Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. Last summer he logged 22,000 miles while blogging about his cross-country road trip for Mother Jones. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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British Royal Family Submits to Sharia

| Wed Apr. 6, 2011 10:30 AM EDT

Right-wing opponents of the non-existent threat of Sharia law frequently warn that, if we don't act now, the United States will quickly turn into Western Europe—which, they say, has succumbed to the slow creep of Islamic law. I thought that sounded like a lot of empty fearmongering, but then I saw this:

[The] Duke of York, Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, who is well known by the name Prince Andrew calls on Indonesia to plot sharia financing in the country.

During the meeting between Prince Andrew and Indonesian Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo on Wednesday, both parties are planning to discuss several policies on financial services including future sharia financing in Indonesia and partnership between UK and Indonesia in the development of financial market and protection toward customers' assets.

Sound the horn of Gondor! It's worse than we thought.

Well, that, or maybe permitting Sharia-compliant finance is really just a smart business decision, allowing UK companies to stay competitive in new markets. Just throwing that out there.

What's Hurting White America? It's Not the Welfare State

| Tue Apr. 5, 2011 9:32 AM EDT

Since the election of Barack Obama, right-wingers like Glenn Beck have made a concerted effort to craft a narrative in which whites are the new oppressed and reverse-racism, rather than actual racism, is the new great challenge of our times. CNN captured the zeitgeist last month, when it headlined a story, "Are whites racially oppressed?" (the actual article was far less hysterical).

Charles Murray, the libertarian scholar most famous for his book The Bell Curve, thankfully, did not go down that path in his "State of White America" address to the American Enterprise Institute last night. Instead, he focused on a set of social trends he believes "will end what has made America, America." Specifically, an ever-widening gap between what he calls "the new lower class" and "the new elite," which he attributes to the slow creep of the European-style welfare state.

He's offered a glimpse of this before, but he expanded on it at AEI: Essentially, he says, the four virtues that hold the key to American Exceptionalism—marriage, religiosity, work ethic, and honesty—are in steady decline among the white lower class, with destructive consequences. It's an age-old problem: the government gives you food stamps, and the next thing you know, your marriage has collapsed, you've quite your job, you've turned your back to God, and you're facing 5 to 10 for holding up a Piggly Wiggly.

"The parallel that keeps nagging at me is Rome," he explained, comparing the nation's current precipice to the classical civilization's conversion from a republic to an empire. We're not going to collapse, he says, but society will become a lot more stratified.

College Republicans Still Acting Like College Republicans

| Mon Apr. 4, 2011 5:20 PM EDT

Here's the Dallas Morning News:

An SMU junior and chairman of Texas College Republicans resigned his post this week after a video was posted of him describing getting "hammered," "hooking up" with a young woman and calling political opponents a homosexual slur.

He also calls his political opponents "nerds," which, I'm told, is a word people used to use to make fun of other people in the late 1980s. The context is that this was part of an endorsement speech for Alex Schriver, a leading candidate for chairman of the College Republicans, who was so enthused by the speech he posted it on his website. Now, one of Schriver's opponents—presumably a nerd—has turned it into an attack ad, complete with scary background music and the requisite white-text-on-black-background. Witness:

This is more or less business-as-usual for the College Republicans, who for decades have operated as basically a training camp for future GOP operatives (Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff, and Roger Stone are all alums). Here's what Benjamin Wallace-Wells wrote six years ago:

[W]hen I talked to College Republicans in North Carolina, I heard constant, ridiculous allegations thrown at rivals within the organizations. This rival had an illegitimate son in Tennessee, that one paid for an abortion for some poor girl from Missouri. When I asked an innocent question about a network of political consultants in Raleigh, one College Republican stopped me imediately: "Surely you must have heard," he said ominously, his drawl thick, "about them bisexual orgies."

For what it's worth, Charles McCaslin, the former Texas College Republicans chairman, has since apologized to any gays, women—and, yes, nerds—he may have offended.

Chart of the Day, Big Government Nanny State Edition

| Fri Apr. 1, 2011 10:27 AM EDT

Faced with a choice between cutting farm subsidies and cutting funding for food stamps, House Republicans have overwhelmingly chosen to cut funding for food stamps. Unrelatedly, House Republicans have received a ton of farm subsidies:

Courtesy of the Environmental Working Group

I'd love to see a similar breakdown on how much Republican members of the 112th Congress have benefited from food stamps, since 1995.

h/t Niolca Twilley.

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