7 things at 11 o’clock (6.21)

1. Jamie Malanowski says the United States of America should not have US Army bases named after people who declared war against the United States of America and took the battlefield against the US Army.

Good point. A while ago someone told me that slavery was “only part” of why the Civil War was fought. Now I’m trying to imagine the job interview where you explain that kidnapping, rape and torture are “only part” of your résumé. When slavery is any part of the agenda, it really doesn’t much matter if it’s the only part, does it?

2. Andrew Hackman on collapsing the transcendent into the immanent. (Hackman doesn’t use that phrase, but Richard Beck does, and says, “I’m very happy with this move.” I am too. So was the author of 1 John, ad nauseum.)

3. Emergency contraception is finally available over the counter. So is soy sauce. The big difference here is that soy sauce carries actual health risks.

4. I am shocked — shocked! — that good Christian people would lie about Planned Parenthood.

5. This is how you request a song at a concert. And here’s a music video from long before anyone talked about music videos. If (far less than) One Million Moms had been around when this came out, they’d have called for a boycott of Scopitone.

6. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska just became the third Republican senator to go on record in support of marriage equality. That’s big news. Or, I suppose actually, it’s not big news — but the fact that this news wasn’t greeted as big news, but with a kind of collective nod and shrug is itself a kind of big news. Her statement, titled “The Pursuit of Happiness — Without Government Interference,” might convince other Red-state Republicans that they can join her without the sky falling on their heads.

7. I have long held that the New Hampshire House of Representatives is too damn big. Tiny New Hampshire has 400 representatives elected from 204 legislative districts, and it turns out you can’t fill that many seats without letting in a bunch of unqualified, embarrassing whackjobs and goofballs. But even by the standards of the Granite State, it seems Rep. Stella Tremblay, R-Auburn, is too far out there. After continually pushing her theory that the Boston Marathon bombing was a government-sponsored false-flag operation, Tremblay was rebuked by a vote of the full House and resigned from the legislature.

“I just connect the dots,” said the unrepentantly dotty Tremblay. “Apparently, it is very dangerous to seek truth, or ask questions.”

Kudos to N.H. Republican Chair Jennifer Horn for responding unambiguously: “Representative Tremblay was unfit for public office and not welcome in our party. We are glad to see her go.” I know that’s partly just damage-control, but if the national party were willing to be that direct with the Gohmerts and Burgesses and Duncans and Franks (Frankses?) now dragging it down, it might be in better shape.

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  • themunck

    Regarding link 4 (the one about lying about Planned Parenthood)…are there -any- organizations with the word “family” in their name that aren’t horrible fonts for the persecution of rape victims or the like? It’s starting to raise my warning flags every bit as much as “concerned citizens” (usually lobby groups) or nations with the word “democratic” in their name.
    EDIT: Spelling.

  • aunursa

    But whoever may want to honor them, whatever they may want to honor them for, it does seem singularly preposterous to name US Army bases after men who led troops in battle against US Army soldiers.

    I’ll play Devils Advocate: It does seem singularly preposterous for the National Football League to continue to honor the man who founded a league that directly competed with the NFL. It seems preposterous for the NFL to adopt a logo that reminds us of the original logo of its former competitor.

  • Amtep

    Honoring your enemies is an ancient military tradition, and it’s an important one because it means you can learn from them.

    I don’t think, however, that these men are being honored as enemies.

  • the shepard

    number two has that kind of profundity that seems simple once someone says it.
    i think tha i, too, am happy with this move.

  • JustoneK

    orwellian quote goes here

  • Michael Pullmann

    That’s one of the dumbest arguments I’ve ever seen. Sports and war (particularly armed insurrection) are in no way equivalent.

  • The_L1985

    “The Race Is On”…and I think I’m going to lose my lunch. And I thought sexual objectification of women was bad now

  • From the Gohmert link:

    On the other hand, Gohmert said, poor people were using food stamps to buy food that other Americans could not afford. He claimed his “broken-hearted” constituents had repeatedly told him they had seen people use food stamps to buy king crab legs.

    That’s the exact same story you can read in the comments section under any newspaper article on SNAP. The only difference is that Gohmert isn’t blowing his dog whistle (although his constituents probably were and it just went over his head).

    Incidentally, I love that people still refer to EBT as “food stamps” even though they haven’t been stamps in years. Presumably, that’s to avoid having to explain how one could spot the difference between an EBT card and, say, a debit card from ten feet away.

  • nations with the word “democratic” in their name.

    There’s the old political saw about judging a country by the length of its descriptor – the longer it is, the worse the nation. A “Republic” is usually okay, a “People’s Republic” is probably someplace to avoid, and a “Democratic People’s Republic” is a place you only go if you want to witness an atrocity first-hand.

  • are there -any- organizations with the worth “family” in their name that
    aren’t horrible fonts for the persecution of rape victims or the like

    I sure can’t think of any. Maybe there are some in other countries?

  • And then there’s the idea that poor people should never ever have nice things. That someone would be “broken-hearted” over this sickens me.

  • JustoneK

    Being poor is a moral failing, remember. Because equal opportunities.

  • Deacon Blues

    This reminds me of a story my grandma always told me. She was on food stamps, and one if her kids had a birthday, so she bought a cake and ice cream with their food stamps. Well, the person behind her started lecturing her about buying frivolous things, because poor people don’t deserve any treats ever… So she verbally ripped him a new asshole. I wish I could remember exactly how she told him off, but the lesson was, if you see someone buying something you don’t agree with, just shut the fuck up, that person probably knows their own life better than you do.

  • Sir Humphrey: East Yemen, isn’t that a democracy?
    Foreign Office Official: Its full name is the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of East Yemen.
    Sir Humphrey: Ah I see, so it’s a communist dictatorship.

  • Jenny Islander

    Somebody over at poor_skills, before it went dead, listed all the things that jerks on the Internet had told her that poor people shouldn’t have because only lazy stupid people are poor.

    Basically, if you’re poor, you have to sell everything except clothes, very basic cooking equipment, and generic hygiene supplies. You can sleep on a pile of your laundry–yes, even the kids, because this will motivate them–or buy a used camping mattress or something, because you don’t get to sleep comfortably if you’re “lazy.” When you’re done working assorted crap jobs that won’t keep your teeth in your head but disqualify you for welfare, go home and stare at the walls–no TV, radio, or computers for you!–until it’s time for you to eat brown lentils and bulk rice seasoned only by your tears of shame.

  • themunck

    The worst part (out of many, many, bad that I’ve heard) remains phones and computers. Do people just not realize that the best way to get a better paying job (or indeed, a job at all) is to be able to search the internet, and more importantly, leave a frecking phone number people can contact you on? This isn’t 1980. Phones and internet connections are not luxury items that cost a fortune, they’re a basic necessity for most people.

  • Michael Pullmann

    “Freedom” is one to watch out for, too.

  • FearlessSon

    About link number 4, has that guy ever actually been in a Planned Parenthood clinic? Because I actually have been to the big PP clinic in Seattle, and one of the first things that they ask you during any session is if you were coerced by someone else into coming there. Presumably that is used in investigations and to give someone in a bad situation a way out and into protection.

    They do all that they reasonably can do to protect any victim who comes to them.

  • aunursa

    I didn’t say they were equivalent. But there is a strong connection between football and military.

    And as George Carlin quipped in his “Baseball and Football” routine: “In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.”

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I love that people still refer to EBT as “food stamps” even though they haven’t been stamps in years.

    Sen Tom Coburn doesn’t think enough people use the term. He wants to bring “food stamps” back officially, and presumably the stigma that goes with them: “Coburn Amendment 1001 – Rename Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) back to Food Stamp Program, and the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act back to the Food Stamp Act.”

    Rather than misleading the public about the health benefits of the program, SNAP’s name should return to “food stamps.”

    Additionally, the name would be a constant reminder about the mission of the program: not to subsidize junk food purchases, but to provide essential items children and families need, like staple foods of bread, meat, beans, fruits and vegetables.


  • JustoneK

    I bleeve Fred mentioned the phone thing in particular some years back. Most employers won’t even hire you without a phone number, much less a street address.

  • rcriii

    So there are forts named after Rommel, Guderian, Vo Nguyen Giap, Peng Dehuai etc?

  • P J Evans

    You could make a case for renaming Fort Lee to Fort Lee, since there was more than one General Lee. (‘Light-Horse Harry’ comes to mind.)

  • Alix

    True story: I once wrote an essay on the causes of the Civil War, where I looked at everything from economics, politics, and cultural differences to westward expansion and religion, and came to the conclusion that yes, Virginia, it does all boil down to slavery.

    My teacher dinged me enough points to drop the essay an entire letter grade because “there were causes other than slavery.” Despite the fact that I’d just spent an entire damn essay laying out those common “other” arguments and showing how no, they really truly were about slavery after all.

    He gave no support for his “fact” – he basically just assumed it must have been true because, I guess, people keep saying so? But really, truly, the facts don’t bear that out. At all. (Not for the Confederate states as a whole, anyway, though I’m sure there were any number of people who joined the Confederate army who weren’t rabidly pro-slavery.)

    I hear this shit all the time, coupled with a lot of fond remembrances about how grand and glorious Our Southern Past was, before Those Northern Bastards ruined us. It makes me want to smack people, it really does.

  • MaryKaye

    I live close to the “University Family YMCA” where the acronym stands for “Young Men’s Christian Association.” This has to be one of the most unhelpful names ever, as they are not particularly student-oriented (though they are in the “University District” neighborhood), they are co-ed, all ages with an emphasis on kids, and not discernably Christian. Basically somewhere between a community center and a gym. They are good folks though and treated my child well.

    That’s the only counterexample I’m aware of. I guess they stuck in “family” to get across “all ages and genders” and are stuck with “young men” for historical reasons. (I have actually never known a YMCA which limited activities to young men.)

  • I think there are a lot of little businesses and such that have “family” in the name that are fine. Something advertising itself as a family restaurant, for instance. But I think that’s different.

  • Your teacher was, obviously, completely wrong. Luckily the revisionist myth that the Civil War was started over anything but slavery that Southern historians invented in the late 19th century is no longer accepted at the college level. It takes a long time for high schools to catch up, but that’s no excuse. Hopefully more history teachers in schools have woken up since Battle Cry of Freedom was published.

  • Alix

    This was at the college level, is the sad thing.

    I just find it rather amazing that people seriously keep arguing this.

  • You’re kidding.

    When and where was this? In my Florida school, that attitude would not have been accepted.

  • For me, it was ten years ago at Mott Community College in Flint, MI, where the history professor most likely still teaches. The man was a fantastic storyteller, and I bought all kinds of BS from him that I later discovered on Snopes.

  • Alix

    Last year, at an accredited online university originally set up for military students but opened to the public. The university offices are in West VA, but the professors are as scattered as the students. I don’t honestly remember where this particular prof was based, and he’d never shown any sign of this attitude before.

    It took me rather aback.

  • It’s shocking. At the stage Civil War studies are at, pretending slavery was not the cause of the Civil War is not considered as bad as Holocaust denial… yet. But it is no longer a respected argument in any way.

    Also, your professor was dinging you for the same argument James M. McPherson makes in Battle Cry of Freedom, which is the standard basic Civil War text now. So even if the professor disagreed (which is problematic at best), he should not have marked you down.

  • Alix

    Oh, I agree 100%.

    I should point out that this isn’t a university-wide problem. I’ve had, on the whole, more reasonable professors who don’t do this Southern revisionism. But even just that one professor pulling this is … a bit of a problem. Especially since his argument wasn’t an actual argument promoting critical analysis, but just “because the professor says so.”

  • FearlessSon

    What I was taught in high school was that, yes, slavery was a central factor that lots of the other causes kind of orbited around. But more generally, it was a kind of culture war which was fought politically across a variety of fronts and eventually broke out into actual war.

    Of course, the culture matter being fought over was whether owning another human as a labor asset was okay or not.

  • Fusina

    That is a bit I heard years ago, but it was in the days before youtube so I didn’t know who did the routine. I loved this one. Thank you!

    Wandering off to go watch Carlin on baseball and football now…

  • Arresi

    Hey, fellow MCC grad! *waves* My history prof there was okay (a woman since retired), though. Not the best teacher I ever had, but nothing like that.

    All of my profs said slavery caused the Civil War (with variations, like “they fought over whether the federal gov’t had the right to abolish slavery or whether that was a state’s right,” or “they fought over economic conflict between free and slave states”) but as I recall, the idea that it wasn’t about slavery at all just sort of lingered among the students. I had a classmate recently suggest that saying “slavery caused the Civil War” was a controversial statement.

  • Well I’d be very put off and surprised to to learn that I’m supporting a right-wing front every time I buy paper plates or cat food, but who knows? http://www.familydollar.com/pages/home.aspx

  • That makes it sound like a force of nature, with the “eventually broke out” and such, rather than being a conscious decision on the part of Southern slaveowners. Also, calling something a “cultural” matter tends to be a way of diminishing the agency of the people involved, and often it is used to excuse horrible things, at least in Civil War studies.

    That Southern slaveowners wanted to keep owning slaves and profiting from this in ways economic, social, and sexual, is why they seceded. They were rah-rah states’ rights so long as the “right” in question was to own slaves. They were completely and totally anti-states’ rights if the right in question was to make slavery illegal. They were authoritarian when they were the authorities, but rebellious when asked to follow anyone else’s rules.

  • Eric Boersma

    Sounds like another political group I know.

  • MCC high-five!

    This guy read us a quote where Lincoln basically said he didn’t care about slavery itself, but wanted to end it because it was good for the Union, the preservation of which was his primary concern. I did some Googling and found the quote along with a bajillion others where he says he wants to end slavery, so I’m thinking there was some missing context.

    There was an element of, “Your high school teachers didn’t tell you the whole story; college is where you learn REAL history!”, and I think that contributes to people’s willingness to think the Civil War was about something other than slavery.

  • Oh hai. I graduated from a different MCC in the area. You two had me going a moment. :p

  • themunck

    Hmm…ladies and gentlemen, we seem to have found the exception. Huzzah!

  • The causes of Southern secession were at least 80% slavery-related. The causes of the Northern conquest of the South had nothing to do with trying to end slavery.

  • Jessica_R

    Except that it kinda did. And the Confederacy make it explicit in its constitution that this was about slavery. And made it illegal to abolish slavery in any Confederate state. Oh and made it illegal to secede too. Nice try.

  • J_Enigma32

    It’s true cuz the meanies in the North, like General Sherman, burned down my great-great-great granddaddy’s barn (note: I live in Michigan. My family is from Tennessee and Virgina. Also, I am not making this up. I’ve heard southerners talk about how General Sherman burned down their family’s home or destroyed their land, when they’re living in LaGrange, Harris County, or some other county in Georgia on the other side of the state from Sherman’s March). Alternatively, cuz State’s Rights.

    Your teacher was full of it. Slavery was written in the Constitution for the Confederation, and it was a State’s right explicitly outlined and not to be infringed upon by other states.



    So I often respond to people who bark about it being over “State’s rights” with “Yes, it was about State’s rights – the State’s right to let people own slaves.”

  • Did you even read my comment? Or are you deliberately being a dumbass?

  • J_Enigma32

    I live around a quite a few people who fly the Confederate flag (which is both a surprise and not at the same; I live in one of the few places where blacks out number whites, and as a result, the whites that live here are either more egalitarian than usual or they’re hardcore racists who’ve learned how to act civilized because they’re in the minority. Guess which one is the majority of whites I’ve met. Go ahead and guess).

    Since so many people who fly the Confederate flag are Schrodringer’s Racist, I’ve been known to provoke. My favorite question directed at these people (beyond “What’s it feel like to be at traitor”) is “So if you get to fly the flag of a different country for your heritage, and often fly said flag above the American flag, and define yourself through your southern heritage, why is it so bad when people do that with the Mexican flag and identify as Mexican American?”

    It’s because brown people, and everyone watching knows that, but it’s so much fun watching them lash around.

  • Fuck off, EH.

  • No./Why?/Fuck off, Lliira.

  • Because you’re here to provoke people and get attention. Go away.