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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Is This The Worst Song Of the Year?

| Wed Dec. 22, 2010 7:43 PM EST

The Village Voice just put up its list of the 20 worst songs of 2010, and...it's pretty compelling. Trade Martin's impeccably named "We've Got to Stop the Mosque at Ground Zero" is #17; Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" clocks in at #1:

There is less soul in the entirety of Train than in the palest single member of Collective Soul. "Hey, Soul Sister" is soul for people who refer to peanut butter and jelly as "soul food." It makes the California Raisins look like the second coming of Sly and the Family Stone. It's so white, Sarah Palin just named it her running mate for 2012.

Snap, crackle, and pow!

Anyway, having spent a quarter of the year driving around aimlessly in a car, I feel somewhat qualified to offer my opinion on the horrible sounds that came from FM radio. So here's one they missed: "Way Out Here," by Josh Thompson. Thompson mixes the mandatory checklist of a pop country hit—truck, truck being fixed, truck with girl standing next to it, yeoman farmers, yeoman farmers with trucks—with an aggressive "Real American" streak; unlike other kinds of people who shall remain nameless, Thompson croons, "We won't take a dime if we ain't earned it." With apologies to Train, if any song of 2010 were to be Sarah Palin's running mate, it'd be this one.

So is it worse than "Hey, Soul Sister"? You be the judge:

Not to be an insufferable fact-checker or anything, but what's up with the flag in this video? It's got the requisite 50 stars, so why does it look like it survived Washington's Crossing?

Update: South African rappers—and friends-of-the-blog—Die Antwoord check in at #10. Check out their Riff interview with Michael Mechanic from back in October.

Failed Koran Burners Execute Santa Instead

| Mon Dec. 20, 2010 3:55 PM EST

Some of you may remember Repent Amarillo as the far-right group whose planned Koran burning last September was foiled by the shirtless "Dude, you have no Koran!" dude. As its name suggests, the group's mission is quite simple: pressure the Texas city's 67,000 godless residents to repent for their sins and find Christ. To that end, organizers have created their own nifty "prayer map," which carefully charts various local hotspots for spirtual warfare (the group has already claimed victory for shutting down a Masonic lodge, a swingers bar, and a strip club.)

Now, Repent Amarillo has set its sights on an institution more powerful, even, than the Crystal Pistol: Santa. Here's a video the group just released, in which they execute the big man via firing squad, as part of an effort to teach kids the true meaning of Christmas. Guys, Fred Clause wasn't that bad!

The Radicalization of Peter King

| Mon Dec. 20, 2010 2:31 PM EST

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), last seen calling WikiLeaks a terrorist organization, is back in the news after annnouncing plans to hold hearings next year on the radicalization of America's Muslim communities. King believes Muslim leaders have been less than helpful in combatting extremists in their ranks, and he'd like to find out why.

The timing is a little curious: Just two weeks ago, members of a mosque in Orange County became so concerned about a possible extremist in their ranks, they reported him to the FBI (It turned out he was an FBI agent; this is basically Fletch for the terror age). But the larger issue is King, whose ability to spot terrorists is unmatched. That is, he constantly spots terrorists where there are none at all, like an Icelandic clairvoyant tasked with inspecting construction sites for the presence of elves. Here's what he told Sean Hannity back in 2004, for instance, while promoting his novel, Vale of Tears:

"I would say, you could say that 80-85 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists...Those who are in control. The average Muslim, no, they are loyal, but they don't work, they don't come forward, they don't tell the police."

80-85 percent! Run for your lives!

Great Moments in #Senatehate (Cannibalism Edition)

| Fri Dec. 17, 2010 2:55 PM EST

Yesterday will be remembered, if at all, for two especially traumatic events: The Senate, as per custom, suffered a total meltdown and scrapped its spending bill (the one they'd been working on for the last year). And an Amtrak train en route to Philadelphia was delayed for 10 hours, without power and in freezing temperatures, leading Stephen Tschida of New York's ABC 7 to live-tweet the worst day of his life. Sample tweet:

"God, I'm this close to crying again. I NEVER cry. Just want out. This might be a life-changer."

And another"1 man grabbed intercom demanded answers. Another started screaming we have 2 get home. Now total silence."

But what if the two situations were somehow combined? That is, if a train full of Senators were delayed for hours without power and no end in sight? If you're thinking, "They'd probably eat at each other, but not before engaging in frustrating demonstrations of comity, decorum, and procedure" well, Mark Twain's got your back—he envisioned this exact scenario more than a century ago. Enjoy:

"MR. HALLIDAY of Virginia: 'I move to further amend the report by substituting Mr. Harvey Davis of Oregon for Mr. Messick. It may be urged by gentlemen that the hardships and privations of a frontier life have rendered Mr. Davis tough; but, gentlemen, is this a time to cavil at toughness? Is this a time to be fastidious concerning trifles? Is this a time to dispute about matters of paltry significance? No, gentlemen, bulk is what we desire—substance, weight, bulk—these are the supreme requisites now—not talent, not genius, not education. I insist upon my motion.'

"MR. MORGAN (excitedly): 'Mr. Chairman—I do most strenuously object to this amendment. The gentleman from Oregon is old, and furthermore is bulky only in bone—not in flesh. I ask the gentleman from Virginia if it is soup we want instead of solid sustenance?

I yield.

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