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General snarkiness

Collins responds to Farenthold

Please keep this up forever.

On Monday, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) offered a novel — and sexist — explanation and solution for the Republican health care bill’s struggles: He blamed “some female senators from the Northeast” for holding up the legislation. Then he went on to argue that “if it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style” — a reference to Burr’s fatal duel with Alexander Hamilton in 1804.

In a hot mic moment, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), one of the senators who opposes the Senate health care bill because it would lead to big losses in insurance coverage, was very blunt in her thoughts about Farenthold.

First, she asked Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), “Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?”

Reed said, “You could beat the shit out of him.”

Collins responded: “He’s so unattractive. It’s unbelievable. … Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this bunny?”

The recording is then cut off.

See here for the background. You can hear the recording at the link above. I don’t think there’s anything I could possibly add to this. Gray Matters has more.

You’re never so weak as when you try to act tough

Blake Farenthold, ladies and gentlemen:

A Texas GOP congressman says if the three female Republican senators who oppose a bill repealing Obamacare were men from South Texas, he might challenge them to a duel.

“The fact that the Senate does not have the courage to do some of the things that every Republican in the Senate promised to do is just absolutely repugnant to me,” U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, told his local radio host Bob Jones on Friday.

“Some of the people that are opposed to this, there are female senators from the Northeast… If it was a guy from South Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style.”

[…]

Duel language is not new in politics. In 2004, then-U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, a Democrat who crossed party lines to campaign for President George W. Bush, invoked it against MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews. The comments were met with widespread mockery at the time.

But there’s little funny about such language in the U.S. Capitol these days, after a deranged man shot and injured a Republican member of Congress during a baseball practice in June. U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, was gravely injured in the incident and remains hospitalized.

Yes, thank goodness we’ve all heeded that call for civility after the shooting on the baseball field. Also, someone might gently tell Farenthold that Alaska is not in the northeast. Tell him thanks for the laugh, too, we all needed it. Juanita and ThinkProgress have more.

Yes, m’lord

I totally should bid on this.

All it takes to be a noble – to be called “m’Lord” or “m’Lady” – is money. And for Texans interested in owning a noble title, a silent auction in London holds an extra appeal. The title being auctioned has a loose connection to Gen. Sam Houston, arguably the most important figure in Texas history.

The Barony of Fingalton, Renfrewshire, Scotland, is said to have once belonged to Houston’s ancestors. Between June 27 and July 11, it’s being sold in a special silent auction.

Auctioneer Robert Smith, of Manorial Auctioneers Ltd., said that he expected the title to sell for at least $100,000.

It’s being sold, Smith said, by a French-speaking Swiss businessman who’s owned it since 1998.

Why would anyone want to pay $80,000 for nothing more than the right to call yourself a baron or baroness?

“People’s reasons vary,” Smith said. “There’s novelty involved, I suppose. I would think someone in Texas would have some warmth in regard to the general.”

Ernie Manouse, the Houston Public Media TV host, said that he bought a title of nobility nearly 20 years ago – for $29 or so.

That title, of highly questionable provenance, came with an ID card and a certificate suitable for framing.

It was, Manouse laughs, well worth the investment.

Manouse used the title years ago on a Lord & Taylor credit-card application, resulting in a credit card that read: “Sir Ernie Manouse.”

According to the sidebar, “Anyone wanting information or planning to bid should write to manorial@msgb.co.us or call auctioneer Robert Smith at &44-20-7582-1588.” I suppose there are better uses for a hundred grand, but these things don’t grow on trees, you know. Maybe I could crowdfund it. Who’d be in for a piece of the action with me?

The “Man’s Right To Know” Act

This is some high-quality trolling.

Rep. Jessica Farrar

Texas State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, filed a bill Friday that would penalize men for “unregulated masturbatory emissions.”

The satirical House Bill 4260 would encourage men to remain “fully abstinent” and only allow the “occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities,” which are described in the legislation as the best way to ensure men’s health.

Farrar said she created the bill after feeling fed up with the various legislative bills introduced by men addressing women’s healthcare.

“A lot of people find the bill funny,” Farrar said in a phone interview. “What’s not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day, that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them to access healthcare.”

A man would face a $100 penalty for each emission made outside of a vagina or medical facility. Such an emission would be considered “an act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life,” according to the legislation.

The money would benefit children in the care of the Department of Family and Protective Services.

A registry would be created of non-profit organizations and hospitals that provide “fully-abstinent encouragement counseling, supervising physicians for masturbatory emissions, and storage for the semen.”

[…]

Her latest bill also seeks to provide men with a safe and healthy environment during vasectomies, Viagra uses and colonoscopies by creating “A Man’s Right to Know” booklet that should “exactly follow the rules and procedures of the informational booklet “A Woman’s Right To Know,” required to be given of women terminating pregnancies.

During the consultation, the physician would verbally review the booklet with men and would be required to “administer a medically-unnecessary digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imagining of the rectum,” according to the bill.

Farrar said she included this part of the bill to mimic the trans-vaginal ultrasound woman have when they are seeking an abortion. She also described the doctor reading the “Woman’s Right To Know” pamphlet as a “guilt mechanism.”

“It’s to show how invasive this medically unnecessary procedure is,” She said. “When a woman has to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound, it has nothing to do with her healthcare. One of the state’s objectives is to guilt her into changing her mind.”

A doctor would also have the right to “to invoke their personal, moralistic, or religious beliefs” if they refuse to perform a vasectomy or prescribe Viagra.

And then you’d have to wait 24 hours to get it, because obviously. Other bills of this nature have been filed in other states; this as far as I know was a first for Texas, and in true Texas fashion it’s a lot bigger than anything like it. Needless to say, some people don’t get the joke.

Farrar has criticized several anti-women’s health bills that have been filed this session, primarily a measure filed by state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, that would require Texas hospitals to bury or cremate fetal remains and another by state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, that would charge both abortion providers and women who receive an abortion with murder.

At a House State Affairs committee hearing Wednesday, Cook was challenged by Farrar and other House Democrats who questioned how his bill would impact women’s mental health and how much it would cost. Cook said his measure would create a registry of organizations that can help pay for burial or cremation of fetal remains. That way, the cost associated with burials would not fall on women, Cook said.

“Let me be clear: this bill has nothing to do with abortion procedures whatsoever. It has everything to do with ensuring the dignity of the deceased,” Cook said Wednesday. “We believe Texas can do better than this.”

Cook did not immediately respond to the Tribune’s request for comment Sunday.

In a statement, Tinderholt said Farrar lacked “a basic understanding of human biology.”

“I’m embarrassed for Representative Farrar,” Tinderholt said. “Her attempt to compare [HB 4260] to the abortion issue shows a lack of a basic understanding of human biology. I would recommend that she consider taking a high school biology class from a local public or charter school before filing another bill on the matter.”

This is Tony Tinderholt. To steal from Molly Ivins, I’d say that being insulted by Tony Tinderholt is like being gummed by a newt, though in this case I’d say it would be an old, frail newt. I hope that the filing of HB4260 results in a lot of legislators who are suddenly unable to make eye contact with Rep. Farrar. Andrea Greer, who does get the joke, and the Austin Chronicle have more.

I stand with Ahmed

Jesus H. Christ on a cracker.

This is a travesty

Ahmed Mohamed — who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart — hoped to impress his teachers when he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High on Monday.

Instead, the school phoned police about Ahmed’s circuit-stuffed pencil case.

So the 14-year-old missed the student council meeting and took a trip in handcuffs to juvenile detention. His clock now sits in an evidence room. Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb — though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it’s a clock.

In the meantime, Ahmed’s been suspended, his father is upset and the Council on American-Islamic Relations is once again eyeing claims of Islamophobia in Irving.

A box full of circuit boards sits at the foot of Ahmed’s small bed in central Irving. His door marks the border where the Mohamed family’s cramped but lavishly decorated house begins to look like the back room at RadioShack.

“Here in high school, none of the teachers know what I can do,” Ahmed said, fiddling with a cable while a soldering iron dangled from the shelf behind him.

He loved robotics club in middle school and was searching for a similar niche in his first few weeks of high school.

So he decided to do what he’s always done: He built something.

Ahmed’s clock was hardly his most elaborate creation. He said he threw it together in about 20 minutes before bedtime on Sunday: a circuit board and power supply wired to a digital display, all strapped inside a case with a tiger hologram on the front.

He showed it to his engineering teacher first thing Monday morning and didn’t get quite the reaction he’d hoped for.

“He was like, ‘That’s really nice,’” Ahmed said. “‘I would advise you not to show any other teachers.’”

He kept the clock inside his school bag in English class, but the teacher complained when the alarm beeped in the middle of a lesson. Ahmed brought his invention up to show her afterward.

“She was like, it looks like a bomb,” he said.

“I told her, ‘It doesn’t look like a bomb to me.’”

The teacher kept the clock. When the principal and a police officer pulled Ahmed out of sixth period, he suspected he wouldn’t get it back.

They led Ahmed into a room where four other police officers waited. He said an officer he’d never seen before leaned back in his chair and remarked: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”

Ahmed felt suddenly conscious of his brown skin and his name — one of the most common in the Muslim religion. But the police kept him busy with questions.

The bell rang at least twice, he said, while the officers searched his belongings and questioned his intentions. The principal threatened to expel him if he didn’t make a written statement, he said.

“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed said.

“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”

“He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”

All that happened on Tuesday. Ahmed was subsequently arrested, handcuffed, walked through the school in handcuffs – that’s the picture above – fingerprinted, and finally released, with the cops eventually admitting that it was a clock, as he had been saying all along. Ahmed is now an Internet celebrity, and another example of how public officials like Irving’s Mayor who pander to fear and hate in the name of “security” do far more damage than good. And yeah, race and religion was a factor. Shame on everyone involved in this debacle, and good on you, Ahmed Mohammed, for being a kid who likes to build things. Keep on doing what you’re doing, and don’t let the turkeys get you down. TPM, Think Progress, Daily Kos, Kevin Drum, Slate, Vox, Wonkblog, Gawker, Mic, the Current, the Trib, the Observer, and Juanita have more.

As if we needed a reminder that Sid Miller is an idiot

We got one anyway.

DoubleFacepalm

Don’t expect Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller to apologize over a social media post that appeared to call for the atomic bombing of “the Muslim world” – despite an outcry from critics.

Miller, who is currently on a trade mission to China, did not personally share a controversial photo that appeared on his campaign Facebook account and has since been removed, Todd Smith, the Republican’s campaign spokesman, said Monday. The commissioner has no plans to figure out which of his staffers shared the posting, or to apologize, Smith said.

“We’re not going to apologize for the posts that show up on our Facebook page,” said Smith, estimating that 18 people have access to the campaign account. “I don’t know who did it, but I’m not going to start a witch hunt to find out who did.”

The photo, originally shared by the Facebook user The Patriots IV Drip 2, depicted a mushroom cloud framed by two statements: “Japan has been at peace with the US since August 9, 1945,” and “It’s time we made peace with the Muslim world.”

The posting also included the text: “#noislamknowpeace” and “#COMETAKE.”

Late Sunday, Miller’s campaign account shared the post without adding a comment, according to the Dallas Morning News, and it was removed some time Monday morning.

You can click over and see the picture in question, if you haven’t already. There’s not much one can do with something like this except make snarky comments and attempt to score cheap political points, so let’s get on with it.

– Obviously, Miller owns this action. It’s his campaign account, and he’s not even making a token gesture of regret or distancing himself from it. (There were some weasel words from one of his people in the Chron story, but nothing from Miller himself.) I just wonder if anyone related to his campaign is smart enough to realize what a huge security risk it is to grant author permissions to 18 people (or so; they don’t even know exactly who has this level of access). All it takes is for one of those people to get hacked, and that campaign Facebook page can get pwned. One has to wonder about the security protocols they may be following with the official state accounts and files if this is how they treat their campaign assets. Maybe they should have a chat with Susan Combs about that.

– I’m pretty sure everyone in Miller’s office and campaign considers themselves good, devout Christians. I’m also pretty sure that Jesus Christ never suggested to his disciples that genocide was a good idea, or a thing to do if one wanted to follow him.

– Similarly, I’m pretty sure that everyone who works for the man who authored the sonogram law while he was in the House considers themselves strongly “pro-life”. I’m also pretty sure that some of the people they’re apparently comfortable with the idea of killing en masse are children, and that some of them are pregnant women. How that squares with their “pro-life” beliefs, I’ll leave for them to explain.

You get the idea. I could say something serious here, but honestly, what’s the point? We get the Sid Millers we deserve. The Observer, the Current, the Press, Juanita, and Paradise in Hell have more.

It’s called “social media”, Ted

Ted Cruz is shocked, shocked to learn that his silly little Facebook poll got shared with some people who weren’t supposed to answer it.

Not Ted Cruz

Not Ted Cruz

An old maxim about the law – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s chosen profession – holds that courtroom litigators don’t ask questions if they don’t already have the answers.

But in the chaotic world of social media, as the Texas Republican found out, all bets are off.

An impassioned Facebook clash involving tens of thousands of posterserupted this week in response to Cruz’s informal online survey marking the fourth anniversary of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

“Quick poll,” the survey began, “Obamacare was signed into law four years ago yesterday. Are you better off now than you were then? Comment with YES or NO!”

More than 53,000 responses had been logged as of Tuesday, dominated in recent days by Cruz opponents eager to defend a health care law that the tea party favorite had tried to repeal last fall through a government shutdown.

A surge of “yes” and “absolutely” comments overwhelmed an initial wave of anti-Obamacare posts, leaving Cruz’s staff with the clear impression that something was amiss.

“This is very clearly a manufactured, concerted effort from the left,” said Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. “Maybe a better use of their time would be advocating for an Obamacare website that actually works.”

That’s so precious. So much so that I can’t quite put my reaction to that into words, so I’ll just do this:

Like that, yeah. Back to the story:

Dave Kapell, a small-business owner in Minneapolis, also voted yes, noting that a plan he found on Minnesota’s insurance exchange was saving him $200 a month. Kapell said nobody solicited his participation in the poll. “It just popped up on my Facebook page,” he said in an interview. “I think somebody I know reposted it.”

Amazing how that works. That Facebook sure is something, isn’t it? Someone ought to figure out how to leverage it for use in a campaign. I bet it’d work really well for that.

Anyway. BOR has some screenshots. Go look and have a good laugh at Cruz’s cluelessness.

Horse’s head sold separately

Shorter John Cornyn: “Unless President Obama gives us Republicans everything we want – and we insist that he be the one to come up with the list of things that we want, so we can attack him for it in the next campaign – we are going to destroy the global economy, because it’s the responsible thing to do.”

You weren’t supposed to be mad at me!

Oh, the humanity!

Sad Dewhurst is sad

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Friday continued to fight a battle that he had lost three days before when Ted Cruz defeated him for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

Cruz and his allies had effectively cast Dewhurst as a tax-and-spend moderate, a criticism that Dewhurst was still eager to rebut during a rare meeting of the Legislative Budget Board at the Texas Capitol.

“There are a lot of Texans who are so mad and angry at Washington — and I’m mad and angry at Washington, too — (they) have a hard time understanding how any other form of government, such as state government, could actually cut taxes, which we did, and cut spending, which we did,” Dewhurst said.

Allow me to translate that: “All that anger and fear and hatred and mistrust we’ve been stirring up with our lies and disinformation and propaganda – that was supposed to help me, not be used against me! Why can’t you people act rationally when we appeal to your basest instincts? Don’t you understand how government really works?”

On a more serious note, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has been saying since last Tuesday that he was going to run for Lite Guv in 2014 regardless of what The Dew does. That’s a long way away and anything can happen, but I tend to believe him. Given that Patterson is not a culture warrior, it’ll be interesting to see how a Dewhurst-Patterson primary would shape up. Will Dewhurst play with fire again, or will he learn from his experience?

Mockery is the best medicine

Business Insider comes across the Facebook fun.

Women aren’t too happy with Rick Perry’s stance on family planning funding. Today, they let him know the best way they could, with some well-directed Internet snark.

Posts asking Perry’s advice about everything from menstruation to menopause flooded the governor’s Facebook wall this morning. They’ve since been taken down, and new posting has been disabled, but screenshots document the whole episode.

Click here to see their screenshots. The only think wrong with this report, which was written Monday, was that the hijinx had started several days earlier, as Nonsequiteuse had been documenting. Sadly, that fun came to a halt yesterday, as Team Perry finally figured out that social media is a two-way street (a lesson you’d think they’d have learned by now) and shut off the ability to post on his wall. Perry’s spokeperson whined about how mean everyone was, but they were pwned, plain and simple. Well done, ladies.

Nobody cares more about caribou nookie than Louie Gohmert

If that headline doesn’t make sense to you, go read this. Once you’ve regained your senses, go read what Harold Cook has to say about it. The standard beverage warning is in effect. You’re welcome.

When the landed gentry squabble

Am I a bad person for thinking this is funny?

I say, old bean. Not cricket, you know.

Was it sewer sabotage or self-defense?

That was the question hanging in the genteel air of two of Houston’s toniest suburbs [last] Thursday after Hunters Creek Village city officials verbally opened fire on their Piney Point Village neighbors for bricking up a storm sewer, leading to 4-foot-deep flooding on Kemwood Drive during the region’s early-January deluge.

Still fuming days after his city filed a lawsuit to remove the blockage, which reduced the conduit’s diameter from 36 inches to eight, Hunters Creek Village Mayor Dave Wegner blasted Piney Point Village for having “a very antagonistic form of city government.”

Piney Point Mayor Peter Nemeth retorted that Hunters Creek Village simply was caught in the act of “trying to flood our city with extra water.”

The dispute is about a shared sewer system, and it’s the sort of thing that one would think could be resolved without claims of sabotage, lawsuits, and airing one’s fashionable yet dirty laundry in public. My advice to them is to do what civilized people do and let Judge Judy sort it all out. Next!

From the “Things I will not be spending my money on” department

This arrived in the mail last week:

My letter from George and Laura

I have no idea from which mailing list they bought my name. Suffice it to say it was not money well spent on their part. I got a good laugh out of it, which is more than they’ll get.

You’ve got to grab those opportunities where you can

I just have one question about this:

Some area artists are making old look new by featuring recycled materials in their work.

Their pieces, showcased Saturday at the Green Arts Festival at the Talento Bilingue de Houston in the East End, include glass, metal, scrap wood and even bottle caps.

Janise Cookston, who has been painting for seven years, said her recent effort to include recycled materials is challenging her to be more creative.

“I don’t make as many trips to the art store now,” the public relations representative said. “I just sit in my studio and see what I have and what I can make from that.”

Were any of these artists working with discarded oil drums to make big metal chickens? I hear the market for them is red hot these days.

Saturday video break: This is an Olympics event I could win

I do have a talent for some things:

I’d need to work on my speed, however.

They like him! They really like him!

Here’s your heartwarming story for the week.

The Republican Party of Fort Bend County Executive Committee has unanimously passed a resolution in support of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay expressing “appreciation for his tireless service to our community, the State of Texas and the nation and the price that he has paid for being an effective advocate of Republican governance.”

Always nice to see people remember where they came from, isn’t it? No matter how wacked out the Republican Party may get, it wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for Tom DeLay.

In addition to expressing appreciation for DeLay’s service, the resolution urged Fort Bend Republicans to donate to the Tom DeLay Legal Defense Fund, 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002.

Give till it hurts, y’all. It’s so much better for you to spend your discretionary funds on DeLay’s attorneys than on other causes or candidates.

In which I become a bit player in a Metro lawsuit

So I got an email on Friday from Chron reporter Mike Snyder, asking me if I had done an interview with former Metro Chair David Wolff. Apparently, there were some new documents filed in the lawsuit against Metro by its former chief counsel Pauline Higgins that referenced some comments Wolff made about Higgins in that interview. Except that the documents referred to an interview Wolff gave to “a Houston Chronicle reporter, Charles Cuff, for the purpose of discrediting and spreading false information about Higgins.” Snyder, knowing that there was no such person but assuming they meant me, asked me about it. I confirmed his assumption and sent him the relevant links. What was amusing to me is that if you found that latter page, as I presume the attorney working on Higgins’ case must have, you might have noticed that it contained my (correctly spelled) name three times, and also included a note that “The reader is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Chronicle.” Doesn’t sound like something done by a reporter to me, but what do I know? Anyway, it’s not a big deal, but I got a chuckle out of it.

Leo Berman addresses the serious, pressing needs

Elect crazy people, get crazy public policy. Crazy in, crazy out.

State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, introduced a bill on Tuesday that would require future presidential and vice-presidential candidates to provide the Texas secretary of state with “the original birth certificate indicating that the person is a natural-born United States citizen.”

Berman told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the bill, House Bill 295, is necessary to correct an alleged gap in the law that allowed Obama to run for president, even though — in Berman’s view — he just might be a foreigner.

“This bill is necessary, because we have a president whom the American people don’t know whether he was born in Kenya or some other place,” Berman told the Avalanche-Journal. “If you are running for president or vice president, you’ve got to show here in Texas that you were born in the United States and the birth certificate is your proof.”

Hair Balls has some details from the bill. Apparently, the penalty for not having a Berman-approved birth certificate is not getting on the ballot. Yeah, I’m sure that’ll survive a lawsuit. BOR and Juanita have more.

A modest theory

I have become convinced that fifty or sixty years ago, a number of terror cells infiltrated the US and impregnated a bunch of women with babies who were groomed from birth to become utter morons who would destroy the country from within by their sheer, unbounded stupidity. That’s about the only sensible explanation I can think of for the likes of Louie Gohmert.

Turkey of the Year 2009

Among other things, the Thanksgiving season signals the arrival of year end lists – Top Ten this and that, Best Of, Worst Of, you name it. The local highlight is the Houston Press’ annual Turkey of the Year award, which has been made easier in recent times by the presence of Tom DeLay. He may be gone from the political scene, but thanks to the magic of reality television, he’s still out there racking up the awards. He wasn’t the top turkey this year – click over for that, I won’t spoil it – but you still have to give him an A for effort. It’s a lot harder in the Internet age for a has-been to regain any kind of relevance. As long as he doesn’t take advice on what his next career move should be from Levi Johnston, it’s all good.

We hate you! Now do a better job!

Actions do have consequences, even to teabaggers.

You may have heard that GOP Rep. Kevin Brady, staunch tea partier, is protesting that the taxpayer-funded D.C. Metro didn’t adequately prepare for the anti-government 9/12 rally. He’s even suggesting Metro’s failure to transport tea partiers may have hurt turnout.

A Democrat, however, points out to me that Brady voted against Federal funding for the very same Metro he’s blaming for offering the tea partiers substandard service.

Soon after the 9/12 march, Brady released a letter he sent to D.C. Metro griping that it had failed to transport tea partiers to the protest. Brady said they “were frustrated and disappointed that our nation’s capitol” failed to “provide a basic level of transit for them.”
Brady’s office complained about a train shortage. “METRO did not prepare for Tea Party March!” he tweeted. “People couldn’t get on, missed start of march. I will demand answers.”

But earlier this year, Brady voted against the stimulus package. It provided millions upon millions of dollars for all manner of improvements to … the D.C. Metro.

That’s pretty much the modern conservative philosophy: We refuse to pay for the things we demand. I suppose it would be unkind of me to point out that instead of that socialist (or is it fascist? I can’t keep track) public transit system, there was a fine free market solution available. We call them “taxis”. Amazingly enough, the existence of a public option has not driven the private providers out of business. Who knew that was possible? Steve Benen has more.

By the way, remember how in 1996, Brady defeated the wingnut Gene Fontenot (who had previously failed in an expensive effort to win what was then CD25), and that at the time one could have viewed that result as a win for (relative) sanity and pragmatism? I don’t know that I could tell the difference between Brady and Fontentot any more. That to me is as clear an illustration of how degraded the GOP has become as a party as any I can think of.

The sanctity of marriage personified

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have so much respect for The Onion for its ability to stay ahead of the satire curve.

Rudy Giuliani is declaring war on gay marriage — vowing to use his strong opposition of it against the Democrats if he runs for governor next year. The former mayor, in an extended interview with The Post, also predicted that Gov. Paterson’s high-profile effort to legalize gay marriage would anger many New Yorkers and spark a revolt that could help sweep Republicans into office in 2010.

[…]

“Marriage, I believe, both traditionally and legally, has always been between a man and a woman and should remain between a man and woman,” said Giuliani, who has been married three times.

I think he meant “between a man, a woman, and the man’s mistress”. I mean, that’s been his experience with matrimony. Perhaps he could compare notes with Newt Gingrich to be sure. Thanks to Matt Yglesias for the link.

The sanctity of marriage personified

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have so much respect for The Onion for its ability to stay ahead of the satire curve.

Rudy Giuliani is declaring war on gay marriage — vowing to use his strong opposition of it against the Democrats if he runs for governor next year. The former mayor, in an extended interview with The Post, also predicted that Gov. Paterson’s high-profile effort to legalize gay marriage would anger many New Yorkers and spark a revolt that could help sweep Republicans into office in 2010.

[…]

“Marriage, I believe, both traditionally and legally, has always been between a man and a woman and should remain between a man and woman,” said Giuliani, who has been married three times.

I think he meant “between a man, a woman, and the man’s mistress”. I mean, that’s been his experience with matrimony. Perhaps he could compare notes with Newt Gingrich to be sure. Thanks to Matt Yglesias for the link.

From the “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” department

From Alan Bernstein’s Sunday conversation with Jessica Benkovic Colon, who chairs the Young Republican National Federation and has this to say about why Barack Obama won the national youth vote so handily:

A: It’s an interesting time to be a YR in that we are rebuilding our party and we want to see the Republican Party realize the importance of young voters.

President-elect Obama said that government is the only solution to getting us out of this economic crisis and that is in direct contrast to the very nature of who Generation X and Generation Y are. These two generations, I believe to be two of the most entrepreneurial, individual-oriented generations this country has ever seen.

Q: Then why did Obama capture so much of the youth vote?

A: Because he marketed to them. He talked directly to them. Obama used the tools at hand (such as the Internet) to go after the younger generation, and he dedicated the time and effort to it. It’s just that simple. It really is.

Yeah, the content of Obama’s message, not to mention the content of the Republicans’ message, that had nothing to do with it. No need to make any changes here! It’s all about doing it in the Facebook, with the Twittering. It’s just that simple.

From the “Some people just shouldn’t get married” files

Your pop culture train wreck of the day.

It probably wasn’t his most important decision ever, but a Harris County judge on Wednesday weighed in on a case that will set celebrity bloggers buzzing: the fate of pop star Hilary Duff’s lavish 21st birthday party.

It’s the latest chapter in a bitter divorce between the parents of pop stars Hilary and Haylie Duff. The 2½-year-old case deteriorated so much that Wednesday’s hearing in family court ended with the young celebrities’ father in handcuffs after Judge Thomas Stansbury found him in contempt of court.

During the tense hearing, Bob and Susan Duff sat on opposite ends of the courtroom, surrounded by posses of lawyers and paralegals. They never spoke and rarely even looked at each other.

Their attorneys exchanged heated words, accusing each other of lying and acting unethically.

“I get very annoyed when he accuses me of lying,” Bob’s lawyer, Robert Piro, shouted at one point, pounding the judge’s bench with his fist.

“Well, then, he should stop lying!” growled Susan’s attorney, Marshall Davis Brown Jr.

I just want to take a minute here and say Thank You to my parents, who recently celebrated their 44th anniversary, for not being anything like Bob and Susan Duff. That’s pretty much all I wanted to say about this.

Cheerleaders in an elevator

Sometimes, all you can do is point and marvel.

Twenty-six teenage cheerleaders tried to cram themselves into an elevator at the University of Texas to see how many would fit, but then they got stuck and had to be rescued.

One girl was treated and released at a hospital and two others were treated at the scene after the Tuesday night prank, officials said.

The group of 14- to 17-year-olds were attending a cheerleading camp when they decided to stuff themselves into an elevator at Jester Residence Hall at UT. The elevator went down to the first floor but then the doors of the overloaded elevator wouldn’t open, officials said.

After a few panicked cell phone calls, police and firefighters were called to the scene and it took a repairman about 25 minutes to fix the door, police said.

All I can say is that I can’t believe I beat Harold Cook to this one. Thanks to Julie on Twitter for the heads up.

It’s an amazing thing watching a meme being born

I am aware of all Internet traditions. Or, putting it another way:

See here, here, and here for way too much more. Be prepared to waste at least an hour when you do.

“In the White House there is no beer”

You’ve probably heard of this by now:

[A] misreading of the teleprompter led [Sen. John] McCain to sound a little bit more like a teetotaler fraternity president than a presidential candidate. Speaking about his use of the veto pen to eliminate wasteful spending, he declared, “I will veto every single beer, um, bill with earmarks.”

Ever since I heard it, I’ve had this song in my head:

And now you do as well. You’re welcome.

Consider this an open thread, in which you can discuss your favorite beer-themed songs. I’ll open the bidding with this one, since otherwise people will ask me why I didn’t mention it.

From the “You might also consider getting a life” department

I’ve admitted my newfound interest in Twitter. It’s a useful and oddly compelling toy service, but I hope someone puts me out of my misery if it ever comes to this:

With all the frustration, confusion, and support going towards Twitter this week, a break from Twitter might be just want the doctor ordered. This weekend users have been asking for alternatives to Twitter. In this post we answer that question in a variety of ways. Here’s a look at several alternatives to Twitter both online and offline, that will help reduce Twitter’s stress levels and temporarily minimize user frustrations.

[…]

If you’d rather not make a switch to another service, try these offline alternatives to Twitter:

  • Phone
  • Events
  • Parks
  • Meetings
  • Fairs
  • Parties/Clubs

Found, naturally, via Twitter. As John says, I hope that’s a joke. And if you’re wondering what the joke is, then I’ll remind you that my Twitterings can be found at http://twitter.com/kuff. Just try not to get too stressed out when you can’t get to them.

The feathered look

And now for a little weekend frivolity: The Top 10 Feathered-Hair Wearers Of All Time. I might try to work up an argument for including some other people on this august list, but I’m laughing too hard at the pictures to muster the strength. Those of you who are too young to remember this era, all I can tell you is that you had to be there. It’s amazing what can seem like a good idea at the time. Enjoy!

Your moment of Zen for the weekend

Why Sesame Street was so much better in the 70s than it is now, in one three-minute video clip:

For those of you who were born after, oh, 1980 or so, that strange-looking black object the aliens are trying to communicate is a telephone. No, really.

By the way, if you go here you can find more clips in the same vein. Enjoy!

Has anyone registered the “sucks” variant yet?

The posts, they write themselves.

At one time, the Bush Library Foundation owned the easiest Web site to remember: www.GeorgeWBushLibrary.com.

But whether on purpose or because of an oversight — foundation spokesman Taylor Griffin wasn’t sure — it lost that domain name last year. Illuminati Karate, a Web company in Raleigh, N.C., picked it up for less than $10.

Since then, offers have come in to buy it, although company officials won’t say who or how much. And they’re coy on what they plan to do with such a recognizable site.

“We’re just holding onto it for the time being,” said lead Web developer George Huger. “To be honest, I couldn’t believe someone was letting it expire.”

Link via State of Mine. As Dogbert once said, sometimes no sarcastic remark seems adequate. And since I raised the question in the title, I can tell you that GeorgeWBushLibrarySucks.com is still available, if anyone wants it. I’m thinking you probably won’t get much of a deal from the Bush Library Foundation for it, but hey, you never know.

“Garfield Minus Garfield”

This is the funniest thing I’ve seen since the demise of the Dysfunctional Family Circus.

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.

Go and see for yourself, and I dare you not to laugh. It’ll probably get a cease-and-desist letter soon, so don’t wait too long.

On a related note, this story of how the DFC itself came to cease publication was something I hadn’t seen before, and this study of recontextualization in comic strips, including a now-defunct earlier variant of “Garfield Minus Garfield”, is very interesting. Check ’em out.

Because “Homogoodfriendsuals” is too hard to pronounce?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the governor of the great state of Texas, Rick Perry:

Let’s talk about your new book, “On My Honor,” which draws on your experience as an Eagle Scout and champions the values of the Boy Scouts of America, to whom you are donating your royalties.

Yes, to their legal-defense fund.

Which has been fighting the A.C.L.U., to keep gays out of the scouts. Why do you see that as a worthy cause?

I am pretty clear about this one. Scouting ought to be about building character, not about sex. Period. Precious few parents enroll their boys in the Scouts to get a crash course in sexual orientation.

Why do you think a homosexual would be more likely to bring the subject of sex into a conversation than a heterosexual?

Well, the ban in scouting applies to scout leaders. When you have a clearly open homosexual scout leader, the scouts are going to talk about it. And they’re not there to learn about that. They’re there to learn about what it means to be loyal and trustworthy and thrifty.

But don’t you think that homosexuals might also be interested in being loyal and thrifty?

The argument that gets made is that homosexuality is about sex. Do you agree?

No.

Well, then why don’t they call it something else?

Feel free to leave your suggestions for an alternate moniker that would be less threatening to Rick Perry in the comments. Thanks to State of Mine for the link.