• The Political Animal

    Talkin’ Shit about Race: Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

    Had I served on George Zimmerman’s jury I believe I would have voted to convict him of manslaughter. I form this belief independent of Trayvon Martin’s race or any conviction about Zimmerman’s racial animus or suspicions. I would have voted to convict George Zimmerman of manslaughter had Trayvon Martin been white. Had Trayvon Martin been white, I would still think George Zimmerman culpable for his death. We do not need to demonize Zimmerman to do it, nor do we need to rehabilitate him in order to reject unsupportable claims about a depraved mind based on racial suspicion. In the record of George Zimmerman’s 43 calls to police over an 8…

  • Culture Clash

    You Think That’s Funny? That’s Not Funny

    . We’re having an entertaining and enlightening discussion, me and the Snoop, over in the comments section (which is, after all, what it’s for) and the subject of Bill Maher keeps coming up. Actually, Snoop keeps bringing it up, but why split hairs? Maher enjoys not the highest estimation in the Snoop’s regard. I think somewhat differently, but that is not my interest today. It is not the different opinions we have of Maher that I wish to address, but some part of how we may come to those different opinions. Over at the sad red earth Facebook page – where I frequently post and link to material by others,…

  • The Political Animal

    Compromising with Reality

    . I spent less than the usual time on social media yesterday – I took a kind of day-after breather – but I devoted most of what time I did spend to venting. You can see it in my twitter feed down on the right. It was not my larger self on display, but “moderation in all things, including moderation” as Petronius – or was it Oscar Wilde? – said, and Barack Obama is gracious enough for the two and more of us. Some people have to do some slappin’. You can trace the current cultural divide clearly back to Vietnam and the Sixties, but many current inhabitants of one…

  • The Political Animal

    Boycotting Rush, or Citizens United

    . It isn’t that you boycott.  It’s what you boycott. And why. As the ends don’t justify the means (most people would agree), ends don’t illegitimize the means either. Reasons matter. Aims matter. We can pursue good ends through bad means, and for bad reasons. We can likewise use a good – or at least neutral – means toward a bad end. In that case, it is the end that is bad, not the means. Categorical confusions – where would public debate be without them? I don’t argue the efficacy of boycotts here, one way or the other. That is another discussion, and lots of people have opinions on that.…

  • The Political Animal

    Limbaugh: Censor or Censure?

    . My post on “Rush Limbaugh and the Free Market of Speech” drew a comment from JP that is thoughtful and challenging, and I think my responding to it at length can deepen the exploration and understanding of what opponents of Limbaugh are doing in the media campaign against him and of what it is or is not to censor someone. I agree with much of what JP writes, but it is in the spaces that remain between us that I think the deeper understanding lies.  JP begins with a point of agreement. I won’t argue the point that Rush is a jerk. Of course he is. It is actually…

  • Uncategorized

    Rush Limbaugh and the Free Market of Speech

    . It’s hard enough sharing the country with a bunch of jerks, why do so many of them have to be so full of shit? (Or is that a contradictory complaint?) The jerks, of course, are those who stand for everything you detest.  You know – the other side. The full-of-shit are fairly equally distributed, though some shit smells sweeter than the rest. Rush Limbaugh, let’s be clear about it, is a jerk. He may be your jerk, you may like the way he jerks, you may forgive his jerknsess because the people he attacks are, in your expert opinion, jerkier than he is, but he’s a jerk. If you…

  • The Political Animal

    Divided America, or Boys & Girls Not Together

    . What is there really to work out in the current American divides – which is to ask, what really can be worked out? If you are a politician, an office seeker, hopefulness and the rhetoric that summons a people movingly to common purpose is the lingua franca of your own success. It takes a certain quality of salesman, even for God. “We may reason on to our heart’s content, the fog won’t lift.” Samuel Becket never ran for office. The “two Americas” of the poor and the rest, or more starkly, of the 1% and the 99 – that’s almost quaintly easy in comparison, a functional problem susceptible to…

  • The Political Animal

    JBS Then = GOP Today

    Glenn Beck? He’d have to be more histrionic. Rush Limbaugh? More the buffoon. What about Ron Paul, then, who came in first in last week’s CPAC Presidential Straw Poll, with 30%. Here, in 1974, is Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society, which once was synonymous with right wing extremism and rejected by respectable conservatives. See if you can find much difference from today’s GOP. Paul even advocates the same return to the Gold Standard. But we need recall that Paul was the keynote speaker at the JBS 50th anniversary in 2008. Today’s Republican Party, burning bridges to the nineteenth century. Related articles First Read: Ron Paul wins CPAC…

  • The Political Animal

    Motor Trend Magazine Hits Motor Mouth Limbaugh

    What you can count on conservatives to do, from the low to the lofty, is view every issue through the prism of ideology. Disinterested, to them, means disinclined to be interested, uninterested, only. Actually detaching their interests in one issue from their consideration of another is a constitutional corruption. Thus, whether Rush Limbaugh or George Will, Motor Trend Magazine‘s naming of the new, hybrid Chevy Volt as its 2011 Car of the Year is an affront. It insults their politicized faith that there is no climatological harm to be undone and deters their ambition to extract every last dollar barrel of oil from earth and sea bed. Bellowed Limbaugh, Folks,…

  • The Political Animal

    Limbaugh, Brown, and Goldstone

    By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them Rush Limbaugh: …lest we forget, the carbon tax bill — Cap and Trade — that was scheduled to be announced on Earth Day. Then it was postponed, a couple of days later… what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plans, than by blowing up a rig? I’m just noting the timing, here. Last week, in writing about patriotism, I spoke about the sometime confluence of morality and esthetics. It isn’t only the product of people’s tastes that can summon up the creep of ickiness; it is their actions too. One behaves. One behaves in a manner. The manner of one’s…

  • The Political Animal

    Demagogues & Faces in the Crowd

    In 1957, the very recently, lamentably departed screenwriter Budd Schulberg and Elia Kazan respectively wrote and directed A Face in the Crowd, starring a pre Sheriff Andy, very finely dramatic Andy Griffith. The film is the story of “Lonesome” Rhodes, a man with a troubled past who goes on to become a broadcasting phenomenon in the early days of television’s rise to cultural ubiquity. He takes a precipitous fall when his contempt for his audience is finally revealed. The film, designated as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” has been preserved in the Library of Congress’s United States National Film Registry. (Note, by the way, the above-the-title credit to the screenwriter,…

  • The Political Animal

    Obama, Limbaugh, Hitler and Hate Speech

    Menachem Z. Rosensaft argues in the Jewish Daily Forward that the likening of Barack Obama to Hitler by Rush Limbaugh (and others, while we’re at it) is the “functional equivalent of calling for an act of violence against the president of the United States.” He offers in comparison the atmosphere that preceded the assassination of Yitzak Rabin in Israel. The always reasonable and sage Norm Geras (long to be honored as an author of the Euston Manifesto) gets it wrong this time, I think, in disagreeing. He thinks such comparisons “poisonous” and objectionable, to be sure, and he rightly, I think, admonishes those on the left who object to this…