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Kindle and Me

October 18, 2009 Leave a comment

wolfhall

Yes, I succumbed. Am I happy? Yes and no. I’ve had it for 12 days now and have put off writing about it so I can come to a more considered judgment. I still need more time. But let me make some initial observations. Read more…

Categories: Books, Technology

A Rep for That

October 18, 2009 Leave a comment

The video above does a clever job of illustrating how marginalized our Congressional Republicans are. See also the more detailed discussion at the blog where this video originated, wakingupnow.com. And see Scott Horton’s post at Harper’s Friday in which he discusses data that appeared a month ago in a Daily Kos poll. The starting point of his discussion is the graph, below, that Steve Benen presented to exhibit some of the data.

gop-brand-by-region

It’s a stunning display of just how regionalized the Republican Party has become. Horton asks, “Does this mean that the party of ‘no,’ now widely associated with tea-baggers, birthers, deathers, and efforts to label Obama simultaneously ‘fascist’ and ‘socialist,’ has scored in the South, while damaging its reputation elsewhere?”

Along the same lines, how does someone as nutty as Michele Bachman have such a large following, or any following at all? Monica Davey had a front-page article about her in Thursday’s NYT that almost drove me over the edge, both because it illustrated how crazy she is and because Davey, in her quest to be even-handed, avoiding the obvious conclusion that she really is that crazy. I read it the night before, online, and almost wrote a post on the spot to express my frustration with the article. Here’s a typical passage:

On Capitol Hill, Ms. Bachmann is viewed with disdain by Democrats who see her as a wacky purveyor of outrageous claims and criticisms. Leading Republicans wince occasionally at her appearances on the floor and on television, but they also see her as someone with telegenic appeal who can energize conservatives and aggravate Democrats and they are not likely to rein her in.

So it’s okay not to rein in a madwoman because she can energize the base. Reality doesn’t matter. Which of course is the whole problem with our current crop of Congressional Republicans and what they believe they must do to stay in office: state utter falsehoods, out of outright stupidity/craziness or complete crass cynicism. Davey does have a sidebar to her NYT article in which she reviews findings of Politifact.com that Bachmann strays into falsehood. But Davey gives the last word to Bachmann’s press secretary, Debbee Keller, who simply dismisses Politifact as “nothing more than another Web site trying to make its own headline.”

Categories: Politics