A Harp's grocery store in Mountain Home, Arkansas, made it to the main page of New York gossip website Gawker.com today. Seems the management thought the cover of US Weekly with its happy portrait of Elton John, his child, and his lover, was too scary for family viewing.
NBC's Today Show had a segment on Memphis' teen pregnancy problem this morning. It was the usual blather and sensationalism, highlighted by one of the most ignorant statements ever made on network television. Dr. Janet Taylor said, without contradiction, that there are NO ob/gyn physicians in Shelby County.
That's right, on a national news show, an "expert" was allowed to say that a major American urban area of nearly a million people had NO ob/gyn doctors. That's New York provincialism of a high order. And an embarrassment to NBC.
Here's the link to the segment. The interview with Taylor starts at around the 2:50 mark.
From the late, and oh so great, John Hartford, the greatest song ever written about the Golden Globes:
The Tennessee TEA Party has proposed a few changes in the way American history is taught in the state. The TP-ers say we have for far too long been overlooking the immortal greatness of our Founding Fathers in favor of emphasizing unpleasant and minor aspects of our history, like the contributions of minorities and that whole darn slavery business.
TP: “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”
Translation: Our "leaders" were perfect. Don't let our children think they had flaws. That minority experience might have "actually occurred," but so what?
TP: There is “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another."
Translation: Indians and slaves were troublemakers. They got what they deserved.
Huh, rewriting history to make our glorious leaders sound perfect. Stalin would have loved these people!
It goes without saying, of course, that all the Founding Fathers were white, as were all the protesters in Nashville. But there's nothing racial about this, folks. There are several black Tea Partiers — somewhere. (You'll read that in the comments that will immediately follow this blog post.) They'll tell you there's nothing to see here, folks. It's all just a coincidence.
Of course, the real scary part of this is that the newly Republicanized Tennessee legislature is quite likely to take these people seriously.
The horrific shootings in Arizona today have already sparked a brushfire of speculation and finger-pointing. As everyone knows by now, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot at point-blank range, but is currently still alive. Six others, including U.S. District Judge John Roll, a Giffords aide, and a 9 year-old girl, weren't so lucky, and died at the scene or shortly thereafter.
Bloggers, Twitterers, and other social networkers quickly drew battle lines. One side began tying the shooting of Giffords to Sarah Palin and a map she had distributed with cross-hair targets on 20 Democratic congressmen around the country, including Giffords. Palin has routinely used gun-centric language on her Facebook and Twitter acounts. Even earlier today, before news of the shootings broke, she tweeted to her followers that they shouldn't "Retreat, but Reload." (That tweet, as well many prior similar sentiments on Palin's Facebook page were scrubbed by this afternoon.)
At this point, we have no information that the alleged shooter was influenced by either Palin's rhetoric or that of any other politician. We do know that during his campaign effort to unseat Giffords in November, Republican challenger Jesse Kelly held fundraisers where he urged supporters to help remove Giffords from office by joining him to shoot a fully loaded M-16 rifle. Kelly is a former Marine who served in Iraq and was pictured on his website in military gear holding his automatic weapon and promoting the event.
A spokeperson for Kelly said today: "Arizona is a state where people are firearms owners. This was just a deranged individual."
There's little doubt that the shooter was deranged. Sane people don't walk into a crowd and start randomly murdering people. Others are noting that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently pushed through $36 million in cuts to the state's mental healthcare budget. Again, no evidence exists of any cause and effect between the cuts and the alleged shooter.
But maybe, just maybe, this tragedy will cause some of those in the media and those politicians who cavalierly toss around gun-metaphors and talk of "Second Amendment solutions," to reconsider the impact of their rhetoric. Palin's scrubbing of her website and Twitter could be mere ass-covering, or it could just possibly indicate Mama Grizzly has learned a lesson.
I'm not holding my breath, though. My money's on ass-covering.