Mitt Romney is a human[Insert curse word of choice here]

I’m loath to mention John Podhoretz’s column at the Post. All the weak jokery, metaphor torturing and general brown-nosery might put you off your morning tea and scones. And that’s just in the bit I write.

What might happen if you were actually to read Mr Pod’s random concatenation of claptrap and bunkum – all of it sprinkled liberally with sparkles of pure dumb – doesn’t bear thinking about.

As such, I shall be judicious in my quoting and restrict myself to this, which did make me laugh.

That little exchange turned Romney into a different kind of debater last night. He spent much of the evening angry, and his anger galvanized him — particularly when Rick Perry said it was the “height of hypocrisy” for Romney to have attacked Perry on illegal immigration when he had hired illegals to do yard work on his property.

Romney spoke a fascinatingly revealing sentence in explaining the matter: “So we went to the company and we said, look, you can’t have any illegals working on our property. ‘I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake. We can’t have illegals!’”

That looks like one of those moments when politicians reveal how hollow they are in their ambitions, but it played differently for Romney — oddly, it made him seem more human, nervous about making mistakes and making a bad impression.

I think you misspelled “hypocritical, pandering, self-entitled, narky blowhard” at the end of that last sentence, John boy.

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This is why we can’t have nice things any more…

David Dunlap has a lovely and very sad article over at the New York Times about the imminent destruction of I. M. Pei’s Terminal 6 at Kennedy International. Dunlap’s last few paragraphs perfectly sum up the stupidity of what is happening.

George Cserna / Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University

I flew National a bit during the 70s, while Keith and I were busy destabilizing pro-Batista groups in Florida. I was, even then, a seasoned traveler, but stepping inside that building was a joy, a moment that felt like movie-stardom, like the eye of the camera had followed me in through the doors and into a filmic new age, a shiny world peopled with pert stewardesses and loose boys in tight pants off to catch their big break and movie starlets and dapper-suited businessmen and, of course, the obligatory nuns. There were always nuns. They were usually lugging a guitar, although I did once see one with a tuba on a little trolley.

Everyone would check in early and then lounge around looking gorgeous, watching the earth and its luggage go by. And let me tell you, Pei’s Sundrome was where it was at. I once snuck a sneaky joint in a utilities closet with Truman Capote and Liberace – they dated for a while in the late 60s, and so the only thing thicker in there than the smoke was the cloud of bitchiness that oozed out of both of them. Another time, I wandered into the men’s bathroom by mistake and found out far more about Gore Vidal’s taste in rough trade than any woman needs to know. I swapped lipstick colors with Jackie Collins and had carnal knowledge of a young David Cassidy behind a plant holder. I watched Russian spies pass information to Arab sheiks, and once saw Walter Cronkite passed out in a pool of vomit on the stairs, with a party hat on his head and a funny whistle stuck in his mouth, so that every time he breathed he made a sad, warbling farting noise. The staff had discreetly covered him with a blanket and arranged a few “Do not disturb” signs around him. So considerate.

And yet, with all this, I never missed a flight, except the one time that Truman held an impromptu party airside in Departures that lasted for a week. I had been on my way to Florida to meet with Castro, and ended up being twelve hours late because I couldn’t pull myself away from Lady Bird Johnson’s stash of quite extraordinary coke. People were buying airplane tickets just to go to the damn party. I am told that someone managed to smuggle a small donkey through luggage inspection and Phyllis Schlafly spent several hours riding around on it, shouting “I am the Queen of the May” and flashing her boobs at everyone.

Castro – without the fake beard and therefore almost unrecognizable (he had been flitting in and out of Miami for years pimping his cigar export business) – wasn’t amused when I eventually showed up at Miami International, but I offered him some of Bird’s coke and he perked right up. Bird laughed herself silly when I told her later.

Good times.

Pei Cobb Freed and Partners

In his article, Dunlap quotes from a letter from Pei’s partner Henry N. Cobb to the CEO of JetBlue, and the response that Cobb received:

In January, Mr. Cobb made what he called a “last-minute plea for reversal of this death sentence” to David Barger, the president and chief executive of JetBlue. “Conserved and reanimated, the Terminal 6 pavilion would further strengthen the distinctive identity of JetBlue as a sponsor of design excellence and an effective advocate for a sustainable future,” Mr. Cobb wrote. “I. M. Pei joins me in thanking you for your consideration of this request.” (That’s as close as Mr. Pei would ever get to joining anything resembling a fray.)

Mr. Barger said in reply, “While I share your passion for classic terminal designs, I have concluded the time has passed for the pavilion building to serve any functional purpose.” Mr. Barger went on to express his gratitude to Pei Cobb Freed “for your influence on JetBlue’s first decade” and concluded:

I personally commit to advocate for a permanent display of the pavilion photographs and other architectural artifacts so future generations can continue to appreciate the beauty of Terminal 6 and the uniqueness it once brought to J.F.K.

George Cserna / Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University

Because a photo display and a chunk of ceiling stuck on the wall somewhere over a travelator between the toilets and the fucking Pandora store is clearly an adequate substitute for being able to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of Terminal 6 by actually visiting it. All those memories torn down, leaving us only memories.

What an arsehole you are, Mr Barger.

Whether Pei’s building makes your loins warm or not (and it makes mine feel positively frisky), destroying something so well made, so representative of a time in our history, should be unacceptable.

That JetBlue and its engineers and managers were unable (or unwilling) to come up with a way to retain this building, and construct the facilities they need around it and through it, betrays a shortsightedness that would make me nervous were I a JetBlue shareholder.

I hope (in vain, I suspect) that Mr Barger might wake up one morning and find Shame perched on the end of his bed, staring at him with fear and loathing in its eyes – a little like waking up next to Michele Bachmann – and he will feel the shame of knowing that he is, and was, a grey numbers man, a nothingness who always took the safe route and failed regardless, a little man who never had the balls to make a visionary decision.

Images: George Cserna / Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library Columbia University, and Pei Cobb Freed and Partners


Things that make Grammy laugh and laugh

The following are the results of Hot Air’s Monthly Presidential Candidate Poll Results. If you want to sully your computer with the detailed “polling results”, then you can go over here, but frankly one of us giving them hits is probably more than enough. I spent thirty seconds looking at their front page and feel more soiled than the time Andy secretly filmed me doing a wee on Joe Dellasandro.

Anyhow, just in case you were wondering who the cream of wingnuttery* wants to be President this month, the winner, in an almost unprecedented (well, since two months ago) breakaway surge to the front, is – Herman Cain.

Yes, Rick Perry is dead and the new king of the dribble-stained is Herman Fucking Cain. Cain’s only real challenger (for the next ten minutes, until most of them change their mind again) is Sarah Palin, followed far behind by the sad assortment of boobs and god-botherers and was-popular-a-month-agos who make up the remainder of the pack. Interestingly Palin is the only one on the chart who shows any form of consistency, hanging around the magic 30% mark, which just goes to show that once you have managed to tear an acne-riddled virgin away from his semen-stained copy of The Fountainhead, and convinced him to vote for the pretty one with the sparkles, he can be remarkably loyal as long as he believes that there is the smallest possibility that he might get to see those sparkles up close and in person.

I also love this chart:

which appears to show that among the polling group, who have in the last year had Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Cain (twice!) in the top two front runners, whose poll results have gone up and down like Rick Perry eating a weiner-on-a-stick while riding on a roundabout, 60% are “very committed” to their chosen candidate (just like last month when 70% of them were “very committed”), which either means that the other 30-40% of them are changing their votes almost every month or they are all fucking stupid.

I realize that doesn’t need to be an either/or sentence, but I like the way it scans.

* “cream” in the sense that it’s thick, unctuous and if you leave it on its own for three weeks in a basement it begins to smell like old feet and socks that have been used for purposes that god did not intend.


Embarassing yourself and your state and your country

I do love Michelangelo Signorile, perhaps most because he manages to be civil with people who would reduce me to a spluttering bundle of rage and/or have me breaking out the Ex-lax, and he therefore has the opportunity to slip in the knife so politely that I suspect many of his interviewees don’t realize how badly they have been cut until a long time afterwards.

I’ll let Michelangelo tell you the tale:

Today I interviewed North Carolina GOP state Sen. James Forrester (below is full audio, as well as a video clip), who sponsored a bill that put a measure on the ballot in that state for May that if passed would ban marriage for gays and lesbian in the state constitution. Forrester, who is also a doctor, had made outrageous, defamatory claims in a town hall weeks ago, saying that gay people die 20 years earlier than other people because of their supposed “lifestyle.”

This interview has to be heard to be believed: Forrester not only could not back up his claims with any evidence — after first trying to source the Centers for Disease Control, only to be debunked by me — but he actually acknowledged that he could be wrong. He eventually credited a Christian activist named Frank Turek (who is associated with Maggie Gallagher and the National Organization for Marriage) as his source of this bogus public health information. Forrester had said in his town hall some of his patients were gay men who died early deaths, yet didn’t seem to know anything about public health, including that, on a global level, AIDS drastically affects heterosexuals more than gay men. Later, he couldn’t answer why he wasn’t proposing a divorce ban if his goal is to save marriage, and couldn’t explain why gays harm marriage. He accused me at that point of trying to “trip” him up, after I asked some basic questions, and even said he wasn’t going to answer any more questions — though he stayed on the line when I said it would be cowardly of him to leave.

“Well, I want to thank you for speaking to me. I’m sorry that you couldn’t answer the questions. I think it speaks to your own lack of education about this and your lack of answers, which is pretty appalling for a legislator, and I think the entire country is now seeing you embarrass yourself and embarrass the state of North Carolina. Thankyou for coming on today.”

These people are appalling. Read the rest of this entry »


Is K-Lo single because that’s what God wants for her?

I know I’m going on about the gay marriage thing in New York, and I promise I’ll move on to something else soon, but frankly the wailing and the gnashing of teeth is too much fun not to revel in it for a while.

Over at Kathryn’s No-Fun House, Rick Frothy Mix Santorum is going all out on his firm belief in the power of the Federal government and the President to overturn states’ rights:

Unlike others in this race, I believe it is the role of the president to weigh in when states try to redefine the meaning of marriage. Marriage is defined in the federal law as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife; any state that redefines marriage is wreaking havoc not only with the definitions of the federal law and the majority of states, but, even more importantly, with the single most important and time-tested institution of every successful society.

… that is, of course, unless the issue is healthcare or abortion in which case the Federal government should just back the fuck off.

Santorum continued to pummel Obama, accusing the president of being “fixated on accumulating power in Washington” and believing “government’s role is to control … rights.” Insisting that the federal health-care law that Obama backs was the ultimate representation of this agenda, Santorum ripped into it. “Obamacare is a game-changer,” said Santorum to the cheering crowd. He insisted the measure will “cede your freedom” to Washington and accuses the Obama administration of looking to make Americans “addicted to government.”

Ricky is at least slightly less mad (and that’s saying something) than Snake-Eyes Bachmann whose years of practice at believing all those internally inconsistent bible verses at the same time is coming in handy right now.

But news anchor Chris Wallace, during Fox News Sunday, asked her the obvious question: “If you support states’ rights, why do you also support a constitutional amendment which would prevent any state from recognizing same-sex marriage?”

“That’s entirely consistent,” said Bachmann. “The states, under the 10th amendment, have the right to pass any law they like.” And federal legislators, she said, have the right to submit amendments to the federal constitution. She droned on a bit about how she’d prefer the issue be decided through ballot measures but how it will almost certainly end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and she’s against “activist” judges.

Sister Kathryn of the Neglected Womb is busy moving the goal posts because, don’t you know, having rules decided by elected legislatures is now grossly unfair and the only way real way to decide such matters is by a referendum or, even better, by slicing open a goose and reading its entrails:

But even in New York, there was reason for Democrats to believe that this was their safest bet, that putting it to the voters wouldn’t have worked out for gay-marriage advocates.

Pollster John McLaughlin, who is based in his native New York, raises the question: “If they had brought the gay marriage bill to a public referendum, I don’t think it would have passed.” He continues:

No state has ever passed it via referendum. Even California saw Proposition 8 fail. The fact that Governor Cuomo pushed it through without a referendum, which would have taken two consecutive years for the legislature to authorize, just shows that he and his allies were concerned that it wouldn’t pass — especially if it faced a two-year public debate. Gay marriage often over-polls its approval levels. People sense the media is pro-gay-marriage and either say they are for it or undecided, when they are not. Prop 8 failed due to majority African American, Latino, and Asian American opposition. A New York referendum would have been very important. Now we’ll never know.

My favorite response to Catty Kathy’s intellectual incoherence is that of the very shrill Adam Serwer over at Prospect Blogs:

So instead tyranny simply becomes the passage of laws that “contradict the common good,” as defined by Kathryn Jean-Lopez. But of course she bears no ill-will towards the imposition of such laws onto the few by the many, as long as such laws are consistent with her own views. Where democracy “fails” in the sense that her preferred result is not achieved, the will of the one or the few–in this case the dwindling minority in favor of interfering with the individual rights of same-sex couples–does not provoke objection.

Tyranny is thus redefined, not as mob rule or even the use of the state to enforce the views of the minority upon the populace, but as “stuff I don’t like.” Jean-Lopez seeks not an antidote for tyranny–tyranny is the objective. The disease she wishes to cure is democracy, which is what makes her analogy to North Korea all the more pathetic.

Pathetic and Kathryn Jean Lopez. Who would ever have thought we’d see all those words in the same paragraph?

[Image: Waiting – Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924)]


Laugh, clowns, at your broken loves

I don’t often visit the New York Times website.

There is far too much risk that I might accidentally be exposed to something written by David Brooks, at which point I would have to poke out my own eyes with a pair of chopsticks to save my sanity. At 92, I need to hang on to as many of my senses as I have left. As I noted on a thread at Balloon Juice the other day, when I was younger and had fortified myself with a good dose of anti-psychotics, I once tried writing a detailed critique of one of Brooks’ articles, only to end up with a page with the words “David Brooks is a dickhead” scribbled one hundred times.* Ever since then, I have limited myself to writing nasty stories about him being humiliated by old ladies and then posting links to them on his Facebook Wall.

Anyway, this evening I was searching for shirtless photos of Aaron Schock – I know it’s wrong, but I have a weakness for men who look like they’d cry for their mommy during sex – and must have clicked on the wrong link.

On its Room for Debate page, the Times has collected together a team of crack political analysts (assuming that by “crack” one means the wide space between the top of a plumber’s shorts and the bottom of his shirt) to debate the question “Who’s Missing From the G.O.P. Race?“.

Surprisingly, the answer is apparently not “Everyone with an IQ over 4 and Sarah Palin”.

Linda Chavez (whose article is wonderfully entitled “Big Egos Need Not Apply”) distinguishes herself by noting that:

The G.O.P. has a deeper bench than the Democrats…

follows it up with the suggestion that:

the Democrats are going to have a tough time with Hispanic voters, who may choose to stay home on Election Day.

and then plumps for John #notintendedtobeafactualstatement Kyl, who would surely have the brown people and the womens lining up twelve deep to vote for him.

Ramesh Ponnuru’s choice is Jeb Bush. Ramesh is careful to remain forked-tongue-in-cheek:

6) And if nominated, he could save Republicans the expense of buying new bumper stickers by picking Elizabeth Cheney as his running mate.

and even notes that:

4) His presence in the race would also force an overdue Republican reckoning with his brother’s legacy. If Republicans really want to repudiate George W. Bush as a big-government conservative, rejection of Jeb Bush would allow them to do so definitively.

Nevertheless, you can feel the hope for eight more years of Bush oozing out of Ramesh like flop-sweat out of Rush Limbaugh’s back at a Snoop Dogg concert.

Fergus Cullen, aware enough to notice that the GOP has little chance of winning with the pack of whackaloons, assholes and magic underpants wearers who have currently thrown their tinfoil-hats into the ring, pines for “A Mainstream Alternative”. One of his choices is Mitch Daniels, which suggests that by “mainstream alternative” Fergus simply means “doesn’t dribble on himself that much when he speaks”.

John J. Pitney Jr and Dan Schnur each disappoint by actually making sense for whole sentences at a time, concluding that only a fucking idiot would choose to enter the race at this point anyway.

My favorite though is Peter Wehner, who inserts his tongue lightly into Mitch Daniels:

… recently delivered the best speech any major G.O.P. figure has given in years.

– frankly a pretty low bar – but then gets so excited about Paul Ryan I expect Petey had to Windex his computer keyboard afterwards:

He’s the author of the most impressive conservative governing blueprint in decades, and maybe ever … offered a comprehensive, wise and politically courageous answer … rock-solid … extremely popular … excels in his style and public discourse … philosophically well-grounded, a passionate and scrappy advocate for his views … eschews dishonest and ugly rhetoric …. personally modest and unpretentious rather than arrogant and morally preening. Paul Ryan, in other words, is the antithesis of Barack Obama.

Personally, I hope all of these people run. The more clowns there are in the primary clown car – painting their faces black and white, honking their horns, squirting each other with confetti made of hanging chads, and waving fetuses made up with sad clown makeup – the better.

Image: Le Trapeziste Et Le Clown – Charles Giron (1850-1914)

* A fond shout-out to JGabriel, who noted that writing out “David Brooks is a dickhead” 100 times is actually surprisingly entertaining.