Virginia, please show this guy the nearest door.
Justin Fairfax is, for the moment, still the embattled lieutenant governor of Virginia. It's never good when you're "embattled." It's not a strong position from which to launch any exploratory committees for higher office. For roughly 12 hours or so, it looked like Fairfax would replace Gov. Ralph Northam, whose yearbook photo revealed he might've experimented with blackface in college. Then two women came forward to credibly accuse Fairfax of sexual assault. We suggested Fairfax resign and resolve all this as a private citizen, but whoever listens to us?
Accused rapists almost always make admitted blackface artistes look good by comparison. If we weren't already on Team Moonwalk, Fairfax's actions this weekend would've cemented our position. In an impromptu speech to the state Senate, Fairfax compared himself to lynching victims like a common Clarence Thomas. You should never go full Clarence Thomas.
A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis
Break out your Woody Guthrie music, kids (or your Billy Bragg, maybe), because it's time to talk about the history of labor in America and the weird relationship we have with work. Americans love to extol the idea of hard work, but many of us hate our jobs, and the Right has done an astonishingly good job of skewing the national discourse in favor of employers, those merciful job creators who must be appeased lest they pick up and move to China -- so be quiet and accept your crumbs. Historian Erik Loomis looks at how the hell we got here in his 2018 book A History of America in Ten Strikes (oh look, a linky to get it with a nice kickback for Yr Wonkette!). Loomis also offers some strategies for revitalizing labor in this country. It's a telling of American history from an angle we don't see often enough, and which is usually overlooked in the sanitized version of history found in too many schools, unless you had a flaming radical like my high school history teacher, Jack Wallace, Crom bless him.
Stop what you're doing and watch the whole thing.
Tucker Carlson has recently dressed himself in the borrowed robes of an anti-elitist crusader. He thought he'd intercepted another kindred spirit like Glenn Greenwald when he invited Dutch historian Rutger Bregman onto his Fox show. It didn't work out that way and Carlson wound up screaming obscenities at Bregman. The segment never aired ... until now. Bregman recorded the interview and shared the whole thing yesterday through NowThis News.
The video's been viewed more than 6 million times so far, and the average audience for Carlson's show is roughly half that. Smart move there, Tucker. The entire exchange is delightful. Carlson started out giggling like a school boy because Bregman stuck it to those hypocrites who fly in private jets to a global summit on climate change. He even said he'd take his hat off to Bregman if he were wearing one. He's practically flirting with the guy at this point. We're just five minutes away from a total meltdown. Is Bregman going to start describing sexual encounters with Carlson's mother? No, he just suggested that rich people in America should pay more taxes.
Next, bringing back the Alien and Sedition Acts!
Freedom of the press is a pain in the ass for public officials and celebrities, because the damn liars in the media keep saying things that make them look bad. But in US America, we have this nice thing called the First Amendment, which was handed to George Washington by Jesus along with the rest of the Constitution in a well-documented public ceremony. According to no end of Supreme Court decisions, the First Amendment protects the media from lawsuits by public figures, because a vigorous public debate is far more important than the hurt fee-fees of a president or even a movie star. But Donald Trump has been complaining for years that he'd LOVE to "open up" America's libel laws so he could sue people who say mean things about him.
Good luck with that, Russiaboy! But Trump must be dancing around his Executive Time in his burger-stained jammies today, because yesterday, Clarence "Scalia's Bitch" Thomas wrote in an actual legal opinion that he thinks it's high time the Court reconsider the whole idea of what protected speech is, because shouldn't we all remember that it's actually still 1791 as far as Constitutional Truth goes?
John Wilkes Booth gets his own pretty portrait.
The South just can't quit their memorials to racist traitors. They regularly pitch a fit if black folks try to take down a statue honoring people who fought and died to keep us slaves. Now someone from the heritage and totally not hate crowd has proposed building a brand new one in the rural town of Taneytown, Maryland.
Sculptor Gary Casteel swears up and down, though, that the project is in truth not a Confederate monument but a National Civil War Memorial, a "balanced educational tool." The planned circular monument would measure 90 feet in diameter and feature 16 military leaders and 16 civilians. And then it gets weird.
Just a nice old codger with a printing press and a lot of evil ideas.
Just in case you needed more proof the simulation we live in is not being programmed by the most creative folks available, last week a small-town newspaper in Alabama, the Linden Democrat-Reporter, ran an editorial calling for the "Ku Klux Klan to night ride again" and do something about all the rich elitists, Democrats, and "Democrats in the Republican Party" who want to raise taxes in Alabama. And the paper's 80-year-old editor-owner is named "Goodloe Sutton."
Come on, couldn't our metafictional overlords at least deliver us something that isn't straight out of an Aaron Sorkin script? (Dear Crom, what if Sorkin IS writing our simulation? No, can't be him -- too many powerful women who won't defer to the wisdom of charismatic white men. Whew.) You want additional proof that someone's making this all up? Linden, Alabama, is the hometown of civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy, who took up the leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Jeez, why not include a highliter with every story, won't you?
The astonishing throwback was published February 14, but blowed up online after editors of Auburn University's student-run paper called attention to it Monday and the Montgomery Advertiser ran a story about it, complete with additional hole-digging by Sutton, who really seems to enjoy the attention.
The Democrat-Reporter appears to have no online presence at all, so the Advertiser helpfully includes a copy of Sutton's editorial in all its insane racist glory. We're frankly impressed to see that where some old racist idiots might stop with one awful statement, Sutton manages to fill several paragraphs with completely wrong history and then accuses others of appealing to "the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people."
Both sides. Very fine people.
Fox News is Donald Trump's biggest supporter and advocate. Here's how seriously the network takes its not-so secret service role: CEO Suzanne Scott personally stepped in to stop an anti-fascism ad from running during whatever it is Sean Hannity does each night.
The rejected spot promoted the Oscar-nominated documentary short A Night at the Garden. In 1939, an estimated 22,000 Nazi supporters held a rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where we understand a few Jewish people reside. Demonstrators protested outside. The German American Bund program offered a mix of repulsive anti-Semitism, anti-Communist rhetoric, and the "America first" proposal that the country abandon its allies and let Adolf Hitler and his goose-stepping goons run roughshod over Europe. Germany was just a few months away from invading Poland and had already spent most of the decade persecuting Jews. Yet Nazis gathered in America for a perversely titled "Pro-American" rally before hockey and basketball games the following evenings.
We have Worst Field Trips, Kids Learning About Sharks, a book club, and more!
Time for our weekly respite from the standard parade of awful that the news has become here in the worst timeline, where our Spock won't just have a beard; he'll also have a green mohawk. Enjoy a nice brain cleanse, and we'll ease back into the madness later.
The most depressing Black History Month ever continues!
Ralph Northam is still the governor of Virginia and is likely to remain so. Two women have credibly accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, and that tends to make an Al Jolson impersonator seem almost statesman like by comparison. Black Virginians have frankly thrown up their hands, as well. A recent poll shows that 58 percent of black voters think Northam should remain in office. They have no great options because the line of succession after Gov. Smooth Criminal is rapist, another guy who wore blackface, and a Republican who for all we know is blackface-curious.
Northam isn't going anywhere, but he wants us to know he feels real bad about the blackface (and presumably the guy on his yearbook page who's wearing a frickin' KKK uniform). Like someone who's gotten too many speeding tickets and has to go to traffic school, Northam has not-so voluntarily enrolled in a GED-level anti-racist course. Let's take a look at the challenging curriculum his advisers have prepared:
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Charlie Kirk's rightwing group "Turning Point USA" is allegedly all the rage with the young folks on "campus," although it's funded by a bunch of decidedly non-college-aged billionaires. The group does wholesome political stunts like wearing diapers to own the libs and sharing funny rape jokes on one official chapter's discussion channel. They're such a big success that they want to bring diapers, rape jokes, and other solid conservative values to Britain, which is why the internet is dropping its collective jaw today at some December video from a little talk given in London by TPUSA leader Candace Owens. Answering a question about whether anyone should be put off by the term "nationalism," Owens explained that it's a perfectly acceptable term, especially since it opposed (((globalism))), which is a very bad thing indeed. Oh sure, maybe the term makes some people think of Hitler, but that's mistaken, because in truth, Hitler was a globalist. If he'd just stuck to being a nationalist, he woulda been fine!
Here's the conservative thought leader sharing her thoughts:
I actually don't have any problems at all with the word "nationalism." I think that the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism. Globalism is what I don't want.
Oh, OK. Kind of a weird thing to be saying in another country that your organization is trying to spread to, maybe, but sure. Now, do you have any thoughts on, say, Hitler?
Well done, sir.
John Dingell Jr. died last night at the age of 92. He was the longest-serving member of either house of Congress, over 59 years. He won the seat from Michigan that his father had been elected to in 1932 and held until he died in office in 1955. In 1943, Dingell Sr. introduced a bill to provide healthcare to all Americans; after his death, his son won election to replace him. John Dingell Jr. went on to introduce his father's universal healthcare bill on the first day of every session of Congress until he retired in 2014. His wife, Debbie Dingell, succeeded him in Congress. As dynasties go, it's a pretty low-key one.
Nobody has ever fought longer or harder to bring healthcare to more Americans than Congressman John Dingell. He presided over the House when it passed Medicare in 1965, helped pass Medicaid, and fought back Republican attempts to gut or privatize both. He loaned the gavel he'd used in 1965 to Nancy Pelosi when she oversaw the passage of Obamacare in 2010. It's a shame he didn't live to see real universal healthcare actually pass, but in the last few years, he saw it was on the way. Looks like we'll need to finish that job for him.
The attorney general joins the minstrel show.
Disgraced Michael Jackson impersonator Ralph Northam is still governor of Virginia. He's hoping to moonwalk away from his absurd blackface/KKK scandal. Tuesday, New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin tweeted that Northam was planning to hire a private eye to "clear his name." Presumably, they'll hunt for a one-armed Klan member in blackface. Surely, Virginia has better things to do than provide endless material for late night comedians. Every Democrat and their mother has called for Northam to step down and make way for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, whose black face is authentic.
But Fairfax has his own, less amusing, scandal brewing. A woman accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2004. Fairfax insists someone is trying to take him down. He's not sure who exactly, but suspects range from Northam and his supporters to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, whom Fairfax reportedly hung up on last night. Fairfax has already advanced in mad paranoia to Act Five Macbeth and he hasn't even killed blackface Duncan yet.
Fortunately, if both these guys go down, Virginia is in good hands with Attorney General Mark Herring. Herring declared this weekend that it was "no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down." Obviously, Herring is safe and scandal free.
Oh, for fuck's sake.
Your Sunday Show Rundown!
On CNN's "State of The Union," the topic turned, as was necessary, to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's refusal to resign after he tried the
"sorry for the blackface/coonman nickname" defense on Friday and then almost moonwalking to a Shaggy's "It wasn't me" defense on Saturday. But former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Evil Kenneth The Page from "30 Rock" Scott Jennings had a different concern:
JENNINGS: […]But I want to touch on a comment you made in the phrase human dignity because this was the second moment where Ralph Northam this week failed to respect human dignity. The first moment, of course, was when he made his absolutely ghoulish, horrific statements about abortion. This was his second P.R. debacle this week. Previous to this blackface/KKK moon walking press conference he was on a radio show talking -- and he's a pediatrician --
TAPPER: We ran the clip earlier.
JENNINGS: -- talking about -- (turns to Karen Finney and points at her) -don't interrupt me -
FINNEY: I wasn't.
JENNINGS: (turns back to face Tapper)-- talking about -- talking about aborting children at the moment of birth and then even after they had been delivered. I agree with you, Bakari. Human dignity matters and we ought to respect every human life of every race, especially these poor babies who are laying in delivery rooms when you have governors of states that think we should have a discussion about murdering them after they were born?
We've got Trucker Cats, History Nerding, super-gross science, and some nifty longreads for ya!
It's Sunday morning, the government is going to reopen, That Man In the White House is probably tweeting something we're paying absolutely no attention to (no! don't look!), and it's time for some Nice Things! No, we're not going to start including a Sunday puzzle, because we don't want Will Shortz threatening to break our kneecaps again. Note that instead of a random Cute Aminal from the interwebs, this week's header pic is a reader's pet dorg, Molly, who owns Special Wonkette Operative "capnkrunch." If you'd like your critter to maybe be in a featured Nice Things photo, what the hey, post in the comments, which we don't allow. Or send a critter pic to doktorzoom at-sign wonkette dot com, and I might even remember to look at my email for once. You could even include your critter's name and, if necessary, species.
Picking fight with Nancy Pelosi works out about as well as you'd expect.
Donald Trump had a pretty dismal day yesterday. As you'll recall, Nancy Pelosi disinvited him from delivering his State of the Union address during the shutdown, so then yesterday Trump confidently announced he'd just show up at the House of Representatives next week to give his speech. That didn't go so well, as Pelosi reminded the President that the Speaker of the House really does control who can use the chamber for birthday parties, bat mitzvahs, and lying to the American public in prime time, and she sent him a nice letter to say, no, the House would not even be voting on the necessary invitation. Trump then sputtered a bit about delivering the SOTU in some other forum, like maybe during WrestleMania, but later Wednesday evening he took to Twitter to holler "Uncle" and insist he'd said "WINNING."
Gee, you mean King changed his mind after 1956? What a hypocrite!
It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which means it's time for the annual parade of bad-faith arguments from the Right. For a guy who was reviled by conservatives most of his life, King sure has come to be a popular -- if superficial -- talking point for rightwing idiots. We doubt many really believe he'd agree with them were he alive today, but hey, why not take isolated facts about the man and twist them a bit, to own the libs? Which is why the National Rifle Association would like to remind you that in 1956, King applied for a concealed weapons permit -- which of course was denied because as everyone knows, gun control is racist. Just think, if only King had been allowed to carry a handgun, he could have picked off James Earl Ray before he fired a second shot. (Yes, we know what's wrong with that sentence, though it's unclear whether the NRA would.)
Here's the hot steaming pile of turds the NRA dumped all over the man whose political movement was synonymous with nonviolent resistance:
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