Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species
Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp
Latin name: Ampulex dementor
1. Justice Antonin Scalia: “The 14th Amendment protects all races, not only the blacks.”
No friend of affirmative action, voting rights protections, or anything he deems “racial entitlements,” the high court’s least inhibited conservative was at it again this week during oral arguments in a case in which advocates for minorities are challenging Michigan’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action in college admissions. The case reached the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court held the ban violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection guarantee, in that it prevents minorities from lobbying for racial preferences, when other groups can lobby for their favored programs, Huffpo explained.
A lawyer challenging the ban argued that the original goal of the 14th Amendment was to protect minority rights against a white majority.
Scalia begged to differ. “My goodness,” he said. “I thought we’ve held that the 14th Amendment protects all races. I mean, that was the argument in the early years, that it protected only—only the blacks. But I thought we rejected that. You say now that we have to proceed as though its purpose is not to protect whites, only to protect minorities?”
A little history: the 14th Amendment was approved three years after the end of the Civil War, and it was definitely about protecting the rights of former slaves. Scalia has not made any secret of his view that the country is all done with that racism stuff. If anything, the pendulum has swung too far the other way, he seems to think.
In February, Scalia said Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” He later joined the majority in voting to strike down the provision, which quickly led to several states enacting voter ID laws that are blatantly discriminatory.
Wonder how he’ll vote this time.
2. Confused Republican thought the debt deal included money for Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
With all the dopey things said and done by intransigent Republicans in last week’s shitstorm of dopey intransigence, Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney earned his place right up there in the pantheon. When the 11th hour deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government was struck between Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, it did not have much trouble getting through both houses of Congress. But there were those Republicans deluding themselves that they could fight on.
Rep. Mulvaney of South Carolina was one—and among his objections? The deal, he said, included funding for Joseph Kony’s Uganda-based Lord’s Resistance Army. Now, that would be pretty evil if it were true. Kony is an exiled war criminal with a messianic complex known for kidnapping children, and turning them into sex slaves and soldiers who kill their own families. The funding, if Mr. Mulvaney had read a little closer, was a small amount earmarked to the Pentagon which is funding African troops trying to capture Kony and end his reign of terror and atrocity. Ohhhh…oops. It seems Sen. David Vitter isn’t the only Republican in Congress Harry Reid could legitimately claim was not playing with a full deck.
3. Tony Perkins: Democrats are the theocrats for wanting to help the poor.
This will be news to biblical scholars. The Bible apparently says that government should have no role in helping the poor. Expressly forbids it.
This comes straight from the horse’s mouth, Tony Perkins, head of the right-wing Family Research Council, in a radio interview with conservative host Janet Mefferd. He then follows what can only be termed a rather bizarre train of thought to its illogical conclusion which is that it is the liberals who are trying to establish a theocracy in this country, not conservatives, because liberals want government to help the poor. Wait, we thought Christianity forbids that. Color us confused.
Perkins’ organization does have a unique take on the Bible and its treatment of the poor. Another spokesman for the group recently said there is “nothing more Christian” than eliminating millions of food stamp recipients from the government rolls.
But in this round Perkins does not merely want to stick it to the poor, he wants to flip the whole argument about which group is conflating church and state. It’s those liberals, you see. “They accuse evangelicals of wanting to create a theocracy, which is the farthest thing from the truth, when in fact, they are treating the government as if it had divine instruction from God to be a form of theocracy.”
4. S.C. official: Trans people should be put in camps.
It is tempting to suggest: Don’t drink and tweet. Well, we don’t know for sure that drinking was involved, but the former head of the South Carolina Republican Party went a bit bonkers with some recent rants on Twitter about transgender people and the people who support them.
“There are people who respect transgender rights,” Todd Kincannon tweeted this week. “And there are people who think you should all be put in a camp. That’s me.”
People? Or you?
Kincannon further opined that transgender people are “sick freaks” who should be “locked up in mental institutions and their care paid for by the state.” He thinks this shows his compassion for these “sick freaks.”
This Kincannon fellow has a heart as big as all outdoors. Previously, he’s drawn attention to himself for calling it a shame an Iraq veteran did not come home in a body bag, mocked murdered teenager Trayvon Martin, and scoffed at the victims of Hurricane Katrina. But in another tweet, he said his hatred was limited: to commies.
Good to know.
5. Tea Party leader suggests “class action suit” against “homosexuality.”
While most rational people interpreted this week’s events as a rather strong rebuke to the Tea Party, Tea Partiers really didn’t feel too bad. So at their Tea Party Unity event on Thursday, Chairman Rick Scarborough floated another novel idea for the assembled haters and nut jobs to rally behind now that the darn federal government is reopened: filing a “class action lawsuit” against “homosexuality.”
Now, how exactly would that work, you might ask? Or, maybe more to the point, how does that even make sense? Here goes:
“Homosexuality,” argued Scarborough, a former Baptist minister, “is much more likely to lead to AIDS than smoking is to lead to cancer. And yet the entire nation has rejected smoking, billions of dollars are put into a trust fund to help cancer victims and the tobacco industry was held accountable for that.”
So, similarly, the gay industry, whatever that is, could be held accountable.
6. Author Ed Klein: Obama provoked the shutdown.
Conservative “journalist” Ed Klein has been known to be factually challenged for some time now, but he just keeps churning out those hit jobs on leading Democrats. Even some of his fellow conservatives can’t stand him. John Podhoretz once wrote that he’d rather have “stakes driven through my eyes” than have to read another word of Klein’s book on Hillary Clinton.
So perhaps it comes as little surprise that the opinionated Klein offered up his cogent interpretation of the recent dysfunction in Washington. Yeupp, President Barack Obama provoked the government shutdown and would have allowed a default in a bid to further discredit Republicans. Klein must know, he wrote a book about Obama which is just out in paperback. Run. Don’t walk, to buy your copy. And don’t forget to pick up some stakes to drive through your eyes.
“The shutdown was something [Obama] welcomed,” Klein claimed, “that he encouraged, that he provoked, and that he kept going because he saw [it] as in his interest, with the media playing it as an anti-Republican problem.” Yes, Obama did seem to be having a grand old time of it, canceling that trip to Asia and everything.
“He would have allowed the country to go over the cliff, and if he did, he would have gotten on television sets, pointed his finger and said, ‘All those extremists’ fault, and if you want to change the nature of this country and make it better, you better vote for Democrats in 2014!”‘
Ummm, excuse us, Ed. Hate to break it to you. It was the extremists’ fault. Even moderate Republicans seem to think so.
7. Glenn Beck: Calling Ted Cruz and Mike Lee extremists will lead to Nazism.
Known for his circumspection in the rhetoric department, and fresh off revving up the crowd at the Values Voters Summit, with hilarity about gays causing the Holocaust and other fun stuff, Beck’s busy little brain continued making jarring connections on his radio program at the end of the week. Noting that the far-right National Front was gaining traction in France, Beck thought it a good time to caution Americans that calling people like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee extremists could lead to Nazism being on the march right here at home. No, we can’t quite make heads or tails of this thought train either.
Beck’s universe is as follows: the true Right is total anarchy, and Mitch McConnell is a big government lefty. News to Mitch, we’re pretty sure. That puts Mike Lee, the less-visible architect of the shutdown with Ted Cruz, right in the center, as an eminently “reasonable man.”
8. Pat Buchanan: Republicans, you are Samson against the Philistines.
Previously, hysterical right-wingers have called Obamacare the worst law known to mankind, tantamount to the Fugitive Slave Act, the greatest evil the country has ever known, and of course, its author Hitlerian for inflicting it on the country. Earlier this week, former Nixon aide and increasingly irrelevant, racist right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan invoked some biblical imagery in a column penned for birther conspiracy website World Net Daily. Urging Republicans to continue the fight against the Affordable Care Act at any cost, Buchanan called on them to go ahead and destroy the country just as heroic Samson pulled down the Philistine’s temple to kill them and himself rather than live as their slave.
“Republicans should refuse to raise the white flag and insist on an honorable avenue of retreat,” Buchanan wrote as the shutdown dragged on. “And if Harry Reid’s Senate demands the GOP end the sequester on federal spending, or be blamed for a debt default, the party should, Samson-like, bring down the roof of the temple on everybody’s head.”
Well, they certainly took that oh-so sensible piece of advice.
9. Weather channel founder says polar bears not in danger because Eskimos are more civilized these days.
You might think that someone driven to start the Weather Channel would have a passing acquaintance with and an interest in the science of climatology. But in the case of John Coleman, the actual founder of the Weather Channel, you’d be wrong. Coleman, despite arguably being a person who pays a good amount of attention to weather patterns, has planted his ignorant feet firmly in the camp of climate change deniers. His steadfast assertions that ice caps are not melting, sea levels are not rising and polar bears are not endangered, are infuriating enough. But this week he added another offensive element to his brew—bigotry—when he explained on the air that polar bears are, in fact, better off these days than ever, because they are no longer being slaughtered by Eskimos. “Eskimos,” he said, “have now become more civilized.”
This is just so wrong on so many levels. For starters, it is indisputable that polar bear populations are declining. According to Media Matters, a ban on hunting the bears went into effect in the 1970s, with some exceptions for traditional Inuit populations. But the threat from hunting is far surpassed by the threat posed by climate change, and we might add, barbaric climate-change deniers, since what could be more barbaric than the denial of science?
10. Fox News guest on Maryville rape victim: I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but she did kind of ask for it.
Sometimes … no, scratch that, nearly always, it seems that Fox News is just going out of its way to be as hateful and offensive as it possibly can be. Still, and we’re not sure why, we are shocked sometimes. This week, another terrible story of high school rape, bullying (driving the victim’s family out of town, in fact), and possible law enforcement coverup came to light in the case of Daisy Coleman, 14 at the time, and her friend Paige Parkhurst, then 13, in Maryville, Missouri. Once again, a popular older athlete was involved, this time a politically connected one, and charges were mysteriously dropped. Anonymous swept in, and a case that Maryville wanted to go away was reopened. The girls involved have spoken out, refusing to be shamed, admitting to their foible of feeling safe with an older brother’s friend, but refusing to back down.
So Fox News interviews the defense attorney for the newly accused boys. And sure enough, Joseph DiBenedetto trots out some familiar rape tropes. The girls invented rape allegations to get out of trouble for sneaking out late at night, and in Daisy’s case for waking up her mother later, scratching at the door in 22-degree weather nearly naked. Fun night.
And further, sneaking out late, with boys and likely with alcohol, is a clear invitation to be raped.“What did she expect to happen at 1am after sneaking out?” DiBenedetto asked host Shepard Smith. “I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but …”
Yeah, he kind of is saying that.
Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp
Latin name: Ampulex dementor
10,000th reptile species
Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi
Colour-changing thorny frogs
Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius
Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon
Stealthy wolf snake
Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae
Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis
World's second-longest insect
Phryganistria heusii yentuensis
Latin name: Sirindhornia spp
Salon is proud to feature content from AlterNet, an award-winning news magazine and online community that creates original journalism and amplifies the best of hundreds of other independent media sources.