Archive for May 11, 2011

2 years ago

The Polit­i­cal Platy­pus: Matt Dean’s Mother

The Platy­pus is amused, but not sur­prised, at a lit­tle anti-​​intellectual dustup in Min­nesota, one of the nicest states in the Union.

Appar­ently, best­selling author Neil Gaiman took a $45,000 speak­ers fee from the peo­ple of Still­wa­ter, who used state money to pay it.

Min­nesota House Speaker Matt Dean (R-​​Dellwood) called Mr. Gaiman a “pencil-​​necked lit­tle weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”

He later issued a non-​​apology apol­ogy, say­ing his mother told him to apol­o­gize for call­ing Mr. Gaiman names but he still thought the fee excessive.

Of course, the fee was donated to char­ity, as is Mr. Gaiman’s usual prac­tice, but still.

Appar­ently, pub­lic arts fund­ing is only to be used for things that Mr. Dean likes.

Competitive Lee

Chris Lee, member of the United States House o...

He lost his shirt, then lost his office. (Image via Wikipedia)

Cor­rected: 5/​11/​2011 2:05PM PDT

In case any of you ever thought pol­i­tics wasn’t fun, I give you the spe­cial elec­tion in NY-​​26 to be held on May 24th, called by Gov­er­nor Cuomo to replace fresh­man Chris Lee who resigned in Feb­ru­ary after the mar­ried Con­gress­man sent a shirt­less photo of him­self to a woman on an Inter­net dat­ing site.

Though Lee was one of only three Repub­li­cans in his state’s 29-​​member leg­isla­tive cau­cus, NY-​​26 has been a reli­ably Repub­li­can seat for many years, often won by as much as a 40-​​point spread. But this spe­cial elec­tion is sur­pris­ingly competitive.

The race is between GOP can­di­date Jane Cor­win and Demo­c­rat Kathy Hochul, and the con­ser­v­a­tive vote is being split by peren­nial can­di­date Jack Davis* who is run­ning on the Tea Party ticket. Rec­og­niz­ing what a blow it will be to Repub­li­can morale in 2012 if they lose another “safe” GOP seat, Karl Rove’s com­mit­tee is plow­ing $350,000 into the race on Corwin’s behalf. The DCCC has just announced they will weigh in on Hochul’s behalf with a major ad buy as well, prob­a­bly about $250,000.

Hochul is relent­lessly ham­mer­ing on the Ryan bud­get plan to gut Medicare and give fur­ther tax cuts to the wealthy, and her mes­sage is play­ing sur­pris­ingly well in dark-​​red upstate New York. The most recent polls now show the Demo­c­rat run­ning slightly ahead of her GOP rival.

*Note: In an ear­lier ver­sion of this arti­cle, we erro­neously linkes to Jack Davis, the car­toon­ist, on Wikipedia, instead of Jack Davis, the indus­tri­al­ist. We regret the error.


Pres­i­dent Chester Arthur: Unamerican?

Recently I posted “The Ele­phant in the Room,” in which I opined the birther move­ment was a clear man­i­fes­ta­tion of racism. Michael dis­agreed, stat­ing it was merely polit­i­cal, the nat­ural behav­ior of a polit­i­cal party look­ing for any weapon with which to attack a for­mi­da­ble opponent.

I coun­tered there must be a rea­son for this group to choose Barack Obama’s “non-​​Americanism” as their weapon…and that rea­son was racism. If not, I argued, why have we not seen birther move­ments in the past, since there have surely been pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates whose par­ents were not born in the United States? Michael imme­di­ately coun­tered with this, com­pletely shred­ding my argu­ment. He later teased me by say­ing I should have known bet­ter than to make such a rash state­ment with­out research­ing it first.

Indeed. My humil­i­a­tion is com­plete. I am totally pwned.


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