Alex Kid Pareene gets it right: Yesterday, we issued The Maureen Dowd Challenge.
Our challenge: What liberal, semi- or pseudo-liberal would denounce this broken-souled throwbacks latest gong-show gender-drivel? Who would make a brave attempt to rid us of this meddlesome columnist?
At Salon, Alex Kid Pareene stepped up to the plateand then, he swung for the fences! We strongly recommend his whole piece. That said, he started like this:
PAREENE (3/23/11): Was President Obama "henpecked" into waging war on Libya by his "Amazon warrior" female advisors? Only if you're shocked by the thought of women in positions of power actually asserting their power. It also helps if you consider skepticism of military engagement to be inherently "feminine" and think that getting convinced of something by a woman is in and of itself emasculating. And if you're Maureen Dowd you repeat all that stupid, backward cant, because you're the hard-charging award-winning New York Times columnist with the most retrograde conception of gender relations this side of Hays Code-era Hollywood.
There! Now what was so hard about that? And what was so hard about saying this: There is little daylight between her position on the matter and Rush Limbaugh's, except that Rush is at least honest enough not to cloak his chauvinism in the trappings of irony.
And what is so hard about stating the obvious? Maureen Dowd's friends are hardly representative of anyone besides the worst that D.C. and Manhattan have to offer. Pareenes words/our grateful emphasis.
We strongly recommend Pareenes piece. But elsewhere in the career liberal world, saying such things was very hardwas simply too hard to attempt. Steve Benen didnt say a word about Dowds chauvinismnot even in Wednesdays mini-report, his crowded edition of quick hits. Neither did the fiery folk over at TPM. And of course, no one criticized Dowds latest breakdown on The One True Liberal Channel. Indeed, Chris Matthews was the only host who even mentioned her cry for help. Unsurprisingly, he essentially recommended the piece by his crackpot friend. Its obviously very enjoyable to read a Maureen Dowd column, he enjoyably said.
(Matthews, displaying his own throwback values: Im staying out of this because its very gender-specific. So true! What man could sensibly state a view about Dowds sad assertions?)
What makes it so hard for career liberal heroes to complain about Dowd? Again, well direct you to the jealous gods of journalismCareer and his sibling, Advancement. You will never see players like Rachel Maddow name-call a big mainstream player like Dowd. More on Maddows burgeoning media criticism in the days to come.
Indeed, career liberals have accepted this destructive behavior for more than a decade now. Somehow or other, Kid Pareene found the courage to say it:
PAREENE: Dowd's first paragraph is simply a list of clichéd terms for war-making women. In the rest of the column she purports to be simply compelled by the media attention paid to the role of Susan Rice, Samantha Power and Hillary Clinton in planning the Libyan campaign, but she is actually just reveling in the opportunity to call a Democratic male politician an effete weakling surrounded, as always, by ball-breaking bitches like Hillary. This is the primary theme of Dowd's work going back to the Clinton administration.
So true! To add a dollop of specificity, Dowds broken-souled lunacy dates to the time whento cite just one exampleshe wrote that Candidate Gore was so feminized and diversified and ecologically correct, hes practically lactating. (On the Sunday before the 2000 election, she pictured Gore before a mirror, singing I Feel Pretty.) In such ways, Dowd struggled and strained to send George Bush to the White House, thus helping punish the vile Bill Clinton. With the help of Frank Rich and the late Michael Kelly, she started this demented war against Gore in late 1997. She kept it up for three solid years.
But so what? Career liberals accepted this conduct thenand they still accept it today! You see, Maureen Dowds friends may be representative of the worst D.C. and Manhattan have to offer. But Dowd and her friends are very powerful inside the career journalistic world, which is where your quivering heroes hope to shine some day.
Joan Walsh has never told you. Benen would move to Utah first. Josh Marshall isnt going to squawkand Big Ed, Larry and Rachel wont tattle. What keeps your fiery career liberal heroes from attacking all that stupid, backward cantall that Limbaugh-like chauvinism? What keeps your heroes from pushing back, even though this stupid cant has been destructively aimed at Big Democrats going back to the Clinton administration? Even though this cant makes our world immeasurably dumber? Even though it makes a sick joke of women in positions of power?
Sorry! Two gods just roared on the TV machine thingy! We couldnt quite hear what you said.
WHAT ABOUT WHOOPI AND JOY AND BARBARA (permalink): Finally, its official! If it werent for Maureen Dowd, Donald Trump would be the worlds dumbest known alleged human.
Trump staked his claim to the mythical title yesterday, on The View. You see, Donald Trump is concerned about Obamas missing birth certificate. Prompted by Joy Behar, the thoughtful developer explained his concerns, then spoke with the rest of the cast:
BEHAR (3/23/11): You recently said about President Obama, and I'm going to quote you, "He grew up and nobody knew him. Nobody knows who he is until later in his life. The whole thing is strange." What are you driving at there? Are you a birther, Donald?
TRUMP: I was a really good student at the best school. Im like a smart guy, OK? They make these birthers into the worst idiots. Why doesn't he show his birth certificate?
GOLDBERG: Why should he have to?
TRUMP: Because I have to and everybody else has to, Whoopi. Excuse me. I really believe there's a birth certificate. (Pointing to Elisabeth Hasselbeck) Look, shes smiling! Why didn't he show his birth certificate? And you know what? I wish he would, because I think its a terrible pale [sic] that's hanging over him. He should show his birth certificate.
The other thingif you go to my first grade, my kindergarten, people remember me. Nobody from those early years remembers him.
BEHAR: That's not true. Theres pictures of him! What are you talking about?
TRUMP: Show me a picture.
The foolishness wound on and on as Trump went after the title. Before long, applause could be heard:
TRUMP: But more importantly, why doesn't he And you know what? I think he probably was. But the word "probably
WALTERS: Why should he have to defend himself against an accusation?
TRUMP: Because if you are going to be the president of the United States, it says very profoundly that you have to be born in this country.
A bit later:
TRUMP: I want him to show his birth certificate. I want him to show his birth certificate.
TRUMP: There is something on the birth certificate that he doesn't like.
BEHAR: Oh, my god.
WALTERS: Thats a terrible thing to say.
Trump may be the worlds dumbest person; at the very least, he was trying to give that impression. But what about Behar, Walters and Goldberg? All three clucked, complained and kvetched about the very bad things Trump had said. But none of them noted the obvious fact: Obama has shown his birth certificate! This has been vouched for by Hawaiis Republican governor. But none of them noted that either.
For one of Politifacts many accounts of this matter, go aheadjust click here.
Trump went on and on and on, establishing himself as the worlds dumbest person. But how dumb were Walters, Behar and Goldberg? It was Behar who introduced the topic; this means she had plenty of time to prepare for Trumps response. But Behar was too dead-dog stupidtoo unpreparedto challenge Trumps ridiculous claims. Walters and Goldberg were totally clueless as well.
Across America, millions of viewers watched these irresponsible people as they floundered, thrashed, cross-talked and failed. As a result, a new bunch of people probably think that Obama has, for some strange reason, refused to show his certificate. This is how this garbage gets spreadwith the help of deeply irresponsible people like these horrible upper-end losers.
Then too, theres Greta van Susteren.
What is Gretas role in this mess? Last night, she played extensive tape of this exchange among these overpaid, irresponsible people. But uh-oh! Like her colleagues, she too failed to mention the basic factObama has shown his certificate! Gretas viewers watched Trump declaimand they watched the Three Stooges flail. And then, Greta signed off like this, offering nothing more:
VAN SUSTEREN (3/23/11): Barbara Walters tried to change the subject. As you saw, it didn't quite work.
And coming up, your last call, one more quick round before we turn down the lights! Jimmy Fallon has a new theory about President Obama. Stick around.
We live in fictitious times, Michael Moore said in 2003. Those fictitious times are being created by a wide range of irresponsible players, only some of whom work for Fox. Yesterday, we saw Diane Ravitch go to great lengths to disinform you about our public schools. A few hours later, Walters, Behar and Goldberg enabled the worlds dumbest known alleged man.
What explains such disgraceful conduct? Walters should go on the air and explain why she and her gang of stooges refused to prepare their very small minds for this session with Trump. But truly, you live in a fictitious world. Moores fictitions come at us from many sides, only one of which is Fox.
Special report: He was the son of a teacher, man!
Coming tomorrowour thrilling conclusion (permalink): Tomorrow, well end a two-week journey. In part, well note that Ed Schultz was the son of a teacher, just like Jon Stewart. But wait! There will be more!
In the meantime:
Yesterdays report included lots of test score data about the Texas public schools. All data came from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), the widely-praised gold standard of educational testing.
For all NAEP data and information, your basic starting-point is here. But if you want detailed data about particular states, you will probably need to use the NAEP Data Explorer.
Click here, then click on the block which says MAIN NDE. Youll have to fumble around till you learn how to use it. Theres no real way we can explain it. But all the data are there.