Annals Of Pearl-Clutching

This ad was too controversial for the NBC affiliate in Chattanooga.

Via Buzzfeed:

“It’s just a very controversial and personal issue, and we just choose to not air a commercial on either side of that debate,” Tom Tolar, the president and general manager of Chattanooga-based WRCB, told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview.

The ad crossed the station’s lines, he explained, because “people probably have really strong opinions on one side or other of the debate. It’s just an emotional debate for many people.”

And that’s the reason not to talk about it AT ALL.

Aunt Pittypat Still 06-01-15Oh Melly, pass me the smelling salts.

Remember Ebola?

It seems like only a month ago that the entire nation was freaking out about Ebola; schools were shutting down because a teacher had visited Tanzania, which is as far from the countries in Africa that actually had the disease as Seattle is from Miami, and enterprising grifters were selling Ebola emergency kits on the internet.

Then this happened.

After 19 days of treatment, Dr. Craig Spencer no longer has the Ebola virus and will be discharged from the hospital Tuesday, according to The New York Times. The number of Ebola cases in the United States now stands at zero.

Ebola is still sickening and killing people in Sierra Leone and Liberia, but the aid the U.S. has sent and will be sending is controlling it.  But it was never a serious threat here.  You wouldn’t know that from the banshee-inspired coverage on cable news in search of ratings and Republicans in search of something else to blame on President Obama.

Frankly Speaking

Last week Thomas Frank wrote a piece in Salon in which he went all in on calling Barack Obama a weak and gutless leader and labeling his presidency an abject failure.  The Hope and Change president promised so much and delivered so little, he didn’t stand up to the crazy Republicans when he could have and should have, and worst of all, there’s no pony with rainbow ribbons and no sprinkles on the ice cream.

Why, the visitors to his library will wonder, did the president do so little about rising inequality, the subject on which he gave so many rousing speeches? Why did he do nothing, or next to nothing, about the crazy high price of a college education, the Great Good Thing that he has said, time and again, determines our personal as well as national success? Why didn’t he propose a proper healthcare program instead of the confusing jumble we got? Why not a proper stimulus package? Why didn’t he break up the banks? Or the agribusiness giants, for that matter?

Because, to quote Elliot in E.T., this is reality.  Governing in a democracy means working with other people, people who for some reason or another — I’ll let you fill in the blanks — have no interest in a president succeeding; people who in fact were plotting against his every move before the president had spent his first night in the White House.  Add to that a well-oiled and well-funded noise machine of unprecedented lung power and a TV network that can take the smallest thing and turn it into a 24-hour breaking news blitz, and getting things done becomes a bit of a challenge.

But to Mr. Frank’s charges of failure after failure, let’s think about the ones he’s listed:  How does a president persuade a college or university to lower their tuition and make it affordable?  Someone’s gotta pay for it; it’s not like the alumni are going to pick up everything else after football.  What about healthcare?  Well, the “proper” way would have been a single payer plan with the government picking up the tab and raising taxes, much in the way a number of industrialized nations and Canadian provinces do it: Medicare for all.  Yeah, try and pass that; I dare you.

The same could be said about the rest of Mr. Frank’s laments: the stimulus package that was passed was done in the first moments of the Obama presidency and while we were still under the weight of the crapfest left by the previous administration.  What we got would not have passed three months later, and certainly not through a Senate that was barely under the control of the Democrats.  Break up the big banks and agribusiness?  Sure, if you don’t think anyone with any influence or money will object, go ahead.

We expect to hear this kind of whining and pearl-clutching from the Republicans; they’ve mastered the art of crocodile tears and fear-mongering even when they’re in control.  In the last thirty years they have done a fine job of making the case that no one else but a true American conservative should be running the country and then providing us with laboratory-grade examples of exactly why they shouldn’t.

The biggest failure of the Obama presidency isn’t in what it didn’t accomplish or the “tepid” answers it gave to the problems at hand.  It’s that Barack Obama believed — and probably still does — that he was facing opposition from a political party that shared his basic goal of running the country and making it better for all the citizens, not just the ones who voted for him or contributed to his campaign.  He didn’t realize that their sole purpose in life was his personal destruction.  But if a genius like Thomas Frank can’t figure that out, how could anyone else?

They’ll Let Anybody In Here

President and Mrs. Obama spent this past weekend at the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo.  Oh my, were the pearls clutched.

Meanwhile, says the Key West Citizen, “some members of the solidly Republican enclave have expressed outrage about the pending visit.”

The newspaper quotes an email from residents Joe and Fran Murphy who say that Obama “has done nothing but degrade and punish the ‘one percent’ of Americans who have done the most for this country.”

“To have a man here who hates us, who has divided America along racial lines, hates people who have been successful in life by hard work and determination is an affront to the membership,” the email to Ocean Reef Club board members continues. “He despises what we have achieved, and would love to have the government open our gates to whomever would like to come into our lovely conservative community.”

Shorter version: “How dare they allow colored people in here!”

To be fair, they do allow people of color into the Ocean Reef Club.  They wear white coats, serve drinks, and change the towels at the pool.

Why Would Anyone Think That?

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is shocked and saddened that anyone would ever think that the Catholic Church might be anti-gay.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said on Friday that the Roman Catholic Church was being “caricatured as being anti-gay,” even as he lamented the continued expansion of same-sex marriage in the United States and vowed to keep fighting it.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Cardinal Dolan and his clan have fought every advance for gay rights while allowing pedophiles to run rampant through the church and doing everything they possibly can to shield them from the reach of the law and the victims, all the while letting the world think that being gay and being a pedophile are the same thing.  And until they denounce hate mongers in the church like Bill Donohue, they’re going to have to live with it.

That’s not a caricature; it’s the brutal truth.