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When did "teabagger" become acceptable discourse in polite company?

As I've said, I wasn't really following politics closely until Brown's victory in Massachusetts. I posted soon after that about Keith Olbermann's ridiculous criticism of Brown. Part of that tirade involved calling him a "teabagger".

I was shocked that he used that term on national TV. As Urban Dictionary states, teabagging is "Dipping your testicles into the open mouth of another person. Kind of like dipping a tea bag in and out of a cup of water." I have only heard of it as a prank pulled by fraternity brothers on new pledges once they're passed out from drinking.

A couple of years ago, Virginia Tech forward Deron Washington jumped over Duke guard Greg Paulus on the way to a layup. Note the position of Washington's crotch relative to Paulus' face.

In later games, Virginia Tech fans began chanting "Teabag Paulus" in mockery.

This turned into a contentious issue among VT fans--whether the chant was okay, whether it was classless, whether it demeans the University, etc.

So I was shocked that Olbermann used that term on TV. Then I heard Rachel Maddow use the term, and she still uses it. It's pretty much everywhere among the leftist punditry.

When did this become okay? Are we soon going to be hearing about country "blumpkins"?


Your Future

I'm not sure which is more frightening: the dystopian future presented in this advertisement, or the fact that a company thought this vision would appeal to some people.


I'm sure the specific numbers are already being gloated about

How handy for Daniel Pipes that the thing he wants most in the entire world--the destruction of as many Iranians as militarily feasible--is exactly what would reinject some vim and vigor back into Obama's presidency! Oh happy day, except for civilized people all over the world.


Saints Win

I'm not a fan of any professional sports team, so I watch professional football only as a fan of the game. I did, however, want to see the Saints win this one. Though I've never been there, I'm a fan of the culture of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans--the bayou, cajuns, bourbon street, jazz, the blues, A Confederacy of Dunces, etc. Forty years is a long time to wait.

Unlike most professional sports teams, their nickname actually has something to do with the city, having its origin in the song "When the Saints go Marching in". They once had a basketball team with a similarly awesome name, the New Orleans Jazz, but that team moved to Utah, and now the land of Mormons has a basketball team nicknamed "the Jazz".

The player on the field with the most Cajun sounding name, Pierre Garçon, was wearing blue and white. He's of Haitian ancestry, not Cajun. (Note: yelling out "Garçon!!" in a French accent when he makes a catch will elicit guffaws every single time.) Former Virginia Tech standout Pierson Prioleau, now a Saints backup comes close, as does running back Pierre Thomas.

If the Colts had won, Peyton Manning was on track to be considered perhaps the all-time best quarterback in NFL history. He would have had two Super Bowl wins, 4 NFL MVPs, and yearly league domination. However, now that title is probably permanently unreachable for him. His interception, even though it wasn't his fault, will forever taint his career compared to the perfect four Super Bowls of Joe Montana.

Drew Brees, on the other hand, has suddenly catapulted himself into elite company. He is now in the company of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger as one of the best quarterbacks of his generation. What a game, and what a playoff run.

I liked the song accompaniment to the Dante's Inferno commercial.

Instead of "Hell Awaits", the final scene was supposed to read "Go to Hell." However, that version didn't pass the CBS muster, and the ending was changed.

It seems like there is a Moore's Law of Super Bowl halftime bands: they become exponentially older every year.

When I was a kid, the Super Bowl was always a blowout. They've been great games the last few years.


Crystal Ball

---------------------------------

By 2050, how many European countries will be ruled by military dictatorships following the breakup of the EU?

Regards, Don


Climate Strange

This is the Washington D.C. area's second two-foot snowstorm of the winter, something I doubt has happened in over 50 years.

**Insert joke about Federal Government being stalled**

**Insert joke about Climate Change**


The lost Tea Party

Whatever momentum the Tea Party movement had--and I view this as a separate movement from the one that arose around Ron Paul--they're now going to squander it entirely.


Historical Precedent for Spending Cuts?

The resurgence of small-government populism has got me excited. I know tax cuts are viable because they've happened before. Top marginal rates have been in the 70s in my lifetime. A few European countries have adopted flat tax policies. Americans like the idea of tax cuts.

What I'm more pessimistic about is spending cuts. I don't think spending has been cut in a significant way in my lifetime. The last time major spending cuts were talked about (that I can remember) was after 1994, but that was short-lived as people freaked out about Newt Gingrich taking away their Social Security and Medicare.

This paints a mixed picture: tax cuts could potentially improve the economy and raise tax revenues provided we're to the right of the Laffer maximum. But at best, the result will be like the 1990s when the budget was (almost) briefly balanced under Clinton. Then some other crisis will cause spending to increase again.

Is there any historical precedent for large-scale spending cuts? Can we point to a time and place in the past and say, "That's our example of what should happen today"?


The Scandalously Non-scandalous Scandal

The bounds of respectable political discourse in Europe are waaaay different than they are in the U.S.A. For instance, what mentions Climategate got here focused on the fact that climate data were completely and artificially manipulated in what was an at least loosely organized effort. This team conspired to block competing viewpoints from the discussion and "lost" raw unmanipulated data when it was requested.

And in Europe, they think that intelligence agencies from oil-producing companies were behind the exposé of this manipulation. And the exposé is the scandal, not the falsification.

Even if it's true that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or Russia (or all three) were behind it, um, who cares? If there was a systematic effort to falsify data that have massive, worldwide policy implications, that needs to get worked out.


This is the empire

I'm used to wishing I hadn't read articles about the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and the complete indifference to human rights on the part of the occupation forces. So many of them turn my stomach and sour my mood knowing that these things are being done (partially in my name) so frequently and with so little reaction from Americans. If you're not ready to deal with reality, don't read this, the story of a man pointlessly imprisoned for years and tortured at Guantánamo. The only upshot is that he resisted with manly fortitude and was eventually released.

Embedded in that story is another one, also frightening on two accounts. An American soldier who was a guard at Guantánamo was the subject of a training exercise wherein he dressed as a prisoner, and other guards were to "pratice" "extracting" him. This guy was beat nearly to death and given permanent brain injuries before they figured out he was part of their gang. (The video evidence, of course, was destroyed immediately, and nothing of consequence happened to the thugs.) If this happened to him it surely must happen in other situations that we know less about.

The second thing, the cruel icing on the cake, is this:

"So, if you got your health back, I take it, after your experience with the Army, you’d never serve again," Simon asks Baker.

"I’d be in," says Baker. "Till the day I die."

This guy is so brainwashed that he can't even wrap his mind around the nature of the organization that did this to him and abjectly refuses to correct it even in the smallest way. He ought to know better more than almost anybody, and he doesn't.