The Widdershins


Hello Widdershins…it was quite a day yesterday! Finally, after all the speculation and assertions that yes she would and no she wouldn’t, Our Lady of the Titanium Pantsuit has entered the race for President in 2016!

I don’t know about you, but I was quite surprised by the way this was done…pleasantly so. Here are some things that I found very interesting:

  • She turned the usual formula on its head. The video is mostly about other people getting ready for important things in their lives, not about her. And really, why did it need to be about her? Everyone knew she was running.
  • She wasn’t afraid to showcase things that Republicans speak about – and with a decidedly liberal bent. Yes, in the video, “family values” were depicted – but to her, they now include marriage equality. Latinos actually speak Spanish in her video – and they’re small business owners, not groundskeepers or maids, like in Mitt Romney’s world. You get the picture – she’s going for all the votes, even those that have been going to Republicans, but without giving up on her core values. (No crosses or guns in this video, folks.) And do you not LOVE the brilliant blue jacket – with the red shell peeking through? And the red and blue logo?
  • Sometimes, the soft sell is best. If you did a Meyers-Briggs analysis of Hillary’s personality type, I believe she would be an ENTJ (which is mine as well). ENTJs like to run directly at the problem and get impatient with those who don’t get it right away. It is tough for us to give people the facts, sit back and let them decide for themselves, without yelling “Duh, you guys. Just do what I said because I’m totally right!” As you can imagine, this makes being a politician very challenging, as patience is a virtue we ENTJs often don’t possess. This makes the video even more impressive – for someone like Hillary to take a back seat and forgo earnestly bullet-pointing every reason why she should be President must have been very counter-intuitive for her. But guess what? She’ll have lots of time to do that on the campaign trail, and during her debates. This was better…far, far better.

    NOTE OF CORRECTION: Per the invaluable Chatblu, Hillary is INTJ. I still think the NTJ characteristics apply, though. :-)

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Good Sunday, Widdershins.  At least, rumor hath it that it will be a great Sunday.  Those In The Know have stated that Hillary Clinton will make a social media announcement of her intent to run for President today, and begin actively campaigning tomorrow.   Please, let it be so.

Most of us met on other forums seven long years ago, and banded together as social outcasts from the Democratic party.  We have waited a long time for this, and I think that we deserve it.  (Please, God.  I’m not getting any younger here.)  If HRC announces today, you can be sure that she learned a great deal during the 2008 campaign, and I don’t mean only from her perceived “missteps”,  She (and sadly I did, too) learned from a few insider maneuvers worthy of Tammany Hall.  But that was then, and this is now, and hopefully we are all in a better place.

I’ll dedicate today to songs about waiting for something, someone, anything great to happen.  There are actually a bunch of songs with “waiting” in the title, but you don’t have to stick to those.  Pick your favorites and post them along with any random thoughts that you might have in this absolutely open thread.

(1) Anticipation – Carly Simon

(2) Something’s Coming – West Side Story

(3) Waiting for the World to Change – John Mayer

(4) What Are You Waiting For? – Nickleback

(5) Wishing and Hoping – Dusty Springfield


Happy Friday, Widdershins.  I know that this is a bit of a departure from form, but I felt the need to post some commentary today.  I promise to put up a Lazy Sunday as well.

This has been quite a week for our Republican contenders, and next week should bring Marco Rubio’s announcement that he’s ready to take the plunge.  In the meantime, Jeb is flirting with an announcement while he vacuums up as much money as he can find.  While declaring himself to be “my own man”, he has surrounded himself with advisors of all stripes who have all save one worked for his father and his brother.  Clearly Jeb plans to wrest the nomination the old-fashioned way – e.g., he’ll purchase it.

Jeb is aware that the Grand Old Pachyderm has a problem with Hispanics, but he is convinced that he can plow his way through that.  After all, his wife is Mexican, and while he was Governor of Florida, he winked and nodded while thousands upon thousands of undocumented migrant workers poured into the state to pick crops for his Big Agra contributors.  It’s unimportant that these people worked for scant wages, as the property owners of the various towns and cities could handle providing basic necessities, medical care and public schools.  Jeb was the first Governor to authorize the issuing of driver’s licenses to undocumented people, despite the fact that it is clearly prohibited by Florida’s state Constitution.  One quick executive order took care of that problem.

If all of this was not enough, Jeb further endeared himself to our Latino population when it came to light that he had checked “Hispanic” on his voter registration.  Well, ¡ hola, Heb!  Bienvenidos á Miami.  (He would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.)

Jeb is actually from a fine old New England  – the Bushes are not Texans, but rather carpetbaggers  – family of which at least one member was a renown slaver, as appears to be the case with many of that ilk.  Jeb’s was a man named Thomas “Beau” Walker (namesake for H.W. and W. alike?), who was such a miserable human being that his demise came by a mutiny aboard one of his vessels.  I suppose that given such a choice, I would consider an alternate description as well.

Senator Rand Paul decided to leap-frog Jeb and had already announced his plans to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and has spent the rest of the week mired in some pretty messy interviews.  He has had three separate occasions where he got quite testy with some of his favorite targets:  the mainstream media (Savannah Guthrie), the DNC, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.  He spurned rescue from Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly, despite their best efforts.  Hannity attempted to fluff things over, but Megyn Kelly called him out and told him that women reporters were not treating him unfairly.  Paul sputtered something about the “contentious nature of interviews”, but she never let him off the hook.  When he talked over her, she talked over him.  She also asked if he perhaps had become a bit emotional.  It was a thing of beauty, and you can access the film through the above link.  Lessons learned?  Nah, probably not by Rand.  As far as the rest of us, and especially Savannah Guthrie are concerned, never ever ever ask Rand why he doesn’t believe in his last stated position, as he is admittedly a bit thin of skin and short of temper.  You know, just what we need in a President…….

Personally, I just can’t wait for Marco Rubio to announce.  Rumors have it that he plans no cuts, big child care credits, and a top tax tier of 35%.  We shall see what we shall see, as my grandfather used to say.  Maybe there will be some explanation for why he voted against the immigration bill that he sponsored.  At least, maybe there will be some water close by.  But any way he goes, he will maintain a direct path toward a head-on collision with Jeb, and that will play poorly in Florida.  Loyalties will be divided, friendships strained, and donors diluted.  It will be one helluva mess, even by Florida standards.  So let the games begin.

This is an open thread.

Good holidays, Widdershins.  Just occasionally, the calendars of two great religions blend holidays into one time period, and this weekend is one such instance.  Christianity has marked Holy Week, which will terminate tomorrow, and Judaism commenced Passover on Friday, and it will end next week.  So, for a three day period – yesterday, today, and tomorrow – we are at a time and a place that is sacred to both traditions.

There is a fair amount of religious music available for these occasions, as well as secular music for new beginnings.  Let’s post those and anything else that comes to mind while enjoying a two day break from the commotion surrounding us.

This is an open thread.

(1) Dayanu – Trad. Passover Song

(2) Jesus Christ Is Risen Today – Trad. Easter Hymn

(3) Down In the River To Pray – Appalachian Folk Hymn

(4) Beginnings – Chicago

(5) From the Beginning – Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

(6) Brand New Day – Sting

(7) Foggy Dew – Trad. Irish song of the Easter Rebellion, 1916


Of course I’m referring to “Professor” Harold Hill from the musical The Music Man, and his supposed hometown of Gary Indiana and him having graduated from the Gary Conservatory, Gold-Medal Class of ’05, the inside joke being that the town wasn’t founded until 1906!  I am not saying ole Harold was gay because we know he was busy chasing down Marian the Librarian!  But I don’t think Harold would want to claim citizenship in a state that feels it has to legislate its hatred of “others” by passing a “religious freedom” (referred to Religious Freedom Restoration Act) law.

Folks have said the law that Indiana passed is no different than laws passed by another 19 or so states, and some of those same folks have said it’s just like the bill passed in Congress and signed by President Clinton, but the Indiana law is different.

There are several differences between the Indiana law (I’m just going to type Indy from here on out) and the others that have been passed.  Judd Legum over at ThinkProgress says one of the big ones lies in Section 9 of the law.

Under that section, a “person” (which under the law includes not only an individual but also any organization, partnership, LLC, corporation, company, firm, church, religious society, or other entity) whose “exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened” can use the law as “a claim or defense… regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.”

Every other Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to disputes between a person or entity and a government. Indiana’s is the only law that explicitly applies to disputes between private citizens. This means it could be used as a cudgel by corporations to justify discrimination against individuals that might otherwise be protected under law.  (bolding/italics mine)

Matt Anderson, an Indy trial lawyer said that difference ” opens up ‘the path of least resistance among its species to have a court adjudicate it in a manner that could ultimately be used to discriminate…’.”  Pardon my language but that’s some scary shit!

As the piece goes on to say, Arizona has a similar law but when the lege there tried to expand the law to purely private disputes, Jan Brewer the governor had enough sense to veto it.  I don’t believe her veto was over any great love of the LGBT community, but rather from the probably earful she was getting from the Arizona business community and its leaders.  It would have been a serious hit to Arizona’s tourism industry as well as its ability to attract newer and more forward-thinking companies.  The same will now apply to Indy.  Also, as Legum says “When the federal law was signed in 1993, it was thought “to be about benign and relatively uncontroversial matters, such as allowing Muslim jail inmates to wear closely trimmed beards, or assuring that churches could feed homeless people in public parks.” .

But that’s not the case now.  Writing for The American Constitution Society, Steve Sanders of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law wrote:

Setting aside the problem that some religious business owners will now think they have a green light to discriminate, the real problem with Indiana’s RIFRA has been less about its substance than its politics – specifically, the motivations of some of its most ardent proponents.


… RIFRAs like Indiana’s are being impelled by the politics of anti-gay backlash.  Their most ardent supporters come from an increasingly angry, marginalized, and shrill subset of Christian conservative activists.  These activists want to stick a symbolic thumb in the eye of judges who struck down anti-gay marriage laws, along with the elected officials, business and cultural leaders, and ordinary citizens who have produced breathtakingly rapid change on the questions of marriage rights and LGBT equality generally.  Indeed, one sign of this progress, even in Indiana, has been the mainstreaming of outrage (from the NCAA to Angie’s List) against the very idea of anti-gay discrimination.

Now Indy is one of the states that does not have a law on the books that says you cannot discriminate against LGBT folks, so some will say that businesses and individuals were already free to discriminate against LGBT people if they wished to.  And this law gives them even more of a legal defense to fall back upon.

And speaking of those economic issues that might arise from this bill’s passage…well here’s a partial list of companies and groups who have gone on the record about how unhappy they are with this and who knows how many may have communicated privately to the Governor, members of the legislature and of the Indiana business community.

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Good afternoon, Widdershins! In case some of you aren’t aware, our Uppity is back and in fine, fine form. Take a gander here.

Speaking of Uppity, our Fredster posted this over at her place. Worth the five minutes it takes to read, but here’s the highlight for me:

Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party’s nominee, and she will win the 2016 election.

When you analyze the objective conditions of the Republican Party today and most likely over the next two years and compare them to Clinton’s strengths, it’s hard not to make such a prediction with confidence.

And here are said strengths:

Clinton has a built-in advantage — her gender. It now looks that she will use the glass-ceiling theme to connect with millions of people who think that the disparities in opportunity, income and talent-based achievement between men and women is not only unfair, but damaging to all women, two-income families and the economy in general.

Some percentage of Americans, likely a large one, would like to cast a historic vote. When polling points to Americans wanting “change,” what bigger change than a woman as president?

Clinton is white. Yes, President Obama was elected twice, with millions of votes over the 50 percent victory threshhold. But looking at the election data that show a precipitous drop in his support among white voters, relative to past Democratic candidates, one can infer some racial bias in a sliver of the electorate. Clinton will be able to attract those voters simply because she is not an African-American man.

In terms of the Latino vote, even though many Republicans are counting on him, Sen. Marco Rubio’s (Fla.) craven flip-flopping is not likely to endear him to many Hispanics outside of Miami. Conversely, Clinton is hugely popular among Hispanics, as is her husband. She’s been a steadfast supporter of immigrant rights and was Latino voters’ favorite during the 2008 primaries. She will sweep the Hispanic vote.

As I used to say in 2008…Duh f*cking duh. If you have any political savvy whatsoever, drawing these conclusions is difficult to avoid, if not impossible. The previously-ironclad Republican strategy of gathering the middle-to-upper-class white male vote, according to exit polls, was successful in 2012…and, yet, The Glove still lost. Stuck in the fake 50’s in their heads, the Republicans refuse to understand that the time of the WMASP is ending, and that June Cleaver will never greet them at the door sporting pearls, pumps, a martini and an apron again. We women belong in the House…the White House!

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I’m back.  The wedding was lovely, and I am almost-but-not-quite caught up on sleep at this point.  But as happens more and more, this week has been a difficult one for the world.  The Israeli election is in the rearview mirror, and things will go as they go hereafter – it’s well above my paygrade.  The Republican race to whatever is officially off and running, with Jeb “I’m my own man” Bush grasping firmly to his roots for dollars and advice, and Ted “I hate Obamacare but now I’ve signed up for it, yet voted to repeal my coverage” Cruz launching his act in front of a captive audience of Liberty University students.  All of the aforementioned events have suddenly seemed of less immediate import since Germanwings flight 9525  fell from the skies, taking all 150 souls aboard from those who knew and loved them.

I admit that I am as baffled as everyone else as to why an apparently normal person would deliberately and agonizingly drop a plane into a pristine mountain.  There are possible medical implications, as some brain tumors affecting the temporal lobe may provoke sudden changes in behavior, though most are considerably more subtle.  A proper autopsy of Andreas Lubitz will likely be impossible, so all are simply left to wonder.  I’m certain that there will be an exhaustive investigation, and I’m equally certain that the findings will at least initially mean little to those who lost family and friends in such a cruel fashion.  The final moments aboard the aircraft had to be terrifying.

So, let’s spend today searching for solace in song, in hopes that in comforting ourselves we may project peace outward.  Otherwise, please feel free to consider this to be the usual open thread.

(1) Dies Irae – Gregorian Chant

(2) Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley

(3) Song for Adam – Jackson Brown

(4) Fire and Rain – James Taylor

(5) Let It Be – The Beatles

(6) Farewell, My Friend – Dennis Wilson




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