• “Hidden beneath Hiawatha [glacier in Greenland] is a 31-kilometer-wide impact crater, big enough to swallow Washington, D.C.” Fascinating account of what scientists have found, how they found it, what it tells us, and what it might mean.
The story is so cool that I’ll even refrain from making any dumb jokes about Kurt Russell or that poor dog from The Thing.
• Joshua Alvarez writes about “How Trump Adopted Nixon’s Southern Strategy.” It’s a good history refresher that includes this reminder of an earlier nadir for the 81 percent: “That’s why, as George W. Bush was trailing John McCain in the 2004 primary, he tapped right-wing Christian fundamentalists to start a rumor that the Arizona lawmaker had fathered a black child.”
Alvarez correctly points to “fundamentalists” there, because that sleazy rumor — seized on and spread via push-polling by the Bush campaign — was spawned by Richard Hand, who teaches Bible classes at Bob Jones University. Hand sent out a four-page blast email listing all sorts of horrible things about John McCain that the Bible “professor” just … made up. Confronted about his lies by CNN’s Jonathan Karl, the Bob Jones professor doubled-down:
KARL: The top of the message says, “Feel free to copy and/or send it to others.” CNN traced the authorship of the e-mail to Richard Hand, a professor at Bob Jones University. Hand now acknowledges he has no evidence for his explosive charges.
(on camera): Professor, with all due respect, you say that this man had children out of wedlock. He did not have children out of wedlock. Now this is being spread…
RICHARD HAND, PROFESSOR, BOB JONES UNIVERSITY: Oh, wait a minute. That’s a universal negative. That’s a universal negative. Can you prove that, there aren’t any?
KARL: You think it’s OK to spread rumors that the guy’s had children out of wedlock?
HAND: I didn’t spread. I responded to people that want to know why do you feel the way you do about the man’s character.
Bush won the South Carolina primary, and that was the primary lesson white evangelicals took away from Richard Hand’s sleazeball lying: It’s an effective way to win. Bush repaid white evangelicals by giving them Roberts and Alito, and Roberts and Alito gave them their heart’s desire: Shelby County. They won. Nothing else mattered.
White evangelical ethics are written by the victors.
• Speaking of Nixon’s Southern Strategy …
A good bit of the racist dog-whistling and dog-farting language that was key to Nixon’s strategy was borrowed from long-time Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo. My own county DA — Tom Hogan — has also decided to try his hand at borrowing Rizzo’s odious rhetoric. And not just the semi-coded talk of “law and order,” but more explicitly racist garbage like decrying Philadelphia as a “blight” that is “riddled with crime and lawlessness.” Hogan goes on — in language that echoes Rizzo’s nakedly racist rhetoric of the 1970s — to proclaim that Chester County will be a haven for white flight from black cities. Like this asshat wants to build a wall along the Brandywine to keep out those people.You think Hogan’s attitude might have some influence on who does and does not get a fair shake from Chester County’s justice system? Yeah.
Tom Hogan is up for re-election in 2019. I’ll be voting — and canvassing — for Anybody Else.
• Speaking of the justice system …
To understand the kind of person Donald Trump would appoint as his hand-picked Acting Attorney General, read this:
In November 2014, a Miami Beach-based firm, World Patent Marketing, announced the “marketing launch” of a “MASCULINE TOILET,” which boasted a specially designed bowl to help “well-endowed men” avoid unwanted contact with porcelain or water. “The average male genitalia is between 5″ and 6″,” the firm’s press release said. “However, this invention is designed for those of us who measure longer than that.” In the same release, World Patent Marketing also touted the recent appointment of “Matthew G. Whitaker, former Iowa US Attorney and Republican candidate for United States Senate to the company’s advisory board.”
… Federal authorities say World Patent Marketing was scam. A federal judge shut down the company last year and fined it $26 million after the Federal Trade Commission found it had “bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars” in fees it charged clients based on phony promises of lucrative patent deals. The company is under investigation by the FBI, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The same FBI investigating the multi-million dollar scam of World Patent Marketing is now under the authority of the same Matthew G. Whitaker.
“I know Matt Whitaker,” Trump said in an October 11 interview with Fox News. And then, 27 days later, Trump said, “I don’t know Matt Whitaker.” To be fair, it seems like everyone who knows Matt Whitaker wishes they didn’t.
• Fun Smithsonian piece by James Deutsch on “Why a New Robin Hood Arises Every Generation.” The category of “social bandit” is especially interesting — an expression of the need for chaotic good heroes in times when lawful and good seem like mutually exclusive alignments. You know — like when the justice system is run by somebody like Prince John or the Sheriff of Nottingham or Matthew Whitaker or Tom Hogan.
Deutsch thinks American moviegoers might be in need of a new Robin Hood right about now. I’ll just point out again that there’s no reason to import one, when America has its own home-grown outlaw hero who stole from the rich and gave to the poor: Harriet Tubman. America’s Robin Hood was a real person. Still waiting and hoping for that movie.
• I’m still liking everything I learn about Fang Fang, a band that proudly hails from right here in our glorious den of criminality and lawlessness. Fang Fang got my attention when XPN played their new single “Ghost Fight,” then further won me over with this interview:
Q: What was the first concert you went to, and was that the reason you started on this path to have your own band someday?
A: Definitely not. The first show I think I saw was Carman.
So here’s another from this bunch, which also works well with the Paul-ish kick I’ve been on lately, since the lyrics here are based on, among other things, 1 Corinthians 1: