The Biggest Asshole in America

Think Progress » Limbaugh: ‘I consider myself a defender of corporate America.’

In a New York Times Magazine profile released online today, right-wing radio talker Rush Limbaugh declares himself “the intellectual engine of the conservative movement.” Described by reporter Zev Chafets as “less a theoretician than a popularizer” whose “concerns are economic,” Limbaugh proudly says, “I consider myself a defender of corporate America.” Limbaugh’s claim is supported by the aggressive manner in which he acts as a “pitchman” for products on his show:

limbaughweb.jpgSome simply run their usual ads. Others use Limbaugh as their pitchman, which costs them a premium and a long-term commitment. And lately he has created a new option. At a much higher rate he will weave a product into his monologue (To a caller who said he took two showers after voting for Clinton in Operation Chaos, Limbaugh responded: “If you had followed my advice and gotten a Rinnai tankless water heater, you wouldn’t have needed to take two showers. And I’ll tell you why. . . .”)

Think Progress » Limbaugh: ‘I consider myself a defender of corporate America.’

The Page – by Mark Halperin – TIME

The Drudge Report claims the radio king’s new contract lasts through 2016, and will boost his pay above that of Couric, Williams, Gibson and Sawyer combined.

Says on his radio show: “I am proud of my new, much-deserved contract.”

The Page – by Mark Halperin – TIME

Think Progress » McCain gets ‘visibly angry’ when challenged on whether military experience prepares him to be president.

McCain is notorious for his short temper. Just the person you want with the launch codes. peace, mjh

ABC News’ David Wright reports that when he asked John McCain to “explain how his Vietnam experience prepared him for the presidency,” McCain “became visibly angry”:

mccain.gifMcCain became visibly angry when I asked him to explain how his Vietnam experience prepared him for the Presidency.

“Please,” he said, recoiling back in his seat in distaste at the very question.

McCain allies Sen. Lindsey Graham stepped in to rescue him. Graham expressed admiration for McCain’s stance on the treatment of detainees in US custody.

It’s a legitimate question. In 2003, McCain said, “I absolutely don’t believe that it’s necessary” to have military service in order to be president. He also said military service alone is not a sufficient qualification to be president.

Think Progress » McCain gets ‘visibly angry’ when challenged on whether military experience prepares him to be president.

Blow Up Your TV

I’m very lucky to have grown up with poetry from the crib. I have a few friends who write poetry and many more who reference poetry and poets in casual conversation. Poetry is not distant nor academic. (Lest you think we are the new Bloomsbury Group, we also talk about TV and the rest of modern culture.)

I found the following article thought-provoking (hat tip to Dangerousmeta):

Why Poetry Matters –

Poetry doesn’t matter to most people. They go about their business as usual, rarely consulting their Shakespeare, Wordsworth, or Frost. One has to wonder if poetry has any place in the 21st century, when music videos and satellite television offer daunting competition for poems, which demand a good deal of attention and considerable analytic skills, as well as some knowledge of the traditions of poetry.

In the 19th century, poets like Scott, Byron, and Longfellow had huge audiences around the world. Their works were best sellers, and they were cultural heroes as well. But readers had few choices in those days. One imagines, perhaps falsely, that people actually liked poetry. …

I question much that Parini writes in his entire piece. I live in the 21st Century among poets and appreciators. I see poetry in many, diverse publications, including the infinite Web. Parini completely ignores “spoken word,” slams and rap. Our country, which pours money into violence and destruction, has crowned great poets laureate, though many people cannot name one.

Strangely, Parini goes on to blame poets for making poetry hard by demanding a level of literacy the populace once had (not really) but now lacks (also not true). He blames the poets, instead of society and education. In fact, he congratulates the Academical Village for “domesticating” poets. (Those same “hard” poets?) I can’t cogently respond to this portion of Parini’s essay because it scarcely makes sense to me.

To their credit, the domesticated poets grazing in English Departments surely have helped their students appreciate the deeper meanings in poetry. “Publish or perish” and conferences and competition do not necessarily produce popularly-known poets, but it’s a living, which is hard for a poet to come by — at least, as a poet. (Ironically, I am a poet who works for a university, but in a field not-often associated with poetry: I teach computer classes.)

Still, any academic worth his or her salt can toss off an essay replete with informed references worth pursuing. I enjoyed Parini’s compellation of ‘beware of poets’ references — those alone are worth reading. A Defence of Poetry, by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Robert Frost’s “Education by Poetry” warrant more consideration.

In the end, thinking about poetry is a far better use of one’s mind than so many alternatives. I agree with Parini’s assertion that “poetry can make a difference in the lives of readers.” If only we gave a fraction more of our time to poetry — reading and writing — than we do to everything that is so ugly, cruel and mean. That’s a wish you won’t hear the self-serving bloviators bray to the numb mobs that hang on their invective. peace, mjh

Best Line of the Day

The headline is from NewMexiKen (hattip) and the best line of the day is from Scot Key. Amen. peace, mjh

Burque Babble: Has Senator Bingaman Gotten His Civil Liberties Groove Back?

We’re all really, when it gets down to it, waiting for the electoral process to put a gigantic microfiber pillow down on the Bush Administration’s aged, Constitution-bashing head and asphyxiate the pernicious bastard. 201 days to go!!!!

I tend to favor the “head on a pike” allusion. (Totally metaphorically and non-violently, dear Department of the Fatherland.) Serendipitously, Mer’s rotating desktop background brought this goodie up this morning:

bush resigns Time Magazine cover


Here are a couple of good letters-to-the-editor. peace, mjh


GOP Going Down as It Heads Far Right
THE NOMINATION of Steve Pearce, Darren White and Ed Tinsley and the election of Pat Rogers as GOP national committeeman indicates that the extreme right wing has taken control of the Republican Party.
    The Republican Party of Sen. Pete Domenici, Gov. David Cargo and Rep. Heather Wilson no longer exists. That party as we knew it is gone with the wind. The positions of these candidates as promoted in their advertising are as far right as any candidate has ever taken in New Mexico. The extreme right-wing views of Rogers are known to everybody who has followed politics in this state.
    This move to the far right will have dire consequences and may well cost the GOP a Senate and a House seat. Any chance of retaking the governor’s mansion will also be affected.
    For those who think that the election of John McCain will move the party to the center, forget about it. The senator, to placate the so-called base, has begun pandering to it with a flip flop on such issues as Roe vs. Wade, tax cuts — which he twice opposed — and immigration. So much for the “straight talk express.”
    I see nothing but disaster for the GOP so long as it insists on promoting extreme right-wing views and candidates.
BOB BACA Albuquerque

Ranchers Don’t Own Our Public Lands
LIKE THE majority of residents in New Mexico and Arizona, I am in favor of the wolf-reintroduction program. Wolves are a distinct, unique part of our natural heritage. They never should have been eliminated and should be reintroduced in a way that will allow them to successfully sustain a permanent population.
   The Endangered Species Act should not be sabotaged by a radical minority, which represents a special interest. Of course the interests of cattle ranchers must be taken into consideration, but they cannot be allowed to doom the program to failure. That is what is currently happening.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just pick and choose the laws we personally want to follow? But that’s not the way America works. Most cattle ranching is done on public lands. Those are our public lands. I would like to see all cattle ranching done on private lands, but that is not the law. When people from areas where cattle ranching is a way of life come to the big city, they have the same right to use public facilities and infrastructures as everyone else. For them to claim that I should have no say on how my public lands are used, simply because I don’t live nearby, is very wrong. …


Guns and Safety

ABQJOURNAL OPINION/DIMOND: Rate of Loss, Theft From Gun Shops Is Chilling By Diane Dimond

Under law the ATF can only inspect a gun store once a year and during last year’s swing through the country the ATF could only afford to visit 10,000 of the nation’s 60,000 gun shops.
    What they found by talking to those gun shop owners and looking at their ledger books was chilling. Earlier this month the ATF quietly revealed that the owners admitted a substantial part of their inventory was either “missing, lost or stolen.” After adding it all up the ATF concluded that, collectively, those registered gun dealers “lost” 82 firearms every single day! Take the math forward and it’s a startling 30,000 unregistered, untraceable guns in just the 2007 fiscal year.
    And, realize, this is what the government found by interviewing just one-sixth of the country’s gun shop owners. The actual figures could be far higher.
    The ATF quietly revealed the figures because every time the bureau comes out with such statistics, sources tell me, the National Rifle Association comes out swinging — hard — calling ATF inspectors “jackbooted thugs” and worse. (I would think “thugs” would stop by more than once a year — but I digress.) The ATF findings were noticed, analyzed and then publicized by the Brady Campaign for the Prevention of Gun Violence.
    The NRA sneers at the method of disclosure.

ABQJOURNAL OPINION/DIMOND: Rate of Loss, Theft From Gun Shops Is Chilling

Just a few days ago, I wrote: “Maybe the real solution is a spell that guarantees the only people ever hurt by guns own them.” (mjh’s blog — Guns Are Further Proof…) That may actually be what’s going on already. (I take no comfort in that.) peace, mjh

ABC News: CDC: 55% of Gun Deaths are Suicides

Surprising Fact: Half of Gun Deaths Are Suicides

Supreme Court ruling underscores surprising fact: More than half of gun deaths are suicides

By MIKE STOBBE AP Medical Writer

Research shows that surprisingly often, gun owners use the weapons on themselves.

Suicides accounted for 55 percent of the nation’s nearly 31,000 firearm deaths in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There was nothing unique about that year — gun-related suicides have outnumbered firearm homicides and accidents for 20 of the last 25 years. In 2005, homicides accounted for 40 percent of gun deaths. Accidents accounted for 3 percent. The remaining 2 percent included legal killings, such as when police do the shooting, and cases that involve undetermined intent.

Public-health researchers have concluded that in homes where guns are present, the likelihood that someone in the home will die from suicide or homicide is much greater.

ABC News: CDC: 55% of Gun Deaths are Suicides