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September 23, 2012 9:24 AM Morning headlines

By Kathleen Geier

— Lyin’ Ryan is at it again, this time telling an audience of senior citizens that Obamacare includes death panels. Maybe he’s taking Sarah Palin’s advice that Romney/Ryan need to “go rogue.”

— Mitt Romney lists the U.S. as a “foreign country” on his tax returns. Whoops! It turns out it’s just a preparation error, but can you imagine the perfervid wingnut conspiracy theories if Obama made a similar mistake?

— The Obama campaign is said to be worried about voter complacency and is making efforts to combat that. Good. At this point, complacency is the main thing I worry about in the upcoming presidential election, as well.

— In a speech to African-American political leaders, First Lady Michelle Obama called voting rights the country’s “most important civil rights issue.” She’s probably right, of course, but cue the wingnut outrage.

— Ralph Reed: he’s baaaccckk! Amazing how so many Republican crooks — from Watergate convicted felons like Chuck Colson to Irangate scammers like Eliot Abrams — are “rehabilitated” and welcomed with open arms right back into the highest reaches of the GOP.

— Speaking of 90s relics that are back, Andres Serrano’s controversial artwork “Piss Christ” is making headlines once again. It seems that it’s being displayed at a private gallery in New York City, and the usual suspects on the religious right are demanding that Obama “condemn” it. Their argument is that since Obama denounced the anti-Muslim film “Innocence of Muslims” that sparked worldwide riots and a crisis in the Middle East, he needs to repudiate “Piss Christ” as well, because otherwise that would totally be showing favoritism toward Islam and insulting Christianity. Yeah, that sounds like an awesome plan — I’m sure that running around to museums all over the country and denouncing art that anyone deems offensive would be a great use of the President’s time. And isn’t it strange how every time economic issues come to the forefront, as they have with Romney’s infamous “47%” remarks, the right loves to gin up a culture war to distract us all? It’s a giant relief to all sane people that these kind of orchestrated right-wing hissy fits are not nearly as effective as they used to be.

— Finally, the Vatican has appointed Salvatore Cordileone, a man known as “the architect of Proposition 8,” to become San Francisco’s new archbishop. Excellent move! Among other things, Cordileone has said that gays and lesbians “in sexual relationships of any kind” should be denied communion. Members of San Francisco’s LGBTQ Catholic community “worry that they will be marginalized after Cordileone’s arrival.” You think?

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee

Comments

  • c u n d gulag on September 23, 2012 10:39 AM:

    So, if I understand your position, Archbishop, gay's and lesbian will be denied communion, but it's ok for childf*ckers can give communion.

    Really?

    "Piss" on him!

  • c u n d gulag on September 23, 2012 10:43 AM:

    Frak!

    I worry so much about getting CRAPTCHA right, that I forget my grammar and spelling!

    The above should read:
    So, if I understand your position, Archbishop, gay's and lesbians will be denied getting communion, but it's ok for childf*ckers to give communion.

    Really?

    "Piss" on him!

    And "PISS" on CRAPTCHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ron Byers on September 23, 2012 11:01 AM:

    c u n d, we took your meaning. This is an instant medium, spelling and grammar errors are to be expected. But on the other hand, "Piss" on Captcha!!!!

  • c u n d gulag on September 23, 2012 11:20 AM:

    Ron,
    While writing against voter suppression, Washington Monthly practices commenter suppression.

    I love this site, Ed, great guest posters like Kathleen, and Ben, and Adele, the other articles we have access to, and the terrific commenters - but CRAPTCHA makes me want to fling bricks at my laptop.

    When will finally be rid of this CRAPTCHA atrocity?

  • Varecia on September 23, 2012 11:23 AM:

    Serrano's work is a statement about the commercialization of Christianity, not a condemnation of it. How ironic that the religious right complains about this but promotes 'Veggie Tales'--which portrays revered Christian religious figures as vegetables.

  • ComradeAnon on September 23, 2012 11:24 AM:

    Well, the Pope does want a smaller, "purer" church.

    Hmmm. "uomo" was part of my captcha. c u n d, does captcha channel the Archbishop for your comments?

  • Rick B on September 23, 2012 11:34 AM:

    If there is any action the Roman hierarchy of the Catholic Church could take that would demonstrate the utter uselessness of the Catholic bishops in the modern urban industrial society it is hard to imagine what it might be. Probably in another 500 years the institution (if it still exists) will recognize its mistake and apologize, much like their reaction to Galileo.

  • emjayay on September 23, 2012 11:56 AM:

    Before Captcha, which I too find annoying, the comments on this blog were continually being spammed with those bizarre lists of items on sale somewhere. For some reason they usually stayed up for hours. It always seemed to me that some program should be able to detect that sort of thing in various ways and eliminate it before it happens. My Yahoo mail seems to be pretty good at figuring out what is spam.

    Once in a while it still happens somehow. And of course we've all seen those odd comments here or on other blogs about making a bunch of money at home with your computer or something.

    Anyway, the situation here before Captcha got to the point where the comments weren't worth reading. Captcha may be a lousy solution and maybe there's something better out there, but it was a solution.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on September 23, 2012 12:02 PM:

    Varecia: I don't know how much you know about the eventual fate of VeggieTales, but it's actually quite sad. It ended up with the creator's firm getting sued by a distributor and losing control of his characters. http://www.philvischer.com/phil-news/what-happened-to-big-idea-part-1/

    Now, I really don't understand any standard by which it's OK for the President to condemn "art" intended it incite Muslims but not to condemn art intended to incite Christians. You might argue that Serrano's established reputation as an artist should make him exempt because he's making "real art", not just propaganda, but putting public policy in the purview of art critics seems a bit weird.

    "Serrano's work is a statement about the commercialization of Christianity, not a condemnation of it." -- So appropriate public policy requires speculating on to the intent behind creative works? This seems to suffer from the same problem as those unconstitutional hate crime laws, putting the government in the role of mindreader.

    Of course condemning "art" based on its probable effect makes the government a mindreader too. So let's be honest that it really comes down to this: aggrieved Muslims in other countries might riot and cause a public safety issue (especially for American diplomats), but aggrieved Christians in the US aren't going to literally riot.

  • c u n d gulag on September 23, 2012 12:20 PM:

    emjayay,
    Yeah, I remember those bad old days.

    Having said that, there's got to be a better system than CRAPTCHA.

  • Laughguard on September 23, 2012 12:52 PM:

    Well, much as I like calling out lyin ryan, you really have to read the article and watch the video. If you watch the clip on TP, an audience member asked "what about those death panels", and Ryan kind of chuckled and said "The death panels, well! Thatís not the word Iíd choose to use to describe it. Itís actually called. Itís actually called, so in Medicare, what I refer to as this board of 15 bureaucrats. Itís called the Independent Payment Advisory Board." And then he went off on a discussion about how competition in providing medical services will bring prices down more effectively than setting "price controls" on services .. which theoretically are so low that providers won't serve Medicare patients ... as if insurance companies don't set price caps on payment for services. Now, to be sure, he didn't CORRECT the audience member and tell him, as Ryan SURELY knows, that there's no such thing as death panels, but really, why would he? He wants to get rid of the Affordable Health Care Act, and if some of his constituents oppose it because they're misinformed .. well, why disabuse them of that notion? That's the job of the administration, and with all the lies coming from Republicans over the last 4 years, they haven't been able to get the message across effectively enough to keep the nonsense from continuing .. but then MANY R's are willfully ignorant (e.g. birthers, despite ALL the actual evidence). It would be appropriate for Biden, when he gets Ryan in a debate, to ask him WHY he didn't tell that audience member that there were no death panels, but to characterize what Ryan said as telling an audience there were death panels is surely an overstatement.

  • biggerbox on September 23, 2012 12:58 PM:

    CRAPTCHA is not ideal, but I find it tolerable through liberal use of the "new challenge" button. Clicking on the double arrow button at the top of the row of three will display a new pair, and I just keep clicking until I get a pair I feel like trying to type. It usually doesn't take long to get one I can read without twisting my eye-sockets out of my head. I figure it's a small price to pay for knowing that at least the stupid non-sequitur comments were left by actual humans (or trolls.)

  • JM917 on September 23, 2012 1:11 PM:

    The NYT also uses Captcha, but (at least in my experience) the "puzzlers" aren't nearly as hard to decipher as some of those that pop up on this site. Greek letters, for Pete's sake! And other squiggles that simply require hitting the "new challenge" button a couple of times, as biggerbox says.

    Is it possible that Captcha can be programmed (by WaMo?)to deliver puzzlers at different levels of incomprehensibility? If Captcha came here at the level prevailing at the NYT, I wouldn't complain too much. And it IS worth filtering out the worst of the spam--though I wish we didn't have to be entertained with idiot come-ons to use our computers at home to generate thousands bucks a week...

  • boatboy_srq on September 23, 2012 1:19 PM:

    Mitt Romney lists the U.S. as a ďforeign countryĒ on his tax returns.

    Given how out of touch he continues to illustrate he is, that may be truer than any of us could guess.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on September 23, 2012 1:20 PM:

    JM917: You don't have to guess the Greek letters. Seriously, just put in whatever you feel like. You only have to guess the synthetic one, and make up something for the other one scanned in from a book.

    Does NYT use ReCAPTCHA, the one that's exploiting our labor to help digitize books?

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on September 23, 2012 1:32 PM:

    In case it's not clear, CAPTCHA is just a generic term for the kind of test. ReCAPTCHA is the brand name for this clever idea of getting CAPTCHA users to also help librarians digitize words in books that didn't scan in automatically.

    But seriously, just put whatever you want for the Greek words.

  • jonh on September 23, 2012 1:35 PM:

    I always took Piss Christ to be just a striking depiction of the Mystery of the Divine becoming incarnate.

    I always thought it nicely ironic that modern American Christians echoed the ancient Roman objections to christianity -- that it was sacrilegious to think that a divinity would defile itself by adopting animal flesh.

  • schtick on September 23, 2012 1:56 PM:

    Of course Colson and Abrams and people like them, (Abramoff and Reed) are welcomed back with open arms. They were the scapegoats and took the hit so a few others wouldn't have to. They are heroes.

  • TCinLA on September 23, 2012 2:10 PM:

    Someone is surprised that in 2,000 years of church history, they mistakenly had one progressive Pope by accident, and then fled screaming back to the good old ways of the Borgias, the Nazi-enabling Pius XII, and all the rest of the old scumbags. Especially after John-Paul II's counter-revolution which culminated in the elevation of Ratzi the Nazi?

  • cwolf on September 23, 2012 2:52 PM:

    Re: Capshit, What biggerbox on September 23, 2012 12:58 PM: said.
    Re the post, The little publicized right(duty?) to sit on juries has been gamed and focus grouped to death by prosecutors.
    This pisses me off a lot.

  • FlipYrWhig on September 23, 2012 3:33 PM:

    Why would it be controversial for Michelle Obama to say that voting rights were the most important civil rights issue? Do Republicans think some other issue is more important?

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on September 23, 2012 4:59 PM:

    FlipYrWhig:

    The fight against the oppression of billionaire job creators by those lucky duckies who are too poor to pay income tax is the defining civil rights struggle of our generation, duh.

  • mb on September 23, 2012 6:11 PM:

    I do not understand why the LGBTQ catholic community isn't a null set.

    I would not, and will not, belong to or seek acceptance from a group that has the attitude toward me that the Church has toward the LGBTQ community. Seems like this new Archbishop ought to be a wake-up call that the LGBTQ community is not welcome within the catholic community. Why not just accept that and move on?

  • Varecia on September 23, 2012 8:35 PM:

    "...the usual suspects on the religious right are demanding that Obama condemn it. Their argument is that since Obama denounced the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims that sparked worldwide riots and a crisis in the Middle East, he needs to repudiate Piss Christ as well, because otherwise that would totally be showing favoritism toward Islam and insulting Christianity..."

    re Equal Opportunity Cynic: the point I'm making is that Obama denounced a film that, yea, was clearly intended to insult Islam. Serrano says his 'Christ' series was about the commercialization of Christianity, which implies he believes it demeans and trivializes Christianity. For the sake of impartiality, perhaps the religious right really needs to ask Obama to condemn the Christmas retail season, instead of condemning the 'Piss Christ' photo.

  • c00p on September 23, 2012 11:18 PM:

    If the Repubs didn't "rehabilitate" their felons, etc., they wouldn't have much of a pool, would they?

  • Consumatopia on September 23, 2012 11:52 PM:

    Now, I really don't understand any standard by which it's OK for the President to condemn "art" intended it incite Muslims but not to condemn art intended to incite Christians. You might argue that Serrano's established reputation as an artist should make him exempt because he's making "real art", not just propaganda, but putting public policy in the purview of art critics seems a bit weird.

    The First Amendment applies to Obama or anyone else sitting in the Oval Office. They may praise God in their speeches, and they may condemn whichever works of art they feel the need to condemn. And yes, it is totally reasonable for them to make a judgment of the intentions of the people creating or displaying a work--there is no need to treat "Satanic Verses", "Piss Christ", "Innocence of Muslims", "The Last Temptation of Christ", Westboro Baptist Church slogans, Muhammed cartoons, burning holy books, or burning flags equally. Being President doesn't mean you have to give up subjective opinions. You can even call Kanye West a jackass.

    Also, when soldiers and diplomats from a mostly Christian country are in a number of mostly-Muslim countries, the Departments of State and Defense may be more likely to advise against (though they have no power to forbid) certain expressions. If America were occupied by Muslim troops, or if we had a dictator who received Muslim support, I strongly suspect that Christians would react quite differently to provocations.