I had a lovely New Year's Eve lunch with my Cousin Bethie today. (At left: Me and Cousin Bethie at her son's wedding party in 2009.)
Time to look back at this Mayan year of 2012.
The newest, remarkable thing in Feminist Blogdonia this year, has been the wholesale demise of old-school blogs. Small blogs (one author only) seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur, and only stubborn hold-outs like your plucky narrator remain.
Where'd they go? Well, interesting that you should ask. They have all stampeded to Tumblr, that hip, young, visually-chic new net-destination. No room for grandma on Tumblr... as I said before (see link), I can't even figure out who is saying what. But even if I don't know who is saying what, I CAN read the basic messages... and damn. It's getting ugly over there.
The Tumblr feminists are identifiably young and post lots of cool graphics, videos and photos. They obviously come from affluent families and have advanced degrees; their education and experience can be quite intimidating. (I would not know what to say to any of them, which hardly ever happens.) I can understand why lots of people resent them. The Amazing Atheist informs me in one of his rants [caution, click that at your own risk; he can be pretty offensive to some folks... okay, most folks] that most of the Tumblr feminists do not seem to be into feminist theory or history or any of that boring, wonky political stuff. They mostly like to fulminate about pop culture, 'rape culture', trans women, men staring at them, and whatever else pops in their heads. (Typhon Blue, prominent female men's rights activist, did a funny bit about them also.) Their feminism seems to be a triumph of style over substance.
Clearly, the Tumblr feminists are on everyone's radar. Us Second-Wave ladies here on Blogspot are yesterday's news, the tired old-guard (yawns for emphasis).
But why have they all stampeded to Tumblr? What is it about the place that draws them? Is it inherently easier to post there than it is to post on Blogspot, Wordpress, Livejournal or Dreamwidth? I don't think it is. I think it's the fact that it's new and has an eye-catching layout (multiple publishing options and templates)... AND the fact that no comments are allowed. You can be as offensive as you wanna be, and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. No screaming at you in comments. You do not have to BLOCK people, or babysit threads that threaten to boil over into major flame wars. You can say your piece and be on your way.
But of course, people being what we are, we always find ways to fight. What the Tumblrites do is REBLOG things, and start the fight that way. For example, here is what one such verbal-brawl looks like, an argument via Tumblr reblogging. (See how unclear it is, just who is saying what? Or is it just me?)
The biggest feud in Tumblr Feminist Blogdonia right now, is about transgendered people. I find this fascinating, since I thought the superior young feminists, who have preached to me incessantly since I first started blogging (and have painfully picked apart the comparatively harmless minutiae of my language) knew absolutely everything on the subject of transgender. I was assured they had all that shit settled, and it was only us old fogies who are always wrong every time we open our mouths. And they are still alluding to this, since the label "radfem" (originally designating Second Wave radical feminists; feminists over 40-45) is the word they repeatedly employ to describe women younger than my daughter, who could not possibly have been radfems. This is a creative way to insult young feminists by calling them old hags, without actually saying that... the fact that they might actually insult us older women, by appropriating a term describing us (radfem) and connecting that with something that does not describe our actual political position (transphobia)? Well, who cares, right? (You don't think they actually care about those women who made it possible for them to get those great educations, now do you?) Let's not allow concern over ageism to get in the way of a great feud, amirite?
At left: I finally figured out how to get a photo of my constantly-squirming cat, Cyril. Just in time for New Year's! (see, I can be as narcissistic and off-topic as any of the Tumblr folks)
All joking aside. What I think this tells us: even though the "big feminist blogs" have taken pro-trans positions and have tried to be progressive beacons of equality (and some have failed at that, even so) ... the rank-and-file young feminists have not signed on. Transphobia is rife among young feminists.
This should not surprise anyone. Their politics are mostly undeveloped, since real-life activism is virtually unknown and foreign to the majority of these feminists. They do not do coalition work; they have very little experience in dealing with people in real life who are not of their own social circle and class. Activism is where politics are forged and solidified, and where one quickly learns who one's friends really are.
Sitting around talking, simply isn't where it's at, as we used to say.
And so, on Tumblr, the kidz can air their provincial little prejudices in a safe place. They can raise hell and nobody can comment or object. It makes them feel powerful and it is addicting. Every man a king, as Huey Long famously said... and every woman a queen.
The initial strength of the internet was the free-for-all environment of its countless message boards, chat rooms and blogs... and yet, these seemed to create chaos. They WERE chaos. People became unglued; they got very freaked out and quickly demanded ORDER, and so Facebook and other gated communities came into being, to satisfy the need for cops and babysitters. And so, we now see another desire for chaos... but not GENUINE chaos. The narcissistic, play-acting chaos of yelling your opinions at 96 decibels in an empty room... with no reply and no interruption. The echo sounds nice. The fantasy that you are important is fun. And you can post photos and fancy wallpapers to match your fantasy-self.
And that seems to be where we are right now... or where Tumblr is.
Thanks, but I think I'll stay right here.
Happy New Year, yall.
PS: Our last podcast of the year! Have a great 2013.
Monday, December 31, 2012
I had a lovely New Year's Eve lunch with my Cousin Bethie today. (At left: Me and Cousin Bethie at her son's wedding party in 2009.)
Sunday, December 30, 2012
At left, DVD cover, George Harrison: Living in the Material World
I just loooooved Martin Scorsese's documentary about George Harrison, my favorite Beatle, incredible talent and just plain awesome individual. George introduced that old-time religion to the West, and for that, he got more karma points than you and I put together. The mind boggles.
I appreciated the film's emphasis on George's spiritual journey, which was given all proper and due respect; possibly for the first time I can recall. In most accounts, it's always been some variation of "ohhhhh there's goes dreamy George off with his Indian gurus again..."
What does it mean when someone has more money, fame, attention, sex, etc than most of us can contemplate in our wildest fantasies... and yet, still feels that something is missing? George's life is an enduring testament to spirituality-as-direct-experience, that I have always found very moving and intense.
"GEORGE!!!!!!!" -- screams, squeals; Daisy momentarily reverts to childhood.
After viewing the somewhat-interesting Another Earth, I watched the second movie from screenwriter-actress Brit Marling, titled The Sound of My Voice. Great premise, as with Another Earth... but my grandmother's phrase, too clever by half, comes to mind. The movie tries to have its cake and eat it too... the ending is something of a cheat, in my humble opinion... although very clever (too clever by half). Describing the movie further, is to jeopardize the story and the ending, although lots of people have.
Both of these indie movies are similar in that they are 1) weird, and 2) ponderous and thoughtful. But more than that, one gets the impression that everybody sat around brainstorming, figured out the boffo endings first and then WORKED BACKWARD. Both movies seem to work up to the 'surprise' endings, stacking the deck in ways that seem overly obvious in retrospect.
One of the strengths of truly surprising, beloved and inventive film-endings, is NOT stacking the deck, and hitting you upside the head all at once: BAM. Think: The Sixth Sense, Fight Club. You DID NOT see it coming, or only glimmers of it, and those delicious glimmers made you sufficiently curious to continue watching. In addition, these movies were not ALL ABOUT the endings, and in fact, people continue to talk about both movies without even referencing the endings. In short, you do not have to love the endings to enjoy both films, and plenty of people disliked the endings who nonetheless greatly enjoyed the movies as a whole.
I don't think that is possible for either Another Earth or The Sound of My Voice, in which one continues watching just to see their respective endings. The actual content of these movies tends to disappear into some kind of cinematic vortex, and the END is the whole thing. The tension is ratcheted up so high, one is watching just to get to the resolution of the grand puzzle; this viewer-disposition is likely due to the fact that they imagined the ending first, and worked backwards, filling in the blanks.
To briefly summarize, The Sound of My Voice is about a cult leader who claims to be from the future. Is she? Well? And you keep watching to find out. Do you actually find out? That is the pertinent question: I think it cheats and you don't, or do, or sorta-kinda both. Huh?
If this plot-line interests you, check it out. Apparently, this was originally planned as the first film in a trilogy, and I'd be lying to you if I said I wouldn't watch the sequels. In fact, the film makes sense as one of a trilogy, in the sense that it might not (in that case) be a total cheat, but I was still a little pissed. Excuse me, but that's 85 minutes I'd like to have back, if you are not going to answer the fucking question. Hmph! (And at this point, it is not clear that they will even be able to make the sequels.)
Hello, lovely Ms Marling and company, this is what SERIAL TELEVISION is for. Maybe you should go to HBO or somebody like that next time, instead of seeking all that attention at Sundance.
I was sufficiently blown away by Damien Echols' amazing prison memoir, "Life After Death", that I did most of a podcast about it. I certainly cannot do it justice. If I had to recommend one book for the year, this would be it.
How does one keep from losing one's mind and/or being eaten up with fury, while spending 18 years (half his life) on Arkansas's Death Row, for something you didn't do? Another deeply spiritual testimony. His repeated use of the word "magickal" (for those things that transcend everyday-life and take us elsewhere), is just perfect, and aptly conjures up that momentary experience for us. If not for the magickal, some of us would shrivel up and die... and Damien was forced to cultivate the magickal in small, seemingly-inconsequential things (correspondence and pencil-sketches) and almost-forgotten memories, such as old mud puddles and songs he hadn't heard in decades.
A lesser-soul would have been completely destroyed. Many men (and yes, they are men) are completely destroyed, and he tells us all about that, too.
An uncompromising, poetic, breathtaking account. Go read it. Now.
Ayn Rand and the World She Made was some great reading, providing us with a detailed year-by-year account of Rand's life. Biographer Anne Heller obviously admired Rand, and that gives us the kind of intensity an Objectivist would deliver. The sexual abuse of starry-eyed-young-acolyte turned self-esteem-theorist Nathaniel Branden, is offered here in bright primary colors, so all you fellow scandal-mongers take note. (PS: And who knew that the former Nathan Blumenthal changed his name to one that had Rand's name embedded within? The book is full of GREAT GOSSIPY DETAILS like that.)
I came away convinced that Rand was a lifelong amphetamine-addict, which explained many of the awful extremes in her personality, particularly her ongoing personal paranoia. The fact that she surrounded herself with idolizing sycophants means that nobody challenged this facet of her character; to challenge her was to be consigned to the outer darkness, and few of her Objectivist cult/crew dared to go there.
And therefore, like so many other famous people we can name, she just got worse.
The book succeeded in making me compassionate for Rand, both as an intelligent woman who was often not taken seriously and/or understood, and as a drug addict who did not realize what was happening to her.
This doesn't mean she wasn't a horrific and selfish person; she was. But now I understand why.
And speaking of karma, Rand has plenty to answer for. Her influence on our government and economy has been widespread and damaging, starting with her acolyte Alan Greenspan getting his bullshit ideas taken seriously (while Rand herself could not) and getting himself repeatedly hired and promoted as some kind of economic genius. You can easily clock the deep influence of Rand on the Republican Party, including the fact that one of her fanboys recently ran for Vice President.
If you are interested in a thoroughly fascinating individual, a cultural touchstone and influential life--check out the Heller biography. Of all the books I have read about Ayn Rand (several), this one is the most comprehensive, descriptive and fair.
Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case by Debbie Nathan, is indeed extraordinary. If you are a baby-boomer who read the popular SYBIL by Flora Rheta Schreiber in the 70s (and it seems that everyone did) and/or watched the TV-movie starring Sally Field (ditto), THIS IS FOR YOU.
Nathan's investigative account is about the genesis of the book; the psychiatric fraud/fakery and therapeutic-abuse propagated for the sake of money (and goodness, it poured in like water!). One fascinating subplot includes the details of how various psychological 'syndromes' are popularized and then streak through the population like wildfire. (Remember how "multiple personality disorder" became all the rage, with respectable stories on "60 Minutes" and so on?) Hey, when there is big profit to be made, people always materialize to make it. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear... and we might add, when the disease is invented, the doctor/cure will likewise appear, right on cue. For a fee, of course.
I am often reticent to talk about my ongoing skepticism concerning various hip diagnoses going around: bipolar disorder, ADHD, ADD, Aspergers, and so forth and so on. Everybody is depressed all of a sudden. And I see commercials for drugs, drugs, drugs, and dollar-signs are all over them.
This book renewed my skepticism, and made me feel okay about it. Psychobabble and hip mental-states/Dx go through recognizable phases and turn into fads (especially if there is profit at stake)... and somehow (just like religion) psychology always manages to renew itself and stay above the fray it creates. These charlatans never have to answer for themselves, and thus, they never do.
This is one such amazing tale. Highly recommended.
Other good books I enjoyed this year--
 We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olsen, was really wonderful. I picked it up and did not put it down; all deep-internet (as in DEEP SPACE) junkies will enjoy it immensely.
 As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Diaries 1964-1980 by Susan Sontag (which I first mentioned here) has continued to shape my thoughts, months later.
One incisive quote concerning the change-in-consciousness wrought by television (and of course, even more accurate in the internet-era), which I scribbled down:
As the images multiply, the capacity to respond diminishes.Yes.
 Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman, is well worth your time. Short version: it's even worse than you think it is.
 Millennium People, one of the last books by my favorite author, JG Ballard, which has only recently been published in the USA. WE MISS YOU, JAMES GRAHAM BALLARD!. Another excellent, related volume is JG Ballard: Conversations edited by V Vale, which has also been quoted here on DEAD AIR, at some length.
I return to it at regular intervals, to keep my sanity.
I am currently reading Teachings from the Medicine Buddha Retreat by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, which is some rather dense and heavy reading... the kind of density that makes you read and re-read the same few pages, until you are sure you get it. And even then, you probably won't get it.
This encyclical contains lots of what the Baptists would call vain repetitions. The litany-reading, rosary-reciting ex-Catholic in me grimaces at still more verbiage that I must repeat. (sigh) Seriously, is there NO END to it?
Then again, it got George Harrison through. He faced his death on his own terms, unafraid. And it got Damien Echols through 18 years in solitary confinement.
And who could ask for more?
Thursday, December 27, 2012
As in years past, my first choice is the one I listened to the most, after first posting it.
In some ways, this doesn't really count, since the whole reason we listened to it over and over is that we also used it on the radio broadcast/online podcast, as our "Republican Update" theme, during the election and after. I mean, it was just SO perfect.
They ARE, after all, living in their own Private Idaho.
And so, without further ado, from 1980, here are the B-52s.
Private Idaho - B-52s
Get outta that state! Get outta that state!
As for videos I did not post on the blog, THIS ONE is easily the best. I must have watched it 50 times, and forwarded it countless times as well. (It was initially on another site and not YouTube, so I did not know how to share it here. Problem has since been solved!)
I know just how the monkey feels.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
This song is a perennial pop-Christmas standard in the UK, and I have been on a five-year campaign to turn it into a Christmas standard here, too. I just love it!
Look to the future now, its only just begun.
Hope everyone is having a great holiday tonight!
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
I attended the benefit for Greenville DIY space last night at the Radio Room. I took some great photos! (As always, you can click to enlarge.)
In order, Trublklet, Katalyst, Crocker, M.E.H., and the last three photos are Dables, who have a truly gifted drummer (hereby singled out for honorable mention).
And a splendid time was had by all!
Friday, December 21, 2012
(You can click to enlarge.)
For the record (everyone thinks I am this major peacenik), I am undecided about gun control and what laws are necessary. I am willing to listen to extended discussion on the issue. I do not trust the National Rifle Association, since I distrust all lobbyists on the multi-million-dollar level due to THESE KINDS of shenanigans. I also distrust them due to their distinct right-wing bias, evident since their founding. Thus, I TOTALLY APPROVE of this YIPPIE action!
Further NRA press conference coverage here and here.
Mike's blog also has excellent ongoing discussion on these issues.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
This is like something from one of us crazy conspiracy theorists.
Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
From Chris Matthews at MSNBC:
Fred and Kimberly Kagan are hawks. They share the ideology of those who backed the Iraq War. Why are they on the inside of an administration elected based on its opposition to the Iraq war?Kimberly and Frederick Kagan are very interesting people indeed, close to the American Enterprise Institute and similar neo-con hit-squads. As Matthews asks, why were they "advising" Petraeus?
I am one of those who believed from square one that the war in Iraq was an ideological war pushed from the outset by those who wanted us to overthrow the Iraq government and install ourselves in Baghdad. They got their way under a less-than-informed President, George W. Bush. Now we discover that a pair of them, the Kagans, have been right there in the room with the head of the Afghan mission, advising him every step of the way.
Why? Why did General Petraeus assume the right to allow people who represent the very opposite of President Obama’s philosophy to advise him? What agenda was his seeking here? What was he buying into? Was he buying into the hawkish agenda of those who advocated war on Iraq in the first place? If so, why was he working for President Obama who stood out there against that war?
I have to think that Petraeus either doesn’t understand politics and ideology or he shapes his ideology, or accepts the ideology of those who have stood against Obama from the beginning. This is really strange, really strange and someone in the administration better start paying attention to who is getting into the tent and who they are indeed working for.
The Washington Post has the whole timeline of neo-con infiltration of the Obama administration:
Frederick and Kimberly Kagan, a husband-and-wife team of hawkish military analysts, put their jobs at influential Washington think tanks on hold for almost a year to work for Gen. David H. Petraeus when he was the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Provided desks, e-mail accounts and top-level security clearances in Kabul, they pored through classified intelligence reports, participated in senior-level strategy sessions and probed the assessments of field officers in order to advise Petraeus about how to fight the war differently.Now, why would we think that?
Their compensation from the U.S. government for their efforts, which often involved 18-hour workdays, seven days a week and dangerous battlefield visits?
Although Fred Kagan said he and his wife wanted no pay in part to remain “completely independent,” the extraordinary arrangement raises new questions about the access and influence Petraeus accorded to civilian friends while he was running the Afghan war.
Petraeus allowed his biographer-turned-paramour, Paula Broadwell, to read sensitive documents and accompany him on trips. But the entree granted the Kagans, whose think-tank work has been embraced by Republican politicians, went even further. The four-star general made the Kagans de facto senior advisers, a status that afforded them numerous private meetings in his office, priority travel across the war zone and the ability to read highly secretive transcripts of intercepted Taliban communications, according to current and former senior U.S. military and civilian officials who served in the headquarters at the time.
The Kagans used those privileges to advocate substantive changes in the U.S. war plan, including a harder-edged approach than some U.S. officers advocated in combating the Haqqani network, a Taliban faction in eastern Afghanistan, the officials said.
The pro-bono relationship, which is now being scrutinized by military lawyers, yielded valuable benefits for the general and the couple. The Kagans’ proximity to Petraeus, the country’s most-famous living general, provided an incentive for defense contractors to contribute to Kim Kagan’s think tank. For Petraeus, embracing two respected national security analysts in GOP circles helped to shore up support for the war among Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.
Fred Kagan, speaking in an interview with his wife, acknowledged the arrangement was “strange and uncomfortable” at times. “We were going around speaking our minds, trying to force people to think about things in different ways and not being accountable to the heads” of various departments in the headquarters, he said.
The extent of the couple’s involvement in Petraeus’s headquarters was not known to senior White House and Pentagon officials involved in war policy, two of those officials said. More than a dozen senior military officers and civilian officials were interviewed for this article; most spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.
Petraeus, through a former aide, declined to comment for this article.
As war-zone volunteers, the Kagans were not bound by stringent rules that apply to military personnel and private contractors. They could raise concerns directly with Petraeus, instead of going through subordinate officers, and were free to speak their minds without repercussion.
Some military officers and civilian U.S. government employees in Kabul praised the couple’s contributions — one general noted that “they did the work of 20 intelligence analysts.” Others expressed deep unease about their activities in the headquarters, particularly because of their affiliations and advocacy in Washington.
Fred Kagan, who works at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, was one of the intellectual architects of President George W. Bush’s troop surge in Iraq and has sided with the Republican Party on many national security issues. Kim Kagan runs the Institute for the Study of War, which favors an aggressive U.S. foreign policy. The Kagans supported President Obama’s decision to order a surge in Afghanistan, but they later broke with the White House on the subject of troop reductions. Both argue against any significant drawdown in forces there next year.
Petraeus’s successor, Gen. John R. Allen, allowed the Kagans to stay at the headquarters for his first few months on the job last year and permitted them to return for two additional short visits. After the couple’s most recent trip in September, they provided a briefing on the war and other foreign policy matters to the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
The Kagans said they continued to receive salaries from their think tanks while in Afghanistan. Kim Kagan’s institute is funded in part by large defense contractors. During Petraeus’s tenure in Kabul, she sent out a letter soliciting contributions so the organization could continue its military work, according to two people who saw the letter.
On Aug. 8, 2011, a month after he relinquished command in Afghanistan to take over at the CIA, Petraeus spoke at the institute’s first “President’s Circle” dinner, where he accepted an award from Kim Kagan. To join the President’s Circle, individuals must contribute at least $10,000 a year. The private event, held at the Newseum in Washington, also drew executives from defense contractors who fund the institute.
“What the Kagans do is they grade my work on a daily basis,” Petraeus said, prompting chortles from the audience. “There’s some suspicion that there’s a hand up my back, and it makes my lips talk, and it’s operated by one of the Doctors Kagan.”
What an interesting turn of phrase.
Hopefully, we will be getting more on this... in the meantime, read the entire investigative piece by the Washington Post, which is stellar.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
A hysterical, silly young feminist at a University of Toronto demonstration was caught on video, shrieking that men's rights guys are "fucking scum" and so on. The prominent Men's Rights blog A Voice For Men has identified her by name, and has commenced harassing her to the point that she has already shut down her Twitter account.
There are 322 comments (as of this writing) applauding the stalking and harassment of this very silly, thoroughly unlucky girl. They are proud of their terrorism and exhorting their readers to go even further.
This kind of thing is why the Southern Poverty Law Center called the Men's Rights Movement (MRM) "a hate movement"--the deliberate and vicious targeting and threatening of feminists who annoy them in some specific (and usually silly) fashion.
Which brings me to another point: As in the whole Rebecca Watson/ELEVATORGATE foofaraw (and that threatens a monster-sized digression all by itself; here is a brief synopsis of the event), these incidents always seem to involve young, thin, attractive women. What's up with that? Are ugly, old or fat women/feminists just not as much fun to harass and rail against? Why not?
It really is rather striking, once you notice it.
For example, on page one of the popular A Voice For Men blog (whom I have criticized here for trashing older, unattractive women, simply for existing) there is a "Featured Offenders" category, of "women bigots" who have said sundry man-hating stuff. Notice every single one of these offenders is very attractive, white, young, and usually blonde. Hm.
Is man-hating somehow more egregious and criminal when coming from young, good-looking gals? I guess so.
The hysterical young woman from Toronto is, you guessed it, quite lovely. Other hysterical girls in the video, not nearly as attractive, did not even get noticed. Somehow, this woman is the one that rates their ire.
I find this a trifle obvious... embarrassingly so. Are they aware of their bias? Are they aware that women are aware of it, and therefore do not take their ire seriously since it seems to be targeting only those gals that make them hot? The ones they especially WANT to behave?
For instance, my own criticism of AVFM did not even rate a reply. (I assume it's because I admitted to being post-menopausal; I have long noticed that criticisms of ageism are not taken seriously by the MRM.) Meanwhile, other critical feminists rate all kinds of extended attention. For instance, they are STILL obsessed with every single thing the aforementioned Rebecca Watson does, while the fat girls remain ignored. (Just like in every other aspect of life.) 
NOTE: If you want your movement and criticism of man-hating to be taken seriously, stop focusing only on those criticisms from poster gals you find sexy, okay?
Further, check out the comments in the thread about the hysterical young woman... it only takes TWO (count em, TWO) comments, before they are trashing Marxism and the entire left. Amazing, huh? It is a recurrent theme. I am not sure how Marxism made the young lady crazy and man-hating, but the commies MUST have had something to do with it. 
THIS, once again, is why Men's Rights is increasingly regarded as a hate movement, which incidentally, is what the young woman in question was getting so hysterical about: A speech by Men's Rights advocate Warren Farrell.  On AVFM, they have written:
[young woman's name] apparently had a twitter account (which comes up on a Google of her name), which has now been shut down. But there appear to be traces of her in multiple net locations. This should be quite enough for our rainbow coalition of agents to do their work.Doesn't that sound like a gang of men going after one woman? What "work" do they refer to, exactly? (I like how they leave it to your imagination.)
And we will continue to do ours to bring all of this to the light of public attention, including her listing on Register-her.com.
The author of this hit-piece, Paul Elam, once wrote (in a comment addressed to a feminist): "I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection."  (Warren Farrell hasn't said anything that bad, has he?) As I wrote in my first post on AVFM, they believe that all feminists are "termites"--with no exceptions.
My question: Do they think this nasty, bully-behavior is helping men in any way? Really? How?!? Believe me, it doesn't. Even though I am a mere termite, I really would like the positive aspects of this movement to succeed, for many reasons. I do worry about the emotional lives of modern men and boys. I am more worried this week than I have been in a long time.
Which leads me to another crucial point: Do you realize the HARM that this piece will cause, during a week like this? In case you haven't heard: A marginalized man, cut off from mainstream society, had a very violent meltdown and engaged in mass murder... and as a result, all quiet, marginalized men will be looked at with heightened suspicion. YOU ARE MAKING THIS WORSE. YOU ARE PUTTING CERTAIN MEN AT RISK, approving anti-social, stalking behavior and telling them it is good to engage in--actually giving outsiders who want to belong, the cool label of "Rainbow coalition of agents" and calling stalking "work" instead of what it is: stalking.
Let me make it clear: Men will be dragged into interrogation rooms over this. YOU ARE WRONG TO ENCOURAGE THIS SHIT!
Please cease and desist this kind of behavior, gentlemen. This is not men's "rights"--this is about your harassment of an attractive girl who grabbed your attention in a video. (Why her and not the others?) This is about getting even, this is not about asserting rights.
And if you do not cease and desist, please understand that you ARE a hate movement. This is no different than tracking abortion doctors to their homes and taking photographs of their families! This is what a hate movement does.
 One sensible and well-founded complaint from the Men's Movement is that women will not ask men for dates or "approach" men. However, this doesn't refer to fat girls; I was informed by one Men's Rights Advocate that fat girls are the frequent exceptions to this rule, since they often DO approach men... in fact, in many social settings, asking men for dates is considered "fat girl behavior" and even more stigmatized than ever, for this reason. (Who knew?)
In short, they DO NOT want to date the fat girls, so these fat girls' repeated "approaches" don't count... stop bringing them up! (Stop talking about fat girls, goddammit!) They are not talking about you, fat girl, they are talking about this hysterical, pretty, thin girl from Toronto, whom they want to make behave.
Her misbehavior BOTHERS THEM A LOT... yours and mine? Not so much.
 The increasing right-wing drift of the MRM is also plenty disturbing, and mostly unacknowledged by its leaders. Although it is notable that many are atheists and active in the atheist movement, which I find interesting.
As a result, there is a growing rift in the atheism/skeptic community, known as "Atheism Plus"--which would be the progressive atheists (i.e. atheism PLUS other social issues). Atheism "by itself" would be the standard old-school, white men's/Richard Dawkins variety.
Needless to say, the MRM is not fond of Atheism Plus, and they largely consider it a dangerous feminist/lefty/queer ideological incursion into the sacred atheist territory of Rationalism and Reason. (You know, the kind of 'Reason' that goes after flakey feminists in Toronto who shriek at demonstrations and are unlucky enough to be pretty and thus rate extended video coverage.)
 I exchanged very nice correspondence with Warren Farrell back when I was about 15 years old, after having seen him on the Phil Donahue Show. He was very kind, friendly, positive and encouraging of my feminism. I kept the letter for a long time and thumb-tacked it to my bulletin board, right alongside David Cassidy and Iggy Pop, which is why I remember it. (This would have been 1972 or 73.) Therefore, I have nothing against Farrell. In fact, I left a comment on YouTube, agreeing that "quote-mining" is a negative tactic and needs to end. In that case, I hope these terribly fair-minded Men's Rights fellas will stop quote-mining Andrea Dworkin, too.
Can we make a deal on that?
 Register-Her started as a website naming women who make false rape/domestic violence allegations. Apparently, it has expanded to include any women who offend the MRM.
 Speaking of quote-mining, I can see why Paul Elam wouldn't be too fond of it.
EDIT: A Voice for Men has highlighted another shrieking, silly girl at the anti-Warren Farrell rally, so I stand corrected. This one is also named and targeted in the same way as the first silly, shrieking girl:
Additionally, over the next two days, she will be listed on register-her.com as a known bigot, and her image and name will find a place on our display of featured offenders.And by the way, did I mention? She is also quite beautiful.
I'm sure it's only a coincidence.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK of my cool new blog banner? Fabulous Robert of BLUE HERON BLAST did this for me, and I have sent copious cyberkisses and hugs his way. IT'S JUST BEE-YOO-TI-FULL! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I did my last banner over 5 years ago, and couldn't even locate the website where I made it. Without the banner-making-for-dummies software, I had no clue how to proceed in conjuring up an updated banner. The few free banner-maker-sites I managed to find, did not have the crucial KASHMIR font, which I just HAD TO HAVE. (Led Zeppelin fans will undoubtedly recognize the lovely Kashmir font, named for the band who first used it on their album covers.) Also, I wanted outer space, utterly suitably for a flakey hippie like your humble narrator... the two together were nearly impossible for me to combine on the cheesy banner-maker websites. ((sobs)) I sulked for six whole months before wonderful Robert rescued me.
BLUE HERON RULES! Thank you so much, my friend.
Go visit Blue Heron Blast--which always has cool banners, and he changes them all the time, too... not once every five years, like some of us.
We did the promo for the radio show, today on Another Voice with Jason and Eric... they were kind enough to let us crazy lefties in to promote our new broadcast endeavor. Old-school Gentlemen! Very polite fellas who are all about free speech and everything... obviously, an endangered species in these parts.
Occupy the Microphone will formally debut on WOLT-FM, January 1st (and a happy New Year to you, too!)... WOLT-FM is a pretty snazzy-looking radio station, headquartered in the old McAlister Square mall, which I have written about here before.
At left: Daisy meets Country Earl, back on the auspicious date of 11-11-11.
WOLT-FM also once regularly featured local legend Country Earl's radio show. I was lucky enough to meet him last year, which was a real thrill for me. It therefore saddens me to announce that Country Earl passed away about a week ago, to the sorrow of upstate South Carolina:
A longtime Upstate radio personality also known for his Simpsonville restaurant has passed away.Another real gentleman of the old school, who will be sorely missed. :(
“Country Earl” Baughman, 79, died Monday at Greenville Memorial Hospital.
Baughman was a local radio personality/disc jockey for many years, with numerous upstate radio stations including WESC, WCKI, WFIS, WBBR, WAGI and WOLT where he hosted his “Country Earl’s Country Classics Radio Show.” He started his career in the 1950s and continued until 2000s.
He was also known for his restaurant, Country Earl’s Stompin’ and Chompin’. In recent years, the restaurant became less of a restaurant and more of a performance or event venue, becoming known as “Country Earl’s Celebration Place.”
Baughman was native of Greenville County. According to his obituary, he was the son of the late Herbie Theodore and Susie Mae Lackey Baughman.
He was a member of Brookwood Community Church and was an accomplished musician and songwriter and was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame.
A “Celebration of Life Service” will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 at Brookwood Community Church.
Forest Hills Funeral Home website says visitation will be held at the church following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Earl’s memory to The Muscular Dystrophy Association, 25 Woods Lake Rd., Suite 412, Greenville, SC 29607.
For those who asked (I am SO flattered yall care about me!)--my lifelong, growing, ugly brown skin-blotch was technically diagnosed as a dermatofibroma.
Nobody knows what causes them, but one theory is that they are caused by infected insect bites. Oh, GROSS!
You see??? I just knew all those horrific flea bites I endured would somehow have some negative repercussions; it just stands to reason.
I am TOTALLY blaming them.
We talked about the recent school-shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on our last podcast, if you'd like to give us a listen. I don't have much to add to what we said, except the song I played here on Saturday.
There is one quite fascinating link currently making the rounds--Mormon Church 'owns unregulated gun sale website':
One of the most active and unregulated gun sale websites in America is owned by the Mormon Church, an investigation by New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg has revealed.You just have to wonder... who else is making a killing, if you will pardon the expression.
My apologies for once again boring my dear readers with Tales of The Call Center, but the fact is, I learned a great deal whilst being cussed out every day, and I was toughened up for the long haul besides (which made me well-prepared for the rigors of talk radio)... My call center took calls for a world-wide shipping conglomerate, whose name (and big brown trucks) you would instantly recognize.
At one point on my call center job, I took calls ONLY from South Carolina for about 6-7 months. I became alarmed when I realized how many involved shipping huge amounts of firearms to other parts of the country, where I knew they were illegal. Most involved gun shows (and similar exhibitions), but some had other creative, shifty ways to get around the local laws. And I don't mind telling you, some of the guys on the phone sounded like they were straight out of Lizard Lick Towing. They initially didn't seem too bright, but honey, you shoulda heard them spout those LAWS--they knew them inside and out, backwards and forwards, state by state and county by county. When packages got held up and/or inspected, which happened fairly often, they would cuss a proverbial blue streak. And I used to get seriously creeped out when packages got LOST (and yes, they did), which made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
I still remember one guy chuckling at the news that his enormous shipment of guns (to New York City) had apparently disappeared into the ether, and he would have to file a claim. "Bummer," he announced, "Hope whoever found it enjoys alla that fine weaponry," he chortled, "--and I hope nobody pisses him off tonight!"
I remember hoping nobody pissed him off too, whoever he was.
Imagine, a cache of weapons and ammo simply evaporating off of a loading dock? I hate to tell you, but it happens all the time.
At left: The man of the hour.
I am off to WOLT-FM to plug our new venture on (yow) live radio. While I'm busy, Vogue model and sometime SC governor Nikki Haley will be appointing our next Senator, filling the empty (but still annoying) shoes of nightmarish Teabagger Jim DeMint.
The Associated Press has confirmed that Congressman Tim Scott is the man, which I already figured. Haley blathered at length about bringing minorities into the GOP at the Republican National Convention this past summer, and if she appointed another white man, she would look like the hypocritical opportunist she really is... and we can't have that. Scott will be the first black Senator in South Carolina's history and Haley will get lots of favorable press as a result, which is crucial for her modeling career.
From USA Today:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will tap Rep. Tim Scott to replace outgoing GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, making Scott the first African-American senator from the South since Reconstruction.At least it wasn't Trey Gowdy! (I try to think positively about these things, you know?)
The Associated Press has confirmed the Scott appointment, which will be formally announced by Haley at a news conference Monday at the statehouse in South Carolina.
DeMint, an influential conservative and Tea Party favorite, will resign in January to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank. His replacement will serve until a special election is held in 2014.
"This is historic for all of the South," said David Woodard, a political scientist at Clemson University. Tim Scott is "conservative and he's Republican. ... What African Americans need are capitalism and conservative values, and Tim Scott is a great vehicle for that. He represents a generation that is interested in entrepreneurship, conservative principles and volunteerism."
Scott, 47, was elected in 2010 to represent a U.S. House district in the Charleston area. A former member of the South Carolina state Legislature, Scott quickly became a favorite of House Speaker John Boehner and GOP officials in Washington and served in a leadership position for the 2010 freshman class.
He has a compelling life story, according to his biography in the Almanac of American Politics. Scott and his siblings were raised by a single mother who worked as a nurse's assistant. By his own account, Scott was on the brink of flunking out of high school when the owner of a Chick-fil-A franchise took him under his wing. He later earned a partial football scholarship to college, and ran an insurance company and owned part of a real-estate agency before entering politics.
State law gives Haley sole authority to appoint a replacement for DeMint, who was first elected in 2004 and is leaving before his second term ends in 2016. The appointment holds major political weight for Haley, who has low approval ratings and is up for re-election in 2014.
Haley reportedly had been considering five candidates: Congressmen Scott and Trey Gowdy, both elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010; former state first lady Jenny Sanford; former attorney general Henry McMaster; and Catherine Templeton, head of the state Department of Health Environmental Control.
The appointment sets in motion a series of events, which will make 2014 a busy year for Palmetto State politics. Both Haley and Graham, the state's senior U.S. senator, are on the ballot in 2014.
Woodard noted that Scott is popular and well-liked and has the support of his fellow members of Congress from South Carolina, which would give him an edge if he runs statewide for the Senate seat, as expected. The five GOP House members from South Carolina are very close, and they stuck together during a high-profile vote last year against Boehner's bill to reduce the deficit.
There have only been six blacks who have served in the U.S. Senate, according to the Senate website. They are Hiram Revels of Mississippi, who served in 1870, Blanche Bruce of Mississippi from 1875 to 1881, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts from 1967 to 1979, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois from 1993 to 1999, Barack Obama of Illinois from 2005 until he resigned in 2008 after his presidential election, and Roland Burris, who was appointed to replace Obama and served until November 2010.
Stay tuned, sports fans.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
At left: The Five of Wands (strife) from the Rider-Waite tarot deck.
In this corner, we have The Good Men's Project, a 'men's blog' that is not exactly a Men's Rights blog, but is not exactly NOT a Men's Rights blog. Some feminists blogged there... or used to. (Getting ahead of myself.) Last year around this time, there was a notable Twitter squabble among one of the male writers and several well-known feminists, which made the rounds. As a result, from that point onward, GMP was pointedly not known as a feminist blog, even though they did publish the work of feminists and addressed feminist ideas.
Recently, GMP published two very disturbing posts. The first was titled Nice guys commit rape too (really?) by Alyssa Royse, and the second was titled I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying by an anonymous male author. The last piece came with a caveat:
Editor’s note: This is a difficult article to read, and to publish. It is a frank, open confession about a certain commonly-accepted form of rape culture, and readers with rape triggers should probably avoid reading it. We at the Good Men Project do not endorse or support the author’s worldview, but it does speak to a very common experience that is often taken for granted and rarely talked about, except in vague and theoretical terms. We thank the author for being willing to speak openly about it, and share his struggle with his own experiences, though we want to make very clear that we do not agree with his conclusions.And with that, everyone was off to the races.
GMP also offered some follow-up to the hoopla: Giving a Rapist a Public Platform. Alyssa Royse commented further on Facebook about the foofaraw (you knew I would use that word, didn't you?) and was duly quoted on the Yes Means Yes blog. My favorite feminist blogger at GMP (Ozy Frantz) has since departed in disgusted.
The brawl continues. Jill Filipovic at Feministe weighed in, thusly:
The Good Men Project has really stepped in some shit here, with the initial “My friend is a rapist but he’s a good guy because the girl he raped was kind of a slut sending him mixed messages” post by Alyssa Royse. They knew they stepped in shit. Instead of trying to clean it up, they rolled around in it. They doubled down with the follow-up anonymous piece by an admitted rapist with no plans of stopping, and the follow-up to that of the GMP justifying its decision to post the rapists’ piece and the ensuing MRA-fest in the comments.A major aspect of this problem is the echo chamber that develops on successful, contemporary 'big blogs'...which seems to happen inevitably, regardless of the particular blog-focus. Christian blogs do not allow atheist input, or at least greet the atheists with condescension and censorship. Atheist blogs belittle and insult the Christians. There is no dialogue. Feminist blogs prize agreement and empathy, banning the Men's Rights Advocates in short order; debate is hardly possible, or even desired. Feminists who dare to comment on Men's Rights Blogs (raises a bloody hand in witness) can get called stupid hags and bitches, and summarily driven off. There is no dialogue.
And yes, I am feeding into it. I seriously considered ignoring it until I saw how many pageviews they get (and I suspect, by the way, that their writers and editors are paid by the pageview, incentivizing this kind of bullshit). Some of their writers and editors are currently complaining that I am “bullying” them and trying to take them down and destroy them. If only I had that kind of power! Just for the record, they get like 10 times the traffic Feministe does. We may have more credibility in the feminist blogosphere because they’ve chosen to repeatedly torch theirs, but we are not the Goliath here. They have an audience of men who think that the GMP is a marginally feminist, progressive site.
GMP tried to have the dialogue. They tried to bring the various schools-of-thought together, and it got dicey. In the end, we see which side has prevailed, but I doubt this situation would have happened if they were not trying to have it both (all) ways. Then again, I understand why they wanted the big numbers, the huge readership; this is the way one establishes oneself as a Major Blog to be Reckoned With. Undoubtedly, internet-stardom beckoned, and they saw pundit-gigs for themselves at MSNBC, dancing in their heads.
Too much, too soon.
Some are calling for a boycott of the site (there goes MSNBC!)... others are seriously deconstructing the pieces in question. From The Belle Jar, come these astute observations about the anonymous post:
I want to be thoughtful about this. I know that I should be. I should say that this man clearly has addiction issues and needs help. I should offer him my support, because he is also a rape victim. I should be kind, forgiving, generous. But I can’t. I can’t do any of those things to someone who is an unapologetic rapist, someone who is clear on the fact that he will rape again. Someone who views rape as a “trade-off” for having a good time.And that is just plain ugly. There is no getting around it. But GMP continues to try to do just that, in decidedly unpleasant ways. The head-perps at GMP appear patently unable to learn from this debacle.
Rape is not something inevitable that happens because you’re partying too hard, because you drink to excess, or because you’re having too much fun. Rape is a choice that this man makes. This man knows that his drinking and partying will lead to having sex with a partner who cannot consent, and yet continues to do so. This man is an unapologetic rapist.
In addition, they do not seem to want to consider the long-term ramifications of their musings, as anti-violence blogger Roger Canaff sternly warned:
I’m sorry, but the issues at work here are far less complicated than you are attempting to make them. And forgive me, but when you attempt to make them more complicated you are putting more women (and some men) in danger. That’s right- that’s my contention. What you’re doing here is creating an elaborate cocktail party conversation with many willing participants about a highly misunderstood and controversial issue. But instead of clearing the air, you’re darkening it. In so doing, you are in fact being an apologist for the relatively few but highly prolific rapists out there who depend on a well-intended but foolish obfuscation of their crystal-clear intent. Please refrain.~*~
At the same time, it's worth asking: how can we have exciting big blogs that do not turn into boring, repetitive echo chambers? Eventually, they always drive off the people who disagree, and then paint themselves into just this kind of ideological corner... or end up printing something extreme, offensive, and/or ridiculous that becomes known as just A STUNT. (I am thinking also of PZ Myers' deliberate desecration of the Eucharist, and his proud "I'm a bad, bad boy!" post about it, which sounded borderline-deranged.) Were these posts intended simply to get attention and shock, in the same way? LOOK AT US, WE ARE THE BRAVE FRINGE! Punk rock's been done, yall. (Even the Marquis de Sade desecrated the host already, and you might be able to imagine the creative ways he thought up, to do that.) It's all been done already, and lots better.
I keep wondering if these stunts are due to the siphoning-off of blog hits; the fact that blogs might be winding down in importance due to the rise of social media. As I have written before, people want comfy social media, or BIG blogs with lots of high-profile, superstar bloggers, brainstorming and accompanying hoopla. The GMP is possibly now collapsing under this weight. Subtle ideas and thoughtful opinions about social issues and collective change, are pretty boring in these days of Fox News and school-shootings. Those of us toiling in the trenches are not the big story.
And that's too bad, isn't it? Since I always thought we were.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Buddy Guy with David Myers (on bass) from the movie Chicago Blues (1970) --which I can not seem to locate, after much effort. Great 70s Chicago visuals!
Buddy Guy - First Time I Met The Blues
I know I've shared this one before. Time for a reprise!
Cream - Born Under A Bad Sign
Grateful Dead - Cassidy (Unplugged- Live) - 09/24/94 - Berkeley Benefit
One YouTube comment says this was actually a "Phil Lesh and friends" performance that included Bob, Jerry and Vince Welnick.
... was yesterday! I attended the Feast Day Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe at St Mary Magdalene in Simpsonville. (photos at left) Liturgical dancing, mariachi music and singing, and they even gave us roses. It was a lovely celebration, which I have greatly missed attending.
The spiritual significance of 12-12-12 is purported to be that it is a 'preparation' day for the upcoming cosmic day of 12-21-12. I figured if the Mayans are indeed in charge of the end of the world (although this would appear to be a gross oversimplification of their astrological calendar), then I should go talk to Our Lady of Guadalupe, since that area of the world is her specific geographic purview and under her protection.
Like I always say, you can't be too careful.
More about the end of the world:
Doomsday Phobia Grows As World Awaits December 21, 2012 (Huffington Post)
Mayan End Age 12-21-2012 heralds a New Age of spiritual enlightenment (adishakti.org)
What Sources Say We’ll Ascend on Dec. 21, 2012? (The 2012 Scenario)
The Numerology of 2012 (2012 Spiritual Info)
2012 Predictions: Should You Be Worried? (About.com/Paganism/Wicca)
San Diegans prepare for Mayan doomsday: Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012 (10news.com)
Maya 2012 -Mayan Calendar, Mayan Prophecy and December 21 2012 (Maya 2012)
Top Destinations (or States of Mind) for December 21, 2012 (Reality Sandwich)
2012 in Bible Prophecy (EndTimes Ministries)
End of the world, December 21, 2012, NASA says there is nothing to worry about (WPTV.com)
Will the World end on 21 December? (PM News Nigeria)
What's going to happen on December 21st 2012? (Cornell Astronomy)
It's The End of the World as We Know It - R. E. M.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
... is in Greenville's Far West End art district, also known as The Village.
The distinct neighborhood was once the largest mill village in the area, and I used to troll the place back in the late 80s, where the Salvation Army and several other super-thrifty, extremely-cheap thrift shops occupied an entire block in what appeared to be long-defunct furniture and appliance stores. I loved the environment and felt so sorry that the neighborhood (with its signature, cozy, compact mill-houses) appeared to be going belly-up, as Carolina textile businesses moved out of the county in droves. While the rejuvenation and gentrification of downtown Greenville happened, this area seemed to be left behind.
Lo and behold, the punk rockers, Zen masters and alternative artists have discovered the neighborhood (and inexpensive property), and it is now starting to thrive once again. I attended a craft fair in this delightful village a couple of weeks ago and was stunned to see all the cool peoples. And I was invited to view the work of Syprian Harvey in his very unique Asylum gallery. Totally visionary and exciting, Syprian comes to us by way of New Jersey, Germany, Singapore and Asheville.
I really enjoyed his gallery and his work, so have a look. (as always, you can click to enlarge)
On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.Courtesy of Another Voice with Jason and Eric, here is the entirety of David Cobb's presentation here in Greenville last week:
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.
We Move to Amend
". . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."
~Supreme Court Justice Stevens, January 2010
Monday, December 10, 2012
Photos from RATSTORM show, December 6th at Cabin Floor Records in Greenville. Ratstorm hails from Bloomington, Indiana.
Lots of moshing, so I had to keep my distance for safety's sake. (Nobody over 50 was moshing, needless to say.) But I love how the photos came out, accurately reflecting the energy and chaos of the show. (as always, you can click to enlarge)
Thursday, December 6, 2012
We are finally rid of our nuisance teabagger Senator! YEE HA! (happy dance) As a consequence, I have been singing "Ding Dong, the witch is dead" all day long...
DeMint has 4 years remaining in his Senate term. From the Greenville News:
U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint said today he will replace Ed Feulner as president of the Heritage Foundation, and leave the Senate in January.
DeMint, a Republican, will leave his post as South Carolina’s junior senator in early January to take control of the Washington think tank, which has an annual budget of about $80 million.
“It’s been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it’s time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America’s future,” DeMint said in a statement.
“I’m leaving the Senate now, but I’m not leaving the fight. I’ve decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas,” he said. “No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.
“I’m humbled to follow in the footsteps of Ed Feulner, who built the most important conservative institution in the nation. He has been a friend and mentor for years and I am honored to carry on his legacy of fighting for freedom.”
Feulner had total compensation of $1,098,612 in 2010, according to Heritage Foundation’s Form 990. DeMint’s pay as U.S. Senator has been $174,000 since 2009, with Senate pay set at $174,000 for 2013.
DeMint’s departure means that Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, will name a successor, who will have to run in a special election in 2014. Both DeMint’s replacement and Sen. Lindsey Graham will be running for reelection in South Carolina that year.
Republican insiders were speculating that Haley may look at a handful of names as DeMint’s replacement, including U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, the North Charleston Republican and a favorite of conservatives. Scott is the only black Republican in the U.S. House.
Scott, in a statement this morning, said: “I first want to thank Senator DeMint for the tremendous work he has done on behalf of South Carolina and the nation. His commitment to conservative principles leaves a true legacy, and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know and work with him over the past two years.
“Looking forward, Governor Haley will now appoint a new Senator, and I know she will make the right choice both for South Carolina and the nation.”DeMint was also the congressman from this district, so he has been annoying me nonstop since 1998.
Other possible replacements include Rep. Trey Gowdy, Congressman for the 4th District that includes much of Greenville County and Rep. Mick Mulvaney, the Republican Congressman from Indian Land.
All three were elected to Congress in the 2010 election.
Haley could also resign as governor, which would elevate Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell to her post as a deal that would have him appoint her to the Senate. But Haley has consistently said the only job she is interested in is the one she has and has started preparing for re-election in 2014.
Haley said this morning that DeMint “has served South Carolina and the national conservative movement exceptionally well. His voice for freedom and limited government has been a true inspiration. On a personal level, I value Jim’s leadership and friendship. Our state’s loss is the Heritage Foundation’s gain. I wish Jim and Heritage all the best in continuing our shared commitment to America’s greatness.”
DeMint was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 after owning a successful advertising and market research company for 20 years. DeMint left the House after limiting himself to three terms. He then was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2010.
DeMint has authored legislation to balance the budget, ban earmarks, replace the tax code, and reform the nation’s entitlement programs.
Good riddance. I doubt any possible replacement could be as bad.
EDIT 12/7/12: As mentioned above, Rep. Tim Scott, up-and-coming black Republican congressman from Charleston, is being touted as DeMint's replacement in the Senate. If appointed, he would be South Carolina's first black Senator. A website-petition has sprung up to push him as the replacement.
As Matt Drudge would say, developing....