Glibertarian Follies in ME

by matttbastard

So. Maine puts marriage equality and access to medicinal marijuana up for referendum. Guess which one ends up getting tread on by a big ol’ homophobic bus?

Yup.

Heckuva job, kiddies.

As usual, Adam Serwer nails it:

It never ceases to amaze me how conservatives manage to erect political-cultural barriers that seem only to apply to liberals–conservatives have argued that any path to marriage equality that goes through the courts is illegitimate, “judicial activism” so to speak, even as gun rights advocates fight for the incorporation of Second Amendment rights into the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The path to freedom through the courts is fine for the NRA, just not for people looking for the right to marry the person they love.

Marriage [equality] is ultimately inevitable–but these referendums, which put up what should be individuals’ inalienable rights up to a majority vote–nevertheless mean a great deal, as they needlessly prolong an era of inequality which this country will someday look back upon in shame. Maine relaxed prohibitions on medical marijuana last night while voting down marriage equality–it may be time to put a picture of the state in the Balloon Juice Lexicon under “glibertarian“.

Oh, and what dnA also said about Obama being MIA in ME while stumping for the two gubernatorial losers in VA and NJ:

Just as this country will one day look back in shame at discrimination against same-sex couples, so should President Obama feel regret, wondering if things could have been different had he intervened and put the full force of his office behind those fighting for their rights, rather than simply looking out for his party.

Signed. Off.

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Newsflash: Alberta Jr. Fears Teh Ghey.

by matttbastard

"Justice" = finding ways to subvert the constitution. Srsly.

Dude, WTF?! Homobigoted opt-out FAIL from Canada’s new wingnut capitol:

The Saskatchewan Party government is proposing legislation that would allow the province’s marriage commissioners to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

In a news release Friday, the government said the proposed law would ensure there are other marriage commissioners available to fill in if someone refused to perform the service because it violated his or her religious beliefs.

Provincial Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said he’ll ask the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal for an opinion on whether the proposed legislation would conform with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Two legislative options will be put to the court, he said.

“One would grandfather the existing marriage commissioners that are reluctant or unwilling to perform a same-sex marriage and the second option would grant religious exemption for not only the existing ones, but for future marriage commissioners that would have the same concerns,” he said.

As Nathan Seckinger, spokesman for the GBLUR Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity aptly notes, “Ultimately, what it comes down to is that we can’t have government officials asking for the right not to enforce law…I mean, where does that stop?”

Which begs the question: What if an SK marriage commissioner (which, last time I checked, was NOT a religious title) was “reluctant or unwilling” to perform an interracial marriage? Would they too be allowed to refuse their services due to strong personal convictions?

Inquiring minds want to know, Don.

h/t megan_eb

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Even in the Age of Obama, Flying While Brown is Still Hazardous

by matttbastard

The more things Change™, the more they stay the same:

Officials ordered nine Muslim passengers, including three young children, off an AirTran flight headed to Orlando from Reagan National Airport yesterday afternoon after two other passengers overheard what they thought was a suspicious remark.

Members of the party, all but one of them U.S.-born citizens who were headed to a religious retreat in Florida, were subsequently cleared for travel by FBI agents who characterized the incident as a misunderstanding, an airport official said. But the passengers said AirTran refused to rebook them, and they had to pay for seats on another carrier secured with help from the FBI.

According to Kashif Irfan, one of the passengers removed from the flight, “five of the six adults in the party are of South Asian descent, and all six are traditionally Muslim in appearance, with the men wearing beards and the women in headscarves.”

Entirely coincidental, I’m sure.

Even so, AirTran went into full spin mode following the incident:

AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson agreed that the incident amounted to a misunderstanding. But he defended AirTran’s handling of the incident, which he said strictly followed federal rules. And he denied any wrongdoing on the airline’s part.

“At the end of the day, people got on and made comments they shouldn’t have made on the airplane, and other people heard them,” Hutcheson said. “Other people heard them, misconstrued them. It just so happened these people were of Muslim faith and appearance. It escalated, it got out of hand and everyone took precautions.”

Yes, it “just so happened” that the people kicked off the plane for making “comments they shouldn’t have made” were scary brown people wearing scary Muslim clothing.

Ahem.

If you buy that load of frozen high-altitude airplane waste , well, I also have some prime TWA stock available for purchase at a fabulous price.

Vanessa @ Feministing isn’t buying:

The fact of the matter is that if “these people” weren’t of Muslim faith and appearance, this wouldn’t have happened.

Gee, ya think?!

Oh, and what were these comments that were so inappropriate that the plane just had to be evacuated and the FBI called in?

CNN:

“The conversation, as we were walking through the plane trying to find our seats, was just about where the safest place in an airplane is,” [Inayet] Sahin said. “We were (discussing whether it was safest to sit near) the wing, or the engine or the back or the front, but that’s it. We didn’t say anything else that would raise any suspicion.”

The conversation did not contain the words “bomb,” “explosion,” “terror” or other words that might have aroused suspicion, [Atif ] Irfan said.

“When we were talking, when we turned around, I noticed a couple of girls kind of snapped their heads,” said Sobia Ijaz, Irfan’s wife. “I kind of thought to myself, ‘Oh, you know, maybe they’re going to say something.‘ It didn’t occur to me that they were going to make it such a big issue.”

Hah–never underestimate the potential overblown idiocy of jittery airline passengers in a full-on post-9/11 ethnic panic state (“ZOMG TERRORISTS IZ GUNNA BLOW UP THE PLANE–LET’S ROLL!!!!1″) Still, I’m rather astounded at how remarkably sanguine the family is about the entire farcical (if infuriating) situation. Can’t say I’d be so reserved if I somehow found myself sitting across from the FBI, all because I dared to inappropriately express completely understandable concerns over flight safety (while being brown, scary and clad in funny-looking religious garb).

But don’t think a lack of righteous outrage means the family is rolling over:

“Really, at the end of the day, we’re not out here looking for money. I’m an attorney. I know how the court system works. We’re basically looking for someone to say… ‘We’re apologizing for treating you as second-class citizens.'”

“We are proud Americans,” Sahin said. “You know we decided to have our children and raise them here. We can very easily go anywhere we want in the world, but you know we love it here and we’re not going to go away, no matter what.”

Aziz said there is a “very strong possibility” he will pursue a civil rights lawsuit.

“I guess it’s just a situation of guilt by association,” Aziz said. “They see one Muslim talking to another Muslim and they automatically assume something wrong is going on.”

Libby Spencer lays out the bottom line:

If we allow ourselves to diminish our humanity and toss our common sense out of fear of terrorism, then [the terrorists have] won without lifting a finger.

Signed. Off.

h/t The Obscure Store and Reading Room

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‘Magic Negro’ Cost/Benefit Analysis

by matttbastard

The other day, Howard Weaver sent out the following precient (if pithy) observation via tweet:

Politico sure seems to be ground zero for inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom.

Mhm, someone got a fresh new pair of cute Captain Obvious underpants for Christmas.

Regardless, I shudder to think what they’re spiking the cocktails with in Georgetown if the following Politico headline represents the “conventional wisdom” on the RNC’s recent racial follies:

‘Magic Negro’ flap might help Saltsman

Ok, yeah if by “help” one means “further paint the GOP into a demographically narrow corner,” then, sure–go Team Saltsman!

The big tent collapses under the collective weight of the stupid.

Josh Marshall brings the snark:

Wholly unable to confirm this, but I’m told the talk is now that Mike Duncan may have to perform in black face at the upcoming RNC meeting to remain a credible candidate for the job.

If one is to believe that the RNC officials quoted by Andy Barr are being sincere (and not simply taking the lead of Saltsman’s former boss by spinning like out of control centrifuges) The Party of Lincoln is now officially The Party of Jolson–which sure is a great way to reintroduce the tarnished GOP brand going into 2009: adopting what amounts to the I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-The-Southern-Strategy! Strategy. Of course, some of these doe-eyed grassroots bigots are likely the same strategic savants who thought George Allen was the *ahem* white knight best prepared to save the party from Bush’s long shadow in 2008. So, I suppose one shouldn’t be too surprised they would also consider this year’s ‘Macaca’ to be much ado about nothing.

Related: Adam Serwer schools various wingnuts  on what David Ehrenstein did and didn’t say in his now-infamous LA Times op-ed that served as inspiration for Shanklin’s “satirical” song.

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The RNC’s Vaudeville Routine

by matttbastard

Recognizing that the best defense is a good (straw-filled) offense, embattled RNC candidate Chip Saltsman fires back in time-honoured Republican fashion:

Liberal Democrats and their allies in the media didn’t utter a word about David Ehrenstein’s irresponsible column in the Los Angeles Times last March. But now, of course, they’re shocked and appalled by its parody on ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show,’ ” Saltsman said in a statement, referring to the op-ed article that reportedly inspired the song lyrics.

“I firmly believe that we must welcome all Americans into our party and that the road to Republican resurgence begins with unity, not division. But I know that our party leaders should stand up against the media’s double standards and refuse to pander to their desire for scandal,” Saltsman added.

Also, a big fat friendly ‘fuck you’ to former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell for cravenly putting party before principle:

“Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-elect Obama being the first African American elected president,” Blackwell, who is black, said in a statement.

“I don’t think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them,” he said. “When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people.”

You know, it’s sad when Newt fucking Gingrich not only gets it better than Blackwell, but shows more courage (or, more accurately, pragmatic political awareness) by actually, y’know, speaking out, instead of offering tepid apologetics.

Apparently some folks are shitting bricks at the thought of getting Condi-Riced by the Free Republic set.

Regardless, all this is was likely just broad political Kabuki on the part of the aforementioned players: the RNC quietly launches a race-based attack on the President-elect, (white) party leaders act appropriately shocked! and simply appalled! in order to appease the chattering class, and the token black guy grants absolution to a defiant Saltsman (who subsequently gets to whip two favourite GOP hobbyhorses, Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Media).

Bottom line: after all the theatrics that have taken place over the past 24+ hours, everybody is once again talking about “Barack the Magic Negro”.

Update: Kevin is a lot more succinct than yours truly. ;-)

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Do You Believe in Magic?

by matttbastard

Carmen D puts the latest iteration of the “Magic Negro” controversy in broader context by revisiting an old post of hers on the original source of the conservative meme, a 2007 LA Times op-ed by author (and OG Vast Left Wing Conspirator) David Ehrenstein:

Ehrenstein seems to think that Barack Obama is perceived to be safe by ‘white America’. No way, it’s not that simple. The hard truth is that for many in America, particularly in the middle of the country and in parts of the south, there is no such thing as a non-threatening black man. We don’t hear about hate mail or death threats endured by Obama and his family. But don’t you think those threats are coming at a rate only the great Hank Aaron might comprehend?

I am so sick of individual black people judging the ‘blackness’ of other black people. It is simply a waste of time and energy that we, as a community, can ill afford.

Word–I’m also sick of that special breed of conservative white pundit and pol who eagerly latches on to anything negative (or that can be spun as ‘negative’) black people say about/to each other. Bloviating leeches like Rush Limbaugh, Paul Shanklin, Chip Saltsman, et al have apparently managed to convince themselves that conveniently subcontracting their racism to a dusky proxy (and/or disingenuously hiding behind the ‘satire’ bulwark) automatically absolves them of any personal responsibility for their actions. Well, we have already witnessed the logical political consequences of the GOP’s willful disregard for minority voters.

Their loss (literally).

To once again quote Oliver Willis, “[wingnuts] say things like this and honestly can’t see what the problem is.” Case in point: according to Think Progress, “more than 18 hours after the news about Saltsman broke, not a single Republican official has condemned his actions.” [Update: Mike Allen reports that current RNC Chair Mike Duncan, who is fighting hard to stay on top of the Grand Old heap, has wisely thrown Saltsman under the bus.]

Oh well. Political marginalization is a small price to pay for a little bit of innocent fun at the expense of oversensitive PC types who can’t appreciate “light-hearted political parodies” from a “conservative” perspective. Besides, there’s always the so-called Oogedy-Boogedy wing to keep the Republican Party solvent south of the Mason-Dixon while it (and those who slavishly adhere to its underlying political philosophy) languish in the wilderness for the foreseeable future.

Update 2: The Caucus reports:

[F]ormer Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an e-mail message, “This is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it.”

Yep, that muffled gurgling noise you heard was the death rattle of Saltsman’s RNC campaign.

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More Conservative Minority Outreach

by matttbastard

Chip Saltsman doesn’t seem to have any illusions about who the RNC base is (hint: rhymes with “spite”):

RNC candidate Chip Saltsman’s Christmas greeting to committee members includes a music CD with lyrics from a song called “Barack the Magic Negro,” first played on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show.

[…]

The CD, called “We Hate the USA,” lampoons liberals with such songs as “John Edwards’ Poverty Tour,” “Wright place, wrong pastor,” “Love Client #9,” “Ivory and Ebony” and “The Star Spanglish banner.”

Several of the track titles, including “Barack the Magic Negro,” are written in bold font.

That last bit was a thoughtful touch.  Always make sure to highlight the race-bait, just in case the implications are too subtle for especially dense RNC bigots.  Again, why bother blowing a dogwhistle when an airhorn will suffice?

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