...for THIS, if nothing else (and despite his being an ordained deacon in the Southern Baptist Convention.)
Glenn Beck pulled off his big "Tea Bags Lite" rally today, which apparently had - at least by his claims - something or other to do with the legacy of Martin Luther King. And "restoring honor." Steve Benen tries to figure out what the content of this character's "I have a scheme!" rhetoric amounts to. Apparently, nothing that can be deciphered as coherent. Ultimately, it's a platform for inchoate fear and resentments - against Muslims, a black President, brown people from south of the border - and lining the pockets of Barnumesque hucksters like Beck and Palin, not to mention the shadow figures like the Koch brothers who are using these clowns as "populist" cover for their gospel of tax-cuts and de-regulation.
Post-Script: One of the best commentaries on this ugly phenomenon - other than Jon Stewart's running take-downs - is still THIS: Kazan and Schulberg's masterpiece, A Face in the Crowd (Andy Griffith's finest hour and a terrific performance by the late, wonderful Patricia Neal.) Here's the Amazon description, which fits Beck to a "T":
More timely now, perhaps, than when it was first released in 1957, Elia Kazan's overheated political melodrama explores the dangerous manipulative power of pop culture. It exposes the underside of Capra-corn populism, as exemplified in the optimistic fable of grassroots punditry Meet John Doe. In Kazan's account, scripted by Budd Schulberg, the common-man pontificator (Andy Griffith) is no Gary Cooper-style aw-shucks paragon. Promoted to national fame as a folksy TV idol by radio producer Patricia Neal, Griffith's Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes turns out to be a megalomaniacal rat bastard. The film turns apocalyptic as Rhodes exploits his power to sway the masses, helping to elect a reactionary presidential candidate.
In successive nights, The Daily Show produced no doubt the most devastating take-down of the absurdity, dishonesty and perfidy of the clown show known as "FOX News" ever mounted - implicating several prominent Bush administration PR flaks to boot. Kudos to America's Most Trusted Newsman, Jon Stewart.
Useful fools for the bin Ladenists, cited in today's Wall Street Journal, no less:
Islamic radicals are seizing on protests against a planned Islamic community center near Manhattan's Ground Zero and anti-Muslim rhetoric elsewhere as a propaganda opportunity and are stepping up anti-U.S. chatter and threats on their websites...
Controversy over the community center, which will contain a mosque and other facilities, has helped fan anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. far from Lower Manhattan in recent weeks.
Jarret Brachman, director of Cronus Global, a security consulting firm, and author of the book Global Jihadism, said al Qaeda and other groups have long used imagery from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to recruit new members. But the U.S. position has been that those wars are not against Islam and that the U.S. has Muslim allies in the fight.
Anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S is different, since jihadists can use Americans' words to make the case that the U.S. is indeed at war with Islam. The violent postings are not just on al Qaeda-linked websites but on prominent, mainstream Muslim chat forums, Mr. Brachman said.
"We are handing al Qaeda a propaganda coup, an absolute propaganda coup," with the Islamic-center controversy, said Evan Kohlmann, an independent terrorism consultant at Flashpoint Partners who monitors jihadist websites.
Critics of the proposed Islamic center said their right to speak out shouldn't be influenced by the possibility of jihadist threats. "We will never win a war when we are afraid to even name our enemies," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an e-mail Sunday.
So the egregious Mr. Gingrich has named American muslims who have absolutely nothing to do with violent extremists or the 9/11 attacks "our enemies." Good work, Newt! Out of respect for the sensitivities of our readers, I won't use the only descriptive words for this creature that reach far enough into the gutter to brand Mr. Gingrich appropriately and where he lies.
Yeah, I guess I'm harping on this controversy, but nothing has struck me as such a perfect storm of nothingness - in terms of any substantive issue - combined with an aggressively ignorant, and even vicious, mean-streak, courtesy of cold, calculating demagogues of the Right. Not to mention the cowardice of too many politicians who should know better. I try not to use the term "Un-American" because it's so easily and often misused, but if it ever had any meaning - in the sense of a willful departure from the values of the Bill of Rights - it surely applies to the likes of Gingrich and Co.
One wonders why Diego Maradona is incapable of accepting responsibility for his actions. Compare and contrast. First, Maradona:
Diego Maradona has accused Argentina football chief Julio Grondona of lying and team manager Carlos Bilardo of treason in a bitter attack on the two men he insists plotted his downfall.
"Grondona lied to me. Bilardo betrayed me," said an emotional Maradona, whose colourful and controversial reign as Argentina coach came to an abrupt end on Tuesday.
"Grondona, in the dressing room after we had been knocked out of the World Cup in South Africa, told me in front of witnesses and the players that he was very happy with my work and that he wanted me to carry on.
"On our return to Argentina, things started to take on a bizarre twist and on Monday I met with Grondona.
"After five minutes, he told me that he wanted me to continue, but that seven of my technical staff could not stay. When he told me this, he was saying that he didn't want me to carry on in the job.
"He knows that it is impossible for me to stay without my assistants."
A little more with a dollop of projection:
"When we were in mourning, Bilardo was working in the shadows to get me fired," he said.
Maradona was close to tears as he listed his grievances.
"I was called in with the squad divided and split by internal problems.
"They asked me to put out the fire and we did it. I have given everything. Treason is everywhere. There are people who do not want the best for Argentine football.
"They only have their own personal interests at heart." [my emphasis]
Now from Bilardo:
Given his seemingly unending string of incidents of bad behavior, don't expect much to change. It would be best if he made himself much less visible. We can only hope . . .
“Until now I have been still and have put up with everything for the good of the team, for the World Cup and the players,” Bilardo said Thursday on radio La Red. “I didn’t want to cause problems. But enough is enough. I can’t let myself be more humiliated. My friend don’t understand how I’ve put up with this.”
He said he planned a news conference next week to air his side of events.
The AFA said it offered Maradona a four-year contract to continue until the 2014 World Cup, but only if he would drop seven members of his coaching and backroom staff. Maradona declined, although many criticized him for his lack of tactical knowledge and his unwillingness to seek help.
“You can’t always give all of your friends jobs,” Bilardo said.
After passage of a law requiring suspicious types to prove their citizenship to local police and another putting an end to ethnic studies programs, Arizona goes into the "you can't make this stuff up" zone. From the Arizona Republic:
A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school.
The project's leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children's ethnicity. But the school's principal says the request was only to fix shading and had nothing to do with political pressure.
The "Go on Green" mural, which covers two walls outside Miller Valley Elementary School, was designed to advertise a campaign for environmentally friendly transportation. It features portraits of four children, with a Hispanic boy as the dominant figure.
R.E. Wall, director of Prescott's Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town's most prominent intersections.
"We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars," Wall said. "We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics)."
Wall said school Principal Jeff Lane pressed him to make the children's faces appear happier and brighter.
"It is being lightened because of the controversy," Wall said, adding that "they want it to look like the children are coming into light."
Lane said that he received only three complaints about the mural and that his request for a touch-up had nothing to do with political pressure. "We asked them to fix the shading on the children's faces," he said. "We were looking at it from an artistic view. Nothing at all to do with race."
City Councilman Steve Blair spearheaded a public campaign on his talk show at Prescott radio station KYCA-AM (1490) to remove the mural.
In a broadcast last month, according to the Daily Courier in Prescott, Blair mistakenly complained that the most prominent child in the painting is African-American, saying: "To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?"...
Faces in the mural were drawn from photographs of children enrolled at Miller Valley, a K-5 school with 380 students and the highest ethnic mix of any school in Prescott. Wall said thousands of town residents volunteered or donated to the project, the fourth in a series of community murals painted by a group of artists known as the "Mural Mice."
The public art, funded by a $5,000 state grant through the Prescott Alternative Transportation Center, was selected by school students and faculty.
"The parents and children love it," Lane said.
As the media could not get enough of Bill Clegg's masturbatory (in some cases literally) memoir, the New York Times Sunday Style Section decided to devote far more coverage than deserved as I wrote about here.
What really annoys me is this:
And magnifying those secrets, at least in his mind, were deep-seated insecurities about making it in a city where everyone seemed richer, Ivy-educated and better bred. “I never got the handbook,” says Mr. Clegg, who grew up in rural Connecticut the son of a TWA pilot and enrolled at, he reluctantly admits, Washington College, a small institution in Maryland. “Everybody’s godfather was like some famous editor. Or they spent summers in Maine with famous writers.”
Boo-frigging hoo. Then there's this:
He recalls visiting New York City a few times in his early 20s and feeling out of his league. “We were so unsophisticated,” he says. “We would eat Chinese food in like Murray Hill and think it was the most glamorous thing that had ever happened to us.”
I have a friend who's from Brazil. Her great-grandfather was a slave. She is in her forties and has lost both parents, her stepmother, her only sibling (a brother), a cousin who was practically a sister to her. The worst came for her when she lost her husband eight and a half years ago with no life insurance and a three-year-old son to raise. She came to this country with fair English, which she worked hard to improve, got an education and has an excellent career in the financial services industry. She has dealt with far more genuine adversity than this guy has and done a much better job of handling it.
I'm glad that Bill Clegg has turned his life around. I'm just sorry to see that he's making himself very wealthy by showing the world that he was a monstrous ass for a long time.
Portugal's answer to Greg Louganis, albeit on the football pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo, is alleged to be incensed about having to share the Vanity Fair cover with Didier Drogba.
Maybe he just feels that he comes up short in comparison. If that's the case, then I'll dedicate this song to him. Perhaps it will make him feel better:What a wanker.