Michael Steele To Enlarge GOP Tent With Offerings of Fried Chicken, Seriously

It’s been a while since a good Micheal Steele-doing-something-stupid-moment and via TPM, this is pretty incredible.

For those who can’t watch YouTube, Michael Steele on how he’ll bring a “more diverse audience” to the GOP:

“My plan is to say, ‘Ya’ll come!” Steele said, adding, “I got the fried chicken and potato salad!”

Now, it does sound as though someone prompted him by mentioning something about “collard greens,” but there’s really no limits to this man’s ability to embarass himself.


Transformers, More Like Recyclers (Zing!)

Wow, it’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted — so what better way to get back in to the swing of things than a half-assed movie review of Transformers 2? Actually, “half-assed,” might even be too strong, but since the reaction has generally been so negative — most cuttingly by Charlie Jane Anders — I thought I’d push back a little bit. Sayeth Anders:

Critical consensus on Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is overwhelmingly negative. But the critics are wrong. Michael Bay used a squillion dollars and a hundred supercomputers’ worth of CG for a brilliant art movie about the illusory nature of plot.

Now, this is true as far as the criticism goes. The “central” plot — if you’d like to call it that — is so unimportant to any enjoyment of the movie as to encroach, if not land firmly, in the territory of porn narrative. But like porn, summer blockbusters aren’t typically known for clever, well conceived plots, much less ones that give you pause. Even a classic like Gladiator didn’t really make you think. So for me, the vacuity of the plot wasn’t the central problem. The issue was simply how lazy the entire venture was.

Rather than innovate new methods of explosion porn, Bay just blew more shit up. Rather than find new ways of creating compelling battle sequences, Bay just rendered them (literally) too fast and complicated to follow. Rather than create truly witty dialogue, Bay resorted to cock and ball jokes with a healthy dose of animal sex. Rather than develop characters, Bay introduced a cast of ethnic stereotypes so baldly racist it prompted an article by the Associated Press. I mean, there was almost nothing new, much less remotely creative about the entire movie.

(Incidentally, one of the explanations given for the inexplicable racism is that two of the more egregious robots in question, Mudflap and Skids — basically the Amos ‘n’ Andy of Sci-Fi — are not in fact caricatures but “alien robots [who] learned about human culture through the Web and [are] ‘wannabe gangster types.'” Of course, the fact that the characters admit to illiteracy makes the “learned on the interwebs” explanation at least a little less plausible, as does the decidedly simian appearance of the robots, gold teeth, and the fact that it’s impossible to tell if someone is a “wannabe gangster” and not simply a stereotype when no “real gangsters” exist to offer context. Bay also suggested that the voices were largely improvised. I wonder though, if the design and editing processes were also an exercise in extemporaneous comedy.)

That said, it wasn’t horrible to watch; after all, cock and ball jokes and copious explosions can be entertaining. But when an entire movie is predicated on cliches, it’s just not going to be anything memorable.

Byron York Not Racist; Just Never Heard of How Polling Works

Yesterday, Byron York wrote an opinion piece making the argument (?) that if you eliminate blacks from poll results, Obama’s poll numbers are lower. I put a “?” next to the word “argument,” because York is really making more of an observation with a hanging and deniable implication based on the banal point that Democrats have historically received lots of support from blacks. Anyway, York saw fit to defend the column against charges of racism.

I wrote my post because of the striking numbers in the New York Times poll.  Those numbers raise a question: What if a president were wildly popular with one group, and only middlingly popular with another group and yet was often portrayed as being hugely popular with the whole group?[…]

[…]Perhaps some people find those numbers entirely uninteresting, but I think it is entirely reasonable to point them out. It is also entirely reasonable to point out that a poll result can be shaped by an extremely high number in one component of the poll resultIt’s the old joke:  Six people are in a bar.  They’re all middle class; their average net worth is about $100,000.  Bill Gates walks in.  Seven people are in a bar; their average net worth is in the billions.  A wealthy group, right?  Internal numbers are revealing.

This argument would be really clever if it weren’t so staggeringly stupid. The obvious difference between the two scenarios — one where Obama is more popular among a certain segment of the population than another, and the other where certain segments have a grossly distorting weight — is that the opinion of one person still only counts as the opinion of one person (though York may prefer it somewhere closer to 3/5ths). For York’s analogy to work properly, Obama’s poll numbers would have had to rely disproportionately on the opinion of a particular group, which indeed, would have skewed his overall popularity numbers. But of course if pollsters did that, their product would be totally worthless. Instead, they use a fancy method called “representative sampling,” so that when they release a poll, it accurately reflects the overall population, thus making it basically impossible to “portray” results as “being hugely popular with the whole group,” without the results actually demonstrating huge popularity with the whole group. The one exception — and the point York seems to be making — is that if you don’t consider blacks to be part of the whole group, then it’s true that elections polls that include blacks overstate Obama’s popularity.

Katon Dawson has a Black Friend

I Has a Black Friend

I Has a Black Friend

This is, as they say, really “inside baseball”, but basically, South Carolina GOP Chair Katon Dawson has seen his bid for the RNC Chairmanship hampered by his previous membership to a country club whose policy stipulates only whites may join. Today, he attempts to “push back” by circulating a letter from a black RNC member vouching for his non-racist bona fides.

A few months ago, a local newspaper wrote an article about a country club where Katon was a member. The article pointed out that the club did not have any minority members. There was some confusion about whether or not it was club policy or a longstanding deed that prohibited minority members — none of that really matters. What matters is this: Katon Dawson tried to change the club’s practices to allow minority members. When he realized that things were not likely to change, Katon resigned his membership.

Sadly, Katon’s opponents are trying to use the fact that he was a member of this country club to disqualify him from serving as RNC Chair.

Of course, Dawson began pushing to change the policy in August, an action rather conveniently timed given the 12 year tenure of his membership. All this aside though, it doesn’t speak particularly well for someone to have joined such a club in the first place. You could make the argument that that joining such a club in South Carolina might actually help one’s political prospects in the Republican party, but this is neither exculpatory on Dawson’s behalf nor does it say much for the GOP. Anyway, I predict Katon Dawson’s bid for the RNC chairmanship will reach a mundanely unsuccessful end, but it’s always important to point out that though not all Republicans are racist, they’re certainly a few of them.


I’m very optimistic about never having to point out the daily contradictions of the Sarah Palin candidacy again, but what the hell…

Naturally WordPress can’t show the clip, but here’s a video where Sarah Palin responds to a question about how she will be able to encourage more minority participation in her coalition. Palin doesn’t really have an answer for how to accomplish such a feat, but she does commiserate with the African American man who asked the question by pointing out that Todd Palin is a “native Alaskan” (I assume she means Inuit, though you would have had me fooled) and that “We live it.”

If we take Palin at her word about the minority status of Todd Palin, how then does a native Alaskan who “lives” the minority experience come to be the apotheosis of “Americana”? Furthermore, how do we know that if president, Sarah Palin wouldn’t pursue a radical Inuit-agenda?

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Fire This Ad Man

A new ad by the RNC’s independent expenditure arm:

This seems to have pretty obvious racial overtones, clearly implying that Barack Obama can’t swim. No, I’m kidding. It’s just a really shitty ad. I hope they spend lots of money on this.

GOP: Not at all Racist, Part 87,543

What with hullabaloo around Sarah Palin’s shopping spree and the hoax alleging an Obama supported carved a “B” into a McCain volunteer’s face after robbing her, I think people have forgotten a little how ugly McCain’s events have turned. Here’s some of the more overtly racist ones I’ve seen.

Of course, John McCain is proud of all his supporters, and it’s simply despicable that Barack Obama not condemn John Lewis’ comparison of McCain rallies to those of George Wallace.

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