Thursday's HOT MIC
Slate went super Slate-y today. First, there is this viral video of a man stopping to save a rabbit from one of the many California wild fires that are making me feel as if I have black lung disease.
Man saves bunny...what's not to like, right?
Well, one of the little perma-grumps at Slate found something.
But it is irresponsible to spread this video widely and cast him as a hero. If he had caught fire, wouldn’t the bystanders or people in cars passing by have had to help him? Doing so would have put them at risk, too. Several people could have ended up injured or worse because he tried to save a (wild!) rabbit. Or what if no one felt safe enough to help, and he was severely burned or died as a result? The people who were nearby would have likely felt tremendous guilt, possibly for the rest of their lives. Either way, it could have required response from emergency services that are already stretched thin.
It's an understatement to say that progressives aren't inherently happy people. They spend their wretched days on the lookout for injustices, rarely finding them, then just making some up. Even for the progs though, the leap from "man performs random act of kindness to an animal" to "OMG, EVERYBODY WILL CATCH HIS KINDNESS DISEASE AND BURN TO DEATH!" is quite fantastical.
It would be rather nice if we lived in a world where acts of kindness are infectious, but let's be serious here, people. This isn't that world. It's probably not going to be that world anytime soon. Be nice to someone if you can. You probably won't be consumed in an inferno.
House Republicans kicked the can down the road a few weeks and potentially avoided a government shutdown after December 8 by passing a two-week stop gap spending measure. The bill now moves on to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.
The spending patch through Dec. 22 gives lawmakers time to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal. At that time, Congress is expected to pass another short-term patch so that appropriators can craft a spending package to keep federal agencies funded through the rest of the 2018 fiscal year.
“I think it's kind of just basic governing is keeping government going while we negotiate the final details,” said Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Ahead of Thursday’s vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made clear that Democrats wouldn’t support the two-week stopgap.
Pelosi emphasized that Democrats don’t want to see a government shutdown, but couldn’t support Thursday’s bill because it doesn’t include their priorities like protections for young immigrants, funding for the opioid crisis and relief for communities affected by recent natural disasters.
“This is a waste of time,” Pelosi said at a press conference in the Capitol.
The Senate is expected to easily clear the two-week stopgap measure as early as Thursday evening. Though Democrats haven't formally said they will back the legislation, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted on Thursday morning that they are making good progress on budget deal talks.
A government shutdown would commence after Friday at midnight if Congress doesn't pass a spending bill by then.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus were skeptical when GOP leaders first outlined plans to extend government funding to Dec. 22.
Freedom Caucus members are concerned that a deadline close to Christmas will pressure lawmakers to support a spending package loaded with extraneous items that conservatives will loathe.
To which I expel a hearty "duh." Threatening the members' cherished Christmas vacation is an easy way to get anything passed and has been used many times in the past by the leadership of both parties.
But it doesn't solve the basic problem of chaotic budgeting, which is driving the deficit. Automatic spending increases are in these "continuing resolutions" and simply pile on zeros to programs already too fat and out of control.
There will be no "grand bargain" on the budget when all is said and done around Christmas day. Dems will probably get their DACA amendment and the GOP will hopefully get tax reform passed. And then they'll all go home and brag to the voters what tremendous achievements they accomplished.
Reaching for the barf bag so I don't spew on to my monitor...
There were twenty survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor 76 years ago who gathered at the USS Arizona memorial to pay homage to the 2300 U.S. citizens who lost their lives that day.
They are getting fewer every year. No one knows how many survivors of the attack are left alive, but the best estimate from the experts is less than 2,000.
As always, the most poignant remembrances are from sailors who served on on ships attacked by Japanese bombers and torpedo planes.
Herbert Elfring remembered hearing bombs explode and first thought the explosions were U.S. training exercises.
Then a fighter plane with Japan's World War II Rising Sun insignia strafed the Camp Makaole base where Elfring, 19 at the time, was serving. The bullets missed him by about 15 feet (5 meters).
"When I looked up and saw the red ball on the fuselage I knew it wasn't our plane," he said. "I knew it was a Japanese plane."
The Jackson, Michigan man is now 95 and said returning to Pearl Harbor for the anniversary of the attack makes him feel special because he's one of the few remaining survivors.
"I have one of those caps that says 'Pearl Harbor Survivor' on it," he said. "It's amazing how many people come up and thank me for my service.
Add my name to those who thank you for serving, Mr. Elfring.
Alabama Democrats want to goose black turnout next Tuesday in an effort to put their nondescript, faceless, colorless candidate Doug Jones over the top in his race against teen heartthrob (well, he thinks so) Roy Moore.
But the way they went about it shows that they haven't forgotten their racist heritage in Alabama. They sent around the flyer below thinking it would motivate blacks to go to the polls.
The reaction was less than enthusiastic:
Someone, probably a white man, thought that the image would resonate with black people and motivate them to get out the vote. It’s as if black people were considering voting for the child molester until some brilliant strategist posited, “What if he were black, though?” The flyer is reductive in its oversimplification of the black mind as only caring about black issues. While it might not be racist, it is certainly racist adjacent.
It is also the Democratic Party.
So, is it better to be treated like dirt by actively looking to oppress black people as the Democrats did for 100 years after the Civil War? Or would blacks rather the be ignored, their vote taken for granted?
Now that Dems think Doug Jones has a decent chance to pick up a Senate seat, they have turned to Alabama’s black electorate as if they were in the state the entire time. Furthermore, the only argument they have made in their efforts to convince black voters to vote for Jones is that one thing he did for black people that one time. Every solicitation is the same: “Remember when he convicted the racists who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church? See? He’s down!”
Edward Bowser, a Birmingham resident, said it best:
Maybe it’s because, like most reasonable, thoughtful Alabamians, I really want Jones to win—and believe me, scandal or not, his victory is far from guaranteed. This state is redder than the bottom of Cardi B’s shoes, after all. But Jones’ campaign has done such a poor job speaking to the black community that my passion has fizzled. Severely. And this isn’t a new predicament. WashPo and other news outlets might now just be picking up on the trend, but black voters have long been discouraged.
I appreciate what Doug Jones did in prosecuting KKK members in the deaths of four innocent girls. But when that’s the one and only message of black interest coming from your campaign, it shows an extreme disconnect.
Racial insensitivity is not a condition confined to Democrats, but it demonstrates a very special hypocrisy because of the long history by Democrats of being a virtual one-party state that oppressed the rights of black people. Apparently, southern Democrats haven't learned much in the last 50 years.
After giving in to right-wing pressure not to renew the contract of MSNBC contributor Sam Seder, the network decided to give into left-wing pressure and take him back.
Seder "joked" ten years ago that if his daughter was ever raped, he hoped it would be by someone like Roman Polanski, mocking those who took a dim view of the film director drugging and raping a 13-year-old little girl.
The effort to get rid of Seder was spearheaded by right-wing nut Mike Cernovich, who dug up the old tweet and urged other right wingers to put pressure on MSNBC to fire him.
Now, all is forgiven, according to CNN:
"I appreciate MSNBC's thoughtful reconsideration and willingness to understand the cynical motives of those who intentionally misrepresented my tweet for their own toxic, political purposes," Seder said in a statement. "We are experiencing an important and long overdue moment of empowerment for the victims of sexual assault and of reckoning for their perpetrators. I'm proud that MSNBC and its staff have set a clear example of the need to get it right."
MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a statement that the network had erred in its decision.
"Sometimes you just get one wrong -- and that's what happened here. We made our initial decision for the right reasons -- because we don't consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about," Griffin said. "But we've heard the feedback, and we understand the point Sam was trying to make in that tweet was actually in line with our values, even though the language was not. Sam will be welcome on our air going forward."
The news, first reported by The Intercept, marks a swift and remarkable turnabout for MSNBC, which was criticized for the decision.
On Monday, the network said that it would not renew Seder's contributor contract due to a provocative joke he told on Twitter in 2009.
In the tweet, Seder mocked defenders of the filmmaker Roman Polanski, a director who pleaded guilty to statutory rape after being charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.
"Don't care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/a great sense of mise en scene," Seder said at the time.
The defense of Polanski was inexplicable, Seder's tweet was shockingly inexplicable, and the decision by MSNBC to take him back was, well, inexplicable.
I wish I could be alive 100 years from now to see how historians explain it because frankly, I haven't a clue.