In Which Our Hero Tapes Some More and Finds a Color for Her Bathroom

The Butcher’s best-friend-in-law (his best friend’s wife) came over tonight to help us paint.  And tape.  And holy sweet Jesus, she taped the kitchen.  How can you not love a woman who is willing to tape a kitchen that is not hers?

Here’s where we stand:

Dining room: One more coat and some covering of some spots on the ceiling and then it’s done.  Still am in love with the color.

Living room: We used primer in there and so we’re going to be able to cover the whole thing nicely with two coats.  It’s a lovely manila envelop yellow–again one of the colors Mack’s wife picked out.  It looks great and just needs one more coat.

My room: Taped.  Um, and, due to an unfortunate revelation that I am not an artist, ready for primer on one wall.

Kitchen: Taped.

Den: Painted a lovely dark chocolate green or maybe olive brown.  The Butcher and I both love it but who the hell knows what to call that color?  It needs one more coat.

The Bathroom: We bought what we thought was going to be a light blue from the Habitat store and it ended up being a gray with lavender undertones.  It is amazing.  It looks so much better, I can’t even tell you.  It’s going to need one more coat and it’ll be done.

The Butcher’s Bedroom: Nothing has happened in there.  I’m not even sure he’s settled on paint.

But, all in all, I expect we’ll have at least four rooms finished tomorrow.  And by we, I mean the Butcher, because he really is carrying the vast majority of the load on this, which I appreciate more than I can say.


Just Keep Drawing that Circle Smaller and Smaller

We don’t have to pretend like Pat Buchanan is not an unrepentant white supremacist, do we?

Sometimes, when I repeatedly see him on my tv, I’m confused and I think, maybe it’s some other Pat Buchanan who is constantly weeping and bemoaning the death of the white race, the bestest race to ever inhabit the world, and yet, like all good things, too good for this damn place.  Oh, woe and boo hoo.  Because certainly, if we lived in a sane world, a guy who’s major career objective seems to be writing elegies for the glorious white race, would not be treated like a normal person with thoughtful thoughts to contribute on any given topic.

But it’s the same guy.  I guess we’re all supposed to pretend like he’s just Surley Bigot Grandpa, but harmless, and leave it at that.

But sometimes I think it’s useful to remember that he’s a blatant white supremacist.


Because white supremacists have this need to define white that, as it grows more threatened, makes this motion of becoming more exclusionary while seeming as if it’s backed by larger and larger crowds of unspoken supporters.

It’s like this.  Say you had a group of two hundred people and just over half of them are white in some loose sense.  We’ll say two hundred people and one hundred and ten of them are vaguely white.  And a guy like Pat Buchanan comes along and he starts talking about White people (and I mean the capitalization deliberately, because you can be white without necessarily being White, though it’s important for White people that the lines between whiteness and Whiteness are blurry) and what it means to be White.

Now “white” isn’t just a skin color, it’s about a kind of cultural Whiteness.  White people are of good Anglo-Saxon stock.  They’re Protestant.  They work hard.  They do well, but not too well.  And at times when White people don’t feel too afraid or challenged, those ideas about what make someone White are just out there kind of amorphous and lining up, though imperfectly, with things that are familiar to white people (even if they’re not applicable).

But when White people begin to feel threatened, they start to draw circles.  White people don’t like black people.  White people are losing their jobs to Hispanics.  White people aren’t just Protestant, they’re born again.  Smaller and smaller gets the circle of who counts as White, but the number of white people remains the same.

So, in our group of 200, you could define down White people to a group of only twenty-five folks who fit those criteria.  But folks like Pat Buchanan run around as if they have the cultural weight of someone speaking for all one hundred and ten white people.  Or, often, running around like they have an army of one hundred and ten White people for whom they speak, but they could only get twenty five together at the moment.

I’m not going to get into showing you specific instances of how this works, because I trust you’re smart and can see it for yourselves.

Instead, I want to talk a second about how Buchanan uses that same rhetorical strategy, the one he learned from the White supremacist movement, to talk about Sarah Palin.  Watch how he draws ever smaller circles about who gets to be “us” and who is “them.”

What are the characteristics that constitute “us”?

“We” live our Christian beliefs.  We have a lot of kids.  We are small town conservatives.  We are reformers who aren’t afraid of taking on large, faceless, powerful entities.  We are fighters.  We’re good looking.  We hate abortion.  We love guns.  We go to public schools and state universities.  We kill our own food.  We’re in unions and we work two jobs.  We’re very normal (in the churches we go to and the lives we lead).  We’re rebels, though, too.

Now, ask yourself.  How many people do you know that fit all that?  Who belong to normal, Protestant churches, and live their beliefs, and have a lot of kids, and live in small towns, and are conservatives, and are reformers, and are fighters, and are good looking, and hate abortion, and love guns, and went to public school and a state university, and are avid hunters, and are in a union (or their spouse is), and work two jobs, and are rebels.

That “us” is mighty small–the people who meet all those qualifications.  And yet Buchanan talks about “us” like we’re the majority of people in America.

That “us” isn’t even the majority of people in the Republican party.


Is it Christmas?

Thanks to Tiny Pasture, I read this story over breakfast.  I bring you the salient details.

Two of the lobbyist donations, made by former state Sen. David Fowler of Family Action of Tennessee and Tony Gottlieb of Dads Against Discrimination of Tennessee, went to state Rep. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville.

Fowler gave Campfield $100 while Gottlieb gave him $200.

Oh, this made me laugh.  Just on the surface, it’s funny because Campfield is always going on about how Democrats are compromised by their ties to lobbyists.  And here he is, unethically tied to lobbyists.

But it’s curious in an amusing way just below the surface, too.  Shall we stick our heads under and look around?

The state law forbidding lobbyists from making direct donations to candidates was enacted as part of a 2006 package of ethics reforms.

Hmm.  You might be curious–when did David Fowler leave the state senate?  2006.  So, he was in office when this reform package was enacted.  So, come on!  Clearly, he knew better.

So, what’s going on here?  Here’s my speculation, based in nothing but my own gut instinct.

Campfield is a pain in the ass.  He’s popular with constituents because he’s out there tilting at the windmills the conservative people of east Tennessee like to see tilted at.  He’s anti-gay, anti-abortion, and last year he proposed legislation that seemed to come right out of the radical wing of the Fathers’ Rights movement.

None of it went anywhere.

Dude is willing to take up a cause, but he can’t move that cause forward once it gets into the Chamber.

So, what do you do if you’re a lobbiest for one of these causes?  You don’t want to alienate a man who’s brought almost every piece of legislation you’ve penned for him up.  But you also don’t want a man who can’t get his peers to support that legislation to be the face of that legislation.  So, what do you do?

You have a minor scandal, very minor, just a hundred bucks or two, that violates a law that is unproven (meaning this is the first time it’s even being enforced), gambling that you’ll get, at most, a slap on the wrist.

And now?

Now Campfield has to understand why you have to put some distance between you and him.  That it just doesn’t look right for you to be too close.  And he’s understanding.  After all, according to the law, he didn’t do anything wrong.  So, no skin off his nose.

And you get to make a break from your most vocal champion and look for someone else with a record of getting legislation passed to take up your cause.

I’m not saying that’s what’s going on.

Just consider it Tuesday Morning Speculating.