Chatty Cathies

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:00

(Okay, folks, I'm SURE you must have some juicy nominations if only you stop to think about it a moment. - promoted by Paul Rosenberg)

Babble on, Babylon!  We're watching you!

It's that time of week, once again, and the question of the hour is: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who can spot the most blathering idiot of them all?"

Once again, it COULD be you!  But only if you participate by entering your nomination in the comments below.

Last week's contest was won by Oaktown Girl's nomination of David Brooks:

David Brooks, NY Times, Dec. 9, 2010

As Paul points out, Brooks' inane blather has reached such a height of perfection that it successfully repels attempts at logical analysis and deconstruction. Paul (quite correctly, I believe) says that this in fact means that Brooks blather actually functions as a Universal (Brain) solvent!
Well, I know in keeping with the rules I'm suppose to post a quote of the offending material. Guard (gird?!) your brains before reading:

This contrast is not between lefties and moderates. It's a contrast between different theories of how politics is done. Ted Kennedy was a network liberal, willing to stray from his preferences in negotiation with George W. Bush or John McCain. Most House Democrats, by contrast, are cluster liberals. They come from safe seats, have a poor feel for the wider electorate and work in an institution where politics is a war of all against all.

Can you do as well or better this week?  Only if you try!

Rules on the flip!

Paul Rosenberg :: Chatty Cathies
The Rules:

(A) We're looking for inane blather that is blissfully indifferent to the actual facts of the matter being commented on.  These are the "Chatty Cathy" Awards, not the "Archie Bunkers."  Of course, this doesn't exclude wingnut punditry, it's just that cluelessness is what we're looking for, more than hatefulness.  If you can find examples that combine both, though... I think you've got a real winner.

(B) You may nominate any pundit from the M$M-print, broadcast tv/radio or cable-or from any online extension or associated outfit.  (If this really catches on for some reason, I may decided to break the awards into separate categories at some point.) Nominations should include the name of the person nominated (preferably in the subject line), the outlet and date, an exact quote of what they said or wrote, and a link to where it can be found-original, transcript, or first-hand report (such as Media Matters).

(C) You may submit as many nominations as you want, but each must be in a separate comment.

(D) People vote for each nomination by giving recommendations.  There is no limit on how many recommendations you can give.

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Chatty Cathies | 8 comments
Lenny McAllister (4.00 / 7)
Lenny McAllister, The Root: Nancy Pelosi: House Wrecker

People are quick to point out verbal gaffes and missteps by presidents over the past two terms, but the bridge connecting both administrations consists of comments from Pelosi in which she implied that the president of the United States was a potential war criminal and that the CIA lied to her about classified information. That does not even include baffling comments from the speaker suggesting that unemployment benefits somehow stimulate the economy. The recipients, by the way, are probably bringing in roughly half of what they used to make when they were employed.

As leader, Pelosi oversaw the rigging of the health care reform vote in Congress through compromises (called bribes outside the Beltway) that benefited specific states and the Blue Dog Democrats who would not have voted for the legislation otherwise. She grinned as her congressional cohorts squeezed the vote through at the last hour this past March. Her leadership oversaw omnibus bills and stimulus packages that included loads of pork at a time when government spending needed to come down in order to get a handle on the national debt.

As for her failure to negotiate with Republicans, it came from an arrogance so strong that it actually melted away the overwhelming majority her party had in the House.

The political analysis at The Root is a f^&king embarrassment (0.00 / 0)
as far as I'm concerned. I only stay on their email list because every once in a while they'll have a really good cultural critique, like this much needed take down of Tyler Perry.  

[ Parent ]
Figures! (4.00 / 1)
The most effective Speaker in living memory.  The only Democratic leader in DC who actually knows how to lead.  How could she not inspire fury amongst the hangeronerati?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
"No Labels" on PBS NewsHour 12/13/2010 (4.00 / 5)
Sorry for the long excerpt. Video here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Republicans, Democrats, and independents with a common goal, to make politics less polarized, are joining forces to create a centrist group called No Labels. The group bills itself as a new way of looking at politics. The national grassroots coalition plans to pressure the newly elected Congress to work across party lines.

And we are joined now by two of the group's founders, Mark McKinnon -- he's a Republican strategist and former adviser to President George W. Bush -- and Democratic consultant Kiki McLean. She served as senior adviser to Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign. It's good to have you both with us ....

So, Mark McKinnon, what's the dream scenario here? What would you like to have happen?

MARK MCKINNON: We'd like to provide a vehicle and a channel for the millions of Americans who today don't feel like their voices are represented.

They look at Washington, they see the hyper-partisanship, they see loud microphones on the left, loud microphones on the right, and nobody really rewarding good behavior in the middle. People are just -- in fact, they're getting punished whenever they try and extend their arm across the aisle or work in a bipartisan fashion.

And, yet, that's what most of America wants. So, as we face some of the greatest challenges we have ever had, Washington is virtually paralyzed because neither side is willing to work with the other side in order to make any progress.

And you mentioned this is a new way of looking at politics. It's actually a very old way of looking at politics. This is going back to Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan, where, you know, people had clear differences, but they were willing to work with each other, meet with one another.

And today, in Washington, they literally do not even meet together. They don't have caucus lunches together anymore. And it's just a lot easier to demonize each other when that happens.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Kiki McLean, you also hear people saying, what's wrong with feeling strongly, feeling passionately about issues? There's a lot at stake. Why shouldn't we be arguing these things, debating these things out vigorously?

KIKI MCLEAN: Passion and partisanship is OK. Hyper-partisanship is not. [And the difference is...] If the goal when you start a conversation is to make sure somebody else loses, we all lose. And there's too much of that going on today. Look, working together doesn't mean that there won't be days that Mark and I don't draw the line in the sand between one another and have just a real fundamental difference. But there are plenty of things that Mark and I know that we can talk about together. [Like what?]

JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark McKinnon, I heard you say today that the rest of the country is not as polarized as Washington ....

MARK MCKINNON: Well, Judy, I just saw a poll that said that 67 percent of Americans endorse the entire package when they look at the package in total. [Not true.]

And I think this is a great example where you have got people on both sides complaining about the final product. But that's what presidential leadership is all about. It's about forging consensus and compromise. And that never makes everybody happy.

But, you know, I looked out at America, and, sure, there was some partisanship in the primaries, but the fact is that most Americans would like to see a voice for the middle that represents their point of view, because they don't feel like they're being represented.

And they are passionate, too, Judy. Make no mistake about it. There are radical centrists out there, and there's a lot of them. [What's their platform?]

JUDY WOODRUFF: Kiki McLean, we noticed -- we looked at who was involved today .... Democrats, independents, former elected Republicans, no current Republicans. What does that say?

KIKI MCLEAN: Well, I think it says that we had a good mix of folks there today. We had folks with a lot of points of view. We had a room with 1,100 people that also had a lot of lot from across the political spectrum and around the country. [Repeat: No Republican officeholders....]

JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark McKinnon, you are a Republican. What about that?

MARK MCKINNON: Listen, we had some great Republicans there, David Gergen, David Brooks, Tom Davis, Abel Maldonado, lots of folks who are interested in making sure that we get a -- you know, that we work together. [LOL!]

And these are people who have been part of the process, seeing what works and what doesn't. Evan Bayh is an outgoing member. We had Joe Manchin, who is an incoming member -- lots of reflections on what works and what doesn't ....

JUDY WOODRUFF: You say, Kiki McLean, in January, you're going to start policing members of Congress if they don't work together. Are you going to feel pressure to criticize on both sides of the spectrum? Are you -- if one side ends up being more partisan than the other, are you going to call it like you see it?

KIKI MCLEAN: Well, this isn't about a tally count. [Isn't this redundant?] And it's not just negative reinforcement. This is about positive reinforcement ....

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Mark McKinnon, the other question, I know, on a lot of people's minds is, people have tried to do things like this in the past.

How do you keep the passion going for what you're doing in the center? People generally get worked up on one side of an issue or another. But how do you keep people excited about the good old modest middle, if you will?

MARK MCKINNON: Well, I like to call it radical centrist. I don't think there's anything moderate about most of the people in the middle today. They're very, very passionate.

And you're right, though. I mean, these are issues that I have worked on for years. And I have been involved in other similar kinds of efforts. But I will tell you, it is substantially different today than it's ever been, and not just because I say that, but because we have gone across the country -- and I have been looking at this for years -- and there is more mobilization, more activity, more energy.

The Tea Party was one piece of that. [The Tea Party is not centrist.] It showed the energy that's out there in America, but it's just the tip of the iceberg, because there's a lot of other people, millions of Americans -- I would argue that research shows, and anecdotally, that it's a majority of Americans -- feel like their voice is not being represented, and they don't like the hyper-partisanship....

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we plan to check back in to see how it's going. Mark McKinnon, Kiki McLean, thank you both.

1) absurd naivety about Republican bad faith - check
2) unbelievable blindness to Obama's bend-over-backwards style of caving - check
3) nostalgia for Reagan - check
4) being utterly wrong about everything - check
5) smug, pompous air of unquestionable superiority - check

The Tea Party RESENTS The Hyper-Partisanship? (4.00 / 3)
One thing with PBS, they tend to put you to sleep.

And then they slip in a zinger like that!  Re-creating the Tea Party as a healthy sign of American heartland centrism that resents the hell out of hyper-partisanship!

Then they try to put you back to sleep.  You are getting very sleepy.  You will not remember that we have told you the Tea Party is the salt of the earth.  You will only remember that the Tea Party is the salt of the earth.  And they just hates all that hyper-partisanship.  You are getting very sleepy....

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Michael Moore on Keith Olbermann, (0.00 / 0)
"The charges, his condom broke during consensual sex.  That is not a crime in Britain, and so they're making the point how can we-how can we extradite him over this? This is all a bunch of hooey as far as I'm concerned."

This despite the (embarassingly) easily verified fact that Sweden does not consider such an event a crime, or that Sweden's sexual assault laws are not significantly distinct from Britain's. When demonstrable falsehoods regarding sexual assault charges by women get repeated by self-identified progressive men, the base of the progressive movement is betrayed, stupidly and callously. I'll defer to Amanda Marcotte here, describing feminists push back to Moore's comment,"

And I have no doubt that Michael Moore, along with Keith Olbermann, are waiting this out, letting the overt woman-haters and rape-supporters wear down the feminists keeping #mooreandme alive. So there's another black mark against Olbermann and Moore---they're playing the patriarchal game of letting the overt misogynists do their work for them, so they can feel good about themselves while benefiting from sexism.  Ironically, this is basically the way rape works in the real world.  Few misogynist men are rapists, but those who aren't rely on rapists as a threat to keep women in line, such as when RS McCain made it clear that he supports rapists as a vigilante force punishing women who are sexually liberated with men that aren't RS McCain. "


Sorry (0.00 / 0)
I consider this a ridiculous misfire.

There's been a tremendous barrage of secrecy and mis/dis-information about this, as Sweden hasn't even brought charges yet, and it strongly appears as if whatever charges they might bring don't even involve jail time.  It certainly is the case that whatever Assange is potentially being charged with is not a crime in Britain, even though we don't know what it is, and it's also apparent that the entire proceedings do stem from a condom breaking.  So if Moore was somewhat imprecise in what he said, he is no moreso than the totally corrupted and manipulated legal system itself, and at least has the spirit of things right.  (Nobody, it seems, knows the letter.)

Amanda's post is a strange mix of clear-headed common sense--as is her norm--and an understandable, but still regrettable loss of perspective:

We can believe that Assange is being targeted for something other than the actual rape charges, and that it's still wrong to engage in standard issue rape apologist crap aimed at the accusers.  And that, by the way, is the main problem with Michael Moore---not that he posted bail. (Which is good, imo, because Assange was being badly treated in captivity, if for no other reason.) He went full blown rape apologist, including dismissing the charges with "the condom broke", which is not the charge and, contrary to what right wing British tabloids say, it's not a crime to have a truly accidental contraception mishap in Sweden.

Anyway, obviously what's happening with #mooreandme now is that it's being flooded with rape apologists---some only whipping it out for this occasion, but many who just automatically support accused rapists and denounce rape victims.  And I have no doubt that Michael Moore, along with Keith Olbermann, are waiting this out, letting the overt woman-haters and rape-supporters wear down the feminists keeping #mooreandme alive. So there's another black mark against Olbermann and Moore---they're playing the patriarchal game of letting the overt misogynists do their work for them, so they can feel good about themselves while benefiting from sexism.

Kieth Olbermann and Michael Moore benefitting from sexism?  This is where the signals should be clear that an automated script has taken over, which bears no relationship to reality.

When you're attacking folks because you can, because you can push an argument that's dear to your heart, and catch someone with a good rep doing something supposedly "bad", rather than because they represent the greatest threat, then something is seriously wrong.

This is what the original meaning of "political correctness" was when it was developed as critical term directed at small sectarian groups who used such tactics to derail, if not control broader, more popular movements mostly on college campuses in the late 70s and early 80s.

This is just the same damn stupid shit, with a somewhat different cast of actors, trotting out slightly modernized version of a tired old farce.

The US agents colluding with Swedish officials on this must be laughing their asses off.

p.s. Don't forget, this did not start with the women seeking criminal charges.  That idea came from the prosecutors.  That alone should raise questions about who exactly is most invested in exploiting these women.  And it ain't Michael Moore.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Joe Biden on Assange and Wikileaks (4.00 / 2)
Pick either one.  Use the other as a refutation.

BIDEN to Andrea Mitchell, 12/16/10:

I don't think there's any damage.  I don't think there's any substantive damage, no.  Look, some of the cables are embarrassing . . . but nothing that I'm aware of that goes to the essence of the relationship that would allow another nation to say:  "they lied to me, we don't trust them, they really are not dealing fairly with us."

BIDEN to David Gregory, 12/17/10:  

This guy has done things that have damaged and put in jeopardy the lives and occupations of other parts of the world.  He's made it more difficult for us to conduct our business with our allies and our friends.  For example, in my meetings -- you know I meet with most of these world leaders -- there is a desire to meet with me alone, rather than have staff in the room:  it makes things more cumbersome -- so it has done damage.

Chatty Cathies | 8 comments

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