Archive Page 2

Meet Eric Cantor

If the progressive movement needs a villain to rally against for the 2012 elections, then they should look no further than House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), nothing short of the coldest sumbitch in the beltway.  Although Paul Ryan’s budget resolution this year demonstrated a similar level of moral depravity, Ryan has a sort of boyish charm that works to disarm even his harshest critics.  Rep. Cantor’s open callousness towards both his constituents and members of his own party, however, makes him the ultimate personification of the GOP’s psychopathic brand of libertarianism.

Eric Cantor's Official House Portrait

Do you think the government should provide unconditional emergency relief to victims of hurricanes and tornadoes?  Cantor doesn’t.  In late May after the town of Joplin, Missouri was hit by an F-5 category tornado and ripped to shreds, Cantor threatened to withhold aid unless every penny that went to help the victims was made up for in spending cuts to other programs.  You know, like Medicare or Medicaid.

After Cantor stunned the Coalition of People with Beating Hearts over his stance on Joplin, many of you were probably feeling assured that at least the congressman would show a sliver of more compassion to the people living in his district.  After all, their tax dollars pay his handsome salary of roughly $176,000 per year, and he probably needs their votes, or something.

You’d be wrong.  In 2009 Cantor was confronted by a constituent whose relative was dying of stomach cancer.  Since the victim had lost her job, she had little hope of being covered by Medicaid.  Cantor told the woman that her relative should just go to a charity or an existing government program.

Now, as all well-informed people know, the debt ceiling needs to be raised soon.  Otherwise the United States will default on its loans, the global economy will lose its most credible debtor and the entire world will fall into a depression far worse than the one in the 1930s. That’s not a hyperbole; it’s a fact.  Even Wall Street is lighting a fire under the GOP’s ass to ensure that Congress raises the debt ceiling.  We’ve established that Cantor is heartless, but is he insane?
It turns out he is.  No further comment.


Another State Boldly Enters the 21st Century

The Freepers are melting down, which can only mean one thing:


It’s excellent news, and a testament to the energy and remarkable self-discipline of a newly-revitalized progressive movement.

Amy Volk: Another Christian Nationalist?

Dirigo Blue reports that Rep. Amy Volk, representing Scarborough, wasn’t pleased with the inclusiveness of the opening prayer that was held in the Maine State House of Representatives last month.  I thought it was beautiful myself, although I’m an atheist so my opinions don’t mean anything anyway.


Et tu, Politifacti?

Politifact has taken a beating over its recent assessment of the claims Jon Stewart made on Sunday.  Not all of these are simple, knee-jerk reactions by a disgruntled Left.  Instead, they point to very troubling problems in Politifact’s methodology, namely its complete disregard for a study performed by the University of Maryland and its conflation of the terms “ill-informed” and “misinformed”.

I’d like to point out that the organization’s researchers and writers also applied a very weird standard when assessing the truth value of Stewart’s statement:  they rated his entire claim “false”, because part of it might be incorrect.

The way Stewart phrased the comment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are “consistently” misinformed — a term he used not once but three times. It’s simply not true that “every poll” shows that result. So we rate his claim False.

Nobody thinks like this outside of the barren tundra of formal logic, where entire statements are discounted if one of the clauses is incorrect.  It’s irresponsible, and a better rating would be “half true”.  Viewers who see Politifact’s rating trumpeted on the news and don’t have time to read the article walk away with the impression that Stewart’s broader point was invalid, or worse, that he lied.

In the end though, it appears that Stewart has had the last laugh.

Stewart vs. Fox News

The most exciting chapter unfolded this weekend in the perennial battle between a corporate media giant and… a late night comedian.

Jon Stewart did an interview with Chris Wallace this Sunday on Fox News.  Despite some heat and Stewart’s not-so-Freudian slip in the beginning (“you’re insane”), the tone of the event overall was remarkably cordial, especially in light of Stewart’s open hostility to the network in the past. Chris Wallace also deserves praise for his part in the conversation; one wonders why someone as apparently respectable as him would even want to be seen on the same channel as demagogues like Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck.

Towards the end, however, Stewart makes a big mistake in claiming that conservatives are unfairly accused of racism, bigotry, etc.

People on the right are called racists and they’re called things with an ease that I am uncomfortable with — and homophobic and all those other things. And I think that that is absolutely something that they have a real right to be angry about and to feel that they have been vilified for those things. And I’ve been guilty of doing some of those things myself.

Stewart here misses the bigger point.  While it’s true that conservatives from both of the major parties have been labeled those things, the real issue is whether or not such accusations are accurate.  There’s nothing unfair or prejudiced about pointing out that the leading conservative publications like the National Review were opposed to Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s.  Or that Ronald Reagan played on the racism of southern Democrats during the 1970s in his drive to vilify the country’s social net.  Don’t forget this little gem, which appeared only a few weeks ago.

Naturally, this doesn’t mean that all, or even most conservatives are bigoted.  But there’s an undeniably strong link  between the conservative movement’s amazing success during the past 40 years and political campaigns stroking the bigotry of its voting block.

Richard Thompson performs “Oops, I did it again”.

Richard Thompson, the undisputed master of folk rock, shows how even the most annoying songs can become works of art in the right hands:

It’s been a while…

When I first started this blog a little over a year ago, I was looking primarily for a place to lighten the load on my chest every once in a while.

No more.

Too much is happening right now to continue running Stomatopoda as merely an occasional outlet.  The most radical developments within the past decade have nearly all occurred during the last six months: revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Egypt, the possibility that America will default on its loans for the first time ever in its history, Republican efforts to dismantle Medicare and collective bargaining, single payer healthcare in Vermont, etc.

I thought about starting a new blog to cover this and more.  But why I should I?  “Stomatopoda” is a kick-ass name.