As regular readers of this blog know, I really like the New York Times. I think it’s by far the best newspaper in the country, and I am thrilled to write for them whenever they hire me. But that doesn’t mean the Times is perfect. Last week, news editors came under fire for substantially altering a story about Sanders’s legislative record after it was published online—changing its headline, in the process, from “Bernie Sanders Scored Victories for Years via Legislative Side Doors” to “Via Legislative Side Doors, Bernie Sanders Won Modest Victories.” Today, the Times seems to have reframed another Sanders victory in its analysis of last night’s Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton won in Arizona, while Sanders won in Idaho and Utah, giving him 67 delegates to her 51. But Jonathan Martin’s analysis does not report delegate totals and strongly implies that Clinton won.
Nietzsche wrote that a great idea in the hands of common people will become itself common. I’m paraphrasing, here. Thanks to the internet, the common people have access to more great ideas than ever before, or perhaps the same number of great ideas plus several hundred million shitty ones. It’s hard to tell, in this brave new world, which is which. Once an idea like umadbro? is embraced as clever by hundreds of thousands, who’s to say that it isn’t great? Anyone of discernment or even interiority, that’s who. Today is Friday, and the common people are full of ideas. Won’t you smugly disdain them with me?
Mitt Romney has won the Republican presidential primaries in Arizona and Michigan, handily in the former and maybe less so in his home state. He beat Rick Santorum in Michigan by just over three points, suggesting that people whose unemployment rate stayed over 10% for most of 2011 really are worried that dudes might touch one another’s linuses. Either that, or something about a governor’s son who made up for his criticism of the auto bailout by explaining how many Cadillacs he owns just isn’t connecting with people. Meanwhile, level-twelve poop elemental Newt Gingrich beat Ron Paul up north but was beaten by him out west. Gyn’grrch will now be summoned to Georgia by Sheldon Adelson’s ritual burning of several million dollars.
At the request of Governor Jan Brewer, the Arizona senate has voted to impeach the head of the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission. Brewer and senate Republicans allege that the committee—charged with redrawing Arizona’s eight electoral districts—has proposed maps that are politically biased. “I will not sit idly by while Arizona’s Congressional and legislative boundaries are drawn in a fashion that is anything but constitutional and proper,” Brewer told reporters. That is absolutely true, since Brewer was not sitting by when the senate moved to impeach. She was out of town promoting her memoir, so Secretary of State Ken Bennett had to call the Arizona senate into session on her behalf. I don’t mean to bias your interpretation, but Brewer’s memoir is titled Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media and Cynical Politicos to Secure America’s Border.
Camus famously remarked that by age 40, every man has the face he deserves. Fred Phelps is considerably older than 40, and his face has been startlingly disfigured by constant, hateful yelling. He looks like evil Gerald Ford, or possibly the alien from Enemy Mine. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church,* a small congregation in Kansas that has drawn national attention for its protests at the funerals of Iraq War veterans, Elizabeth Edwards, and anyone else that might draw attention to their message, which is pretty much that God hates everybody. “You cannot preach the Bible without preaching the hatred of God,” Phelps is fond of saying. His essential contention is that, because the United States tolerates homosexuality and abortion, everything bad that happens is God’s punishment and should be praised. He’s what theologians call a complete asshole, and his indecent, message-free publicity-mongering embodies all that is worst in protest. Earlier this week, Phelps announced Westboro’s intention to protest the funeral of Christina Taylor-Green, the nine year-old girl shot by Jared Loughner during his attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. That’s why the Arizona legislature quickly passed a law yesterday banning protests at funerals. It’s also why I’m making this rueful face when I say that they shouldn’t have done that.