Will Bunch’s book got reviewed by the Times! Congrats, Will!
This is a beautiful song Garnet Rogers wrote about his late brother Stan:
Great interview with Salon’s Rebecca Traister about her new book, covering the Great Primary Wars of 2007:
That actually leads into my next question, which is about how you make this very convincing case for how shabbily Hillary Clinton was treated with regard to gender. Again and again people would say, it’s not that I object to a woman being president, it’s that I object to Hillary specifically. But then there’s plenty of evidence to suggest, no, you do object to a woman. When did you personally start to see that pattern?
I actually assumed that anti-Hillary misogyny would take the form that it did in the beginning, the Hillary nutcrackers and the “two fat thighs and a left wing” jokes. This loutish, mostly right wing anti-Hillary spew that we have gotten for decades.
The thing that had a radicalizing impact on me began after [Hillary lost in] Iowa. Because there was this pile-on, and to me it was mind-bending. It was coming often from people on the left. It was like something they had been keeping inside as they bit their tongues and covered this woman who had the gall to be the front-runner and the “inevitable” candidate, which was the word that they threw out there. And finally she had shown weakness, and they were just going nuts.
I wrote a piece for Salon about how, despite the fact that I was not a Hillary supporter, had I lived in New Hampshire I would have voted for her that week, because I was so pissed off. I didn’t know it at the time, but Rachel Maddow said something very similar about feeling like she wanted to defend her on air. There was a video made by Dana Milbank at the Washington Post, just laughing, sneering at Hillary for giving a rally where she answered all the voters’ questions and it went on for a long time. Showing these voters yawning and saying, “Whoa, she’s such a snooze.” I began to see in this very active, palpable way how she was being talked about as Tracy Flick, or Margaret from Dennis the Menace, or Hermione Granger — you know, the know it all girl. And that’s when I began to switch.
The evolution of your feelings toward Hillary is really a central part of the book.
Well I was no fan of Hillary going in. For a long time, prior to her campaign, my feelings were negligible. In fact, I felt a kind of embarrassment that women were expected to have such strong feelings about Hillary. I admired her from a distance, but politically I had less and less in common with her as she moved to the center.
I was one of those few, proud, now deeply embarrassed John Edwards supporters. So when it came to super Tuesday I had to choose between her and Obama, about whom I felt roughly equivalent. I wound up almost flipping a coin and voting for Hillary, but I was still completely ambivalent about her.
Eventually I became a lot more aware of the ways in which not only Hillary but also her supporters were being talked about. I became increasingly sensitive to the scorn directed at her, and it built and built as she continued to fight, and it drove me nuts. Because I thought her continuing to fight was awesome and hilarious. I thought it was completely redefining how we view women and our expectations for them in public and political life. She would not comply. She would not give in. She would not do what the pundits wanted her to do, what her opponents wanted her to do, what reporters were insisting that she do, what everyone was telling her was the smart thing to do or, in one case, the classy thing to do. She just kept going.
But the more she did that, the more anger — biting anger — I began to see, both in the media and amongst the people I knew, and amongst Obama supporters, and that was what began to radicalize me in my support for Clinton, so that by the end I was an ardent Hillary supporter. That does not mean that I did not still find fault with her. I did, and I do. And there were a lot of terrible missteps she made during that campaign. But I was a devoted Hillary supporter by the end, so much so that I, with much humiliation, actually wound up crying after she conceded. I was in the [National Building Museum covering the story for Salon], and I had to run out of the press area, and I was trying to find a place behind a column, and I’m, like, choking out sobs, and I realize I’m standing next to Matt Drudge.
Sounds like her book closely mirrors my own experience. I’ll have to get it.
Great, intelligent profile just published in New York magazine.
I’m loving this Taibbi piece, in which he rips some little talk-radio turd for saying union workers are replaceable, while performers like Simon Cowell and Rush Limbaugh are not (yeah, tell it to the ghost of Morton Downey Jr.):
Yes, Colin, you spoiled little fuckhead, we can replace all of these people. After all, you’re right, none of them are truly valuable, at least not like Simon Cowell or Rush Limbaugh, anyway.
But we don’t always replace them, because some people in our past spent generations fighting to push us up above the level of savages. Unions aren’t perfect, and they don’t always pick the right causes to fight for, but they have to exist precisely because the vast majority of workers are replaceable, which is to say not special, which is to say vulnerable. Not that Cowherd would have any reason to know this, but that’s what a “job” is, as opposed to what he and I both have, careers — a job always involves shelving your own personal creativity and ambition to at least some degree, in order to push someone else’s idea along for a while.
Measuring people by how much numerical wealth they produce is a kind of psychopathy — it’s that kind of thinking that led to Larry Summers famously saying that African countries are “underpolluted,” because poisoning people in low-GDP African states makes less sense than poisoning the relatively more economically productive citizens of Western countries in Europe and America.
That kind of thinking is spreading, because our pop culture priests have succeeded in filling the population with shame and nervous self-loathing to the point where they think of anyone who isn’t an employer as a parasite, and anyone who isn’t rich and famous, or trying to be, as a loser. People even think of themselves this way, which is why there are so many down-and-out people voting to give tax breaks to the same bankers who’ve been robbing them for years, and booing when the mere concept of unions shows up for a few seconds in a football game. It’s sad, and a lot of it’s the fault of mean little assholes like Cowherd. Shame on him.
I was going to write about what a pompous, pseudo-intellectual tool Dinesh D’Souza is — but then I realized that most normal people don’t even know who this moron is.
Yes, 30 years of conservative mumbo jumbo convinced our politicians it was more responsible to cut taxes than to maintain public services, which includes things like regulation, infrastructure maintenance, and inspections. In other words, they were playing craps with people’s safety.
And now that the high rollers are throwing snake eyes, officials are starting to see the light:
The California Public Utilities Commission announced Sunday it will order Pacific Gas and Electric to inspect its entire natural gas system. The order is a direct result of the deadly explosion in San Bruno Thursday night that killed at least four people and injured dozens of others.
The ordered inspections came on the same day hundreds of San Bruno residents were allowed back into their homes. In call 315 houses were given the green light to be reoccupied following detailed structural inspections.
It was made to ensure the integrity of PG&E’s natural gas pipeline system, according to a press release from the CPUC. The CPUC is a state agency that covers not just the Bay Area, but the entire state.
CPUC President Michael Peevey said in the Sunday afternoon release he wanted to assure residents that immediate action will be taken. “We will direct PG&E to immediately begin an inspection of its natural gas transmission system, as well as to take other immediate actions to ensure safety and to assist in our investigation,” Peevey said.
Nice to know some statesmen spoke up against this horror of a war:
Nelson Mandela felt so betrayed by Tony Blair’s decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq that he launched a fiery tirade against him in a phone call to a cabinet minister, it emerged today.
Peter Hain, a lifelong anti-apartheid campaigner who knows the ex-South African president well, said Mandela was “breathing fire” down the line in protest at the 2003 military action.
The trenchant criticisms were made in a formal call to the minister’s office, not in a private capacity, and Blair was informed of what had been said, Hain added. The details are revealed in Hain’s new biography of Mandela.
“He rang me up when I was a Cabinet minister in 2003, after the invasion,” he told the Press Association. “He said: ‘A big mistake, Peter, a very big mistake. It is wrong. Why is Tony doing this after all his support for Africa? This will cause huge damage internationally.’ I had never heard Nelson Mandela so angry and frustrated. He clearly felt very, very strongly that the decision that the prime minister had taken – and that I as a member of the cabinet had been party to – was fundamentally wrong, and he told me it would destroy all the good things that Tony Blair and we, as a government, had done in progressive policy terms across the world.”
Hain grew up in South Africa, where his anti-Apartheid campaigner parents knew Mandela, who he now describes as “a friend and a hero”.