly, the INET study shows that it will take a dramatic shift in policy to restore the equilibrium. Unless we can build momentum for a new political agenda, we’ll be divided into a small minority with fabulous wealth and a permanent underclass with few hopes or prospects.

Unfortunately, our mainstream political dialogue shows no sign of adapting to these realities. As the INET study confirms, mainstream Democratic ideas won’t protect us from this dismal future.

It’s hard to see a way out of the maze anytime soon. I have no doubt that 2016 will be a good year for Democrats and (fingers crossed) Hilary will not only win and have a Democratic senate, but adopt some of Elizabeth Warren’s policies. But unless she truly adopts a Rooseveltian desire to change the politics in order to make fundamental change, we’ll be stuck in the cycle of optimism in 2016 to pessimistic 2018 with Republicans continuing to be the obstruction to our getting out of the ditch.

I’ve long been hoping that the GOP will finally have the apocalyptic schism that they deserve breaking them into irreconcilable pieces (the fundamentalist tea party wing and the establishment Wall Street wing) that would allow Democrats to take control while the GOP figures out just how crazy and unresponsive they want to be.

However, given the universal cravenness of the GOP with absolutely everybody willing to go further and further right and never fight for the soul of the party (some might say because it’s soulless) it’s hard to see that schism happening no matter how hard Ted Cruz and Rand Paul drive them cliffward.

And don’t get me started on how little faith we can possibly have in the Democrats other than a few brave souls like Sanders and Warren you can count on one deformed hand.

Maybe the American people will figure out that government is for fixing things and goddamit some shit certainly needs fixing. But I’ve been waiting for that since Saturday Night Live was a groundbreaking new show.

Paul Krugman on GOP Budget Fraud – Apparently the Honesty’s Too Much

As many comments note for Krugman’s usual calling out of the Emperor’s nakedness, apparently such honesty about Republican budgetary fraud is too much for the rest of the Old Gray Lady or indeed the rest of the media.

By now it’s a Republican Party tradition: Every year the party produces a budget that allegedly slashes deficits, but which turns out to contain a trillion-dollar “magic asterisk” — a line that promises huge spending cuts and/or revenue increases, but without explaining where the money is supposed to come from.

Look, I know that it’s hard to keep up the outrage after so many years of fiscal fraudulence. But please try. We’re looking at an enormous, destructive con job, and you should be very, very angry.


France Does What We Should Do (of course)

Everybody I speak to agrees that new buildings should be built with solar panels, or at least with a “green” roof. France now decrees it.

Rooftops on new buildings built in commercial zones in France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels, under a law approved on Thursday.

Green roofs have an isolating effect, helping reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building in winter and cool it in summer.

Merci France, bien fait! (Which reminds me I have to get back to Duo Lingo)


green roof image

More Racism? More Sexism? Feels That Way to Me

Amanda Marcotte writes for TPM that As Women Get More Power, Right Wing Pundits Get More Sexist. Sure feels that way. I’ll add that as society gets less racist, the racists team up and actually get bolder. That, I feel is the dynamic going on around the country with police forces and in right wing politics.

Sexism used to be conveyed, even in conservative media, with much more subtlety, but in the past couple of years, there’s been a shift towards hitting the audience over the head with it. Maybe the trend started with Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” for using birth control in 2012. Or maybe it started in 2013, when Erick Erickson, Lou Dobbs, and Juan Williams went on Fox News to denounce women who make higher salaries than their husbands, saying that doing so signals the “disintegration of marriage” and that “the natural world” is one where “the male is typically dominant” and the female is meant for a “complimentary” role, which is a lovely euphemism for “subservient.”

And to connect this with my “conquer vs. negotiate” doctrine –

On Wednesday’s episode of Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Charles Payne, while ostensibly praising Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen for not hand-holding Wall Street, still undermined her by saying, “She did it like a typical mommy would,” and suggesting that Yellen’s “mommy” personality made her a weak leader.

Of course a woman can’t be a conqueror, and that’s bad. No matter how badasssss she is and Janet Yellen is pretty badassssss to get to the head of the Fed, she’s still a “mommy” (I don’t even know if that’s literally true and I doubt Payne does either) and mommy’s are weak. Daddy’s are strong. This is so wrongheaded on so many levels. 1. it’s just a stupid way to look at the world and 2. mere possesion of a vagina doesn’t make you a mommy or weak. It’s just all wrong.

To quote the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” theme song “females are strong as hell”!

Middle Class Shrunk in Every State Since 2000

Those commies at the Pew Charitable Trust have it charted out.

Every state has a smaller percentage of their population in the middle class. Median income is down and the percentage of households that spend at least 30% of their income on housing is up.

As usual, it isn’t rocket science to figure out why. We need more tax cuts for the rich, of course! And those yucky unions that run everything have to be smacked down Scott Walker style. Oh yeah, Wisconsin has one of the largest falls.

Click through and see your state’s numbers and weep.