Not Funny Anymore — Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone on the dangers of Donald Trump.
So two yahoos from Southie in my hometown of Boston severely beat up a Hispanic homeless guy earlier this week. While being arrested, one of the brothers reportedly told police that “Donald Trump was right, all of these illegals need to be deported.”
When reporters confronted Trump, he hadn’t yet heard about the incident. At first, he said, “That would be a shame.” But right after, he went on:
“I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”
This is the moment when Donald Trump officially stopped being funny.
Trump is probably too dumb to realize it, or maybe he isn’t, but he doesn’t need to win anything to become the most dangerous person in America. He can do plenty of damage just by encouraging people to be as uninhibited in their stupidity as he is.
Trump is striking a chord with people who are feeling the squeeze in a less secure world and want to blame someone – the government, immigrants, political correctness, “incompetents,” “dummies,” Megyn Kelly, whoever – for their problems.
Karl Rove and his acolytes mined a lot of the same resentments to get Republicans elected over the years, but the difference is that Trump’s political style encourages people to do more to express their anger than just vote. The key to his success is a titillating message that those musty old rules about being polite and “saying the right thing” are for losers who lack the heart, courage and Trumpitude to just be who they are.
His signature moment in a campaign full of them was his exchange in the first debate with Fox’s Kelly. She asked him how anyone with a history of calling women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals” could win a general election against a female candidate like Hillary Clinton.
“I’ve been challenged by so many people,” Trump answered. “I frankly don’t have time for political correctness. And to be honest with you, the country doesn’t have time either…. We don’t win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico…. We lose to everybody.”
On the surface, Kelly was just doing her job as a journalist, throwing Trump’s most outrageous comments back at him and demanding an explanation.
But on another level, she was trying to bring Trump to heel. The extraction of the humiliating public apology is one of the media’s most powerful weapons. Someone becomes famous, we dig up dirt on the person, we rub it in his or her nose, and then we demand that the person get down on bended knee and beg forgiveness.
Tale of the Tapes — Nina Liss-Schultz in Mother Jones on falsity of the Planned Parenthood tapes.
Since undercover videos that captured Planned Parenthood staff discussing fetal tissue donations were released last month, GOP officials in more than 10 states have clamored to launch investigations into the organization. On Tuesday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley joined that group, ordering her state’s health department to review the policies and practices of all abortion clinics in the state, including the three operated by Planned Parenthood.
“These practices are not consistent with the laws or character of our state,” Haley wrote in her letter to the state agency tasked with regulating abortion clinics, adding that it “cannot allow an organization with broken internal oversight and a flawed corporate culture to behave the way Planned Parenthood has in other states.”
In the videos, recorded surreptitiously and released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood officials talk frankly about the organization’s tissue donation program and the costs associated with donating fetal tissue from an abortion. Though fetal tissue donation is a long-standing and legal practice in the United States, and has contributed to medical advancements like the polio vaccine, conservatives have used the videos to attack the health care organization, saying they provide evidence that Planned Parenthood illegally profits from the sale of aborted fetuses. And they’ve pushed for investigations to unmask this purported criminal wrongdoing.
But so far, those investigations are falling flat. Completed probes in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota have spent thousands in taxpayer money but turned up no evidence that Planned Parenthood is trafficking in the sale of fetal tissue. And in most of the other states that have launched investigations—including Ohio, Arizona, Texas, and Kansas—Planned Parenthood affiliates don’t even have fetal tissue donation programs, making it hard to believe the states will find any illegal activity related to the practice. In Louisiana, where Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered an investigation in mid-July, Planned Parenthood does not even operate a single abortion clinic.
“In every state where these investigations have concluded, officials have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation, told the Huffington Post. “We’ve said all along that Planned Parenthood follows all laws and has very high medical standards, and that’s what every one of these investigations has found.”
Breakfast of Champion — Richard Sandomir in The New York Times reports on the petition to get Greg Louganis on a Wheaties box.
When Julie Sondgerath learned from the premiere of the HBO documentary “Greg Louganis: Back on Board” this month that Louganis, the transcendent Olympic diver, had never been on the cover of a Wheaties cereal box, she started a petition drive on Change.org to demand that General Mills correct an omission that has lasted more than 30 years.
She had watched a scene almost midway through the film in which Louganis is looking at a display of Wheaties boxes with Olympic athletes on them: Amy Van Dyken, Laura Wilkinson and Brooke Bennett. All deserving. But where was Louganis?
“Never got a Wheaties box,” Louganis, with a shrug and a reluctant smile, says in the documentary.
“It kind of broke my heart,” Sondgerath said by telephone from Chicago. “This is a guy who did everything right. He trained from his teens. He went to the Olympics. He won silver in 1976. He won gold in 1984 and again in ’88. He did everything right.”
Casual sports and Olympic fans might not be able to name another diver — a reflection of his superiority and the sport’s relatively modest profile. Still, Louganis is quite possibly the greatest ever at his sport. He won gold medals on the three-meter springboard and the 10-meter platform in each of those Summer Games.
But Wheaties’s recognition escaped him in 1984, though not Mary Lou Retton and Carl Lewis. Four years later, he won the same events but was again ignored by Wheaties.
Homophobia would seem to be the only reason that Louganis was denied the simple cereal-box accolade. He says so in the documentary, even if the filmmakers could not present anyone from General Mills who would agree. A spokesman for the cereal-maker said that nobody from that period was left to discuss the decision-making.
There were rumors that Louganis was gay in the 1980s, when only his friends, family and the swimming community knew. He came out publicly at the Gay Games in 1994 but did not acknowledge until the release of his autobiography the next year that he had tested HIV-positive before the 1988 Olympics.
Out of fear, Louganis did not inform the doctor of his condition when he treated the bloody wound caused when Louganis hit his head on the springboard during a preliminary dive.
Louganis’s on-camera shrug suggests an acknowledgment that being ignored by Wheaties should be placed in a 1980s context — during the early years of the AIDS epidemic and decades before court rulings led to same-sex marriages like his own.
Doonesbury — School choices.