10/17/2014

Your State Sucks: Tennessee Sucks Because Its Anti-Choicers Are Liars and Assholes

The Rude Pundit has great love for Tennessee. No, really. He goes there just about every year for the Bonnaroo Music Festival. It's truly beautiful, especially this time of year. He lived in Knoxville for a few years and had no problem heading out into the dirt poor towns to do some work. On a personal level, he liked just about every low-forehead, banjo-strumming, hard-drinking or meth-tweaking, uneducated bumpkin he met, from amazing alcoholic bluegrass musicians to strung-out, toothless strippers, from twitchy snake-handling tongue-speakers to racist pukes.

Of course, that's only one part of the population. The rest are not exotic stereotypes, just regular people living regular lives. Frankly, they freaked out the Rude Pundit more than the Inbred Jeds and Janes because the stereotypes wear their crazy like Olympic medals. It's the ones who appear to be nice sane, primarily middle-class and white, who will seek to fuck you over in the most subversive, filthy way possible.

And that's what Amendment 1 is: it's a way to shatter the balance of powers between the legislative and judicial branches when it comes to abortion rights in Tennessee. It's a way to control women by using the shit-colored patina of voting power to do it. See, what Amendment 1 does is simple: it says that only the legislature can make or change abortion laws. No fucking state judge can overturn what the legislature passes. It's probably not constitutional (as in the big Constitution, not the junior ones that every state changes on a fucking whim when, for instance, the queers are makin' people feel uncomfortable). But it'll fuck with women's lives for a good bit until the Supreme Court hopefully says, "Um, no." And while the aforementioned inbreds might be for it, it's the regular people who are driving this as some great and mighty quest to right what they see as a wrong.

See, in 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court struck down abortion restrictions, so the state became an oasis of sanity about the right to choose, so much so that women in the pathetic situations in Mississippi, Alabama, and other states come to Tennessee to get abortions. Now, you may say, "Well, that's better than getting illegal, harmful abortions." And you would be a fucking heathen who doesn't love the babies. Don't you love the babies, asshole? Tennessee is now an "abortion destination" on the abortion tour of Uhmerka. Tennessee wants to be known for whiskey, music, football, and cousin-fucking. Why spoil it?

Now, you might also say, "Well, shit, why doesn't Tennessee just do what every other stupid-ass state does and pass more regulations. Throw that shit against the wall and see what sticks?" Well, the judges in Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist said that Tennessee's constitution has a greater right to privacy than even the U.S. Constitution. And back in 2000, the dissenting judge said, in essence, "If you wanna fuck with the rights of women, you gotta amend the constitution or else these bastards around me are just gonna overturn shit again."

So here we are. The Yes on 1 people tell everyone that they are just after sensible regulations and, even though the amendment says the legislatures can make laws regarding abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life-in-danger, no way no how will they do it. Trust 'em with your reproductive rights, ladies, 'cause they're godly people. Over 80 churches so far have given over $50,000 to the "Yes" forces. (Yes, dear conservative, Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups are giving shit-tons of money to oppose Amendment 1.)

The position of the No on 1 side comes down to "Do you think we're fucking idiots? Of course, you deranged sons and daughter of bitches are going to pass every extreme regulation you can short of an outright ban, including all the shit that the court got rid of plus all the other bullshit rules." Right now, Tennessee provides funding for women in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. You can bet that'll be gone the day after Amendment 1 is ratified because "I ain't payin' fer no 'bortion."

Of course, the Yessers say they don't want "unelected state judges" making decisions. Where does that end, though? Why not pass something that says only the legislature can make decisions about business regulations or environmental laws or civil rights? How is the wisdom of Cletus Pigfucker who got elected to the legislature from the town of Analrape somehow more valid than the rulings of people who went to law school? (Note: to make your brain explode, check out Amendment 2, also on the ballot.)

This is a goddamned game with women's bodies and lives as the prize. We argue over who is going to win when we shouldn't even be playing in the first place.

10/16/2014

Your State Sucks: Tennessee Sucks Because It Hopes to Own Women's Bodies

The word "retarded" is generally banned from polite discourse. It is a loaded term, one that upsets a number of people. It carries with it cultural weight, and, used for certain populations, it degrades those who need protecting. However, the Rude Pundit has gone through his mighty vocabulary to come up with another word for Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that's up for vote in November in Tennessee. And, well, the only thing that seems to work, because everyone knows what you mean when you say it, whether you want to admit that or not, is "retarded."

Read it for yourself: "Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."

This is retarded. It is fucking retarded. It was written by fucking retards to appeal to fucking retards because the first retards want to make sure the second retards stay retarded and vote for them, retardedly.

Amendment 1 says the state owns women bodies, purely and simply, and it destroys the balance of power in the state to do it. But don't take the Rude Pundit's word for it. Listen to every major newspaper in the state:

The Nashville Tennesseean: "[I]f you were to vote yes, you would, indeed, be doing much: First, by setting the legislative branch of government above the judiciary, and second by enshrining (through the second sentence of the amendment) the ability of state lawmakers to exceed the limits on Roe v. Wade thus far allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court...the second sentence of the amendment clearly signals they intend to ban abortion even in cases involving rape, incest and when pregnancy or childbirth endangers the life of the mother."

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal: "In the bigger picture, Amendment 1 is not only about abortion. We agree with opponents of the proposal that at a fundamental level it also is about who makes a woman’s health decisions — the woman herself, or state lawmakers who too often are guided by partisan and ideological motives. Those motives sometimes have no respect for a person’s privacy. Women should have the right to make private, personal decisions about their health."

The Knoxville News-Sentinel: "The first sentence would remove a woman’s right to make decisions about her pregnancy. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, the courts have consistently ruled that a woman has the overriding interest in the course of her pregnancy until the fetus is viable. If Amendment 1 passes, the state Legislature could pass laws that dictate any or all decisions a woman might make, from the moment of conception onward."

The ChattanoogaTimes Free-Press:"Decisions about contraception and abortion — like decisions about Viagra and fertility treatments — should be made by a man or woman in consultation with their faith, their family and their doctors."

These are not from the crazy-ass liberal media. The Tennessean endorsed Mitt Romney for president in 2012. The Times Free-Press endorsed Gary Johnson in 2012 and John McCain in 2008.

But cruel fucks will be cruel fucks. And they will manipulate people who are so deranged by religion and poverty that they only have GodJesus to comfort them, so they don't wanna piss him off. The lives of women in Tennessee, in all those cities, are in the hands of the, well, see the first paragraph.

More on this tomorrow.

10/15/2014

Of Feminism, Online Threats, and Guns in Utah (Revised with Correction)

The Rude Pundit is not going to comment on Gamergate specifically. Short version: A truly fucked-up situation where female video game journalists and designers have been savagely threatened by men online for, apparently, existing. He's not going to comment because, really, there's not enough room. So read that Washington Post article that's linked to up there. It's a great primer.

Instead, let's focus in a bit on one incident that just happened because it says so much about who we are as a nation.

Blogger and media critic Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Sarkeesian is a feminist, and she often talks about video gaming from that perspective. Her vlog, Feminist Frequency, is damned insightful about sexism in a big part of our culture. (Calm down there, gamers. Sexism infects movies, TV, music, comics, etc. No one is singling you out.) So, of course, she had to be stopped.

Some fuckwit wrote to USU and demanded that Sarkeesian's speech be cancelled: "I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs. This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it...Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America." Charming, like that creepy kid in the dorm who writes Saw fan fiction. (Bonus points: He mentioned a Montreal mass shooting in 1989, where the asshole shot up a bunch of women because feminism made him sad.)

Now chances are that this is some worthless little shit who has no guns and no bombs and, like almost every terrorist around, just needs to get laid. And Sarkeesian, who knows from worthless little shits when it comes to the online world, had said she would go ahead with her speech, but she wanted to make sure that she would be, you know, safe. And that's where society broke down.

'Cause, see, Sarkeesian didn't want people to be allowed to bring guns to her speech, which would no doubt now be packed. The USU officials said, "Well, fuck, yeah, people can bring guns" because that's how stupid a country this is. In a statement, USU explained, "During the discussion, Sarkeesian asked if weapons will be permitted at the speaking venue. Sarkeesian was informed that, in accordance with the State of Utah law regarding the carrying of firearms, if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue." So she cancelled the speech because while a good guy with a gun may stop a bad guy with a gun, all that bad guy has to do is get off one decent shot.

Hey, you might say, shit sucks in concealed carry states, but it's the law. And the Rude Pundit would tell you to shut the fuck up and listen for two seconds.

According to the NRA (yes, the NRA), Utah state law says, "A person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not carry a concealed firearm in any secure area. A secure area may be established at an airport, higher education institution, or courthouse." And, unless its name is meaningless, Utah State University would be a "higher education institution."

(Correction: What the NRA fails to mention is that "secure area" on a college campus means "hearing room." In other words, where some official procedure is occurring where things might get heated. An earlier version said that any area on campus could be "secure." This is not the case. The Rude Pundit was wrong and, because he's not an asshole, he's correcting the error. The lesson here is never trust the NRA for facts.)

Oh, and over in Salt Lake City, at the stupidly named EnergySolutions Arena, where the Utah Jazz play pro basketball, there's a weapons policy: "For the safety of all our guests, firearms, knives and weapons of any kind are prohibited inside EnergySolutions Arena. Any guest presenting a game or event ticket consents to a reasonable search for weapons of any kind before entering. Failure to comply with the above conditions will result in no admittance or ejection." You even have to pass through a metal detector because it just makes fucking sense.

So, in fact, Utah is regularly preventing people from carrying their firearms into various places. But mostly the law is insane, especially as regards college campuses. It's startling that no one would look at this situation and think, "Huh. Maybe letting people secretly carry guns all over the fuckin' place is a bad idea." And you can hardly fault Sarkeesian for saying, "Yeah, fuck this."

Why not make this a raging post about Gamergate? Why not call the attackers nasty names and demand they stop? Because they won't. Because the anonymity of online world and the way that is used to threaten sexual violence against women, many, many women, not just those who would dare enter the geekdome, makes it too easy for the attackers.

And that demands that we see this in the widest sense possible, not just as part of the gamer world. Because ultimately what needs to be defended is the freedom for women to speak. And it's not just someone threatening to gut a woman or stab her in the tits or rape her in front of her children. It's gotten to where addresses are published online and lives are sent into chaos, just because a woman dares to say that women should be treated fairly. Christ, talk for two seconds to any woman who posts anything online on just about any subject in an open forum, like Twitter. Too many men view it as a chance to throw a bomb at a vagina they can't control.  They must be silenced before they get too much power.

Here's some advice, guys, one man to another: If you're so worried about what feminists are saying, if you are so threatened by their words that you would write rape and murder fantasies about them, then your problem isn't feminism.

Late Post Today, But Have a Treat:

Back later with more exquisite rudeness.

For now, enjoy the Rude Pundit on today's Stephanie Miller Show, where we talk about Ebola, Mika Brzezinski's breasts, and lube:

10/14/2014

Democrats Once Again Put on Their Coward Pants (With Exceptions)

Look, you can cavil all you want about Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes's refusal to answer whether or not she voted for Barack Obama. You can sit there all self-satisfied and pat yourself on the fuckin' back that you support the sanctity of the secret ballot and that, really, it's not all that important that she answer. You can pretend all you want that Grimes is correct to stand on principle or that, if she said that she voted for Obama, it would be used in attack ads endlessly by that unrepentant, smug cuntface, Mitch McConnell. You know that it's far, far more important that McConnell refuses to say if he thinks climate change is human-caused or that Kynect, Kentucky's Obamacare exchange, would be harmed if you got rid of Obamacare, something the governor of Kentucky ripped McConnell for. That's shit that affects the daily lives of Kentuckians, not what Grimes did in a voting booth.

But you know in your heart of hearts that what you're really thinking is "Oh, fuck, Grimes, just fucking answer the motherfucking question." Because, see, you know what else makes a good ad? Grimes hemming and hawing about her vote, looking like she just got caught drinking milk out of the gallon jug. And you know that that's what's gonna get the headline after a debate because the media isn't allowed to say that climate change is real and that you're a goddamn moron or a lying sack of shit if you say otherwise.

Nearly every election, we've gotta go through this. We gotta watch as Democrats desperately try to portray themselves as salt-of-the-earth right-wingers (cue the ads of Democrats shooting shit). This time around, like in 2010 and 2014, we get to see them do the distancing dance, saying that they're not nigger-lovers, oh, no. They're "Clinton Democrats," as Grimes and others have called themselves, which is one of the most bullshit, racist phrases the Rude Pundit's seen since "urban youth." Once more, we're watching Democrats try to appeal to the yahoos when they should just rip the heads off their opponents and use the head to suck them off or eat them out like a fuck puppet.

And then, if someone does put out an ass-kicker of an ad, Democratic pussies run away, acting like their delicate sensibilities were just offended. Take, for instance, Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis's ad against her wheelchair-bound opponent, the odious scum-eater, Greg Abbott. In "Justice," we see an empty wheelchair as a serious narrator tells us that Abbott sued the fuck out of someone whose tree fell on him and won millions of dollars and then, as a lawyer, fought against others receiving compensation for their injuries. Yeah, Abbott's that special kind of hypocritical bastard, one who loves the taste of the sweat and tears of others: he speaks out against lawyers who try to get money for their injured clients.

So while Abbott gets to roll away from the substance of the ad, Davis gets excoriated. The Houston Chronicle called it "hamfisted" and "glib," while acknowledging that it brings up issues worth discussing. But discuss them? Fuck no. Wendy Davis did something mean. On MSNBC, Mika Brzezinski pointed her tits of outrage at Davis and fired. Andrea Mitchell went after Davis on her show That Thing with Andrea Mitchell, You Know, It's on MSNBC Around Lunch.

Davis is losing, so you could call it a "hail Mary," but it's a gut punch. Why are we not getting ads from Grimes saying that McConnell will take away people's health insurance? Is it because it will force Grimes to mention the-Negro-who-shall-not-be-named?

The other ad that's been causing a stir lately is from the Agenda Project (tip o' the hat to rude reader Jim on this one). It's a bad-ass motherfucker of one-minute thing that says Republican budget cuts to the CDC and NIH have fucked over the United States's ability to respond to a potential Ebola crisis. GOP Chair Reince Prepubescent is stompin' mad about it. It's being spun that the ad "blames Republicans" for Ebola. No, that's not what it does. It says that if shit goes south, guess who held the purse strings tight?

The failure of Democrats to show that Republicans would take away health care from millions of people and are responsible for our crumbling infrastructure and slow jobs recovery is a failure of imagination, messaging, and leadership. It's cowardice, purely and simply, and it's once again allowed Republicans to set the rules of engagement. Texas could have used a leader for the 21st century, not the mid-20th.

Well, the only comfort otherwise is that it's not like the Senate will get any less done if it does go Republican.

10/13/2014

Columbus Day for the Conquered: Real Indians Tell Dan Snyder to Shove His Money Up His Whiteskin Ass

Yesterday, 150 people, many of them actual Indians, showed up in Glendale, Arizona, to protest at the Washington Redskins/Arizona Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Being a motherfucker of great renown, Redskins owner Dan Snyder spread some joy in Indian Country, inviting the governor of the Zuni tribe to the game and giving out 250 tickets to local high school kids whose school mascot is the Redskin. And he had a picnic for 'em.

He also had the outgoing president of the Navajo Nation seated next to him in his box. It's important to note that although Ben Shelly looked all Indian and noble and shit, the actual Navajo Nation, which voted him out of office, has moved to act against the Redskins. In April, the tribe's council passed the "Opposing the Use of Disparaging References to Native People in Professional Sports Franchises" bill by a 9-2 vote.

At the game, some of the protesters were confronted by angry fake Indians: "They experienced hateful comments by Redskins fans—even from a young 7-year old boy. When [one protester] told [the boy's] parents that they were teaching their son to support racism, they were at first defensive, but later apologized." The fine, fine Redskins fans who honor the legacy of Native Americans may have even been dressed to celebrate the indigenous people of this land:


Just a question for Redskins fans: How do you dress like this or associate with people who dress like this and not feel like a total twat? Those douche canoes are sad because the Cardinals kicked Washington in its redskin taint.

Earlier this year, the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation (aka "filthy hush money"), which has been sponsoring projects and handing out wads of cash like they're small pox-infested blankets, visited the Quechan tribe in Winterhaven, California. The tribe has been trying to build a large skate park for the kids in the town. The OAF offered to pay for the entire project and give every child in the tribe an iPad. While the OAF officials said that the tribe didn't even have to mention who donated the money, no doubt OAF would use the tribe's cooperation to polish the hardening turd of their funders' team's name.

The Quechan told OAF to go fuck itself with a tomahawk. Said one tribe leader, "There are no questions about this. We will not align ourselves with an organization to simply become a statistic in their fight for name acceptance in Native communities. We’re stronger than that and we know bribe money when we see it."

The skatepark is dedicated to the prevention of suicide among Native Americans, where there is a depressingly high rate. The Quechan Memorial Skate Park website says, "According to Indian Health Service research, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Indian youth residing in IHS service areas. Furthermore, the IHS report found this suicide rate to be 3.5 times higher than the national average."

So, you know, pride and identity might come into play here. And perhaps seeing fucknuts like those guys up there has at least a small effect.

You can donate money to build the skatepark here: http://www.quechanskate.com/. Say you're doing it because fuck that guy, Dan Snyder, and that other guy, Columbus.

10/10/2014

Kailash Satyarthi: The Nobel Radical

Today's announcement of the co-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize was probably met with two reactions around the United States: "Oh, cool, Malala" and "Who the fuck's the old guy?" You can read all about how Kailash Satyarsthi is basically a kick-ass superhero who, through organizations and through direct action, rescues kids from horrific child labor, especially in India. But let's not overlook that in order to have the vision he has of a world where children go to school instead of making shit for the West (or for bourgeois people everywhere), he necessarily sees that there's things fucked up that need to change and that radical action is required.

So let's go back a bit, to October 2001, to a conference in Paris for the High Level Group on Education for All group of UNESCO, where Satayarthi, already having led the Global March Against Child Labor in 1998, gave a speech. Let's listen in:

"I thought today the whole world, the international media and leaders everywhere are engaged on the issue of terrorism. I asked myself how much money are we compelled to spend on bombs and food packets and what not in combating the evil of terrorism today. Had we spent a small sum supporting the people of Afghanistan through meaningful education, the Taliban and the terrorist camps would never have been created.

"Today we are also talking of reducing social spending due to the ongoing situation, but let me tell you again a word of caution. If we leave any country or any community deprived of education, we are responsible for their denial of access to the mainstream of the global economy and global knowledge, and that is going to become the greatest danger to world peace.

"Yesterday's truth was that you cannot sleep in peace if your neighbour is hungry, but today's truth is you cannot even live or work in peace if your neighbour is kept uneducated. We are living in an era of knowledge capitalism. Globalization has brought many prospects to the world, but it has created a power troika where the power of state, market and knowledge are married together. The only weapon the poorest of the world can effectively use is the power of knowledge, the power of education.

"Education could be seen as a program, a project, a social welfare measure, a charity,or a public service, as this is a centuries-old popular perception, which is interpreted and reflected in various forms.

"But the children I work with and live with, the children who have been victims of slavery and prostitution, bought and sold like animals, many of them even born in slavery as their parents were slaves, education is the key for their liberation.

"Sometimes education is life itself..."

Yeah, you're right - it's not that out there. The shame of it is that we live in a time when supporting education over bombs, treating other nations as our neighbors, and educating the poor so that they may rise out of poverty and slavery are viewed as radical. If you care about the issues of Malala and of Satayarthi, you have to come back to economic justice, you have to think in an expansive way about capitalism (or, really, about a post-capitalism world). Economic justice and education go hand in hand. If you ignore that, you're just assuring that the things they fight for won't change.

10/09/2014

The Quiet Competence of Barack Obama

If you listen to the media mostly on the right, but some on the left, by this point in the administration of President Barack Obama, we should be in a Road Warrior-like hellscape of crushing debt, death panels sending us off to concentration camp ovens and calling it "medicine," riots in the streets over the confiscation of guns, surveillance nano-drones entering our rectums in order to hear what our brains are thinking, undocumented Mexicans with Ebola or terrorist ties or huge calf muscles torturing cops all along the border before suicide bombing our malls and infecting our babies, and Christians being whipped in their homes by ululating Muslims who force them to kiss the Koran or face being beheaded, all while our Negro dictator and his transgender wife laugh with their Negro cabal and Wall Street cronies about the misery of everyone who fraudulently voted for them. And that's without getting deep into Crazyville with conspiracy theories of a rogue regime engaged in constant false flag operations in order to impose greater control over the population (how ya doin', Naomi Wolf?) or whatever the hell Alex Jones or Dinesh D'Souza are spewing about today.

Any of those things could be happening. Except they're not. There are bad things going on in the United States - poverty, violence against African Americans (not exclusively, but especially pronounced right now), stagnant wages, limits on abortion rights, an environment in imminent collapse - really awful stuff, stuff that needs to be addressed. And the Rude Pundit has been critical of the Obama administration's failures and excesses, like not prosecuting Wall Street criminals and torture enablers or expanding the reach of government spying and the unchecked use of drone murder missiles. Those problems and criticisms still stand.

There's this sense out there that everything is falling to pieces, between the overhyped rise of ISIS (al-Qaeda with a better marketing department), the constant calls for the Affordable Care Act to be repealed, the unending stream of people telling us that the president is out of touch or has given up or is aloof or doesn't love them like they always wanted a father to love them, on and on and on and on.

But so much of this is media world, or, perhaps internet world, not real world. 'Cause, see, in the real world there are real numbers. And, as Paul Krugman and others point out, when it comes to those, well, sorry, but things seem to be progressing in a positive way. Whether we like it or not, Barack Obama has competently led the nation, and we're so ready for battle that we fail to recognize it.

Where do you wanna go? Millions of people have health insurance who didn't have it before (and, by the way, if you really gave a rat's ass about the spread of diseases like Ebola, you'd have national health care in a second so people in every state would want to go to their doctors and not wait until they're bad enough to go to emergency rooms). The unemployment rate is below 6%, down from 10% in 2009. The deficit has shrunk to just 3% of GDP, down from 9.8% in 2009. If you're a rich puke, you've become way, way richer (and it's gut-churningly hilarious when conservatives complain about this). Corporate profits are up. Oil imports are down. Alternative energy sources are finally growing exponentially. The crime rate is at a 20-year low, so low that Obama wants to try to roll back some of the ludicrous sentencing laws from the Clinton era. And how many states are we up to on same-sex marriage? And how many terrorist attacks in the United States since Obama's inauguration?

Now, certainly, lots of people reading this are thinking about caveat statistics and reminders of some of the things mentioned further up here. You're right (well, unless you're wrong). But numbers are numbers, good people. And good numbers are good numbers. And those good numbers stem, in large measure, from things done by the president.

What everyone seems to forget is where we started. For that, ya gotta go back to 2001, when George W. Bush came into office. For the first time in decades, the United States was in a position financially to do great things for its citizens, to rebuild infrastructure, invest in schools, promote scientific achievement, help other nations out of the poverty that leads them to embrace radical religious belief. Instead, it was squandered on tax cuts for everyone (remember your $300?) and two utterly useless wars. It was like we won a small lottery and, rather than pay the bills and fix up the house, we just went to Disney World. In 2009, then, we really were on the precipice of that dystopian nightmare.

The Rude Pundit is still reserving judgment on Barack Obama. There's a hundred ways that he's been bitterly disappointed by the president. But let's at least pause to say that things are a hell of a lot better than they could have been. And if it doesn't bear saying that all this was done in the wake of the disastrous Bush presidency, it is worth noting that it was done in the face of unprecedented opposition from Republicans in Congress, who demand that the country must be run by GOP dictatorship or not at all.

It's hard to believe, yes, but we may have to accept that, in the face of noise about whatever it is this week - Colombian prostitutes from Benghazi or something, the Obama administration has operated with subdued competence. And it continues to do so despite the braying asses of the right, especially, saying it's all falling apart. That nation doesn't exist except in the fevered mind of people trying to attract hits or ratings. The one in the real world that chugs along is filled with citizens hoping one day to drive home on good roads from a full-time job to their decently-educated kids in their safe neighborhoods.

(Yes, this has left out a lot of discussion about foreign policy because, frankly, the things that really matter, like trade policy, get lost in the noise over who we're bombing today.)