ONE: Big Bung Theory
Creation Museum founder Ken Ham brought tidings of great joy to creationists and non-creationists alike when he announced that on February 4 at the “museum,” he and Bill Nye will debate the question: “Is creation a viable model of origins?” Ham thinks the event will be a chance to “show Mr. Nye and our debate audience that observational science confirms the scientific accuracy of the Genesis account of origins, not evolution.” Personally, I think it will be a chance for Ham to make a fool of himself, though that would hardly be novel.
Ham – who, ironically, kind of resembles the Neanderthal from the Geico commercials, not that there’s anything wrong with that – describes the event as “an important debate to have.” Well, for the Creation Museum, that’s no doubt true; it will put desperately needed asses in the 900 seats of “Legacy Hall” at 25 bucks a pop. Tickets purportedly sold out within minutes, which sounds impressive until you consider that a recent Pew poll finds only 43% of Republicans currently believe in evolution, down from 54% in 2013.
On the brighter side, if $29 million in municipal bonds aren’t purchased by February 6, the Creation Museum’s long-delayed sister project, the Ark Encounter, might run aground. Which is in itself a more convincing suggestion of the existence of God than any of the Ark Encounter’s proposed exhibits could ever be.
TWO: Diet Hard
For all their efforts to stake a claim to the bottom of the political barrel, Republicans invariably find that the territory has already been surveyed and subdivided, by folks like Trestin Meacham. The former political candidate for something called the Constitution Party recently staged a hunger strike to protest Utah’s same-sex marriage prohibition being found unconstitutional.
I’d never heard of Meacham’s party before. And now that I have, I wish I hadn’t. The Constitution Party’s official platform is an eerily calm manifesto of addled extremism, equal parts libertarian gobbledygook and white-picket-fence fascism. The Constitutionists (Constitutionals? Constitutionics?) would ban abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. They want to repeal the 17th Amendment and turn the business of electing the Senate over to state legislatures. They want the Voting Rights Act and McCain-Feingold repealed, and the FEC abolished. They would eliminate the Departments of Energy and Education. They deny global warming and want the Endangered Species Act overturned. And they oppose “any legal recognition of homosexual or civil unions,” which is where Meacham’s little stunt comes in.
Meacham announced his fast with the solemn self-importance of a five-year-old declaring that he’s running away from home. Minus the cuteness:
“I cannot stand by and do nothing while this evil takes root in my home. Some things in life are worth sacrificing one’s heath and even life if necessary. I am but a man, and do not have the money and power to make any noticeable influence in our corrupt system. Never the less, I can do something that people in power cannot ignore.”
Well, “not with standing” his confidence, the people in power “never the less” ignored him for over two weeks, long enough for him to shed 26 pounds. When the Supreme Court conveniently ordered a stay on same-sex marriages in Utah pending a review by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Meacham was understandably quick to break his fast with a bowl of yogurt. But be assured that whatever his weight, he’s still a fathead, as he’s happy to prove over and over again on his Facebook page:
“The homosexual movement is less tolerant than the Nazis and if they had the power of the Nazis, I have no doubt they would not hesitate to march people of faith into ovens.”
Oh, please just go eat it, Mr. Meacham.
THREE: A Star Is Sworn?
In about a year, Arizona will be rid of the term-limited Jan Brewer. The bad news? Her successor might be even worse. For starters, Ken Bennett, Arizona’s current Secretary of State, has made no secret of his interest in the office. Among his many liabilities, if elected he would be the first known birther to inhabit a governor’s mansion.
It gets worse. Oafish action star and non-credentialed law enforcement officer Steven Seagal now says he’s maybe, kinda, sorta considering a run. The idea appears to have originated with Seagal’s crime-bustin’ compadre Joe Arpaio. At least that’s one Arpaio brainstorm that won’t cost Maricopa County taxpayers astonishing sums of money.
From a population of 6,553,255, is Steven Seagal – who probably doesn’t even fulfill the state’s residency requirement – really the best Arizona can do? No, but better alternatives have been slow to present themselves so far. Brewer has even hinted on several occasions that she might challenge the term limit statute. Absent a Democrat winning the office, which is far from assured, it’s more than a little pathetic that the best possible follow-up to Jan Brewer could be Jan Brewer herself.
As far as I’m aware, the only announced Democrat in the running so far is former Bruce Babbitt protégé Fred DuVal, who went on to work in the Clinton White House. He seems like a bright guy, but one who has spent an excessive amount of time and energy pursuing the chimera of meaningful bipartisan cooperation. He also has a clutch of tediously moderate positions and disconcerting ties to that old snake oil merchant T. Boone Pickens.
Arizona deserves better, so I’m just going to go ahead and nominate my sister-in-law Arlene for the position. She’s liberal as all get-out, she meets the residency requirement, and I’ll bet she could snap Steven Seagal’s neck like a twig. Continue reading Take Five (Looking Down on Creation edition)
ONE: “Ma’am, are you aware you have no clothes on?”
Some weeks back I breezily suggested that there might be a plot afoot to destabilize America via inconvenient nudity. It seems my jocularity was misplaced. A startling incident in Ballston, New York provides chilling new evidence that something eldritch is indeed unfolding. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
On May 15, Barbara LaFleur, naked as a jaybird though significantly taller, strolled into Curtis Lumber on Route 67 in Ballston, chatted with several employees, asked for the time, then walked out of the store. Manager Bob Eakin was not present at the time of the occurrence, but did a fine job describing what his employees endured, which was also captured on surveillance video:
“No one wanted to say much to her,” he said. “It’s not a situation you want to be involved in.”
After exiting Curtis Lumber, LaFleur, still bare, walked to a nearby Stewart’s, where store staff attempted a somewhat more engaged approach with the perp:
“The manager said ‘Ma’am, are you aware you have no clothes on?’ She was kosher and cool about it, and the manager told her she needed to leave,” said a Stewart’s employee, who only identified himself as Terry.
LaFleur was clothed again by the time she was apprehended by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and charged with misdemeanor public lewdness. Happily, no injuries were reported. Saratoga County DA James Murphy still sounds haunted by the crime as he tries to get to the bottom of it:
“While the defendant claimed she was merely expressing her freedom to be fully liberated by walking nude into Stewart’s and Curtis Lumber, this alleged conduct is actually a crime under the penal law,” said Murphy in a statement. “Surprisingly, mental health found no psychiatric issues whatsoever.”
Despite her casual crime spree, LaFleur is currently free on her own recognizance, and it’s reassuring that she isn’t considered a flight risk. The TSA has enough nudity problems of its own.
TWO: Will Vote for SNAP Benefits
If one wanted to make a case for the inferiority of white people, a solid start would be to point at Phyllis Schlafly. I don’t intend to make such a case, but I’m going to point in her direction anyway. Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, a sort of virtual outhouse that makes you want to stand upwind of your computer monitor, is in a tizzy over a recent New York Times report that white births are no longer a majority of births in America:
Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 percent of all births in the 12-month period that ended last July, according to Census Bureau data made public on Thursday, while minorities — including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority for the first time in the country’s history.
Of course it’s been known for many years that this would happen. It’s even reasonably interesting as an alternative to chatting with someone about the weather, but “Roger” at the Eagle Forum blog finds it acutely distressing:
The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.
“Voting in large numbers”? That does seem sort of un-American, come to think of it, but not the way “Roger” might think. “Roger” thinks that voting for anything other than a Republican isn’t patriotic, and that’s because “Roger” is delighted to surrender his freedom to The Party just like a good Soviet. It’s depressingly predictable, as well, that “Roger” thinks all these non-white births are from fecund immigrants, as opposed to simply augmenting the reproductive efforts of millions and millions and millions of American citizens who are not white. I suppose “Roger” doesn’t accept the legitimacy of their citizenship anyway.
This should be more than enough corn-fed stupid for any one skull to contain, but “Roger” goes on. In particular, a passing reference in the Times piece to Ozzie and Harriet really seems to chafe:
The NY Times liberals seek to destroy the American family of the 1950s, as symbolized by Ozzie and Harriet. The TV characters were happy, self-sufficient, autonomous, law-abiding, honorable, patriotic, hard-working, and otherwise embodied qualities that made America great. In other words, the show promoted values that NY Times liberals despise.
“Roger” left out “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent,” among other things, but it’s easy to see where he’s going with this:
Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.
Food stamps? Man, these immigrants work cheap. Yet “Roger” didn’t quite purge himself adequately with his original tirade. He has since updated the blog post twice to berate Daily Kos and Right Wing Watch for finding fault with his “thought” processes:
Why do they hate Ozzie and Harriet so much? Draw your own conclusions. I say that they despise the mere concept of a national archetype that extols traditional American values…
Why is it that the only people who use meaningless phrases like “traditional American values” without irony are mouth-breathing bigots?
The liberal blogs hate that archetype, but they are not willing to say why.
I can only speak for one liberal blog – this one – but I have no problem saying why I hate that archetype. I hate it because it’s phony, cartoonish and beloved of xenophobic whites pining for a fantasy version of America where “diversity” only means more brands of toothpaste on the drug store shelf. I hate it because immigrants have always been a boon to America and there’s not a shred of evidence to prove that the newest immigrants will be any different from those of 50 or 100 or 200 years ago in terms of the energy, ambition and imagination they’re eager to devote to their cherished new country. I hate it because even Ozzie and Harriet’s forebears came from somewhere else.
My own tolerance ends abruptly when I encounter intolerance of the sort that “Roger” and his pals in Schlafly’s moral pigpen have raised into a creed and a crusade to turn back history. I hate that too.
THREE: Renaissance Moron
You might remember that the economy nearly melted down under George Walker Bush. While the nation narrowly avoided financial Armageddon, it is still struggling out of the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, the New York Times recently caught up with Bush and found him involved in a little economic self-stimulus:
Two months from now, he plans to publish a book outlining strategies for economic growth.
With all due respect to the Times, I believe the word “strategeries” is what their reporter must have meant, but never mind. I’ll be watching for Tax Cuts for the Rich! You’re Welcome, America in the remainder bins in July, and hoping that in future the would-be author sticks to topics he actually knows something about: weaving lies into wars, shirking a National Guard service commitment, instituting “enhanced” interrogation, prospering from insider trading, ignoring hurricanes, nodding when that nice Mr. Cheney asked for energy policy task force meetings to be kept secret, shrugging off the threat of bin Laden, shrugging off the pursuit of bin Laden, ordering warrantless wiretapping, suspending habeas corpus and stealing two elections.
For dummies. Continue reading Take Five (WTF edition)
ONE: Say It Ain’t Joe
Joe Arpaio has had one hell of a run. Twenty years as sheriff of a county now comprising 3.8 million people is no mean achievement, especially if said sheriff has a propensity to bend, bludgeon or break the law routinely.
It would be foolish to assume that his run is necessarily over, no matter how things seem to be unfolding for Arpaio, but I’m pleased to see that things seem to be unfolding rather badly for him. As buzzards circle over Maricopa County, John Dougherty (who has covered the sheriff from the beginning) notes that Arpaio is running out of friends:
The latest Arpaio political supporter to fall is former Maricopa County attorney Andrew Thomas, who was disbarred April 10 for engaging in unethical conduct to intimidate and smear his and Arpaio’s political adversaries…
Thomas’ disbarment comes six months after Arpaio’s closest ally in the state Legislature was recalled from office. Angry voters ousted former Senate President Russell Pearce for his leading role in passing Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB1070… Pearce was once Arpaio’s chief deputy and is credited with coming up with the idea 20 years ago of housing thousands of county inmates in tents.
Arpaio has also lost key support staff within his office, including his longtime chief deputy David Hendershott, who was fired last year for his role in an unfolding Arpaio campaign finance scandal that is the subject of another federal criminal investigation.
The Thomas disbarment, in particular, should make Arpaio sweat, since the Arizona Supreme Court disciplinary panel:
… said there was enough evidence to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the sheriff and three of his closest allies participated in what the panel believes was federal crime in December 2009.
Uh-oh. What with the campaign finance probe, an ongoing DOJ investigation into possible civil rights violations, and speculation mounting that a three-year grand jury investigation into abuse of power allegations will soon result in criminal charges, it’s tempting to think Arpaio might be stopped before he can win a sixth term this fall. Which would be terrific, not least because Arpaio’s buddies over at WND would surely gnash their teeth and rend their garments in hilarious fashion were old Joe to be brought down. Until or unless that happens, WND frantically continues to lobby Congress to follow the lead of Arpaio’s cold case posse:
PETITION DEMANDING THAT CONGRESS OPEN AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF BARACK OBAMA’S CONSTITUTIONAL ELIGIBILITY TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT, IN LIGHT OF THE FIRST OFFICIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT PROBE INTO THE MATTER DISCOVERING “PROBABLE CAUSE” THAT BOTH OBAMA’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND SELECTIVE SERVICE REGISTRATION FORM ARE FORGERIES.
WND claims that 47,321 people have already signed the petition. It seems that the way to a birther’s heart is through the caps lock key.
Every stinking time God turns around, some politician is invoking Him or justifying an ill-chosen career by blaming its every detail on poor old omnipresent God.
“God says vote for me.”
“God told me to support all that bad legislation.”
“God told me to run again and act like all that bad legislation I supported is something to be proud of.”
“God says vote for me again.”
As if to demonstrate his political bona fides, first-time Congressional candidate Samuel Wurzelbacher – AKA Joe the Plumber – doesn’t think God is on his side, he knows it. Just like he knows a bunch of other things that are also false:
Obama’s ideology is un-American, I say that every day, and I won’t shut up about it.
Obviously he won’t.
His views are socialist. He’s been hanging around with them for a very long time. It’s connecting the dots, it’s very simple. It’s not conspiracy theory, it’s not a bunch of hoopla, it’s real. And people have to call it out, and not be afraid of the media slapping them down. I won’t be.
Hey, God – may I call You God? – if You’re really on Samuel Wurzelbacher’s side, as he claims You are, could You please inspire him to pick up a book and learn something about socialism? Or plumbing?
THREE: No True Hairpiece
When Donald Trump and his entourage swept into the Scottish Parliament yesterday morning, a stiff breeze barrelled down from the Edinburgh crags and threatened to lift the famously thin but coiffured locks from the American entrepreneur’s head.
As it did so, a bemused bystander remarked quietly: “Aye, now we know why he doesn’t like the wind.”
America’s bilious billionaire blowhard was at Holyrood to renew his threats to take his marbles and go home if Scotland doesn’t cancel a proposed wind farm adjacent to Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course. Trump had planned to add a resort hotel and luxury housing to the course, which is slated to open in July, but maintains that he will cancel the expansions if the 11-turbine renewable energy project goes ahead. His testimony before the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee was, let’s say, quintessentially Trumpian:
At one point he was challenged to provide evidence that building thousands more wind farms would destroy Scottish tourism. “I am the evidence,” he bluntly retorted. “I am considered a world-class expert in tourism.”
Trump accused former First Minister Alex Salmond of misleading him during a 2007 dinner meeting in New York:
Mr Trump said the First Minister had “scoffed” at the idea the offshore wind farm would get planning approval, citing the Ministry of Defence’s concerns about its effect on radar and it blocking shipping lanes…
“So after I’ve invested this tremendous amount of money, all of a sudden this really obnoxious and ugly wind farm appears,” he said. “It’s going to look like Disneyland, except a bad version of Disneyland. I felt betrayed.”
After leaving Holyrood, Trump did what Trump does best. He strutted:
As he strolled out, smirking in pleasure and waving, anti-wind activists hailed his support and his enemies hurled abuse. Police officers rushed into the crowd and surrounded Trump in a protective cordon as the property baron tried to touch hands with admirers crushed behind a crowd barrier.
What a pity that Scotland can’t relocate the wind farm over Trump’s mouth. Renewable energy just doesn’t get more renewable than that. Continue reading Take Five (Mooks’n’Mamalukes edition)
ONE: Hateful Twitch
Apparently it’s just not good enough for Michelle Malkin that Trayvon Martin is dead; she wants him vilified, as well.
Last Sunday afternoon, Malkin’s new “Twitter curation” site Twitchy posted a graphic featuring two photographs, one of a smiling George Zimmerman in jacket and tie, looking every inch the fine, respectable young man his rap sheet suggests he’s not, and the other of a shirtless, droopy-trousered African American kid flipping double birds at the camera.
In a crude attempt at sarcasm, some text below the photos reads:
Because nothing says fair like putting a mugshot looking photo in “county orange” next to a 5 year old picture of the victim as a child. But hey, two can play that game.
Here’s Twitchy’s considered wisdom on this, as it now appears:
Recognize these two people? If you don’t, we’ll help you out. The man on the left is George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering the boy on the right, Trayvon Martin. The mainstream media won’t show you these two photos because they convey a message that no one else wants to take into consideration.
Why the strike-throughs? Because the person in the second photograph is not Trayvon Martin. The photo was quickly exposed as a fake, one that might have originated at the infamous neo-Nazi site Stormfront. Twitchy accordingly struck through its assertions and added this flaccid “apology” Sunday evening:
Correction, 8:56 pm ET March 25, 2012: We made a mistake. The photo on the right is not of the Trayvon Martin who was shot by Zimmerman. We apologize to our readers and to the Martin family.
Oh, hey, no sweat! After all, Twitchy wasn’t the only site to run the graphic and end up exposed as a purulent sleazepit; the right-hand side of the web is full of bigoted, deceptive, hate-mongering little shitholes. Although few seem to be quite as unjustifiably smug about themselves as Twitchy:
If it’s news, we’re on it. If it should be news, we’re ahead of it.
And if it’s rank horseshit deliberately intended to imply that Trayvon Martin might have deserved being shot to death, they’re fingerpainting with it.
Since I’m being generous, though, I’ll admit I have no idea whether Malkin herself had any involvement in posting this reprehensible trash, or whether one of her “kinetic staff of social media junkies” was the (ir)responsible party. But since Twitchy is just another monument to her gargantuan ego and she’s its “Owner, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer” I’m just going to go ahead and assume the worst about Michelle Malkin personally.
Twitchy has since moved on to fretting about why a Twitter account advocating the assassination of George Zimmerman is still up. I’m not going to link to her site; you can Google it, or simply follow its virtual stench.
(And to the cretin who came up with the graphic in the first place, the reason that ubiquitous Zimmerman pic you refer to is “a mugshot looking photo in ‘county orange’” is because he was wearing county orange and it is a mugshot. It was taken in 2005 after Zimmerman was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence. If you’re going to “play that game” you might want to make sure you can do so without making a goddamned fool of yourself.)
TWO: “This is a real hate crime…”
As morally impoverished and ideologically imbecilic as Malkin and her “kinetic staff of social media junkies” might be, they’re pikers compared to the freak show over at WorldNutDaily, where the likes of John Stossel, Pamela Geller, Jack Abramoff, Jerome Corsi, Herman Cain, Pat Buchanan, Chuck Norris, Dennis Prager, Phyllis Schlafly, Ann Coulter, Alan Keyes, Pat Boone and Mychal Massie, among others, work tirelessly to make the nation suck.
It’s de rigueur for WND to look at reality through the wrong end of the telescope, but site founder Joseph Farah ditched the telescope completely with his comments on the killing of Trayvon Martin:
… when the race hustlers like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and race hustler-in-chief Barack Obama started exploiting the incident, I began to think we were being conned once, again, by the vicious, biased, America-hating, leftist-controlled press….
… the national news media are a hopelessly broken cultural institution.
They were ready to lynch George Zimmerman, who now appears to be no more than an upright Hispanic gentleman concerned about suspicious activity in his neighborhood – someone who probably did what he had to do in a very trying circumstance.
Farah goes on to regale the reader with the story of Allen Coon, a white 13-year-old in Kansas City who was purportedly chased and set on fire by two 16-year-old African Americans, one of whom allegedly said, “This is what you deserve. You get what you deserve, white boy.”
Notwithstanding a number of questionable aspects to the story, it has quickly become a popular touchstone for the right, a handy way of excusing Trayvon Martin’s death, because, golly, “Black people are bigots too!” You can even find videos of television news coverage of the attack posted on YouTube under titles like “Discrimination Against White People in America Exposed part 3.”
And Farah’s delight over the Kansas City attack is palpable: “This is a real hate crime…” Having arbitrarily drawn in the dots, Farah then goes on to connect them, equally arbitrarily (this is how it’s done, Michele Malkin):
By the way, it is entirely plausible, though it is too early to assume, that the perpetrators in this hideous attack were actually inspired by the media’s drummed up hysterics about racism in the case of Trayvon Martin.
If only the Kansas City incident hadn’t occurred a mere two days after the “upright Hispanic gentleman” killed Trayvon Martin and long before the national media picked up on the story, sure, it’s entirely plausible.
THREE: Birth, Wind and Liar
Happily, WND also has its lighter moments, one being its foundationless fixation with Barack Obama’s supposed ineligibility for the presidency. For no other reason than sheer devotion to America, and the ability to make a few bucks from this scam, WND contributor Jerome Corsi has tirelessly covered Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s cold case posse investigation into the President’s birth certificate.
WND’s first live-streaming video event was its coverage of the posse’s press conference on March 1. The site claims the stream drew “72,076 unique viewers” which is tough to believe; I’ve commented previously that the stream was so wretched I had to switch over to an ABC Phoenix live stream to watch the press conference. Joseph Farah, however, is just tickled:
“I expected this to be a big event,” said Joseph Farah, founder of WND. “But the final numbers surprised even me…”
Farah said he is encouraged with the experiment and plans to seek out other opportunities for live-streaming little-covered news events…
Elsewhere on the birther beat, WND has been reporting diligently on one Adam Eugene Cox of Tennessee, who made some pretty nasty threats against Arpaio in what was ostensibly intended to be a defense of the President from the birth certificate posse. While a more obscure rightwing trash site describes Cox as an “Obamunist,” WND is content to simply call him an “Obama fanatic” and giddily quote the man’s threats multiple times:
“I plan to kill Arpaio first. He will be filled with a thousand bullet holes before the year is out. I promise you this. He won’t f**k with Obama. He will be buried 10 feet under and his whole family will be murdered along with him.”
On March 14, justice caught up with the “Obama fanatic”:
Cox pleaded guilty to harassment of Arpaio, and was immediately sentenced to serve nearly a year in a “bootcamp”-style program similar to probation, as well as ordered to pay court costs.
In any case, Arpaio still has his loyalists. One of them is Donald Trump, who printed out an AP report about the March 1 press conference and scribbled a quick mash note to the sheriff on it:
“Joe – Great going – You are the only one with the ‘guts’ to do this – Keep up the good fight – Donald Trump.”
Buoyed by this outpouring of billionaire support, Arpaio averred to the Arizona Republic that he’s in this for the long haul:
“I’m not going to drop this,” he said. “You don’t think I did a press conference and let it die? I’ll make a decision real quick where to send the evidence we have. There are not many options. You do know this is complex. Many conflicts of interest from the White House to the Attorney General. I can go on and on.”
Yes, you can, Sheriff, and even the National Review – of all organs – is getting a little sick of it:
Republicans who have chosen to associate with the birthers have done their party and their country a disservice. And as Sheriff Arpaio settles comfortably into that political mental ward, the same must be said of those Republicans who choose to associate themselves with him more broadly.
Ouch. Continue reading Take Five (Asshats en Regalia edition)
ONE: And your money back if the birth certificate turns out to be valid!
Last week Take Five presented “highlights” from the press conference announcing the results of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s cold case posse investigation into President Obama’s eligibility to hold the office he’s held for 38 months. A brief appearance at the press conference by Jerome Corsi puzzled me, since he added nothing material to the proceedings and actually spent most of his time talking about what a peach Andrew Breitbart was.
I’m frankly ashamed to say I completely missed the obvious. Jerome Corsi is a grifter, so what was he doing at the press conference? Why, grifting, of course. Only a tad more surprisingly, so was Mike Zullo, the posse’s lead investigator. Cinch up your hip waders! For only $9.99, you can buy the “book” the two have collaborated on:
Mike Zullo, a retired detective and volunteer Maricopa County Sheriff Posse member, is listed as the co-author of “A Question of Eligibility,” an e-book for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The book is a copy of the investigation findings presented to the press on Thursday.
Zullo’s co-author is Jerome Corsi, a well-known political conspiracy writer who started the Swift-boat case against Sen. John Kerry. More recently, Corsi, who writes for World Net Daily, has spent the last few years driving the birther movement.
Sufferin’ succotash, Arpaio must be furious! Or, um, not:
Corsi denied using the MCSO as a promotional tool to sell his books and theories…
Corsi said he informed Arpaio of his plans to sell the investigation’s findings six months ago, at the start of the investigation.
“He approved,” Corsi said, since neither he nor Zullo are paid members of the MCSO.
At least one county official isn’t so sanguine:
“I’m shocked to learn about this book,” said Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.
Well, Ms. Wilcox, as I confessed above, I didn’t see the grifter aspect of this coming, but at least the only shock I experienced when I found out about it was in being reminded how naïve I am. Thanks for making me feel a bit better.
Here’s hoping the ongoing federal investigation of the sheriff’s misconduct in office leads to Arpaio himself no longer being a paid member of the MCSO. Now, there’s a press conference I’d love to see.
TWO: One Million Moms Circle the Drain
I also mentioned last week that I couldn’t wait to find out what One Million Moms would get all irate about next. Turns out I didn’t have to wait at all. Even as the organization (an appendage of the American Family Association) was busy calling for Toys ‘R’ Us to be boycotted for daring to sell the gay wedding edition of Life with Archie, they were also urging citizens to demand that Clorox pull its new Liquid Plumr ad.
Why would they want to do that? Over to you, Moms:
The commercial starts off with a woman in a supermarket daydreaming about what this new Liquid-Plumr product has to offer. She says, “Double impact,” twice as she reads the bottle. In her dream she is at home and answers the door to find a sexy plumber. The plumber is nice looking with huge biceps and a tight shirt. He says, “I’m here to snake your drain.” She says come on in and he walks upstairs. The doorbell rings again and it is a second sexy plumber. He says, “I’m here to flush your pipe.” She answers with an okay and while he walks on upstairs she lets out a squeal and moan while letting down her hair. Then she wakes up to reality to find the two men in the supermarket. She flirts by giving sexy eyes to the one man in the deli slicing meat and the other in produce holding two melons. These two men are the same as in her dream.
Pretty racy indeed. And there’s more:
It may be coincidence, but the man in produce is standing beside cucumbers with a price sign behind him reading 69 cents.
To summarize, an advertising agency hits on the not-at-all-novel idea to use sex (something most people enjoy) to promote a product that clears disgusting gunk out of clogged drains (something most people find revolting), and One Million Moms swoop in to spoil the fun. And rest assured they’re always soliciting new ideas for more fun to spoil:
NOTE: If you see a commercial or program which is offensive, email us the information. Many of you have done this, and it is very helpful.
Speaking of clogged drains, Joe the Plumber (who is not a plumber and not really a Joe) finally has himself a vocation. Samuel Wurzelbacher is now the official Republican candidate in Ohio’s newly redrawn 9th Congressional District. He’ll be running, quite pointlessly, against Marcy Kaptur, who defeated Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. That he’s headed for an electoral drubbing is almost a shame, since his winning the seat would be a vivid milestone on the drunken Republican march toward Idiocracy, although it sure as hell wouldn’t do the Ohio 9th or the United States House of Representatives any good.
“Joe” was pitted against Steve Kraus – an actual auctioneer and real estate agent, as opposed to someone who just calls himself Steve the Auctioneer and Real Estate Agent – who was significantly outspent and ultimately unable to find a sufficient number of rational Republicans in the district to stave off defeat.
So that’s one more Congressional race to watch closely. I’m hoping for a debate between Kaptur and Wurzelbacher; it would be fascinating to hear his thoughts about, for example, small business tax policy.
Apart from Wurzelbacher’s win and Kucinich’s loss, the most noteworthy Super Tuesday event in Ohio was the delightful primary defeat of Jean Schmidt, one of the nastiest human beings ever to plant buttocks on a Congressional seat. It’s an extremely overdue exit; her most storied career moment is already fading into history:
In November of 2005, she gained fame (and infamy) for her floor remarks attacking Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA), a Vietnam veteran who had recently called for an orderly U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. On the House floor, she declared in a message to Murtha, “that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.”
So it was gratifying that she lost her primary to Brad Wenstrup, an Iraq veteran. Maybe with all her new free time she can go to Afghanistan; the Marines there could use some help. Continue reading Take Five (Miserable Bastards edition)
ONE: Dinner Is Swerved…
Readers will, I’m sure, remember the ugly incident in Phoenix when Barack Obama commandeered an entire airport to land his gas-guzzling private jet, then jumped out of it, ran over to Governor Jan Brewer’s outstretched index finger (which was minding its own business on the runway) and aggressively confronted it with his face.
Energetically wagging the digit in a desperate evasive maneuver, Brewer was nonetheless unable to escape Obama’s patently rancorous smiling and nodding. Following this terrifying experience, she commented: “I felt a little bit threatened, if you will…”
Brewer courageously ventured to Washington last weekend for the annual National Governors Association meeting and once again found herself antagonized, this time by an invitation to a black-tie dinner at the White House. In contrast to the Phoenix fiasco, though, on this occasion she was not caught off-guard by the wily Kenyan’s impudence:
Brewer said in an interview… that she had a scheduling conflict.
“I’ve just decided I wasn’t going to be going because I had some other commitments I had to attend to,” Brewer said…
Obama’s liberal media running dogs predictably refused to take Brewer’s dignified explanation at face value and pressed for more details, but to no avail:
A spokesman, Matthew Benson, declined to say whether the conflict was state business or personal.
“We’re not going to get into our schedule,” Benson said.
Bravo, Mr. Benson! This transparency stuff could easily get out of hand. Best to nip it in the bud, just like your boss did:
Brewer, who dined at the White House last year and will attend a policy discussion with other governors and Obama… laughed when asked to identify her scheduling conflict.
TWO: Posse Comatose
Thursday afternoon, I waded into the fever swamp that is WorldNutDaily to catch their live video feed of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s press conference announcing the results of his cold case posse’s investigation into President Obama’s birth certificate. After enduring two or three choppy, incomprehensible minutes – memo to Joseph Farah and the WND techs: streaming video is supposed to, you know, stream – I opted for Phoenix’s ABC 15, whose feed was perfect.
The press conference didn’t disappoint. It was just the sort of stupendously dumb display of rank birther hokum I’d been hoping for. Arpaio spoke first, and let’s just say he’s as good a public speaker as he is a sheriff. He opened by saying that he had “felt the investigation could clear President Obama’s name,” but – surprise! – it didn’t. He believes probable cause exists to indicate forgery and fraud may have been committed. Arpaio “cannot in good faith report” that the long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration released by the White House are authentic. History was unfolding, right before my eyes!
Arpaio then turned the microphone over to Mike Zullo, the posse’s lead investigator. Zullo noted that he would be presenting a series of videos to assist with his muddled remarks concerning multi-layer PDFs and OCR software, but took pains to point out that they were “draft videos” rather than final versions, and contained some typos. Hey, that’s perfectly understandable! After all, the posse’s only been at this for five and a half months. My favorite typo: “all that ailes the long form birth certificate.”
And Zullo (who, when asked, later confessed to being a Republican, although he denied being a Teabagger) made it clear that he and the other members of the posse (former police officers, attorneys, graphics experts and forensic document examiners) have done a lot more than just misspell words. Zullo insisted that the posse members “were not willing to merely speculate or engage in conjecture” and that the birth certificate “failed every test we put it through.” At one point, he paused, looked around the room, and said in a sepulchral voice, “This is serious. This is very serious.”
He noted that the posse tried but failed to obtain passenger manifests for incoming flights from Kenya at around the time of Barack Obama’s birth. They did obtain microfilm copies of INS records from the National Archives, 685 rolls, 10 years’ worth, but to their shock and awe, the records from August 1 to August 7, 1961 – the very week the President was born… somewhere – were missing.
Zullo turned briefly to the Selective Service document, which he described as “not just forged, it’s poorly forged.” He concluded that “there’s no question” a criminal investigation is needed, and casually added that the posse has identified a person of interest in the forgery of the birth certificate. Jeezum crow!
Swift Boat Liar Jerome Corsi was up next; I still do not understand why. He said something about the death of “fellow reporter” Andrew Breitbart and noted that Breitbart had interviewed Arpaio the night before, or asked to, or something.
Carl Seel, a Republican who represents District 6 in the Arizona House of Representatives, spoke next; again, I still do not understand why. He muttered something about having a bill pending, presumably to prevent Kenyans from making the ballot in Arizona, then said he had to get back to the Legislature to get some stuff done, or something. He commended Sheriff Joe, and concluded with: “Thank you very much. God bless America.”
Arpaio returned to the podium, noting that a lot of media were present and commenting insightfully that some might say his investigation is “pointless, silly, trite.” Having spent over an hour essentially accusing the President of the United States of being a criminal, Arpaio was adamant that he was “not accusing the President of the United States of any crime.” He was refreshingly candid about his ignorance of civics, confessing that he doesn’t know who has jurisdiction over this matter. He’s considering asking the State of Hawaii to get involved, but doubts that they’ll help. Maybe he’ll talk to Congress instead. Maybe not. Who’s to say?
Zullo spoke again, citing “numerous sworn affidavits” attesting to something or other. Then he related a puzzling anecdote about a retired government employee who had a conversation in the ’80s with Barack Obama in the front yard of Bill Ayers’ mother’s house. The future President was introduced as a foreign student. Or maybe it was the government employee who was a foreign student. Or maybe it was Bill Ayers, or maybe his mom. History is terribly confusing.
Arpaio, being the stand-up kind of guy he is, took a few questions from the press. A reporter asked if he wasn’t essentially accusing the President of living a lie. The sheriff clutched his pearls and tut-tutted: “I’m not accusing him of any lying or crime… I didn’t say that… I never said that… he can present other information proving he was born here… it’s not my problem they came up with this information and documentation… I’m not accusing anyone of anything until we find out who may have committed these alleged crimes…”
Last word goes to a reporter who prefaced one of the final questions in the news conference with: “None of us are stupid in this room.” Continue reading Take Five (Birth of a Vexation edition)
ONE: None of the Above, Thanks!
While I can no more imagine voting for a Republican than I can imagine myself conducting the Seoul Philharmonic or being named World Series MVP, that doesn’t mean I’m completely without sympathy for Republican voters. Mostly, sure, but not completely.
Last April, a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed less than half of Republican and right-leaning independent respondents were satisfied with the nascent GOP crop of candidates. The poll’s “field” at the time consisted of Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty. Two of them never ultimately ran, two of them fizzled out, and one of them was flirting with a run solely for the sake of boosting the ratings of his extraordinarily dim reality show.
A Pew poll conducted the same week found that 53% of people surveyed couldn’t come up with a name – putative, purported, potential, preposterous or otherwise – when asked which candidate they’d been hearing most about.
Fast-forward to January 9, when a CBS News poll found that 58% of Republican respondents still wanted more choices for a nominee. And that was even before Bachmann, Huntsman and Perry dropped out, leaving sad-sack GOP voters with a narrow spectrum of options ranging from an ethics-impaired pseudo-intellectual clod to an antediluvian reptile masquerading as an advocate for liberty to a clueless empty suit who fancies himself a titan of free enterprise to a loathsome pipsqueak who spent more time crotch-sniffing than he ever spent conducting The People’s Business as a senator.
Yet the poll also indicated that 41% of GOP voters described themselves as more enthusiastic than in past elections, something only 21% of the Democrats and independents surveyed said about themselves. So what is it that they’re so enthusiastic about? Who the hell knows? Perhaps they’re enthusiastic about not voting:
The number of Republican voters taking part in the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses dropped significantly this year, a Globe review of data shows.
The drop-off in Republican participation, compared with other years without a GOP incumbent, follows recent polls that indicate a high percentage of the party faithful is less than enthusiastic with the choices offered for the nomination. Analysts say there may be a combination of factors contributing to the decline in party faithful voting.
To paraphrase Saint Paul, Republicans are a piece of work, which passeth all understanding.
TWO: “Incredibly naive, almost stupid”
In the wake of Rick Perry’s decision to vamoose from the ol’ campaign trail, a Christian conservative conclave in Texas was left baffled, bewildered and basically befuddled. Who among the remaining claimants to the Republican nomination strikes the perfect balance between prurient, repressive social conservatism and absolute indifference to vicious capitalist depredation, a balance that so appeals to those who just love ‘em some Jesus and yet despise His message? Rick Santorum, come on down!
Fueled by prayer and passionate speeches, Christian conservative leaders meeting in Gov. Rick Perry’s home state reached a “strong consensus” to support former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum for the GOP presidential nomination, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins said [January 14].
It took Perkins and his confreres three ballots to settle on Santorum, but I’m not even sure why there was any suspense involved. A few days before he and his mob met to bestow their blessings on a new standard bearer, a report in the Washington Post confirmed that Santorum is their dream candidate. The Post examined a charity Santorum had established to aid low-income Pennsylvanians. As it happens, “Operation Good Neighbor”:
… spent most of its money to run itself, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for fundraising, administration and office rental paid to Santorum’s political allies.
The charity also had significant overlap with the senator’s campaigns and his work on Capitol Hill. Among the leading donors to the foundation were Pennsylvania development and finance firms that had donated to his election efforts and had interests that Santorum had supported in the Senate…
Before it folded in 2007, the foundation raised $2.58 million, with 39 percent of that donated directly to groups helping the needy. By industry standards, such philanthropic groups should be donating nearly twice that, from 75 to 85 percent of their funds.
“That’s exceptionally poor,” Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a national organization that rates charitable groups, said of the Santorum group’s giving. “We would tell donors to run with fear from this organization.”
And well you might, Mr. Berger, but only because you don’t appreciate the intricate construct of hypocrisy, hard-heartedness and hellacious antipathy to truth that candidates like Rick Santorum (and sleazoid snake oil merchants like Tony Perkins) represent.
But there’s just a little more pious goodness to this story:
[Doug Wead,] a leading evangelical and former aide to President George H.W. Bush said he agreed with suspicions voiced by others at the meeting of evangelical and conservative Catholic activists that organizers “manipulated” the gathering and may even have stuffed the ballot to produce an endorsement of Mr. Santorum over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Mr. Santorum, who nearly upset Mr. Romney in the Iowa caucuses, won the first ballot ahead of Mr. Gingrich in Saturday’s Texas meeting but the margin was too slim for organizers to claim a consensus. It was not until the third ballot, taken after many people had left to catch flights back home, that Mr. Santorum won more than 70 percent of those still in attendance and claimed the endorsement…
Mr. Perkins strongly defended the Texas meeting as “a remarkable gathering of conservatives leaders.”
Yes, it certainly does sound remarkable. Last word to Mr. Wead:
… Mr. Wead, who said meeting participants were warned not to discuss the gathering in the media, was still upset and said the entire exercise was misguided.
“The idea of evangelicals meeting this late to select a candidate always struck me as incredibly naive, almost stupid. It is way too late for that,” he said.
Amen, sir. Amen.
THREE: Way Out West
If there’s one thing Arizona doesn’t need, it’s another hateful dolt in elected office. The state can’t even keep the ones it already has from appearing in cringe-worthy news stories.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for example, was recently named Arizona campaign chairman for Rick Perry, who dropped out of the race less than two weeks later, leaving Arpaio with nothing much to do except finalize his “cold case posse” investigation into President Obama’s eligibility to hold the office he’s held for three years and six days now.
Governor Jan Brewer, no slouch herself when it comes to hateful doltishness, mounted her own attack on President Obama just yesterday. Color the Arizona Republic chagrined:
President Obama arrived on Wednesday afternoon for a run-of-the-mill campaign speech using an Intel facility in Chandler as a backdrop. He was greeted by the usual assortment of local dignitaries, including Gov. Jan Brewer.
Which turned out to be Mistake No. 1.
Brewer handed the president a letter and apparently said something about the border and about the state’s economic recovery. Apparently, Obama said something about Brewer mischaracterizing their White House meeting in her book, Scorpions for Breakfast. Apparently, things went downhill from there. Apparently, the president and the governor couldn’t stop talking over each other’s words…
The image of Arizona’s governor wagging a scolding finger at the visiting president on the tarmac at Phoenix International Sky Harbor Airport now pretty much defines this state’s relationship with Washington, D.C., to the world.
Far from offering contrition after her boorish display, all Brewer could talk about afterward was the scary black guy who climbed out of Air Force One:
“I felt a little bit threatened, if you will, and the attitude that he had because I was there to welcome him,” Brewer told reporters following the exchange.
But not so fast, Joe and Jan! For Arizona, the barrel now has a new bottom, and his name is JT Ready. And (as of January 13, 2012) he’s a Democrat: Continue reading Take Five (Take My Candidate, Please edition)
Rick Perry recently proved again why he shouldn’t be trusted with any elected office, let alone the presidency. He named Sheriff Joe Arpaio chairman of his campaign in Arizona. Of course, by the time the Arizona primary rolls around on February 28, Perry’s candidacy is apt to be a distant memory. Don’t worry about Joe, though. He’ll still have plenty to keep him busy.
Back in September, notorious swift boat dirtbag and WorldNutDaily columnist Jerome Corsi announced that Arpaio had assembled a “Cold Case Posse” to determine whether President Obama’s birth certificate is legitimate. Curious about the posse’s progress, I recently waded through the sewer that is the Corsi archives.
In a lengthy piece from December, Corsi reports that the posse will issue a preliminary report in February, with a “comprehensive” report to follow shortly after.
“This is a serious law enforcement investigation, and our findings are going to be controversial but based in facts,” the Maricopa County sheriff told WND…
Arpaio confirmed that the Obama investigation has broadened beyond an examination of whether or not the birth certificate made public by the White House on April 27 is an authentic document. The probe, he said, is examining Obama’s history in regard to his eligibility to be president under Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.
Corsi goes on to claim that Arpaio’s investigation has resulted in death threats from murderous Obama supporters:
“I plan to kill Joe Arpaio first,” read one particularly ominous death threat. “He will be filled with a thousand bullet holes before the year is out. I promise you this – Arpaio won’t **** with Obama.”
Well, that certainly sounds just like something a typical Obama supporter would say, doesn’t it?
“The threats regarding the Obama investigation may set a new standard for partisanship, but they are nothing new,” [Maricopa County Deputy Chief David] Trombi said. “Four separate Mexican drug cartels have placed bounties totaling $4 million on his head. That’s about as serious as you can get, and the sheriff has had to live with this for years.”
Mexican drug cartels. Obama supporters. Really, who can tell the difference these days? Despite the danger, Arpaio assures Corsi and the rest of the nation that he will soldier on:
“We are a major law enforcement agency – one of the largest in the nation – and we have at our disposal investigative tools not generally available, even to the top private investigator in the country. We don’t plan to stop until we discover the truth.”
But he had better hurry. In December, the DOJ released the results of its three-year investigation into Arpaio’s fiefdom, concluding that it:
… has committed a wide range of civil rights violations against Latinos, including a pattern of racial profiling and discrimination and carrying out heavy-handed immigration patrols based on racially charged citizen complaints…
The civil rights report said federal authorities will continue to investigate complaints of deputies using excessive force against Latinos, whether the sheriff’s office failed to provide adequately police services in Hispanic communities and a large number of sex-crimes cases that were assigned to the agency but weren’t followed up on or investigated at all.
Gosh, that doesn’t sound too good for Sheriff Joe. Neither does this:
Apart from the civil rights probe, a federal grand jury also has been investigating Arpaio’s office on criminal abuse-of-power allegations since at least December 2009 and is specifically examining the investigative work of the sheriff’s anti-public corruption squad.
Neither do the 2,700 lawsuits filed against him from 2004 to 2007 alone, nor a finding last spring that his office had misused over $99 million in restricted funds over a five-year period.
Yikes! But Rick Perry ain’t about to let civil rights violations, racial profiling, discrimination, excessive force, abuse of power, misuse of funds, et cetera, stand between him and the hombre he wants for his Arizona campaign chair. And for good measure, Perry also used the Arpaio announcement to indulge in some unintentional ten-gallon hilarity: Continue reading Slouching Towards Tampa (Joementum edition)
ONE: And arrest his ass if he dares to campaign in Maricopa County!
On a hunch, I just did a Google search using the words “sheriff idiot” and six of the first 10 results referenced Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the shame of Arizona’s Maricopa County. In fairness, one of the six used the word “idiot” only to describe some protestors that Arpaio squared off against last year, and in another hit, idiot status was actually being conferred on Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, though Arpaio was heavily featured in the article.
Still, my little search is a testament to just how famously objectionable and objectionably famous Arpaio is. “America’s toughest sheriff” (as he likes to describe himself) has been offending people for nigh on 20 years now, but according to fellow idiot Jerome Corsi of WorldNutDaily, he’s just found a way to raise his game to a whole new level:
… Sheriff Joe Arpaio told WND he has assigned a five-member “Cold Case Posse” to investigate the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate…
“This investigation does not involve politics,” Arpaio told WND. “I listen to all the residents of Maricopa County who come to my office with complaints, regardless what their politics are.”
Yes, you read that right. A county sheriff in Arizona has assembled a team to sniff President Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate. I guess the oddest thing about this is that it doesn’t seem odd at all these days. Since the right wing has devolved so far down the food chain that it now ranks below plankton, this seemed almost inevitable.
… Arpaio is responding to a complaint brought to his office by representatives of the Surprise Tea Party in Surprise, Ariz., who have expressed in writing their concerns that the voting rights of Maricopa County residents in the 2012 presidential election could be compromised if Obama were to use a forged birth certificate to establish his eligibility under Article 1, Section 2, of the Constitution.
I surely do wish Sheriff Joe had been on this illegitimate president thing 11 years ago, but at least he’s on it now. His crack(ed) team consists of – whoa, not so fast, bub! Their names are secret:
The identities of the five individuals assigned to the Cold Case Posse investigation of the Obama birth certificate are being withheld from the public, in order to protect the individuals involved from both public reaction and from questions that are certain to arise from the media.
Well, whoever the hell they are, Corsi reports that the team consists of:
… volunteers with professional experience in conducting investigations, including individuals chosen because of their professional backgrounds in law enforcement, as well as lawyers who have participated in criminal or civil cases and individuals with specialized skills in fields ranging from accounting to conducting criminal forensic examinations.
Godspeed you, then, anonymous sleuths! You follow in the shambling, frustrated footsteps of intellectual titans like Donald Trump and Orly Taitz, and you are the last faint hope for all those who like their presidents 100% white.
Oh, and because this operation has 501(c)3 credentials, you can actually donate to the effort, dear reader! Corsi helpfully provides a mailing address for just that purpose. Or you could just take that money, shred it, burn the shreds, collect the ashes, put them in an urn, shove the urn off a cliff, sweep up the ashen shards, drop them down a mineshaft, seal the shaft with cement, then take the shuttle and nuke the whole thing from space. Your choice. Continue reading Take Five (True Lies edition)