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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   Santorum spreads
Tuesday, February 7 2012
Despite a long period of relative bleakness, there have been a few unexpected recent occasions engendering hope. The first of these was the rise of the Occupy Wall Street. At first the opinion-making class didn't know how to interpret it and presumed it a failure before it had even received mainstream media attention. But within a few months it has successfully changed the national economic obsession from austerity to inequality, precisely as Republicans positioned the ultimate symbol of inequality (Mitt Romney) as its standard bearer. I can't think of an example of such successful political jujitsu since 9/11, and yet it all happened emergently.
More recently came the people-powered defeat of the draconian, authoritarian PIPA and SOPA "anti-piracy" bills in the House and Senate, the result of a successful (and rare) coalition of the left and the right against corporate interests inflexibly-committed to increasingly obsolete technologies.
The most recent hope-producing event came with the poorly-considered decision of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to pull the plug on the funding it gives to Planned Parenthood proving mammogram screenings for the poor. I'd never really even been aware of Komen for the Cure, though I was familiar with all the noncontroversial pink ribbons (and had deliberately steered clear of pink-branded crap, as I consider pink a particularly ugly color and the support of cancer research to be a shallow and selfish form of charity). It turns out that Komen for the Cure had, at some point, stopped being noncontroversial. Anti-abortion activists had seized the controls and started work on a right wing checklist that included the defunding of research using embryonic stem cells and sending any money to Planned Parenthood (which, out of nowhere, has become as much of a buggaboo as Acorn used to be). Republicans prefer pregnancies to act as surprises and punishments.
At first when Komen cut funding to Planned Parenthood, I assumed it was a done deal, yet another absurd victory of the right (like the way they, with the help of the petroleum industry, got most Americans to be skeptical of global warming). But something surprising happened. Somehow a backlash developed that was so big and destructive that Komen was forced to walk back their defunding plans (technically, their new language is little different from the language that accompanied the defunding, but it's likely the Komen has been permanent and irreversibly damaged).
The Komen story adds to other new fronts in the great American culture war: the Obama administration's plan to force employers to offer zero-copay contraception, additional states poised to approve gay marriage, and the diminution of the economy as an anti-Obama political cudgel as it appears to be improving. All of this added up to a perfect storm tonight for Rick Santorum, the repellently-sanctimonious former Senator running for President in the Republican primary. His gay-and-abortion obsessed world view is suddenly resonating with the Republicans who actually vote in the caucuses. I stayed up late tonight to hear the results come in for caucus tallies to come in and was delighted to learn that Santorum had swept all three: Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado. At this point, anything that is bad for Romney is good news to me.

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